Survey gauges IT budgeting, purchasing, trends

The International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) and InsideLegal, an online legal community guide to doing business in legal technology, recently released the findings of the 7th annual ILTA Member Technology Purchasing Survey.
The 2010 Survey, focused on feedback from ILTA member law firms with 50 or more attorneys, covers IT budgeting, technology purchasing patterns, selection criteria and influencers, technology trends & IT challenges and state-of-the-economy questions.
 The 43 question web-based survey was distributed to approximately 610 ILTA member firms, ranging from 50 to 3,000 attorneys, and yielded 109 firm responses.
Eighty-four percent of all participating firms came from the U.S., with the remaining 16 percent originating from Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil.
“ILTA and InsideLegal have long collaborated on legal technology vendor education focused on enhancing our vendor partners’ value, not only at the annual ILTA Education conference, but throughout the year,” stated Peggy Wechsler, program director, ILTA.
She said the survey “is a perfect example of how InsideLegal partners with us on giving back to vendors and members. The feedback we receive, not only from vendors and firms, but the broader legal community, validates our decision to take on this project every year and distribute and share this free resource.”
2010 Survey highlights include:
• Overall firm technology spending as a percentage of firm revenue is still down, but slowly rebounding;
• 33 percent more firms indicated technology budget increases vs. 2009. Firms with growing tech budgets cited an average increase of 11 percent.
• 45 percent reported their firms are already back to normal financially, while only 6 percent indicated it will take another 12+ months (compared to 45 percent in 2009).
• 2009 legal tech implementations were predominantly focused on core hardware and IT infrastructure projects.
• 43 percent of all respondents are planning Microsoft Office upgrades in 2010/11.
• According to Legal IT and firm end-users, satisfaction with newly implemented technologies is down from previous years.
• Peer to Peer magazine, ILTA whitepapers, CIO Magazine, Law Technology News, Information Week and Computerworld are among the favorite ILTA member reads.
• 17 percent of responding firms indicated implementing a cloud strategy this year, compared to 9 percent in 2009.
• 49 percent utilize SharePoint internally, while 24 percent use it as a collaboration tool for client and other external communications.
• 69 percent of all survey respondents were offered vendor discounts last year, with 20 percent receiving free services from their technology vendors.
• The biggest challenges facing Legal IT departments include e-mail management, staffing issues and storage needs.
JoAnna Forshee, CEO, InsideLegal said the IT purchasing and budget information “just keeps getting better so we always look forward to sharing these findings and getting this invaluable analysis to as many legal technology vendors, media and legal thought leaders as possible.”