ABA releases TechReport 2021 survey on legal tech trends

The American Bar Association Legal Technology Resource Center recently began releasing its ABA TechReport 2021, a comprehensive publication exploring how attorneys are using technology in their practices.

TechReport 2021 combines data from the annual Legal Technology Survey Report with expert analysis, observations and predictions from legal technology leaders.

Separated into eight different articles on technology topics, TechReport 2021 covers the prominent areas in technology that lawyers face today. The survey reports focus on issues relating to technology use, not product use.

Examples of statistical information included in the annual survey report are:

• Twenty-six percent of respondents report a decrease in their access to print materials due to COVID-19. Firms of 100 or more attorneys were most likely to report a decrease in their access to print materials (44%), followed by 29% from firms of 10-49 attorneys, in contrast with 11% of solo attorneys and 17% from firms of 2-9 attorneys. Seventy percent report that their access to print materials has stayed the same and 4% indicate their access has increased.

• Sixty-five percent of firms budget for technology (compared with 62% in 2020, 60% in 2019 and 57% in 2018). As in prior years, this percentage increases with firm size: 43% of solo respondents, 50% of firms of 2-9 attorneys, 69% of firms of 10-49 attorneys (compared with 78% in 2020, 71% in 2019 and 77% in 2018) and 87% of firms of 100 or more attorneys. Overall, 12% indicated they did not know if their firm budgets for technology.

• Respondents were asked which of the following employee well-being activities their firm offers. Eighty-three percent of respondents’ firms offer one or more well-being activities (compared with 76% in 2019), with 57% offering employee appreciation events, 53% offer staff meals, 36% family-friendly outings, 32% extra holidays, 30% volunteer work, 21% fitness incentive programs, 12% intramural sports and 3% offer some other activity.

The TechReport articles began posting on Law Technology Today (www.lawtechnologytoday.org) on Nov. 10 and will run on Wednesdays through Dec. 29. Topics include:

  • Cloud Computing
  • Websites & Marketing
  • Practice Management
  • Budgeting & Planning
  • Technology Training
  • Solo & Small Firm
  • Cybersecurity
  • Life & Practice

The Legal Technology Survey Report, started more than two decades ago by the ABA Law Practice Division, is recognized as the primary source for information regarding the use of technology by attorneys in private practice. It is based on responses by practicing lawyers — not consultants, vendors or IT staff.
The survey report is separated into five volumes, including a combined edition, and is available for sale at shopaba.org:

  • Vol. I: Online Research
  • Vol. II: Technology Basics & Security
  • Vol. III: Law Office Technology
  • Vol. IV: Marketing & Communication Technology
  • Vol. V: Life & Practice

The ABA Legal Technology Resource Center is dedicated to helping legal professionals leverage technology to overcome obstacles, identify opportunities and improve their practices. An ABA member benefit provided by the Law Practice Division, the LTRC offers many resources, including Law Technology Today, monthly webinars, the annual Legal Technology Survey Report and more.

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