This week, the International Legal Technology Association or ILTA as its commonly known, released the results of its annual technology survey. ILTA refers to itself as a peer to peer networking organization for those in the legal tech field. Unlike the ABA Tech Survey which also recently came out, ILTA survey respondents tend to be from larger firms and are people who work in the legal tech field as opposed to practicing lawyers.


So, what are the takeaways? On a quick review, 5 things stood out:


Some 89% of the respondents reported that they had not made use of any machine learning tools

  1. While the respondents are generally from firms larger than those who participated in the ABA Survey, most respondents (66%) worked in firms with under 149 lawyers. Only 16% came from firms with over 350 lawyers. So, the survey seems most relevant to firms somewhere in the middle: not to small but certainly not the Goliath’s either.
  2.  Despite all the hype over the year, some 89% of the respondents reported that they had not made use of any machine learning tools. This is important since the ILTA respondents are more technically oriented and would be able to know what such tools were and if they had been used than, say, a group of practicing lawyers. Query whether this percentage would be substantially different if an accurate survey was made of just the AmLaw 100, for example.
  3.  The use of the cloud continues. Unlike last year where security concerns composed the primary reluctance, this year the main concern was cost. Again, this may be the function of the size of the firm from which many respondents came.
  4.  Respondents reported that the main security concern keeping them up at night was the necessary balance between security and ease of use. The percentage of those holding this concern was down slightly from last year when it also topped the list. Second was user acceptance and behavior followed by a close third, user education. Again, given how many lawyers deal with technology and security, these concerns are no surprise. If we are going to use technology to do a task differently (which many of us try to avoid) we want it to just work without it requiring any learning time. And we assume that the requisite security is there and doesn’t require anything on our part. No wonder IT people pull their hair out in working with us!
  5.  Windows 2012 remains the primary server used by respondents with Windows 10 being the main operating system. Word 2010 was the primary word processing tool. Windows hold over law seems secure.


So, there you have it. I am sure there is lots more but these 5 things stood out, particularly the limited use of machine learning. In this regard, both the ILTA and ABA survey more or less agree. AI just isn’t a big factor in small and mid law practices. Yet.

Photo Attribution: Donnell King via flickr