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4 Takeaways from the InsideLegal and ILTA Purchasing Survey

4 Takeaways from the InsideLegal and ILTA Purchasing Survey

The 2015 InsideLegal and ILTA Purchasing survey is out and provides a 10,000 foot view of insights from senior legal tech professionals as to budgets, opportunities and challenges facing the ILTA community.  The 2015 survey marks the 10th year running for the benchmark survey, which this year, earned 184 responses, or 14% of the 1,232 law firms invited to participate.

The report is a short 12 pages so we sat down during a break at ILTACON to comb through it and share what leap jumped out for us:

1. Legal tech budgets flush.

How money is invested can be just as important as how much is invested. Legal IT leaders in some circles will face harder decisions than others. Across all firm sizes 41% of respondents said tech budgets would increase; 44% said budgets will remain flat while 15% said budgets would decline.  A majority (57%) spend 2-4% of firm revenue on technology, with large law firms investing north of $17,000 per attorney.

2. IT security the top law firm insecurity.

Security statistics in the legal space paint a concerning picture.  Indeed one session we attended noted it takes a median average of 205 days – nearly seven months – for corporations to even realize a breached has occurred.  It’s logical then that this year’s survey found the “biggest challenge facing legal IT departments” is security, according to the survey (59%). Security trumped “email management” for the first time in eight years, and the report noted, “Security software/security assessments” ranked in fifth place for “planned purchases in the next year.”

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3. Building technology competence.

In a session on marketing tools, panelists noted that a sign of executive support for business development is treating law firm CRM as a core technology and testing staff competency with it (implementing CRM and using it effectively are two different things). Technology competence is seeping into the legal culture in a big way; rare is the legal conference that doesn’t make at least one reference to D. Casey Flaherty’s infamous legal tech audit.  This year the InsideLegal and ILTA survey included a question on technology competence among the other 33 questions:

“Survey respondents are primar­ily addressing user technology proficiency (or lack thereof) by offering additional application-specific training (61%) as well as new training models and delivery mechanisms to better suit user needs (44%). 24% indicated they are not addressing the issue at all with 63% of those responses coming from small firms. Additional responses to the ques­tion (labeled ‘other’) included developing in-house professional development accreditation; hiring additional in-house trainers; evaluating third party vendors to provide web-based and eLearning solutions; and linking tech proficiency to compensation.”

4. Benefits and drawbacks to the cloud.  

The cloud gives lawyers mobility. “Survey respon­dents cited the versatility/mobility of cloud solutions as the most compelling reason to embrace the cloud (62%), followed by flexibility (53%), cost savings/overall ef­ficiencies (35%) and security (29%),” according to the report. The results mirror survey findings from a cloud study we published in early 2014, albeit that one was aimed specifically at small law firms. However, this year’s ILTA study shows concerns for the cloud remain as “63% cited security concerns as the main reason to avoid” cloud tools. Certainly there are certifications law firms should expect from their managed service providers, but as the blogger’s panel at the LegalTech show noted earlier this year, “the cloud conversation has changed from whether it’s secure to how we can make it more secure.”

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Below are other highlights from the survey announcement published this morning – and here’s a link to our recap from last year: 6 Takeaways from the ILTA/InsideLegal Purchasing Survey.

The full 2015 report is freely available for download without registration and  Jobst Elster and JoAnna Forshee of InsideLegal, will be presenting an ILTACON session on “10 Years of Legal Technology Purchasing Metrics, Stats and Lessons Learned” on Thursday, September 3rd from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. in Roman Ballroom IV.

Other selected highlights of interest from the 2015 ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing Survey include:

  • 2015 top 5 tech purchases: Laptops/notebooks (67%); desktop hardware (60%); network upgrades (51%); printers/MFDs (49%); antivirus/antispam software (40%).
  • 2015 top 5 legal/tech publications: ILTA White Papers (86%), Peer to Peer magazine (83%), Legaltech News (50%), Legal IT Today (21%) & ABA Journal (19%).
  • Internet research, peer recommendations, and ILTA conferences are top 3 legal IT purchasing influences.
  • 2015 ‘most exciting trend’ themes include cloud computing, mobility, security, virtualization, AI & analytics.
  • Most firm BYOD policies cover smartphones (71%) and tablets (59%), only 28% cover laptops. 28% indicated they don’t have a BYOD policy.
  • 60% of survey respondents stated that less than 25% of firm software and service solutions would be cloud-based within the next 1-3 years.
  • 92% of respondents said they use outside technology consultants (up 2% from 2014 and 11% from 2013).

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About Frank Strong

Frank Strong
Frank Strong is the communications director for the LexisNexis software division located on NC State’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh. In this capacity, he leads communications efforts in support of software products for law practice and law department management and also litigation tools – across large law, small law and corporate counsel segments. With more than 15 years of experience in the high-tech sector, Strong previously served as director of public relations for Vocus, which developed marketing, PR and media monitoring software. He has held multiple roles both in-house with corporations, ranging from startups to global organizations, and has also endured the rigors of billable hours, having completed gigs at PR firms including the top 10 global firm Hill & Knowlton. A veteran of two year-long deployments, Strong has concurrently served in uniform in reserve components of the military for more than 20 years, initially as an enlisted Marine and later as an infantry officer in the Army National Guard. Strong holds a BA in Film and TV production from Worcester State University, an M.A. in Public Communication from American University, and an M.B.A. from Marymount University. He is a PADI-certified Master Scuba Diver and holds a USPA "B" skydiving license.
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