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A look at Android resources for lawyers

Stacked3This week's Daily Record column is entitled "A look at Android resources for lawyers."

A pdf of the article can be found here and my past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.

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A look at Android resources for lawyers

Lawyers love their mobile devices. In fact, as reported in the American Bar Association’s 2012 Legal Tech Survey, a whopping 89 percent of lawyers now use smart phones. And, not surprisingly, one of the most drastic increases in lawyers using mobile tools was the surge in the number of lawyers using tablets for law-related tasks. That percentage nearly doubled over the period of one year, increasing from 15 percent in 2011 to 33 percent in 2012.

But, much like the general population, lawyers’ smart phone and tablet choices are shifting over time. It used to be that most lawyers’ smart phone of choice was a BlackBerry, but no more. According to ABA Tech Survey, BlackBerry use by lawyers declined significantly over the past year, from 46 percent of smart phone users in 2011 to just 31 percent this year. And, most lawyers who made the switch from BlackBerry chose either the iPhone, which was used by 44 percent of respondents in 2012, or an Android phone, which was used by 16 percent.

But don’t discount Android devices — not yet. Android use is on the rise as reported by The New York Times just last week (“Android Devices Set to Overtake iPad in Market Share” March 13): “Shipments of tablets running the Google Android operating system will overtake the iPad this year for the first time, the research firm IDC has predicted … IPad shipments are expected to account for 46 percent of the tablet market in 2013, down from 51 percent last year, the research company said. The market share for devices running Android is expected to grow to 49 percent this year from 42 percent last year.”

So undoubtedly, the number of lawyers using Android devices will increase over the next year. But what’s an Android-toting lawyer to do in a world still dominated by iOS devices and where most information for lawyers about smart phones and tablets presumes the use of Apple devices?

Well have no fear, Android fans, there are quite a few resources available designed to help lawyers navigate the less charted Android waters.

First, there are a few helpful blogs. Let’s start with a legal blog devoted to lawyers who use Android devices: The Droid Lawyer (thedroidlawyer.com). At the Droid Lawyer, Oklahoma attorney Jeffrey Taylor regularly posts about Android apps of interest to attorneys and also provides tips and tricks for making the most of your Android devices. His blog is a must read for any lawyer who owns an Android tablet or smart phone.

Another very helpful blog is Future Lawyer (futurelawyer.typepad.com), which is published by Florida attorney and avid Android user Rick Georges. Although the blog’s primary focus is legal technology, Rick regularly discusses the use of Android devices in a law practice.

Finally, Law Technology Today, a blog run by the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Management Section, also discusses, among other legal technology topics, the use of Android devices by law firms, so it’s worth checking in to read the latest Android tips there as well (www.lawtechnologytoday.org/tag/android/).

And last but not least, if blogs don’t offer you enough Android-related information, there’s always the recently published book, “Android Apps in One Hour For Lawyers,” written by attorney Daniel J. Siegel (ABA 2013). This book covers a vast array of Android apps designed to help lawyers practice law using their Android devices.

However, some of you might not be ready to run out and buy the book just yet. If so, never fear. In the near future, I plan to write an article covering some of the more popular and useful Android apps for lawyers, so stay tuned!

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and Director of Business Development and Community Relations at MyCase, an intuitive cloud-based law practice management platform for the modern law firm. She is also a GigaOM Pro Analyst and is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at niki@mycase.com.

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