Despite the fact the mobile devices are reengineering the way that lawyers do business, 70 per cent of lawyers using these devices in private practice and commerce in Australia and New Zealand are not aware of a device management policy in their organisation, a new survey has found.
In fact according to the LexisNexis Pacific Mobility Survey an overwhelming 80 per cent of those surveyed use mobile devices for work.
“Mobile devices are delivering incredible time and productivity gains for the profession but they come with significant risks,” warns LexisNexis Pacific’s Chief Operating Officer Dr Marc K Peter. “Yes, they enable lawyers to be more responsive to clients, more efficient at daily tasks and generally more productive but if they fall into the wrong hands they can be catastrophic for an individual, their organisation or both.
“As is the case with more traditional forms of information, information on mobile devices has to be secured and ‘locked’ to protect users from a broad range of risks including cyber-attacks. The reality is once information falls into the wrong hands users have absolutely no control as to where it will end up or how it will be used,” Dr Peter says.
Commissioned to understand how far mobile devices have already been integrated into the working day of the Australasian lawyer, the survey identified that password protecting and locking devices were rated more important to both lawyers and management than the ability to access files remotely or work offline, suggesting there is still a high degree of concern about using mobile devices.
The biggest pain points are maintaining security and standards followed by integrating devices and systems, associated costs, staff capability and training, and maintenance and support of the devices.
Mobile devices are used to read emails, schedule calendars, read and review documents, drafting and to maintain awareness of legal or industry news (mostly via social media). The top five mobile apps that were on the wish list include: a timesheet, database with offline and online synching, MS office for iOS, legislation and cases, and a dictation app.
Of those who don’t use a mobile device for work, the main reasons are that they don’t own mobile technology (30 per cent), they are not supported by work policy (26 per cent), they don’t find it relevant for work (25 per cent), or they are unaware of how to use it for work (14 per cent).
New Zealand is ahead of Australia in its mobility use across large, mid and small law firms but Australia rates higher for Government legal and non-legal use.
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