If you’re a lawyer and you’re reading this, you’re unusual. If, by chance, you’re reading this on an RSS feed reader, you’re extraordinary. The 2008 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report is out, with results that confirm most folks’ general impressions:
[W]ebsites and e-mail newsletters are still the digital way that most attorneys stay current with the news. A small minority reports reading blogs; but actually creating a blog is something the geeky lawyer down the hall—or, more likely, across town—is into.
RSS feeds—a technology that displays headlines from many sites on a single webpage, which greatly speeds the consumption of information—are not used by most attorneys. Social networks are only just now catching on. Podcasts and online videos are mostly for the kids—theirs or the ones they hire as first-year associates.
The Report itself is on sale for a whopping US$1,800.00 — no RSS feed, it would seem — but you can read a summary report and see some charted results on the ABA Journal Law News Now website.
Clearly it takes a generation — 30 years, say — for a technology to penetrate the profession. You could argue that adopting only the (much) tried and true in technology is a sensible thing; after all, who wants to tie even a small piece of law’s seamless web to something that will crumble faster than acid paper. On the other hand, this large lag will mean that lawyers will continue to be perceived as — and will be — out of touch with what is actually going on in society. It also means, in my opinion, that there is a fairly large niche opening up here for an even modestly adventurous firm to position itself at the forefront of legal service through the use of even yesterday’s information technology.