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ANALYSIS: Legal Collaboration Tech Use Is Surging, Surveys Show

Aug. 12, 2020, 7:05 PM

We all know the professional world looks pretty different now than it did prior to the pandemic. Comparing the results of two 2020 Bloomberg Law surveys—March’s Legal Operations Survey and July’s Legal Technology Survey—shows just how different it looks for in-house departments and law firms.

Our most recent data found a notable increase in the use of collaboration tools by law firms—and use by in-house legal departments more than quadrupled.

When asked about use of team collaboration tools (such as Confluence and Sharepoint, which enable teams to share documents and manage projects) back in March, 19% of in-house legal department respondents and 27% of law firm respondents said they were using the tools. Four months later, 77% of respondents in in-house departments and 44% of firm respondents said they were using collaboration tools.

That’s an increase of 63% in law firms and 305% in in-house departments.

In our Law Firm Benchmarks Survey (2020), which was fielded in June and July, only 32% of firm respondents reported using collaboration tools.

It’s unclear why in-house legal departments are using collaboration tools so much more often than law firms. One reason could be that in-house departments had more fully embraced project management and in-person collaboration before the pandemic, sending those attorneys to technological solutions faster when forced to work from home. Another reason could be that firm practitioners simply collaborate less frequently than their in-house counterparts, or do so using older technologies like traditional email.

Nearly all firm respondents (97%) said they are using video meeting apps in order to work from home. This reflects a huge shift, as 74% of these lawyers started using video meeting apps only after the pandemic was announced by the World Health Organization in March.

Bloomberg Law subscribers can find related content on our In Focus: Legal Technology resource.

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