The International Legal Technology Association recently published its annual legal tech survey. From a practice management perspective, here are some findings that stand out for me. I leave it to others to comment on infrastructure. 

The 2009 ILTA Technology Survey is available with login or for purchase. It’s a great resource for law firm IT managers who want to benchmark. The survey write-up is excellent and the 60+ pages is chock full of detailed results, including data sliced into firms by five size categories.

Most large firms automate “processes like new business intake.” Almost 90% of 700+ lawyer firms do automate processes and almost 70% of 150 to 699 lawyer firms do. The percent of smaller firms automating workflows is much lower.

I was surprised that only 38% of firms have matter-centric environments. Perhaps because I’ve traveled in KM circles for some time I had the impression the percent would be much higher. Further, the incidence of matter centricity does not vary much by firm size; firms under 150 lawyers clock in around 35% and those over 150 around 45%.

Litigation support and e-discovery remain a fragmented market. The list of products and services that firms report using is long. Of course, having a product and using it exclusively is not the same, so ‘percent using’ data may not mean much. That said, two-thirds of firms have CT Summation and one-third have Concordance; no other doc review tools has over 20% using. Among firms of 700+ lawyers, 38% report using Clearwell, which seems good for a relatively new entrant.

Records management remains a challenge. This year, the survey more clearly distinguished e-mail archiving from RM. Almost two-thirds of firms report having no digital RM product. About one-third say products are not yet mature enough and one-third say they are unclear on the need (for this answer, respondents could choose multiple answers so percents don’t add to 100).

If nothing else, the survey shows that practice support and IT managers have plenty to keep them busy.