When we asked whether Am Law 200 firms let their lawyers use instant messaging, we discovered a statistical dead heat: 67 firms allow it, 69 don’t. But when we asked some information technology people about the issue, we didn’t get such an ambivalent response. Instant messaging is, alternately, loved, hated and feared, and the one element everyone agreed on is that it’s not going away.
As we reported last year, the trend toward investing in disaster recovery remains strong. However, fewer firms are concentrating all their energy on planning for what chief information officer James Dobrzeniecki at McGuireWoods calls the “big kahuna, level five disaster,” and are instead thinking in terms of business continuity. They want to be ready when an earthquake strikes (no small concern for Southern California firms), but it’s the day-to-day disruptions that are gaining higher priority.
SHINY, HAPPY THINGS
Firms are still holding off on optional purchases; lawyers longing for flat-screen monitors at the office will probably just have to keep waiting. The same goes for software, where some chief information officers are tired of purchasing every update. Although the number of firms using Windows XP as their desktop operating system rose sharply this year, from 11 percent to 30 percent, many others are in no hurry to switch.
Handheld PCs (personal digital assistants) increased in popularity last year, with the number of firms supplying them to attorneys rising from 51 percent to 73 percent. The reliable BlackBerry remains the top banana, used by 88 percent of firms that supply handhelds, although newcomer GoodTechnology has made early inroads, scooping up 10 percent in its first year.