70% of Lawyers Don’t Know What the Internet Is

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Every year at ABA TECHSHOW, we get the results of the ABA’s annual technology survey. This year we learned that only 30% of lawyers say they use a web-based service.1

Wait, what? 70% of lawyers don’t use email? They don’t do legal research online? They don’t use e-filing? None of those 70% have a smartphone or a tablet? None of them are on Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter?

Unlikely. It is much more likely that 70% of lawyers don’t know what web-based means. That’s still a huge problem. How can you “keep abreast of … the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology” (Comment 8 to Rule 1.1) if you don’t even know what technology is relevant? How can you “make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client” (Rule 1.6(c)) if you don’t even know when your clients’ information is in a web-based service?

Basic technological competence is part and parcel of professional competence. If you can’t even answer a simple question about the technology you are using, you probably aren’t meeting your professional obligations, either. Maybe it’s time to make acquiring basic technological literacy a priority.

Featured image: “Duh moment.” from Shutterstock.


  1. Although 59% say they use Dropbox. 

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  • Hootie McGee

    The ‘web’ and the ‘internet’ are not synonymous. A lawyer who does’t consider his or her Outlook email to be a web-based service isn’t wrong. Conflating the two concepts is also embarrassing.

    • I am quite confident that these lawyers are not making a careful distinction between the web and the Internet.

      • Chris

        Objection, speculation.

  • Joshua Lenon

    To be fair, that 59% use Dropbox stat is 59% of the 30% that use SaaS.

    • I hope you’re right, because I thought it meant half of the lawyers using Dropbox don’t know it is web-based.