Portable Practice: How Mobile Technology is Changing the Practice of Law

MobilityThere was a time not so long ago when leaving the office marked an abrupt end to productivity. Long hours and late nights were a necessity not only to make ends meet, but also to be close to the technology that made billable work possible. This is all changing, and at a pace that’s almost dizzying. While BlackBerries and laptops have been around for years, most mobile warriors would likely agree that, although these tools provided some basic essential connectivity under urgent circumstances, only recently have mobile devices, and the infrastructure that supports them, matured to the point where practical mobility is truly a reality. As Nicole Garton-Jones points out in a recent Slaw.ca post entitled Practicing Law on the Road: the Role of the Cloud and the Emergence of the Virtual Law Firm, the convergence of cloud computing, advanced mobile devices, and ever-increasing mobile data speeds are making the long-held dream of a “virtual firm” a reality.

The number of game-changing mobile innovations to reach the market since 2007 is truly staggering, and the most recent batch of announcements out of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) suggests that the revolution is set to continue for the foreseeable future. The release of Google’s Nexus One Android-based smartphone offers a serious challenge to the primacy of Apple’s much-envied iPhone, and further converges the already blurry line between computer and phone, and making it ever-easier to achieve unfettered productivity while away from the office. Phones are no longer just wireless analogs of their desktop counterparts, they’re word processors, dictation machines, email clients, internet access devices, web browsers, navigation tools, timekeepers, expense trackers, file browsers, organizational tools, and game consoles among other things. The list is literally endless, and new applications are only limited by the creativity of the developers behind them – something always working to the advantage of the lawyer on-the-go.

But, the innovations don’t stop at smartphones; Apple’s rumoured tablet is said to be ready for unveiling next week, and all early reports indicate that the device is aiming to raise the portable computing bar to new heights. Despite much speculation about what the device might offer, there remains little agreement other than over the belief that the device will once again revolutionize the mobile world.

We’re excited about the many ways cloud computing and mobile technology will combine to create what we believe will be a new era of go-anywhere computing. We’re also committed to continuing Clio’s evolution with the mobile legal professional in mind, with the aim to promote increasing freedom, efficiency and mobility via the rapidly advancing mobile computing landscape.