On the first day of ILTA’s 2014 convention I attended a rather fascinating session. The title was “To App or Not To App?” and focused around if it makes sense for a law firm to produce their own Apps. The following questions were posed: Do law firm apps really do the useful things they are intended? Do clients use them? Is now the time to get your firm on board with creating an app, and are they worth the investment? We entered into a discussion with three firms and how they got from the drawing board to release and lessons they learned along the way.
The panel addressed these questions by talking about three different apps they had each built.
The major thrust of this session was these three apps were extremely beneficial to the firm. They cited several reasons for the success. The number one reason to build an App was the exposure reaped from its creation. The App simply demonstrated significant expertise by the firm in a specialty area. They were able to leverage this with potential clients. In addition, the firms saw a great deal of press from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, Legal Week and The American Lawyer.
Some of the major challenges that the firm’s faced with building the Apps were limited resources, having teams of attorneys collaborate with developers, and watching costs.
When asked by an attendee if the firm would consider building more Apps, the panel universally said “Absolutely!” Based on this session and while we are in a more competitive legal landscape, it would seem to behoove firms which wish to distinguish themselves to delve into the possibility of creating their own App within their area of expertise.
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