Law Firm Apps
The first generation of law firm apps was a few megabytes short of tech savvy
by Tom McNichol (2012)
The first generation of law firm applications for mobile devices, in 2012, was a few megabytes short of tech savvy – the worst ones were devoted to attorney bios, directions to offices, and lamely conceived games. But the latest wave has taken an indirect approach to marketing and provides useful legal information to clients. Users seem to be responding.
In February 2012, Epstein Becker & Green launched its Wage & Hour Guide for Employers app for the iPhone and iPad, featuring up-to-date federal and state wage-and-hour regulations for employers. The firm previously produced a laminated hard copy of its wage-and-hour guidelines that was popular but unwieldy: When completely unfolded the California guide looked like one of those windshield sunscreens.
The day the app was released it racked up more than 400 downloads and has been averaging 30 to 40 downloads a day since. Response has been so good that the firm is thinking of creating half a dozen additional apps centered on other legal matters.
“It’s been a fantastic marketing tool,” says Michael S. Kun, cocreator of the app, who also cochairs Epstein’s national wage-and-hour practice group. “I think it may help us get new business, and at the very least it sets us apart from other law firms.”
Latham & Watkins has released five Book of Jargon apps for the iPhone and iPad that have attracted more than 23,000 downloads. The apps provide users with a glossary of legal and regulatory terms from business areas such as mergers, project finance, and capital markets.
“The early law firm apps were just marketing devices,” says Kelley M. Gale, a partner at Latham & Watkins who chairs the firm’s project-finance practice. “An app needs to provide a real service to clients, not news about the new office you’re opening.”