To App or Not to App? ILTA 2014 session
To app or not to app? That was the question on Monday afternoon at an ILTA session in Nashville, TN. Representatives from three law firms were on hand to discuss how they got to the drawing board through the release and lessons they learned along the way.
Marika DePron, Bracewell & Guilliani; Elyse Lazaruk, Latham & Watkins; and Mark McCreary, Fox Rothschild showcased their company apps for the audience, which pertained to fracking, a jargon dictionary and HIPPA privacy issues, respectively.
So what was the need the firms felt needed addressing by these apps? ” We created the app so that clients could simply open the app to find out what they needed to know about the shale industry,” said DePron. Lazaruk’s goal was to educate users on legal jargon with her app while also gaining increased brand recognition for her firm. McCreary, who said the majority of his calls as a privacy attorney happen on Fridays from 5-7 p.m., just wanted a place where users could self-educate on HIPPA regulations. “One of the dangers of mobile apps though is giving away legal advice, so that needs to be avoided with our app,” he added.
According to McCreary, 80 percent of the downloads of his privacy app were in the US, which he thought was interesting. He said it was a good indicator of how a lot of international businesses don’t understand our U.S. regulations, such as in the case of HIPPA.
Someone in the audience asked if the app was the only place where their content resides. “We didn’t just want to create a mobile website,” said DePron, “Aside from a few things, everything on our app is unique to that app.” McCreary agreed, saying he was careful to make sure his app wasn’t just a rehash of what’s on his website. “We wanted to make sure we weren’t just giving advice through our app, too,” he reiterated. And Lazaruk said the app is constantly being updated with new terms, so that makes it very different from her “Book of Jargon.”
The group addressed challenges, as well. There were issues with naming for DePron’s app. They wanted to go with something that had “fracking” in the name, but there were concerns of a negative connotation there. Lazaruk had an issue with Apple versus Android since they had to be built differently. She also said that technology and timing proved to be the biggest challenges since the app was built in-house and her technology team had many other projects on their plates. McCreary agreed with others and added that getting people committed to it was one of his biggest challenges.