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Smart Firms Adapt to Smart Phones

Smart Firms Adapt to Smart Phones

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Published by Omar Ha-Redeye
Column in a special edition of The Lawyers Weekly, December 24, 2010
Column in a special edition of The Lawyers Weekly, December 24, 2010

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Published by: Omar Ha-Redeye on Jan 11, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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December 24, 2010THE LAWYERS WEEKLY 
This was the year of thesmartphone — cellphone manu-facturers sold nearly 270 mil-lion smartphone devices this year, up by 35 per cent from2009. After the releases of theBlackBerry Torch, EVO 4G, andiPhone 4, more than half of allNorth Americans now own asmartphone.Canadian law firms are lead-ing the way for smartphonelegal marketing. Torys LLPlaunched aniPhone appon March 2,one of thefirst in the world to doso. The application reproducesfirm news from their Twitterfeed, maintains a company dir-ectory, provides the videos on YouTube channel and uses GPSto give directions to their offices.Unfortunately, apps con-stantly need to be maintainedand upgraded. And an iPhoneapp obviously won’t work on aBlackBerry. Stuart Wood, Chief Marketing Officer for Torys LLP,is contemplating a second gen-eration app, but is gatheringfeedback from the firm’s clientsfirst. For now, the majority of mobile visitors to Torys con-tinue to be iPhone users.Other firms have decided topre-empt these challenges fromthe outset. When Ogilvy RenaultLLP launched its smartphonestrategy in October, it launchedan app for both the iPhone andthe BlackBerry.“The Blackberry is still thetool of choice among our key audience, the business crowd.The iPhone still has low pene-tration,” said Sameer Dharg-alkar, Director, BusinessDevelopment for Ogilvy. They also launched a mobile versionof their website, employing theservices of Toronto-based Pan- vista Media.“Mobile is as important asthe Internet was in the mid-90s,” said Taia Postolati, MobileStrategist at Broadplay, aToronto-based mobile app and web developer. She feels mobile web is far more important thanapps, “Many apps out there are anovelty. People use them a fewtimes and then lose interest.”She recommends developing amobile site once smartphonetraffic to the website hits about10 to 15 per cent of all visitors. A December MoosylvaniaMarketing study found thatalthough 80 per cent of smart-phone owners use apps, they only regularly use a third of those downloaded on theirphone. Consequently, some lawfirms are focusing exclusively on“mobilizing” their website. JohnGillies, Director of Practice Sup-port for Cassels Brock & Black- well LLP, claims the demo-graphics of app users doesn’tdirectly match with peopleinterested in viewing their web-site. They’re working in-houseto mobilize their site.Dhargalkar is not so sure. Heagrees there was much moreemphasis on the mobile webthan apps this past summer,“but businesses are finding appsto be more user-friendly anduseful on the business-to-busi-ness side.” Apps can be built for clientsfor a specific purpose and may not be available to the generalpublic. For example, Toryslaunched a custom app for theCorporate Counsel World Sum-mit 2010 on Sept. 26 to 28 inToronto, containing a programagenda and useful informationfor participants.Developers see room for appsand mobile websites together.“Providing both apps and amobile website gives Ogilvy’saudience a choice,” noted JohnRobinson, VP Marketing at Pan- vista. “Mobile websites make iteasy for casual visitors to quickly 
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Smart firms adapt to smartphones this year
A December studyfound that 80 percent of smartphoneowners use apps.

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