Although telephones have been a law firm staple almost since their creation and patenting by Mr. Bell in 1876, they usually are not considered legal “technology”.
Using a telephone as the piece of equipment to check, route or forward communications or conduct “work” means one less item your firm needs to supply, maintain or explain to each new hire. Additionally, using a telephone removes the need to be “webby” or “techie” for end users as most staff are quite comfortable with this basic piece of office equipment.
Caution should be taken of any free calling service and end users truly need to beware of peer to peer networks as issues with overall collection of data, security and call quality are reported. Even large and slickly marketed VoIP services have growing reports of poor customer service, call quality and now difficulty terminating service. Remember, VoIP is an alternative to a traditional land line, not an equal!
Productive uses for any telephone include:
Long distance learning Long distance learning is a great option for those who work from home offices or those in remote locations who do not wish to travel hours to get to a “live” class. In many instances, classes offered through established associations provide CLE credit, making for an easy process for you to keep your practice and CLE credits up to date. 😉
Considerations – Take your “conference” to the “conference room” and ask others to attend and learn with you. They may not get the CLE credit but will still get an education.
Communication Management Pairing unified messaging with a cell phone gives unlimited flexibility for controlling the deluge of information received each day. Unified messaging provides a digital number which can be forwarded to a cell, home or other existing line or phone. From incoming call management, sophisticated voicemail and fax management, unified messaging is a great option for any mobile professional. Items to watch: available forwarding minutes and per page limits on incoming faxes.
Dial In Dictation For over a decade doctors and hospitals have used simple dial in dictation to process critical patient reports and administrative/insurance forms. Contract with an established legal transcription company or locate a reputable Virtual Assistant to compliment the digital dictation process with initial drafts transcription or more advanced secretarial functions.
Credit Card Processing New to the legal market, a company called Accept By Phone allows account holders to accept and process credit card payments with nothing but a phone.
Continued research into mobile technology means much of what you can see on the internet will be viewable on the small size screens of cell phones. Look for advertisers and “push” technology to capitalize on millions of trapped cell phone users in the not so distant future! Just one more reason I LOVE my Treo!) 😉