Today 65 new lawyers were sworn in as members of the Oklahoma Bar Association. Next Tuesday, April 27, many of them will be attending a free program we put on called The New Lawyer Experience. You can see the complete program schedule online here. Several states have these these "transition to practice" programs and we feel like we have a good one. But it is not only brand new lawyers who attend this program, but also experienced lawyers. Some are leaving employment to set up a practice for the first time and others have been in private practice for a long time and think a "refresher" law office management course might be good. Oklahoma lawyers can still enroll for our program here and those of you from other jurisdictions should feel free to pass along this info to those who might help set up a similar program in your state.
Well, if your office is like most law offices, you still have the trusty fax machine and a business phone line dedicated to your fax number. You may not be motivated to change that at the moment, but I hope to make you reconsider that with a few links and a few observations. Failing that, I want you to at least think about the issue and revisit this blog post when the old fax machine dies.
Internet faxing (aka virtual faxing) has been around for quite a while now. Those who converted to these services years ago still maintain it was a great business decision. But the current generation of these services provides even more compelling reasons to consider a switch. First of all, you can save money. In many cases, the monthly charge for an Internet faxing service may be less than the monthly charge for the business phone line that supports the machine. Even if you have avoided having an additional business phone line for the fax with custom ring tones or some other method, it is still probably cheaper when you consider paper, toner and the cost of purchasing new fax machines-- and you will avoid a phone line being busy when sending/receiving faxes.
As lawyers improve their law practices with more paperless processes, Internet faxes are a time saver as well. There's no need to scan the fax to include it in the client file when you have already received a digital copy of the fax in the first place. (For those unfamiliar with the process, virtual faxing means you receive the faxes in a designated e-mail inbox with the fax as an attachment to the e-mail.) If you are concerned about security, I understand that the faxes can be encrypted.
It is much easier on the law office staff when you are traveling as well. If you need to examine the fax, they simply forward the e-mail to you. For a solo, it is even more important; you receive faxes immediately whne you check your e-mail instead of waiting until your return to the physical office.
When I first shopped for an Internet faxing solution years, the lack of local phone numbers was a deal breaker. In my mind, it didn't matter how convenient or cost-saving it was for me, asking clients or opposing counsel to pay long distance charges to fax to me across town was a bad move for my reputation. Now more local numbers are available, along with free or very inexpensive toll free numbers.
Faxing Gets a New Look by Steve Adams on law.com's Legal Technology Blog covers these advantages and more. It is a nice read and suitable for printing out to leave on the Senior Partner's desk.
But one thing that article does not provide is a head-to-head comparison between Internet fax providers. No need to worry, the Law Practice Tips blog will provide some comparison charts. Here are links to one from FaxCompare.com and one from FaxCritics.com. These also have links to the various providers. I'd strongly encourage you to make use of the free trials (many are 30 day free trials,) so you can make an informed decision.
Sharon Nelson and I posted our 30th Digtal Edge: Lawyers and Technology podcast "ABA TECHSHOW – It's a Wrap." There have been other post-TECHSHOW articles and blog posts. But Sharon and I shared what we found interesting there and our show notes provide links to various products and presentations we found noteworthy.
Effective Diversity Strategies In Law Practice Management was the theme of this issue, with eight articles focused on that subject.
Last week ABA TECHSHOW 2010 was held. Although I've never met an ABA TECHSHOW I didn't like, this one was outstanding and special. Congratulations to Debbie Foster and the rest of the TS planning board. Congratulations are due as well to the attendees, vendors and rest of the ABA TECHSHOW community. In a time when some conferences are folding and videoconferencing replaces many face-to-face meetings, it seems clear that there will be ABA TECHSHOWs for many years into the future. Of course let me be one of the first to note the pressure on the members of the 2011 ABA TECHSHOW Planning Board to top this one.
Cloud computing and social networking were hot topics. But I also noted how many presentations centered around our phones. 60 iPhone Apps in 60 Minutes was a great new addition and I vote for it to return next year. Check out the collection of this year's 60 apps. There were two other presentations on tips for using smart phones, or as some are now calling them, app phones. I'll be writing more about app phones in this month's Oklahoma Bar Journal and will link to it here when that is published online.
There's so much more to blog about, but I've got to head off to give a speech. There are already dozens of other online accounts of ABA TECHSHOW 2010 for you to read anyway. But, in my view, one blogger who really nailed it was Gabe Acevedo with "The ABA Techshow: You Say You Want A Revolution? There’s an App for That" at AboveTheLaw.com. He said: "The ABA Techshow has done a great job at carving out a very specialized niche for itself — a niche which is attracting a breed of lawyer that is operating ahead of the curve on a daily basis....The majority of the Techshow attendees are not just curious about technology, they live for it. Where Biglaw is resistant to change, the Techshow crowd is always looking for ways to adapt. They are scrappy. Most are constantly writing articles in journals and other publications and are not afraid to use social media to promote their ideas online." ABA TECHSHOW attendees "get it." You should join us next year in Chicago on April 11-13th, 2011.
And, by the way, welcome to all of the new subscribers to the RSS feed and e-mail updates to this blog. There are often some new subscribers after ABA TECHSHOW and I hope you will find my content useful.