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.