Do you remember when law firm phone and fax systems used to be incredibly costly? Between purchasing fax machines, phones, subscribing to a voicemail service, and paying the salary of a receptionist to answer and transfer calls, the costs added up quickly. For many law firms, the cost of fax machines, phone systems, and maintenance constituted a sizable portion of their practice’s overhead.
How times have changed! Small firm lawyers have more options than ever before when it comes to their law firm’s phone systems. Rapid technological advancements, including eFax, VoIP and cloud computing, have proliferated, providing small firm lawyers with low-cost alternatives to the old school phone systems of yesteryear. These twenty-first-century technologies make it easier—and more affordable—than ever for lawyers to seamlessly and effortlessly communicate with their clients and colleagues.
Of course, there are an array of options for both eFax and VOIP systems. So let’s dive into each and discuss the many benefits that they provide small firm lawyers.
eFax Services for Law Firms
With the rise of the internet and email, all aspects of communication have been affected, including faxes. The end result is that lawyers who find it necessary to fax documents in 2019 have much more affordable and flexible options than they did in year’s past. And the reality is that although many industries have abandoned faxes, lawyers are nevertheless sometimes required to send or receive a fax, whether by courts, other governmental offices, insurance companies or even other lawyers.
That’s where eFaxing, the 21st century alternative to traditional faxing, comes in. If you’re not familiar with online fax services, the concept is a simple one: Unlike traditional fax machines, you send and receive documents in digital form.
There are lots of online fax services to choose from. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some of the more popular and affordable online fax options used by your fellow lawyers. All of these companies provide multiple methods for faxing, including via email, an online web app/portal, and a smartphone app.
- MetroFax provides a 30-day free trial, annual and monthly plans. Monthly plans start at $7.95 per month for 500 pages.
- MyFax is another affordable option to consider and offers monthly and annual plans. A 30-day free trial is available, and monthly plans start at $10 per month to send 100 pages and receive 200 pages.
- Nextiva offers a 30-day free trial as well as monthly and annual plans. Monthly plans start at $8.95 per month for 500 pages per month.
- SRFax provides annual and monthly plans. The most affordable option starts at $3.29 per month for 25 pages, but that plan does not include a free trial. If you want a free trial for 60 days, then consider the more robust plans, which start with the Basic Plus. The Basic Plus monthly plan includes 200 pages at $6.95 per month.
- SmartFax provides one option: a monthly plan. A 30-day free trial is available, and the monthly plan costs $6.95 per month for 250 inbound or outbound pages, with additional pages costing 8 cents per page.
You also can obtain online fax services from certain voice over internet protocol providers. VoIP phone systems allow you to use the internet as the means for transmitting phone calls and can be cost-effective and convenient for law firms.
VOIP Systems for Law Firms
If your law firm hasn’t yet made the leap from outdated and expensive 20th-century phone systems to the 21st-century cost-effective alternatives, now is a great time to make the switch. It’s simply a matter of choosing the right system for your firm’s needs.
VOIP systems will provide your firm with far greater flexibility and mobility. Calls are routed over internet protocol networks, sometimes using software alone, and other times using both hardware and software. Of course, keep in mind that calls are routed using the internet, so if your internet goes down, so, too, does your VOIP service (just as your firm’s landline will sometimes go down since no service has 100 percent uptime). Even so, the many benefits of VOIP systems greatly outweigh that risk.
Now let’s take a look at two of the most popularVoIP options for small firm lawyers.
- RingCentral offers the greatest number of features compared to most other providers. There are four pricing tiers available, with the lowest tier starting at $19.99 per user per month and capping at 10 users, and some of the higher-priced tiers include online collaboration tools; videoconferencing; and integrations with Microsoft, Google and Box. You can learn more about RingCentral for law firms here and its pricing tiers here.
- Nextiva offers three pricing packages: Office Pro, Office Pro Plus and Office Enterprise. Prices range from $19.95 per user per month to $27.95 per user per month, and higher-tiered plans may include features including a conference bridge, text messaging, a mobile app and more. You can learn more about the Nextiva options available to law firms here.
Although the idea of switching from traditional fax machines and landlines may seem strange at first, you’ll quickly realize that the benefits far outweigh any misgivings that you might have. Think of it this way: You’re running a 21st-century law firm. Shouldn’t your firm have a 21st-century phone and fax system, too?