Recently, I participated in a panel discussion for a Lawyers Mutual CLE. During the Q & A session, I was presented with a question about how to convince a client to stop sending faxes and use email instead. While I am usually quick on my feet about answering technology questions, I was a bit stumped. I mentioned something about security, losing the paper copy and confidentiality. While all of these things are true, the obvious solution came to me after the CLE ended. It does not really matter that the client wants to fax, it matters how you choose to receive the information.
In today's law firm, the fax machine is still considered to be an essential piece of equipment. However, just as the amount of email in the past five to ten years has grown exponentially, we have seen the same drastic decrease over the years in the number of faxes that are sent and received. Still, firms are forced to keep, repair and maintain fax machines because they know that some clients are more comfortable communicating with paper instead of email.
At long last, firms have some options on how to send and receive faxes that do not require a physical fax machine. Online faxing services such as Efax (www.efaxsend.com) and Myfax (www.myfax.com), or any number of electronic faxing services, offer fax to email service. These are subscription based services that charge firms on a monthly or yearly basis. One option even includes a per fax basis if the volume is really low. After subscribing, faxes can be sent to your same fax number and are received as an email with the fax as an attachment in .pdf format.
By having the fax in electronic format, the fax can be forwarded, deleted or saved on your computer or case management system. This eliminates the need to scan the paper fax and saves paper, toner and, most importantly, time.
Not only can your firm receive faxes but you can send them as well. It is as easy as sending an email with a .pdf attachment. The email would be addressed to the person's fax number with the @efaxsend.com suffix (example - email@example.com), and the fax would be added to the email as an attachment. (The sending of faxes through myfax.com is slightly different). The fax recipient doesn't even realize it was sent by email. They receive it on their fax machine in whatever format they wish — thermal paper and all.
The online faxing service is easy to set up and simple to use. Whichever vendor you choose, it will be a great addition to your office.
If your clients choose to fax, let them keep faxing. It doesn't mean that you have to live in the past with old equipment. So get rid of your fax machine, sign up for an electronic fax service and move into 2012.
Pegeen Turner is the President of Turner IT Solutions, Inc. With more than 13 years of experience helping attorneys utilize technology, Turner IT Solutions focuses on helping law firms in the Carolinas navigate legal technology solutions and cloud-based applications. Contact Pegeen at 919-676-3065 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pegeen Turner, President of Legal Cloud Technology, a Raleigh-based legal technology firm, works with small and medium-sized start-up law firms, firms that need help maintaining and integrating legal technology into their practice and helping firms understand cloud computing.