A look at how a minor investment can provide impressive technology and functionality in your office.
By John E. Harding, Family Lawyer
I have an accountant that I work with who is even more high tech than me. His office is at one end of the state, and mine is at the other end. We teleconference frequently on our cases. Recently we conducted our first video conference, and it really added to the experience. Telephones are a great tool, but I feel communication is more effective when you can see the other person’s face.
That got me thinking about communications within our law office. Rather than pick up the phone and intercom my colleagues I usually walk to that person’s office for a fact to face. My colleagues, on the other hand, are apparently not as motivated to look at me. They either yell across the hall or call me.
We have now installed Skype on everyone’s computer, and we have installed high-def webcams at everyone’s desk. Right now it is as much a novelty as anything else, but it is also impressive technology. Picture quality is great, sound is great, convenience is great. Plus, it is fun to click a button and have a video call with a colleague.
There is more. I have Skype installed on my iPad, and I can now engage in video chats with my colleagues wherever I am. A wi-fi connection is not required. The regular data connection also works great. Finally, I have installed a webcam on my home office computer so that when I am working from home, face time is possible with everyone at the office.
Skype also allows for text messaging. It is the complete office intercom system. As our clients catch on to the technology I can also see having video conferences with them. Further, as a family law firm we can use our system to educate our clients about Skype for virtual visitation, which is becoming more and more popular.
Of course cost is always an issue. The high-def web cams? Less than $75 each. Skype? Free! A minor investment for impressive technology and functionality.
John E. Harding, JD, CFLS, AAML is the principal of the law firm of Harding & Associates, with offices in Pleasanton and Walnut Creek, California. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and is certified as a specialist in the practice of family law by The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Harding has maintained an active family law practice in Northern California since 1989. He practices family law litigation and divorce mediation exclusively. Mr. Harding also writes a blog on technology, marketing and practice management.