Law Office Faxing in the 21st Century

Does your law firm have a stand alone fax machine that sends  faxes the old fashioned way?  I mean does your law office print the document to be faxed, insert it into a fax machine and push the send button and watch while the machine scans each page and then uses its modem to send the fax to the recipient?  Do your incoming faxes come into your fax machine over the phone line and does your old fax machine then print a hard copy of the fax?

eFax

If so, your law firm needs to move into the 21 century and use the not so new fangled technology to send and receive faxes.  My law office has used efax.com to send and receive faxes since 2004.  It’s great.  To send a fax I do the following:

  • Convert the item to be faxed to an Adobe pdf file.  If the document is a Word document, I click on the Acrobat tab on the menu bar at the top of Word then I click on the “Create PDF” tab and tell the program where I want to save the pdf file.  If the document is a hard copy document I put it in the sheet feeder of my  Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 Instant PDF Sheet-Fed Scanner and press the scan button.  A few seconds later the document opens in pdf format on my computer screen and I save the file on my computer.
  • Click on the eFax icon on my desktop to send an email to eFax.  This opens the free eFax software.  I enter the name of the recipient, company name (if desired) and the fax number.  If I previously sent a fax to the recipient that information is saved and easily zapped into the proper fields for my fax.  I can check a box to create a fax cover sheet that contains my recipient information and add more information if desired.
  • Attach the pdf file to the fax.  I click the attach icon and browse to the pdf file I saved and attach it to the eFax email.
  • Click on the send icon.  The email  and attachment are send to eFax and it then converts the pdf and immediately faxes it to the recipient.

One very nice feature is eFax maintains a record (including the content of the fax) of every fax my firm has sent since we purchased the service.

What I like best about eFax is that all incoming faxes are converted to Adobe pdf and sent to us as an attachment to an email message.  I can add up to five people in the firm to receive the same fax.  Both of my legal assistants get every fax I get and they handle most of the faxes.  Any email can easily be forwarded to another person in our firm or anybody outside the firm.  When we get a fax that we want to keep we click on the Time Matters save icon in Acrobat and save the pdf file to the client or matter in our Time Matters document management system.  For more on our document management system see my article called “A Simple Inexpensive Way to Create a Paperless Law Office.”

Every attorney in our firm has his or her own dedicated eFax phone number.  This allows each attorney to have a fax number that causes faxes to that number to go only to the attorney associated with the number and up to four additional recipients in the firm.  eFax also retains every incoming fax in case you need it.

Here’s the cost of an eFax Plus account as of the date of this post:

With eFax Plus, you’ll get a private and secure way to send and receive faxes as email attachments.
Choose a local or toll-free number
150 Included inbound fax pages per month
150 Included outbound fax pages per month*
$.10 per page overage charge
$10.00 one-time setup fee
Lifetime storage

Monthly Plan: $16.95/mo

Do yourself and your staff a big favor and switch to the new way of sending and receiving faxes.

What do you think?  Do you use a different digital fax service?  Tell us about it.

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