My mantra when it comes to law office technology is “simplify, simplify, simplify.” I chant that to myself while wrestling with billing preferences in Billing Matters, always to no avail. Technology is no good if it makes your life more complicated or difficult. I suppose I will never really reach that point where everything works perfectly and just the way I like it, but dammit, I can try.
One of the things in my office that just doesn’t belong is my telephone. It looks old and archaic, and it’s honestly one of the least-used peripherals in my office. Plus, it isn’t connected to anything else. I love being able to manage everything from my computer. So, I am thinking about getting rid of it.
How, you ask? Skype, I say. I never bothered to get a long-distance plan. The $50+ I pay to Qwest each month seemed like enough. So instead I pay $15/year (if you pay in January) for unlimited calls to phones in the U.S. and Canada using SkypeOut. I’ve been doing this for a while now, and honestly, the sound quality is better than my regular telephone. And it’s a nice telephone, as far as telephones go.
Getting SkypeIn (for another low yearly fee), I would get a dedicated phone number, voicemail, and more. Recording phone calls is a piece of cake with various auxiliary programs (I use Pandora). Plus, my office phone travels. I can send and receive calls as easily in my home office or a coffee shop as I can at work.
I haven’t done it yet, mostly because I share an internet connection with four other attorneys, and I worry what constant use might do to the harmony in the office. When one person hogs bandwidth, everyone suffers. I intend to check into getting more bandwidth, though. I’ll bet it is still cheaper than a regular phone line.
And most importanly, I’d save about a square foot of desk space plus free up an outlet on my power strip. Not bad.