Legal technologies, such as real-time court reporting and presentation software, have transformed the legal profession, bringing it to the 21st century. While videoconferencing isn’t necessarily new to the legal profession, it has become easier to use and less expensive than in the past. Not only that, videoconferencing technology has improved dramatically, delivering crystal clear, high definition sound and images. If your law firm’s travel expenses need to be trimmed, consider videoconferencing as a solution.
• Eliminate travel expenses. With videoconferencing, travel becomes unnecessary. For example, rather than traveling between branch offices to meet with your firm’s partners and associates or traveling to a distant city to meet with prospective clients, consider holding a videoconference. Doing so saves you airfare, lodging, and other travel expenses. If you regularly send a team of lawyers and support staff, these costs quickly add up.
• Improve productivity. Videoconferences also improve productivity because less time is spent traveling to and from far off sites. Rather than spending a full day traveling across country and another full day on your return trip, schedule a videoconference and recoup those lost travel days.
• Pre-qualify expert witnesses. Holding a videoconference with prospective expert witnesses allows you to make better selection decisions. For example, not only will you save time and money by interviewing potential witnesses using a videoconference, you will also be able to see how the witness appears on camera.
• Provide recorded documentation. Videoconference recordings are helpful after the fact as you can review portions of the conference at any time as well as share the videoconference with colleagues who were unable to attend.
While you may agree that videoconferencing delivers the above benefits and more, you may be concerned about investing in videoconferencing equipment. Fortunately, plenty of options exist. In fact, you may never need to invest in equipment at all!
Videoconferencing is possible using a pair of webcam-equipped laptops or PCs and video communications software such as WebEx, Google Talk, or Skype as well as via smartphones equipped with high definition videoconferencing tools. While these technologies are fine for informal conferences amongst your team, you’ll want a more robust solution for larger videoconferences involving clients and external legal professionals.
A better other option is to rent a videoconference suite at a videoconferencing facility as needed. These facilities exist in most major cities, allowing your team to coordinate with others scattered across the U.S. – or even the world.
Though renting a videoconference room is far more convenient than traveling, it is still necessary to commute to an offsite location. If you’d rather keep your team in the office, consider hiring a litigation support service on an as-needed basis for onsite video conferencing. With this option, the support service delivers and sets up teleconferencing equipment in your existing conference room. After the videoconference, the support service removes the equipment and leaves you with a copy of the recording if desired.
Now that technology has made videoconferencing a viable solution for busy legal professions, how will you put it to good use? Share your experiences below.