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It may be hard to believe for many lawyers, but landlines are pretty much a relic of the past. And for those lawyers that steadfastly maintain that their landline is required for telephonic court appearances, you may want to double check your local courts' rules, as that may not be the case anymore.
More and more courts these days are opening up to the idea of allowing telephonic appearances using VOIP or softphones. Generally, like the Federal Bankruptcy Court in Minnesota, you can use internet-based phone services so long as you have a handset or headset. Speakerphones, pay-phones, and mobile phones however are still, usually, not permitted.
What's a Softphone?
Voice Over Internet Protocol phones, also known as VOIP phones, are commonly called softphones. Basically, rather than using the traditional phone lines, communications are sent over the internet and converted into the traditional telephone signal somewhere along the way before reaching the receiving end, and vice-versa.
And while the dependability of softphones was initially a big concern, over the decade that VOIP services have been available for the mass consumer market, the concern has been put to rest. Generally, softphones are as dependable as your web service. Typically, if you have a solid internet connection, you'll have a solid VOIP connection.
Goodbye Deskphone, Hello Softphone
While deskphones used to be standard issue equipment for any new associate, the times have certainly changed. VOIP software and services are economical tools that can allow users to take their "deskphones" with them anywhere they go. In fact, many softphone services even have smartphone apps that allows users to access their softphone from their smartphone, and even use their handheld devices as a handset for the softphone.
For law firms and solo practitioners, the deskphone may be difficult to give up. But when comparison shopping between traditional and VOIP services, it'll be pretty plain to see that softphones are available at a fraction of the cost of traditional landlines.