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The recent outbreak of the new coronavirus in the United States has many businesses scrambling to figure out how to stay operational. And while restaurants and other local businesses are being hit the hardest, law firms should be taking note as well. A law practice is part of the customer service industry, after all.
As cities and counties enact new restrictions to slow the spread of the virus, it's time to get creative when it comes to communicating with clients. We're all used to using phone calls and email to keep clients updated on their case. But in times of stress, many clients can benefit from a face-to-face conversation.
Although telemedicine has been around for some time now, the legal profession hasn't quite jumped on the video conferencing bandwagon.
(But, as I've previously covered, legal professionals are starting to use technology to help crime victims in rural areas.)
When it comes to implementing new technology, the biggest hangup for many is: What is it going to cost? Luckily for all of us, there are many platforms that allow professionals to video conference at little to no cost.
Understandably, many attorneys have concerns about the security of video conferencing. Some of the free options below do include security measures to keep client information safe, or they have paid versions with increased security. Unlike Skype, the options below do not require all participants to sign up for or download an app. The host can simply send a link or instructions on how to join.
For those with free Gmail and G Suite Basic, Google Hangouts can connect up to 10 participants for meetings of unlimited duration. Plus, in the wake of COVID-19 concerns worldwide, Google is offering extended Hangouts Meet capabilities to G Suite users for free until July 1, 2020. Google Hangouts is available through apps as well as your web browser.
For those who don't want to download new software, FreeConference offers access to secure online meeting rooms via a web browser. Virtual meetings on FreeConference can support up to five participants and allows users to join via phone, as well. There is no time limit on FreeConference meetings.
Although many of Cisco's products come with a price tag, their free Webex product is great for anyone looking for a bare-bones video conferencing platform. Users can call in via phone from 52 countries. Those using webcams can use the desktop app, mobile app, or a browser. Webex calls can support up to 100 participants, with no time limit.