Like Mark Twain, the death of fax has been greatly exaggerated – especially for legal industry fax solutions. Legal firms throughout the world are using fax daily to send and receive confidential documents with clients, other attorneys and the courts.
However, relying on traditional fax machines is inefficient, expensive and lacks the security required of modern legal communications. The legal industries – both law firms and in-house counsel – need a cost-effective and secure means that enables them to deploy the fax communication they require and increase the efficiency and productivity of their staff. Electronic and cloud-based fax solutions provide a range of features to law firms that extend the potential of their fax capabilities.
The importance of fax within the worldwide legal industries is easy to understate. Yet, it still has a legal stature absent from email. When litigators have an affidavit signature to get back for last minute filing, they fax it. When lawyers need a client signature on a document before close of play, they fax it. Many courts still prefer – and sometimes require – fax to other forms of communication. Some jurisdictions allow ‘fax filing’ to ensure deadlines are met before paper-based documents are delivered.
As unbelievable as it may sound, it is still not uncommon for insurance companies and banks to require fax as they limit email usage within their staff. In many rural areas of developed countries, as well as emerging nations, courts lack the technical infrastructure to adopt sophisticated digital communication solutions, and fax – a technology more than 150 years old– continues to thrive.
In all of these instances, lawyers will tell you they use fax simply just because it ‘works’. The shortcomings of traditional fax machines, however, are well understood. The process of going to a machine and waiting while a fax is sent is inefficient and makes lawyers and paralegals less productive. Although a fax is secure while being transmitted, it is vulnerable when it is printed at the receiving end or simply left on the fax machine to send. It offers little of the reporting and auditing needed to ensure regulatory compliance or proof of delivery.
The cost of dedicated analog phone lines alone makes traditional fax expensive. As importantly, a traditional fax machine is a standalone communication device: it provides no integration with your other communications solutions or back-end systems, such as document management, e-discovery, billing and accounting. In fact, it can provide an unwanted challenge for firms transitioning to a fully IP telephony and computing environment.
The introduction of electronic fax solutions – such as OpenText™ RightFax – does more than eliminate the shortcomings of traditional fax. It allows law firms to integrate and customize faxing capabilities into wider e-discovery, document management and business workflows. For practices and firms that want to eliminate on-premises infrastructure and leverage cloud technology, cloud-based fax services – such as OpenText™ Fax2Mail – provide a secure, cost-effective approach to managing fax traffic.
OpenText™ Enterprise Fax Solutions – RightFax and Fax2Mail – will be joining our OpenText™ eDOCS and OpenText™ Recommind friends at ILTACON 2016. Join us there to see how secure information exchange protects content and reduces risk.