The Cure for Office-Bound Law Firm Telephone Systems
September 30, 2021
Today's TechnoLawyer Buyer's Guide report covers a hosted cloud PBX telephone and unified communications platform with legal-specific features and support for both physical phones and softphones.
The Cure for Office-Bound Law Firm Telephone Systems That Inhibit Remote Work
Prior to Covid, working remotely primarily meant taking your laptop with you. This was fine for a late night or even a working vacation. But when the pandemic forced everyone in a law firm to work from home, a major problem quickly surfaced — archaic telephone systems anchored to the office. This served as a wakeup call for law firms to make the switch to a telephone system as portable as Microsoft 365 and other cloud software.
ESI-Legal Cloud Phones for Lawyers in One Sentence
ESI-Legal Cloud Phones for Lawyers (ESI-Legal) is a hosted cloud PBX telephone and unified communications platform with legal-specific features and support for both physical phones and softphones.
The Killer Feature
Dallas-based ESI-Legal is a rare breed — a vertically integrated telephone provider that manufacturers its own desktop phones and develops its own software. This uniquely positioned the company to create a solution for law firms.
For example, ESI-Legal offers a desktop softphone that turns your computer into your phone. Click-to-Call technology lets you click any telephone number in your web browser, Outlook address book, or integrated practice management system to place a call. When receiving a call, your ESI-Legal softphone can open the caller's record in Outlook, Google Contacts, Clio, Filevine, or PracticePanther (additional integrations are in the works).
ESI-Legal also offers ePhoneGO, a softphone app for Android and iPhone (see the screenshot below), that allows you to make and receive calls to your smartphone using your business extension. This means you never need to reveal your personal mobile number.
Lawyers who like having a phone on their desk can choose from several models, including units with large displays and a camera for video calls. All ESI-Legal phones connect by ethernet cable to a standard home router or office network. Some models, such as the ePhoneX, offer Wi-Fi as an additional connection option. Speaking of the ePhoneX, it features a programmable "sidecar" that lets receptionists transfer calls with one tap. ESI-Legal offers a lifetime warranty for all of its phones.
ESI-Legal's ePhoneGO mobile app for Android and iPhone lets you bring your office phone with you anywhere so you never need to reveal your personal number for calls or text messages.
Other Notable Features
ESI-Legal includes the advanced functionality that might normally require several different products, including text messaging, teleconferencing, video "zoom" meetings, fax-to-email, call forwarding, call recording, call routing, call waiting, and support for 911 calls. Each user's desktop and mobile softphone provides access to these features as well as visual voicemail (a list of all voicemail messages) and voicemail transcripts. Users can also receive voicemail messages via email.
Because ESI-Legal is self-hosted, there's no need for any equipment in your office. It's a completely virtual environment. Your firm's administrator sets up and manages all the features using the ESI eConsole Dashboard, a web-based administration portal through which users can also access voicemail, call recordings, and call history data. ESI-Legal provides onboarding assistance and training.
The Auto Attendant in the ESI eConsole Dashboard lets you configure phone trees for incoming calls, create extensions for new employees, program the buttons on desktop phones, and record custom hold messages to advertise your firm (you can also choose the hold music in between these messages).
What Else Should You Know?
"If the pandemic has taught us anything, attorneys need the ability to work from anywhere without compromising privacy, responsiveness, or client service," says ESI-Legal President & CEO George Platt. "Being able to connect by phone while protecting an attorney's personal phone number truly empowers mobility."
Take a Closer Look at ESI-Legal Cloud Phones for Lawyers
Meet Neil J. Squillante
Neil J. Squillante is the founder and publisher of TechnoLawyer, an award-winning network of free email newsletters for lawyers and law office administrators. Many consider TechnoLawyer newsletters the only ones they need. A Fastcase 50 award winner, Neil has a long track record of inventing successful advertising and publishing technologies and related best practices. Previously, Neil practiced commercial litigation at Am Law 100 firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher. He received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law and his B.A. from Duke University. At UCLA, Neil served as a Managing Editor of UCLA Law Review.
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