Lack of communication is one of the most common complaints from clients. It is frequently the paralegal’s job to make sure clients are kept abreast of the latest developments in their cases. As the business world embraces various methods of communication, so must the legal field.
This idea was especially highlighted when I read a post on a legal forum about a paralegal who had mailed a notice of hearing to a client, but the client did not show up for the hearing. The paralegal was concerned that her supervising attorney was holding her responsible for the client’s no-show. She wanted opinions on whether it was really her responsibility or the client’s responsibility since she had sent the notice. She was also looking for ways to prevent this from happening again.
Around the same time, April 1, 2019, I saw a post from the NCBA Center For Practice Management titled Consider Texting with Clients. It was a great primer on various services that are available to attorneys and paralegals for meeting clients where they are; and these days where they are is generally attached to their hand-held devices. The article included great resources for texting with clients including Google Voice, RingCentral, ZipWhip, Clio, and many others. At our office we use MyCase, which incorporates a feature that texts clients status updates and deadlines. However, many paralegals have no decision-making authority when it comes to selecting technology for the office. What are we to do if our offices don’t have (and our office managers don’t want to have) these services?
An easy way to provide updates to clients via text is by using email-to-text. You’ll want to ask your clients if they are amenable to receiving text messages. But, you need not use your personal or business cell phone to text them. You can simply put their cell phone number into one of the various cell phone provider suffixes and text them directly from your email. This is a great way to provide clients with reminders regarding their appointments, hearings, etc. They can also easily confirm they have received the text message no matter where they are.
A list of current suffixes for various cell phone providers follows:
For example, if your client is an AT&T customer and their number is 123-456-7890, you simply place that number in the email suffix above. In this case, the “to line” in your email would look like this: firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to ask your client for the name of their cell phone provider. If you do not have that information readily available and would prefer not to ask your client, you can use a service like fonefinder.net to determine their cell phone provider. When your client responds, the response will come back to your email address and you will have a record of communication that does not require special handling to store.
If you find this month’s “Tech Tip” useful, let us know. If you have a technology concern at work and you want to see if there’s a software or process that can make things easier, email email@example.com and we’ll address it in a future blog post.
Alicia Mitchell-Mercer is a senior litigation paralegal, legal project manager, and consultant. She has a B.S. in Paralegal Studies and a M.S. in Project Management. She is a NC State Bar Certified Paralegal; SC Bar Certified Paralegal; Advanced Certified Paralegal in Contracts Administration, Trial Practice, Business Organizations: Incorporated Entities, and E-Discovery; and PACE Registered Paralegal. Alicia is a certified Legal Project Practitioner through the IILPM. She is the Technology Committee Chair and Communications Committee Co-chair of the NC Bar Association, Paralegal Division; and volunteers as a Guardian ad Litem. Alicia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.
https://ncbarblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Blog-Header-1-1030x530.png00Paralegalshttps://ncbarblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Blog-Header-1-1030x530.pngParalegals2019-04-30 10:50:162019-04-30 14:11:39Tech Tip: Text Status Updates to Clients Using Your Email