Business today is operating very differently than it was even one month ago. Many industries are being forced to work in ways that are totally new to them. Given the current situation of the coronavirus pandemic, the need to utilize remote working tools like video conferencing has become paramount to business continuity. Since now is a time when it’s difficult for many law firms to take on new or expanded costs, it’s helpful to be familiar with the many free or low cost video conferencing solutions that are available.
Free Video Conferencing Services:
Aside from not having costs associated with them, there are benefits of several of the free video conferencing services out there. Namely, they are meant to be flexible and you can join them from any type of device or phone.
1. Google Hangouts Classic (formerly just Google Hangouts)
If you, and everyone you’ll be chatting with, have Google emails, you can use this video conferencing service. There’s a how-to guide here, and setting up a Google email is free and easy so that shouldn’t present much of a hindrance to your law firm attendees.
Skype is a Microsoft application that’s available on Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android. The basic service is free and allows you to make phone or video conferencing calls from anywhere. To host a meeting, your law firm needs to have a Skype account. However, the individuals you send the meeting invite to just need the link you provide them.
This platform is becoming more and more popular. While they have paid plans that offer increased functionality, the free version should work if you’ll be meeting with a smaller group. Follow their getting-started guide to set up meetings.
4. Apple FaceTime
If you use an iPhone, you already have FaceTime installed. This is a great channel for quick and simple calls between two people.
5. Cisco Webex
Webex is a standard in the conferencing arena, and they offer free meetings for up to 100 people. You can add increased functionality through their paid tiers. There are plenty of resources on Cisco’s website to help your law firm get started with WebEx video conferencing.
This is a totally free service, supporting meetings with up to 1,000 participants and offering features that would normally be considered premium, such as call recording and screen sharing. They have a “pay what you can” model where law firms can contribute funds to help maintain their valuable video conferencing service.
7. Uber Conference
Most free conferencing options do not have built-in call recording support, but UberConference’s free tier does support Call Recording out-of-the-box for meetings up to 10 participants. Advanced features are available with business plans starting at $15.00/month.
Discounted Video Conferencing Services:
Many video conferencing services have developed free plans or discounted their current offerings in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and the newly required working conditions.
Legaler is unique on this list as a video conferencing service specifically designed for law firms. It integrates with legal marketing and matter management systems, and can help you organize your meetings by legal topic. Legaler does have a free tier, but they are offering their paid “active plan” for a full year to independent lawyers or small firms (10 or fewer).
This company recently announced that all companies affected by COVID-19 can receive an unlimited number of free licenses to their platform for six months to help them quickly facilitate remote work policies during the crisis.
3. GSuite Hangouts Meet
This is Google’s new version of Hangouts, and is part of their productivity package. GSuite’s basic plan includes email hosting, calendar hosting, video conferencing, word processing, and more for just $6/user/month. Google has recently offered discounts on the enterprise level of service in light of the pandemic.
Of course, there are always the traditional paid options like Join.me or GoToMeeting. However, right now is a time that firms are trying to do more with less. It’s also a time when we should try to remain connected like never before. Remote meetings will help your law firm stay connected and keep forward momentum, and these free or discounted tools will help support your most important tasks while we all work together to ride out the pandemic.
Contact us today if you need help determining which video conferencing solutions are right for your team.