Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Google Voice and Why Attorneys Should Know About It

By Guest Blogger Jennifer Ellis
Associate Director - Media Technologies
Pennsylvania Bar Institute

Are you an attorney? Do you know about Google Voice? If you don't you should. Google Voice is an invitation only Web based service which provides a free phone number that can be connected to other numbers. The GV number can be made to ring to a series of phones, home, office and cell, all at the same time or one after the other. I connect GV to my private cell phone so I can be reached (or not) when I am out of the office. If I don't want to be reached, I put the service on Do Not Disturb. If anyone calls when I am in DND mode the call is routed directly to GV voicemail. When I call out from my cell, I can make it appear as if I am calling from my GV number, same for sending a text.

In addition, the service provides the ability to send or receive texts right from the GV Website. When you don't have GV set to ring your phone(s), you can arrange to receive an alert whenever you receive a voicemail or text message. As an attorney, you might find the GV service useful or you might feel you have no use for it. Regardless, you should still know about GV, and here is why. GV provides a full transcript of any voicemail message. It provides transcripts of every text message sent or received through the service.

GV also provides the ability to record a phone call. At the start of the call an announcement states that the call is being recorded. Your average person doesn't have the tools required to record a phone call and so has to rely on his or her memory to state what was said during a call. Then it has to be determined who is properly stating what happened on the call. Not with GV, every word is recorded.

Whether you choose to use GV it is still wise to be aware of this service. Your client could be using GV and end up with an e-discovery request that would contain an incredible amount of well organized information; or you could seek the same from opposing Counsel. Or perhaps the individual on the opposing side could be using GV to gather a lot of information about your client, all in his or her own words.

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