Sunday, December 21, 2014

Fax Machines Are The New Dinosaurs

In 1991 fax machines were a big deal. Unbox the hardware. Throw in a roll of thermal paper. Plug in to the phone line. Then Shazam we were sending and receiving actual copies of documents. The technology was awesome and it took off! Fax numbers became de rigueur on letterhead and pleading captions. Fax machines became as indispensable as typewriters, telephones, and computers. A new industry was born so that we could fax pleadings straight to the court, or to a commercial service so that, for a fee, the docs could be filed at the courthouse.

Guess what?  Time has passed. Technology has improved. Typewriters are dead (we don't even have a typewriter in our building). By this post I now pronounce the fax machine is dead! Get over it. Anything you can do with a fax machine you can do better with email. The new way to go is .pdf. Adobe's portable document format is now the global standard for digitizing everything, especially documents. Scan it, save it, send it, receive it. Copy machines now save copies in pdf format. Word processors export/save in pdf format. Scanners convert to pdf. Everything is pdf. It is the new king.

We don't have an actual fax machine in our office anymore. Our last fax machine went the way of the typewriter and the Dodo Bird years ago. We still have a fax number, but it is connected to an efax account. When a fax comes in it is date and time stamped, converted to pdf format, and emailed to a designated email address. That fax number is rarely used to receive documents because fax volumes have gone way down. We utilize even less, i.e. rarely, to send docs. Why would we want to use it when we can do the same stuff better with email? The only reason we bother with the small cost of the efax account is so that we can send docs to the dinosaur law firms and courts that haven't come into the 21st Century and converted to modern technology.

Emailing pdfs allows direct delivery to the exact recipient, rather than a machine sitting next to the coffee maker. Receiving pdfs has the benefit of eliminating the need to run to the copy machine or scanner with your fax. You simply save the pdf to your electronic folder. If you still are paper based, you print it out and stick it in the file.

Don't forget in California, where I practice, service by fax is not recognized as official service for notice purposes. You can try, but there is no statute supporting the argument. Nasty lawyers still try to exploit fax machines in the worst way as a tool for after hours service. We just turn the efax service off and eliminate the opportunity for &$$hole behavior by some of our less esteemed colleagues. Sure email is on 24/7 but I don't read office emails away from the office so there is no problem for me.

In fact, I am so convinced that faxing is dead we no longer list our fax number on our pleadings, and are starting to eliminate it from our letterhead and other contact information. If people want to send us a fax, they need to make special arrangements.

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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