In 2000 or 2001, I made the switch from an analog cell phone to digital. My new phone came with a new feature: texting — officially “Short Message Service” (SMS). Back then texting had already become popular elsewhere in the world, but it wasn’t widely used here in the United States. Still, I found it to be a useful and convenient service. For example, I could send a quick message to my wife like, “Stopping at grocery store on way home tonight. Need anything?” And if she was busy at the moment, she could respond at her convenience.
When I was first licensed to practice law in 2002 here in Indiana, texting still really hadn’t caught on in America, and texting one’s lawyer was unheard of. We primarily relied upon phone calls, old-fashioned paper letters, email, and faxing to communicate with our clients.
The Times They Are a-Changin’
Fifteen years later, things have changed quite a bit. Billions of text messages get sent every day in the United States. Indeed, texts now outnumber phone calls five-to-one. Instead of going the way of the Betamax, texting has become a very popular form of communication.
The Landline Problem
I dropped my home landline over 13 years ago. (Even by then, I was mostly using it just for DSL Internet access.) But at the office, for a variety of reasons, I still use a landline that’s connected to a digital desktop telephone with features designed for business use.
While some lawyers use a cell phone for their primary work line, there are a host of problems with this approach. For example, the court may schedule a telephonic hearing or attorneys’ conference, and some bankruptcy judges discourage using a cell phone to call in. So at least for now, if you dial 317.454.8188 to schedule a free bankruptcy consultation with me or for any other reason, you’re calling a landline.
What happens when you send a text message to a landline number? It depends. But I’ve had some clients try to text me at my office landline, and those messages mostly seem to go into a black hole. Of course, I don’t want people to think I’m ignoring them. And it’s become clear that some in the Indianapolis area would prefer texting over any other method to communicate with their bankruptcy attorney.
Technology to the Rescue
Not surprisingly, technology can often solve a problem caused by technology. So that’s what we’re going to do. With the help of the folks at Zipwhip, texts sent to our landline number will soon be received, and we’ll be able to respond either from the office or on the go. Not only will we stop texts from disappearing into thin air, but we’re giving you another, convenient way to reach us.
When will we offer this new service? Answer: beginning Tuesday, January 3, 2017.
I don’t know how many other Indianapolis bankruptcy lawyers make themselves available by text. But this decision wasn’t motivated by the competition. Rather, we simply want to make it even more convenient for you to get in touch when you need us.
We’ve signed up with Zipwhip and run multiple tests. Everything seems to be working the way it should, so we’ll go ahead with a “soft launch” on Tuesday, December 27, 2016, for further testing purposes. Due to court appearances, consultations with potential clients, and meetings with current clients, I may not be able to respond right away. But if you don’t get a response by the end of the day, please contact us by phone or email so we can investigate what went wrong.