It’s amazing what can be done with technology these days! One of the neat tricks-of-the-trade for mobile attorneys is being able to fax from your mobile device!
Most of the Internet-based fax services come with their own mobile apps. Even if they don’t, however, you can get to their website on any mobile device. After trying several services over the years, I stuck with MetroFax. It’s been a reliable service and is a good value, especially with the number of base pages you get with the various plans. I have a toll-free fax number that comes with a 1000 pages before I incur any additional per-page charges. I have not gone over that limit in a few years. MetroFax has cheaper and more expensive plans to suit your faxing needs. My mobile devices are an iPhone and an iPad. MetroFax has an iOS app.
Real-World Use Examples
Let me give you two examples of how I have used Internet faxing from a mobile device. The first happened when I was at an out-of-town ABA conference. I still had to file a motion, proposed order, and notice of hearing, while also serving opposing counsel. In the morning before the conference activity began, I finished preparing the documents.
Because I have an electronic signature (electronic image of my actual signature in blue “ink”), I am able to electronically sign my documents in Microsoft Word and thus avoid the infamous “/s/Benjamin K. Sanchez” that so many attorneys do these days. I save my Word documents to Adobe PDF format and they are ready for faxing, emailing, electronic filing, etc. My pleadings are electronic but with the true signature feel.
Back to the Examples
Now that my documents were ready, I e-filed them with the county clerk. Afterwards, I was able to use the MetroFax app to fax my documents with a cover page to my opposing counsel and then get my fax confirmation via e-mail. (For every fax I send out, I get an e-mail confirmation that the fax succeeded or failed.)
Although I didn’t describe every single movement I made to effectuate the above fax, it truly was very simple. Once you understand how to do it, you’ll be wanting the opportunity to arise when you can fax from the road!
In the second example, which happened just a week ago, I was out of town filing a new petition and application for temporary restraining order (TRO). I had to file everything in person (rather than e-filing) because my client and I needed to see a judge after the pleadings were filed in order to obtain the TRO. While the district clerk was in the process of filing the documents, she asked if I had a cover letter setting forth the instructions on who to serve, where to serve, and how to serve. Although this information was clearly spelled out in the petition itself, I obliged her and asked if I could send a fax rather than a completely separate letter. When she said that was fine, I pulled out my iPhone, went into my MetroFax app, and whipped out a fax with the information she needed. While we were standing there, the fax came through her fax machine!
Moving to Electronic Documents, Filing, and Faxing
I don’t have to tell you what you already should know: each day we are moving closer to electronic documents, electronic filing, and electronic faxing. The Texas Supreme Court has instituted a plan that will transition every court in Texas to an electronic-filing court and requires attorneys to e-file all documents as early as January (the plan is being phased in over the next two years based on county size). I have been using electronic faxing (and more specifically, Internet-based faxing as opposed to server-based faxing) for six years now. I rarely have to print anything that I create, but I still do so for affidavits and verifications, where I have to sign in front of a notary. But there again, in Texas we now have “Unsworn Declarations” that need no notary as long as you follow the language of the statute and swear under penalty of perjury! Although I prefer to use a notary for most things, I find myself using the unsworn declaration more and more to verify routine documents such as a motion for continuance.
It’s important that attorneys and their staff know how to be nimble regarding our new electronic world. I guaranty you that attorneys who fax from their mobile device for the first time get a tingling sensation all over! Try it; you just might like it!