While law firms have several different options for maintaining connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic, for those that maintain consumer-oriented practices, the list is shortened significantly. This is especially true for communicating with prospective clients, as it is important to make the pre-engagement stage both as easy and as straightforward as possible.
Three video-conferencing applications have become incredibly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic: (i) Zoom, (ii) Google Meets and (iii) Microsoft Teams. While these applications are all similar in many significant respects, each offers some unique features (and comes with some notable drawbacks).
According to PC Magazine, “Zoom Meetings continues to be the go-to video conferencing application for the masses with over 200 million daily users.” While this does not necessarily mean that it should be the go-to choice for law firms, there are certainly benefits to choosing the platform that is most likely to be familiar to current and prospective clients. Zoom has come under fire during the pandemic due to the security concerns exposed by “Zoom-bombing,” and this is a factor that law firms should take into consideration. An article on Forbes.com recommends using Zoom in-browser (instead of in the app) to reduce the security risks involved.
Google Meets and Microsoft Teams both offer the benefit of being associated with well-known tech giants, and this theoretically should mean that the safety concerns are reduced. Despite some anecdotal concerns, both Google and Microsoft have touted their video-conferencing platforms’ security capabilities. Both Google Meets and Microsoft Teams are available on virtually all popular devices, and, unlike Zoom, neither places a time limit on free calls (Zoom terminates free calls after 40 minutes).
Of course, Google Meets is fully integrated with Google’s other applications, and Microsoft Teams is optimized for use on Microsoft’s platforms. So, for law firms, choosing between the two may ultimately come down to preference—both in terms of app-specific usability and in terms of a general preference for one company’s services or the other’s.
Notably, PC Magazine describes Microsoft Teams as “more of a rival to Slack than . . . the likes of Zoom Meetings.” However, PC Magazine notes that Microsoft Teams is still plenty capable as a videoconferencing platform. Google Meets offers more of a one-to-one comparison to Zoom, with general familiarity, perhaps, weighing in Zoom’s favor. At the same time, security and integration would appear to swing the balance in Google’s direction.
Given the various similarities and differences between Zoom, Google Meets and Microsoft Teams, which platform is best for your law firm? Ultimately, it may make sense to utilize all three. While most firms will likely choose one option for internal communications, allowing prospective and current clients to use the platform of their choice will help ensure that engagement opportunities are not lost in translation.