Bar News - September 7, 2007
Morning Mail: CourtCall® Is ‘Cumbersome, Inefficient’
The article in the Bar News (“CourtCall Telephonic Appearance Saves Time, Money” August 10, 2007) stating that CourtCall® is being installed in courts around the state is disappointing. CourtCall® is costly, cumbersome and inefficient and saves neither time nor money. A practice which requires multiple faxes in order to confirm conference calls, charging by means of third-party credit cards, all for the sum of $55.00 per call is a retreat from the ease and technology currently available for conference calling. In an era when one can call, even with cell phones, for pennies-a-minute all over the world, where most business telephones have built-in conferencing capabilities and commercial conference calling systems exist to provide the same service for a dollar or two, moving to a system which requires faxing and $55 for each caller is simply unacceptable.
When our firm has a conference call with only two participants, we are able to utilize two telephone lines from our own telephone system to make the call. With more than two participants, we utilize the conference calling feature of our long distance carrier. In both cases, the reception is clear, the availability is immediate without the involvement of any third party administration or confirmation, and especially not by faxing, and the cost is insignificant and is automatically billed to the client code on our monthly phone bill. Further, all of the parties are on the line when the call is made to the Court. In our years of experience calling to courts all over New Hampshire, as well as to other states, we have never had any problem connecting or with reception.
On the other hand, as a CourtCall® representative explained, in order to place a conference call, one must first call their toll-free number, they then fax a scheduling request and, then, we fax back payment information and a confirmation. On the day of the conference call, we call their tollfree number from a land-line (cell phones, I was told, are not permitted) and the Court also calls their toll-free number. There is no charge for the court to make its call. We are certainly not aware that the Court has ever been required to make calls for scheduling conferences. Also, if the conference is cancelled less than 5 days prior to the call, an extremely common occurrence, there is yet another administrative layer for each caller to obtain a refund of some or all of the $55 fee for the conference call. Faxing, depending upon a third-party administrator and paying $55 per caller does nothing but increase the time and cost for the conference call.
Certainly, if someone has no other resource available, then CourtCall® might be a useful option. But, this system should not be mandatory for those who already have easy, effective and inexpensive conference calling services.
Barry C. Schuster