How I learned to love the fax machine

I've never understood the fax machine. It's a hulking piece of equipment that takes up a sizable portion of whatever room it is placed in. Never having needed one until my first legal job, I wasn't particularly familiar with the technology. It's not complicated, but I could never remember: do I have to dial "9" for an outside line? Do I put a "1" in front of the number? What the heck is the little phone attached to it really used for? Add to that the necessity of creating and printing out a fax cover page, then coming back to check the machine to make sure "Transmission OK," and it was obvious this was a piece of technology that should be retired. My frustrations mounted when, in the week before a trial once, opposing counsel sent out 200 pages of new pleadings and exhibits via fax. The machine runs out of toner and runs out of paper, as you are probably well aware, and I wished on a number of occasions that everyone had email and could just scan and attach instead. So, when I opened my new office recently, I was faced with the task of determining my own technology. I didn't want a fax machine. I didn't want to pay for a dedicated fax line. Unfortunately, there are lawyers (you know who you are) and clients who still use it.


  1. A fax machine is still a necessary part of many small businesses (and many clients) who do not have access to a decent scanner (and, therefore, the ability to quickly scan and email documents).

    Since you email everything or send via the virtual fax services, how do you get confirmation that someone received your email (with attachments) or the virtual fax (with all pages)? With respect to the former, I reject read receipt requests and I know many people who do.

  2. I agree that faxing is still a vital part of small (and large) businesses. That’s why virtual fax services are so great–they have all of the benefits without the need for traditional hardware.

    The virtual fax services that I looked at include confirmation that a fax was delivered. Shortly after the fax goes out, I get an email from the service provider describing whether the fax went through or not.

    For e-mail, I also reject those annoying read receipt requests (it’s no one else’s business to know when I looked at e-mail). Anything important enough to require confirmation of receipt is important enough to go out via mail or delivery service, requiring signature on receipt. For everything else, e-mail works just fine.

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