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Law firm delivers verdict on new PBX.

Time is money. We in the legal profession have to be especially conscious of time, because revenue for our services is measured in increments of time. If we can save time on our internal methods of operation, we can increase profitability.

At Strasburger & Price, one of the largest and most respected law firms in the Southwest, we take pride in our efficient use of time to handle our clients' complex legal problems with care and diligence.

Our staff consists of more than 185 attorneys, 53 paralegals and 200 support people based in Dallas and Austin. We even have a correspondent office in Mexico City. Since our attorneys are often out of the office working with clients, they frequently need immediate access to our paralegals and support staff through a reliable phone system.

Our old communications system was adequate, but it was running out of memory capacity. An upgrade to new equipment was inevitable, but we had concerns about losing some of the communications features we had come to rely on.

We needed to hit the ground running when the new system was installed. Retraining workers on how to use the new system was out of the question. We simply didn't have time.

We asked five companies for solutions. Several proposals specified the addition of costly hardware and software. However, AT&T's upgrade proposal to the Definity Communications System G3i met our requirements for expansion. Best of all, the lease agreement we negotiated with AT&T Credit Corp. is less expensive than what we paid for our previous system.

In installing new equipment, we feared the loss of our internal telephone directory. This database enables employees to call each other by spelling out the person's last name on the phone set's touchtone pad. It was probably the most-used feature of the old switch.

But as we upgraded, the directory remained intact. The directory feature actually performs better now because the system automatically records employee moves and changes.

When employees change work locations, we are responsible for tracking these moves and reassigning phone stations. The Administration Without Hardware" feature lets me make these changes from my office desktop computer.

With the new system we can assign more than one phone number to the same set so people can share phones. These "phantom" lines eliminate the need for additional hardware and give us much more flexibility.

Reassigning phone stations is further enhanced by the Definity's Distributed Communications System (DCS) software, which treats our two Dallas offices as one location. Employees can relocate into either building and we can reassign stations as if they were in the same building. The DCS feature also permits four-digit dialing between locations and has helped improve call-answer time.

Because conference calling is so popular with lawyers, we were concerned about losing this capability with the new switch. Fortunately, we can still conference up to five calls from one voice terminal. Our recruiting supervisor has been able to streamline interview scheduling with better call management capabilities on the new system. Every year Strasburger & Price interviews more than 100 top-notch law school students to fill positions. It's important to present a good first impression as an organized, well-managed law firm.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:AT&T's Definity Communications System G3i
Author:Barger, Charlene
Publication:Communications News
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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