We yoke the law to ethical standards because ethics serve both the cause of justice and the efficacy of the work. However, ethical standards—such as the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct—present a variety of challenges, especially when it comes to finding new clients. To make it easy for prospective clients to contact them, law firms and lawyers work hard to stand out in the thickets of modern social media.
Unfortunately, once your contact information is out there, your work has just begun. By making yourself as accessible as possible in a field where accessibility is valued and necessary, you open yourself up to the world of robocallers, scammers, and spammers. While there is no substitute for a high-quality IT department providing your office with security, some of us aren’t fortunate enough to have such a resource at our disposal, especially when it comes to one of our most precious tools—cell phones.
Below are a few effective third-party tools to ensure the calls you’re getting are the ones you need.
T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T offer tools to help screen out robocalls by blocking phone numbers they know to be problematic. Depending on your provider, those services aren’t necessarily free, so it’s worth visiting their website to research what they offer (and whether there is a fee).
If you can’t use a service from your phone provider, you might have better luck with the phone itself. The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ offer a free app, Smart Call, which will flag numbers that have been reported as scam or frauds, or even telemarketers. Google’s Pixel 2 will light up the phone with a red screen from a suspected spammer and adjust your settings so those scam callers go straight to voicemail. Android version 6.0 or later also offers access to this option.
There are paid apps like Mr. Number, Nomorobo (winner of the FTC Robocall Challenge), Hiya, Truecaller, and RoboKiller (which automatically blocks over 200,000 telemarketers and robocalls even if they spoof or change their numbers). While these apps are not free, the fees allow the creators to keep their databases of bad faith callers as current as possible. And if you want to exact a bit of revenge while regaining your peace of mind, Robokiller and the delightfully named Jolly Roger Telephone Company will use bots to engage with the callers, wasting their time and impeding their ability to bother others.
It’s unlikely robocallers, fraudsters, and spammers will ever fully disappear. And it’s even less likely they’ll one day find themselves working under model rules of professional conduct. But there is some comfort in knowing that even if they cannot be yoked, technology can keep them leashed… and give you the peace of mind to focus on the new contacts you need.
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