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How to Use Zoom for a Legal Consultation

Many people have come to know Zoom, the online video conference tool, during the coronavirus pandemic. Here at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. we have adopted the use of Zoom for remote legal consultations between our Texas personal injury lawyers and our existing and prospective clients.

If you are not already familiar with Zoom, you may have questions about how to use Zoom for a meeting on the computer. We think that you’ll find that the Zoom meeting software is extremely easy to set up and use and that it provides the security necessary to ensure attorney-client confidentiality during a remote legal consultation.

If you are getting set up for a Zoom meeting with Herrman & Herrman and need assistance beyond the information below about how to use Zoom for a meeting, feel free to contact us at (361) 882-4357 for help. We can conduct a video conference in English or Spanish

How to Get Set Up for a Zoom Video Conference

To use Zoom, you must download the Zoom app. It’s available to download free of charge. Versions are available for Windows, Mac, and Linux computer platforms and for iOS, Android, and even Blackberry mobile devices. Once you have the app, you can launch it and be ready to join a meeting. 

For your initial consultation with Herrman & Herrman, we will email you a meeting invitation after you contact us by phone or online. To join the meeting, at the appropriate time, you will need to click on a link in the email invitation labeled “Join Zoom Meeting.”

When you click on the link, you will get a message prompting you to either download or launch Zoom. Since you’ve already downloaded the app, click on “open zoom.us.” 

When you click to join the meeting, a screen will ask for the meeting ID. Every scheduled Zoom meeting has an ID number, which is in the email invitation. You can copy and paste this number from the email.

Then you will be given options to turn off the video or audio. Please do not select either of these. Instead, click the “Join” button.

Understanding Zoom Basics & Zoom Features

During our Zoom meetings, Herrman & Herrman will serve as the “host” and you will be an “attendee.” As host, we’ll handle most of the chores of making sure the meeting is set up properly and happens as it should once you join.

There’s little an attendee must do beyond participating in the conversation. There are a couple of helpful features to know about as we meet for a legal consultation.

The Zoom Mute button. There will be several control buttons on a bar at the bottom of the Zoom meeting video screen. At the far-left is the “Mute” button. The Zoom mute button is simply an on/off toggle switch that mutes and unmutes your microphone with each click. When your mic is muted, the microphone icon will appear with a line through it.

In meetings with many participants, it is proper Zoom etiquette to mute your mic when you are not speaking. In a one-on-one legal consultation, it shouldn’t be an issue but, again, it’s just an on/off switch.

Use “Chat” to share files. Zoom allows you to share photos, documents or other information from your computer/device during a meeting, such as photos from the scene of a car accident.

On the meeting screen, look for the “Chat” button on the bottom bar. When you click on it, a chat window will open to the right side of your video screen. At the bottom right of the chat window, find the “File” button. Click on it, and a window will provide several options for retrieving files from the device you are using.

Navigate to the file you wish to share. Click on it and follow the onscreen prompts to share. The document should appear in the chat window like any other typed message. We can then click the link to download the file or open it in a browser window. 

Another basic of Zoom meetings to keep in mind is that the attendee’s view of himself or herself in a Zoom meeting is, by default, like looking in a mirror. This is because it’s more natural to see yourself reflected back at you that way. We will see you normally. You can turn this mirroring feature off under Video settings, but it’s disorienting unless you are used to it.

Video Appearance in a Zoom Meeting

a man legally consulting using zoomIn a legal consultation, we’re here to help you and get the particulars of your case. How you or your background looks on screen is not a pressing concern. But there are a few tips to setting up for a video conference that can help.

First, consider lighting. Your light source should be above or to the side of the camera on your computer or mobile device. If it is behind you, your face may be cast in a shadow. Natural light is better than electric lighting, which casts an unnatural color.

Set up your computer/device so its camera lens is just a little higher than eye level and has a clear, unobstructed view of you. Sit about three feet away from the camera.

Zoom allows you to use virtual backgrounds that it provides or that are made from a photo you upload. That can be fun but it is unnecessary for a business meeting. If you move in front of a virtual background in Zoom, it creates distortion that can be distracting.

Zoom Privacy and Security

We are confident that Zoom meetings are secure. 

Zoom’s 5.0 release supports encrypting content up to industry-standard AES-256, and the company says it will soon offer an end-to-end encrypted meeting mode to all paid accounts, according to CNET.

As of May 7, Zoom had acquired the secure messaging and file-sharing service Keybase. Zoom said Keybase would provide important contributions to Zoom’s 90-day plan to enhance security and privacy capabilities on the platform. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by someone else in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, McAllen, Brownsville or anywhere in south Texas, contact Herrman & Herrman for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Our injury attorney will review the details of your accident and discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to seek compensation if your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence.