Is Your Attorney Recording Your Telephone Calls?
Have you noticed that some attorneys use several different telephone numbers to reach one law firm? There’s a separate telephone number for the phone book, on a web page, in Google searches, on Facebook, etc. Why? Advertising executives convince attorneys to use different telephone numbers in different ads to track the calls. With these “tracking numbers,” the advertisers are promising to inform the attorneys about which advertising does and which advertising does not translate to telephone calls to the law firm. It’s also a quick way for an advertiser to shut off the attorney’s advertising if a dispute develops with the attorney.
During a recent sales meeting, a sales representative stated to me that his company routinely records client telephone calls to law firms through their tracking numbers. According to the sales representative, this is occurring right here in the greater Kalamazoo area with major Kalamazoo attorneys. The sales representative promoted this concept as protection for the attorney. I’m not sure why attorneys might need protection from new-client telephone calls, but that was the sales angle employed. I asked the sales representative what his company might do if the government demanded copies of those recorded telephone calls, and he had no answer for me. I believe that his company would do exactly what other major companies have done—it would provide the recordings to the government. I don’t believe that many executives of major companies are interested in serving time in jail as protest in favor of privacy against a court’s order to divulge the information.
These recordings are also illegal in Michigan unless consent for the recording is obtained from both parties. MCL 750.539c. So, any attorney who is willing to secretly record his client’s telephone conversations is (1) exposing the client to a risk that police will listen to the conversation, (2) creating evidence that might be used in court, (3) waiving the client’s confidentiality, (4) committing legal malpractice, and (5) committing a felony.
At Schroder & Schroder, PLC, we will not use tracking numbers. We have one office number, one fax number, and two cell phone numbers. That’s all we intend to have. We certainly will not record you without your knowledge and participation for any reason. We are serious about your confidentiality and about our desire to protect our clients.