Vendors always love good buzzwords — they can generate interest in even the most unglamorous product. And few new technologies have as much jargon as Voice over Internet Protocol telecommunications. These new systems are touted as the telephony tools of the future, with low costs, incredible features and the flexibility to handle future enhancements. But how — and when — should you choose VoIP?

Our firm, Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, has 110 attorneys, 100 support professionals, and five offices throughout California. Like most businesses, we rely on our telephone system to remain in close contact with clients, colleagues and counsel. As we formulated budgets for 2008, it became clear that our phone system needed attention. Purchased years ago, it was a patchwork quilt of components, sporadically updated with patches to fix problems.

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