NY Courts Are Moving to Microsoft Teams; Here’s What You Need To Know

By Brandon Vogel

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The New York State court system announced on Monday that it will be switching to Microsoft Teams from Skype for Business. Using all of the functionality of Skype, Teams is a collaborative tool that combines chat functionality, video meetings and file sharing. Although familiar, there are some upgrades.

It launched in March 2017 and has been Microsoft’s fastest-growing app with more than 75 million daily active users. The court system just announced it is transitioning to Teams over the next two months. Here’s what you need to know to prepare.

Do I need a Teams account?
You can send a Teams invitation to any email address, even if it’s not licensed to Microsoft Office 365. However, check your settings if anonymous users can join your meeting.

What do I need to participate?

You will need a computer with internet access and webcam or microphone (built-in or USB headset) or a smartphone.

What if I have a Mac?

As long as you have downloaded the Microsoft Teams app, it doesn’t matter if you are on a Mac and the other party is on Windows.

Can I really use my smartphone?

Yes. With the app, you can access all of your contacts, conversations, and meetings at anytime. To use the app continuously, you must have a paid Office 365 or Microsoft 365 commercial subscription.

Will it work on my virtual private network (VPN)?

Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based application and performs best when not connected to a VPN but it does work.

Can I just phone in?

Yes, but it is better to have a video connection to see all the parties when possible.

Are my communications secure?

Communications in Teams are encrypted.

What about recording?

Users can record their Teams meetings and group calls to capture audio, video and screen shares. Most are automatically uploaded to Microsoft Teams. A1 users’ meeting recordings will only be available for 21 days.

Can I invite other parties to a Teams meeting?

You can use the Invite people box when you schedule a meeting. You can also invite more participants if the meeting has already started.

Are there breakout rooms like in Zoom?

Per Microsoft, it should be unveiled in late 2020, although it is being previewed. Breakout rooms will allow a lawyer to confer privately with a client during a meeting. Only the meeting organizer will see the Breakout Room icon, once unveiled.

Breakout rooms are not a current feature in Skype for Business.


NYSBA is hosting two upcoming CLE programs, New Platform To Communicate With The Courts: Microsoft Teams! on October 9 and October 16.

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