The virtual receptionist service for law firms and other businesses, Ruby Receptionists, introduced a new plan this week designed specifically for solo attorneys and solo business owners.

The Ruby Solo plan provides solos with a local phone number that rings through to their mobile phone, live telephone answering in English and Spanish by a team of virtual receptionists, and access to a full array of call-management features through both the Ruby mobile app and on the desktop through the web dashboard.

The price for Ruby’s solo service is $149 a month. That is half the service’s previous lowest price, $299 a month.

The solo plan includes 30 minutes of receptionist time per month and one voicemail box. The next-higher plan includes 100 receptionist minutes and 10 voicemail boxes.

The Ruby app.

In a telephone conversation this week, Jill Nelson, Ruby’s founder and CEO, and Katharine Nester, chief product and technology officer, told me that this service is designed for solos who are just starting out and building up a practice, many of whom may be using their mobile phone as their primary business phone.

With Ruby Solo, instead of giving out their mobile number, solos get a local business number that they own. Using the Ruby mobile app, they can make and receive calls via that number. If the solo ever discontinues the Ruby service, he or she keeps the number. Alternatively, if the solo already has a business number, it can be ported to the Ruby service and thereby eliminate the associated phone bills.

In addition to releasing Ruby Solo, the company says it has enhanced the mobile app to provide greater controls over calls. Through the app, users can track all calls and message activity and manage receptionist coverage, choosing to have Ruby answer all calls, some calls, or act as backup for when they are unable to answer (Ruby picks up after three rings).

If a solo exceeds the allotted 30 minutes of receptionist time, they are billed $3.75 per receptionist minute, charged in half-minute increments. To avoid overage charges, the solo can choose to suspend receptionist services for the remainder of the month, or to minimize charges, the solo can set the service to back-up mode and have Ruby answer only calls the solo does not directly answer.

Nelson and Nester say the 30 minutes should be enough for most solos, but that they will monitor usage to see if an adjustment is necessary.

An additional feature coming within the next 60 days is text messaging. Subscribers to any of Ruby’s plans will be able to send and receive SMS messages through the mobile app.

Although Ruby offers integrations with Clio, Lexicata and Rocket Matter, those integrations are not available to Ruby Solo customers; the next tier or higher is required.

[The original version of this post said that receptionist minutes over 30 were charged at the rate of $43.75 per minute. The correct amount, as now reflected above, is $3.75.]

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.