Center For Practice Management, Cloud Computing, Productivity

What’s New with Zoom?

man on video conference in pajama bottomsMany lawyers used video conferencing platforms at the beginning of the pandemic. Even when life resumed a more regular course, you probably find yourself starting and participating in video conferences daily. Two platforms emerged as the predominant tools in the current marketplace – Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Both have their pros and cons, and both continue to evolve with user needs. If you have not explored what the Zoom business version has added lately you are missing some useful new features.

Get Updates

Zoom will push out critical updates to users when the Zoom application is opened, which include security patches and new features. However, there are more frequent updates that provide lower-level security updates and updated features more frequently that must be manually updated by the end user. Open the Zoom software on your desktop and click on your avatar in the upper right corner. Click on “Check for Updates.” If there are recent updates they will install, otherwise you will see a message that you are up to date. The most current Zoom version as of July 24th is 5.15.5 (19404).


Chat has been enhanced to include the ability to respond with an emoji, format text including bulleted lists and hyperlinks, select and annotated screen shots, and insert documents from the cloud or your desktop. In addition to choosing who can communicate with chat (chat only with hosts/cohosts, everyone, and everyone/anyone directly), as the host you can save a chat even if you are not recording the call.

In addition to the in-meeting chat, Zoom has added a feature called “Team Chat”.  Zoom describes it as “instant messaging integrated into the Zoom platform.” Team Chat is very similar to Slack or Microsoft Teams. You can chat with an individual, a group, or a channel. Chats from recorded meetings will appear in the Team chat and others can be invited to join. This is called “Continuous Meeting” conversations. You can communicate with internal and external audiences, search chat, and securely share files and whiteboards.

Zoom App Marketplace

You can go to the Zoom App Marketplace from the browser or your desktop software. There you will find apps built by Zoom, as well as integrations with other software you may already use. Integrations with Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams, Calendly and hundreds of others help reduce the number of clicks it takes to set up and manage a video conference from within applications you already use.

There are also apps built by Zoom. These include meeting timers, shared backgrounds for your team, group photos, background music and more. Essential apps are highlighted third party apps available for free for one year. They include tools like AI Notetaker by Fathom to create summary notes and transcripts using AI, Kahoot! to create interactive polls and quizzes, Sesh visual meeting agendas, and more.

Human Avatars

Have you ever needed to jump on a Zoom conference with your team, but you are not feeling or looking your best? Based on the audience and circumstance, you may appear as an animated avatar! In your Zoom settings in the desktop software go to Background & Effects and click on the Avatars (BETA). You can create an avatar of yourself, which looks a lot like a Bitmoji – basically a cartoon caricature. If you use your avatar in a meeting with your camera on the avatar will mimic your physical movements including smiling, blinking, eyebrow raising, and head bobbing.

Breakout Room Updates

Meeting hosts can now send broadcast messages to breakout rooms. You can remind participants of instructions, give them a five-minute warning, and other messages, as necessary. You can also share your screen with all meeting breakout rooms and play a locally stored file with audio.

Another enhancement to breakout rooms is the ability to create, launch, and send participants to breakout rooms based on poll responses. You will need to set up your polls or quizzes in advance and choose “Create Breakout Rooms” to create breakouts based on participants answers to specific questions. The feature only works for single choice polling questions, and it will not work if answers are anonymous.


When Zoom launched whiteboards they were a little confusing. They have greatly improved since launch. You can fire up a whiteboard during a meeting and multiple people can interact with it, or it can just be displayed. You can create whiteboards before a meeting and save boards you create during a meeting. You can control who has access to the whiteboard and who can start one.

There are lots of free templates available, including strategy and planning, project management, team building mapping and diagramming and more.

Meeting Templates

You may host distinct types of video conferences. Trial prep with experts and consultants. Client consultations. Internal team meetings. Dispute resolution and mediation. Mock jury focus groups. For each of these types of meetings you may want to enable or disable certain settings. Who participants can chat with, who goes in the waiting room, whether they can enter a meeting without the host, if there is a co-host, who can screen share, and myriad other settings. You can go into the browser interface for Zoom and create a meeting and apply all the settings you need for a particular type of video conference and save it as a template. Then when you create a new meeting, you can choose from the templates, so you need not change all the settings. Meeting templates can be set up at the administrative level and personal meeting level.

Transcripts and AI Summaries

There are a lot of third-party tools to create transcripts and AI summaries for video conference recordings and they have pros and cons. Now Zoom is building in these tools, depending on which type of license your firm has and if it has been enabled.

Audio transcriptions are only available for cloud recordings and you will get an email when the recording is available, then a subsequent email when the transcript is available. Firms interested in AI summaries can check out the Zoom IQ free trial features. Unlike many third-party tools, meeting hosts can generate meeting summaries without recording the conversation.

Go Live

If you need to broadcast a Zoom meeting, such that you have active participants and others who may watch through a streaming platform, this is much easier to do directly from within Zoom. Simply start your meeting and on the … (more) menu you can go live on YouTube, Facebook, Twitch or a create a custom streaming channel.


There are many possibilities with Zoom’s professional tools. Stay up to date and explore what is possible to add collaboration and interaction to video conferencing. If you have not explored all the settings recently go through and take a look at all the options you have to enhance security, usability, and functionality.