Ah, the client intake process — unquestionably one of the most time-consuming and laborious parts of being a lawyer. Yet, like it or not, it is one of the most critical elements of ensuring your law firm’s success. So don’t screw it up!
First impressions are everything and onboarding new clients is no exception.
Why would a client be compelled to hire you if you never get back to their initial phone call or take too long? Exactly. First impressions count. That’s why you need to make sure you have an effective, streamlined intake system in place.
10-Step Client Intake Checklist
Don’t have one in place yet? Don’t panic! The good news is that it’s never too late to take the reins and turn things around. We’ve created this comprehensive Client Intake Checklist to get you started, including tips on how to automate several pieces of the onboarding process. Here’s a quick look at what’s inside (you can download the complete checklist here):
1. Think Like a CEO
The first step is adopting the mindset that your law firm is a business.
2. Develop a Process
In the absence of a systematic intake process, a law firm quickly becomes chaotic. Leads are never followed up, opportunities are squandered, revenue is lost.
3. Follow Up Right Away
For years, studies have continued to show that long response times affect closing deals. A recent survey showed that 42% of the time, law firms take an average of three or more days to get back to a message from a new client.
4. Pre-screen Your Clients
Before the initial consultation, it’s important to pre-screen. Not every lead that comes to your firm is going to be the right fit for you, and that’s just the way it is.
5. Let Your Clients Self-schedule
One of the most common bottlenecks in the client intake process is finding the best time for a consultation that works for everyone. Automated appointment scheduling software allows clients to see your calendar and schedule their own appointments.
6. Discuss Fees in Advance
Whether you have a flat fee system or charge by the hour, it’s important to discuss fees and payment requirements as early as possible.
7. Streamline Your Document Process
Manually drafting a contract like an attorney-client agreement is an extremely lengthy process and a common bottleneck in getting the case rolling. Enter document automation software.
8. Use E-signature Software
In a traditional law firm, getting a document signed back from a client usually involves asking them to print, sign, and scan or fax it back. Using e-signatures speeds the process.
9. Keep Your Clients Engaged
The client journey can be broken up into three stages. Intake, active matter, and former client. Even though you’ve secured your client and have moved onto the stage of active matter, you still have to continue to delight and engage.
10. Measure Your Results
You should never stop fine-tuning your client intake process, and one of the most valuable ways to do that is with legal reporting software.
Streamline legal client intake and double your firm’s business by automating the process.
Is your law firm spending a disproportionate amount of time juggling everything that goes into the client intake process? Are leads getting lost? Believe it or not, it doesn’t have to be that way. By following the proper steps to streamline your process, you can perfect your client intake and take on even more clients, thanks to automation.
Our mission is to enable lawyers to focus on being the best lawyer they can be — to focus on the practice of law, not to worry about running the business of a law firm. Through software solutions designed to be powerful and easy to use, we aim to streamline and simplify the process of ushering someone from the moment of first firm contact through to becoming a firm client.
Our goal is to be viewed as an extension of the firm. Customer success is in our DNA and we want to be the first call that our customers make, not just when they have questions about our software but also when they need to discuss strategies related to the services we provide.
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