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Law Firm Management Techniques That Improve Client Intake

The flow of work in a law firm is the flow of information. Anything which obstructs or slows information also interferes with the ability to serve clients efficiently. Control information by using legal software tools to manage and monitor the client intake process to enhance productivity, improve marketing, and avoid conflicts of interest.

Create an Intake Plan

Some attorneys improvise when taking information from a client, but this leads to mistakes. Critical information is missed or misinterpreted, and the data which is collected may be disorganized and hard to interpret.

Avoid this by creating a law firm management policy to regulate the intake process. Interview clients using a checklist to be sure no information is overlooked. Even the most cooperative clients may omit important facts because they seem trivial, irrelevant or embarrassing. Legal software makes it easy to have different checklists for different cases or interview types, and a single electronic interview form can automatically adjust itself in response to questions, such as omitting or adding certain lines of inquiry based on previous answers. Policies ensure each intake report follows the same format, no matter who conducted the interview.

More Information Is Better

When client intake policies are part of law firm management, they help the staff get all the information needed not just for the case itself but for the ongoing relationship with the client, and the future financial health of the firm.

Comprehensive intake begins with the first client phone inquiry. Rather than just taking a bare minimum of information to pass onto the appropriate attorney, the person taking the phone call should conduct a more complete interview during the initial contact. Legal software forms guide the intake process, and armed with more information the case can be passed onto the attorney most qualified for the job.

Don't limit yourself to only case facts. Seemingly trivial details such as client hobbies or birthdates let attorneys make a more personal connection and improve client satisfaction. Other information types can alert the firm to conflicts of interest early in the investigation.

Advantages of Using Legal Software

Today's law firm management includes powerful software tools that enhance the intake process. Any piece of information should be entered only once and automatically copied to other forms as needed. Entering information twice simply increases the chance of error. A paperless law practice is able to file and retrieve relevant information more quickly than one bogged down with roomfuls of file folders.

Legal software produces reports that senior attorneys can use to monitor the process and make efficiency improvements where necessary. When mistakes are made during intake, such as missing important client or case information, software makes it easier to spot patterns and see how the system can be changed to reduce or eliminate those problems.

Successful law firm management and client intake require ongoing oversight to keep the firm operating at peak efficiency. Legal software helps automate the intake process and makes an attorney's job easier while reducing the chance for errors.

Loretta Ruppert

Loretta Ruppert works for LexisNexis, a developer of legal software tools which enhance client intake and other law firm management tasks.

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Filed Under: Practice Management

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About the Author: Loretta Ruppert works for LexisNexis, a developer of legal software tools which enhance client intake and other law firm management tasks.

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