Your law firm’s intake process isn’t just the first step to growing your firm with new clients—it’s also the first impression many leads will have of your firm. If the client intake process is slow, complicated, or confusing for prospective clients, you’re much more likely to lose qualified leads from your law firm’s intake funnel.
A streamlined, efficient intake processes can reduce the likelihood of this happening. Here are a few steps your law firm can take to offer a better intake experience to leads and grow your firm faster.
Qualifying new leads
Bringing in new clients is exciting, but attorneys know all too well that not every lead that reaches out to your firm has a case you actually want to take. That’s why your firm needs clear, specific guidelines in place to help your intake staff quickly qualify leads.
Your attorneys and intake staff should work from a uniform set of questions and standards so they can identify the right cases to take on. With many firms working from online intake forms, it’s necessary that those forms capture all the information you need to make this decision.
Online intake forms
If you’re still handling intake purely in-person or by phone, it may also be time to implement online client intake forms. When linked to your practice management software, online forms can allow you to automatically import key personal and case information directly into future documents and forms, saving your team significant time. You’ll also cut down on data entry errors by reducing manual data entry.
And as for the leads that don’t have cases your firm wants to handle? Your firm should have a system in place to offer referrals to other practices that may be better suited. Referring cases that aren’t the right fit for your firm to other attorneys is a great way to grow your referral network—and those attorneys will be more likely to send you qualified leads in return.
Conflict of interest searches
As tempting as it is to speed up the client intake process, there are some steps that are simply non-negotiable—and running thorough conflict of interest searches is one of them.
Traditionally, these searches have involved tedious (and error-prone) manual checks or putting everything into a giant, unwieldy spreadsheet. If your firm is looking to speed up the intake process with faster conflict of interest searches, consider investing in a legal practice management software. A legal practice management software helps you store all your firm’s information in a single, centralized database and lets you easily and thoroughly search all of your firm’s data for more efficient and accurate conflict checks.
Organizing your workflows
Prospective clients need consistent, open communication with your firm throughout the intake process. If leads feel like you’re not responsive or aren’t keeping them up to date as they move through intake, they’ll be much less likely to sign with your firm—and you’ll see significantly higher rates of intake funnel loss.
Building out a consistent, organized workflow for handling new leads is one of the best ways to ensure consistent communication and faster intake. Your firm should have an established process in place for handling client intake workflows, including established timelines for communications and follow-ups.
The right software can allow your firm to build out custom workflows for client intake so your attorneys and intake staff can keep lines of communication open and intake moving forward. Implementing a secure client portal is another good way to keep your clients in the loop without needing to manually call or email them throughout the process.
Document sharing and e-signature
Assembling, sending, and collecting signatures on important documents is another important but time-consuming step that can slow down client intake. For faster and less time-consuming document management, your firm may need to consider implementing the right document automation and file-sharing tools.
With the right software in place, you can quickly and effortlessly generate common intake documents from pre-existing templates—then automatically populate them with client information from your firm’s central knowledge base. You should also look for a software tool that helps you safely share electronic documents with clients, whether a secure client portal or a encrypted file-sharing software like LexShare.
Finally, e-signature capabilities can be a game-changer for law firm intake. Offering your leads the ability to sign key documents online in a single click makes it much easier to move prospective clients through the intake pipeline quickly—and sign the clients you want in less time.