Automation of Client Intake Process in Law Firms
Generate potential leads, qualify, and convert to clients. Compliance and Governance designed by practice and managed by technology
Written by Knowledge Team, posted on November 30, 2021
Best practices to serve clients from intake to final invoice. Feed the lead pipeline and make collected data effective to improve the client engagement.
What is Client Intake Form
Questionnaire used by law firms to onboard clients. Before representing a new client, it’s important to know the legal services they require, and Intake Forms asks the client to provide basic their information helping firms to determine if client is a good fit for their practice. For a Legal industry, Client intake is an important part of the attorney client relationship where law firms assess the potential client’s legal needs and devise an appropriate solution with no details overlooked., including any compliance requirements.
Overview of Client Intake
Legal Intake is the process of converting leads into clients and can be considered as a final stage of law office’s marketing message. An intake form isthe first interaction with the clients, and hence must be designed to convey firm’s vision statement and service commitment. This process of automating client intake forms helps both the service provider to provide a high-quality service and helps clients to stay focused on their needs. Clients can be guided through an interview process to provide case details in a progressive manner. Lawyer-client dynamics starts here and convey to the future clients that firm listens and understands their needs.Process built on the intake form will engage the client and allow firms to evaluate if it is interested in taking case.
Why Automate Client Intake Process
Traditionally clients filled in paper forms which must be scanned or retyped in the Legal CRM system for the Attorneys to review leads. Online Intake Forms can be embedded in the web site or sent in email to the potential clients. With online client intake forms, firm’s client intake process can be streamlined, firm’s branding and personalization message can be conveyed to the new clients
The following are the advantages of online client intake
- Improved SOP and follow-up with leads
Online intake forms will improve the organizational efficiencies, allowing firms to apply workflow to handle leads based on practice area. Intake forms will be integrated with Legal CRM and can provides up-to-date status on lead stages and lead sources. Once the client is hired, matter can be created in the Legal Practice Management Solution without the need for double data entry
- Data accuracy and completeness
Clients enter their legal service requirements in the intake form. The case details, created from intake can be error free and be used as reliable source of information. Attorneys can focus on legal work which can be guided by workflow tasks triggered by data and guided process, designed by practice area.
- Better Client Experience
Online form allows clients to contact the firm from their location without the need to visit law office. Intake forms can allow them to schedule appointments online and firms can integrate with online payment gateway to get started with case, all at client’s convenience of not leaving their home
- Tracking, Analytics and Reporting
Metrics can be tracked in Dashboard, available in Legal CRM to understand how to improve lead conversion to paying clients. Reports available will help marketing team to determine campaign effectiveness, measuring KPI on different leads sources, calculating practice area with biggest wins and building repeatable process for future marketing efforts
Desigining The Client Intake Form
Setting up the right client intake form is trivial and getting it right is very important for law firms. PageLightPrime Legal CRM will walk you through the process of designing an Intake form either from scratch or existing templates. At the start, the business process must be reviewed, and Law firms must have a clear understanding of how new clients will be evaluated and onboarded. It starts with type of data to be collected from Leads and the way the data is handled
The below steps will help in automating the intake form process for law firms
- Developing Simple Intake forms – Intake forms can be created by simple drag and drop. Collect information about Contact, Company or Person working in that company and Matter details. Try to keep information gathering to minimum as filling a long form can be tedious and scary.
- Review of Intake form – Notification to people in charge of Practice Area to review the leads.
- Workflow – Based on business drivers, Workflow can be applied. Workflow must have the following functionality
- Perform conflict search
- Create Task
- Create Appointments
- Send Emails
- Generate documents like agreements and send for review
- Send Forms to client for additional details
- Triggers to remind on due date
- E signatures – Collect digital signatures and get the forms approved online, like fee agreements
- Dashboard – Display all the leads and their status/stages. Leads can be moved to different stages as it progresses along the Kanban view. Users can setup automatic triggers for follow ups. Management reports can be generated to understand how marketing budget is spent
Client Intake Best Practices
Effective Intake process should be straightforward for leads, be efficient for lawyers, keep data collected organized, and update the clients informed along the process
- Document SOP and Workflow
- Educate the staff on how to handle intakes generated from various sources like web sites, phone call or walk ins
- Listen to clients
- Conduct a thoughtful pre-screen by providing personal touch to clients by listening to their legal needs. Clients are familiar with self service model and guide them what to do next. If intake forms are in firm’s website, allow the clients to decide their next steps like scheduling a meeting with the attorney or directly becoming a client
- Discuss fees and payment methods
- Part of the intake process must be to send a fee agreement to the client explaining their rights and what services will be offered as part of the engagement. Discuss alternate fee agreement or payment terms if the client is to avail your service
- Track potential leads
- Potential clients must be tracked by stages and dashboard must display all the leads in the system across different stages like MQL (Marketing Qualified Leads), SAL (Sales Accepted Leads) and Working leads
- Integrate with Practice Management Solution
- End to end legal solution like PageLightPrime will integrate Legal CRM with Case Management solution. Leads converted to paying clients will result in creating Contacts and Matter automatically
Right Tool for Client Intake Form
Study shows a small investment for automation process in client intake can mean a big improvement for the firm (80 percent increase in revenue). Make future clients feel welcome, provide them a better experience working with the firm leading them to select your firm to represent their needs and more likely to make referrals in the future.
PageLightPrime will allow you to automatically generate legal intake forms, schedule appointments with attorneys, perform conflict searches, collect payments, and receive documents. All these functionalities are integrated in Office 365 Legal Case Management Solution. Automating legal intake process can cut the non-billable hours spent, profitable results for your firm, improving conversion rates and client satisfaction.