If your firm recently opened, or if your legal intake services need an overhaul, it’s time to implement one of the most effective tools for success—the client intake checklist.
A checklist will help streamline the client intake process and give your intake specialist the tools they need to collect all pertinent details from new or potential clients. It also ensures that your staff collects every piece of relevant information about a potential case by asking the right questions, thus reducing the need for follow-up calls and truncating the timeline for case selection and assignment to an attorney. If you have ever wondered, “What does an intake specialist do at a law firm?”, their main priority is to streamline operations for your law firm. But, to do so effectively, an organized checklist is needed for them to initiate the process.
In this guide, we’ll explore why your firm needs an intake checklist to grow, what that checklist should look like, and how you can implement innovative strategies to take your intake process to the next level.
Why Use an Intake Checklist?
A client intake checklist has two important functions:
- It ensures that your intake specialist—the person interfacing directly with clients when they contact the firm—records all the necessary information needed to proceed with case selection.
- A strong checklist leaves no stone unturned in the initial consultation. As a result, firm staff is equipped with all the information they need during future appointments with clients.
Intake specialists are the first line of defense for a law firm, and their accurate data collection, recording, and organization can make or break the success of a client’s initial consultation with an attorney. A client intake checklist helps this critical staff perform their duties effectively and ensures that legal staff has all the details they need before they decide to take on a new client.
A Foolproof Intake Checklist
A client intake checklist is crucial to a law firm’s success, but what should the checklist contain?
Some key elements of an effective checklist include:
- Contact Information – Collect contact information for all potential clients, including:
- Full legal name
- Phone number
- Email address
- Home address
- Confidentiality Information – Provide the potential client with your firm’s confidentiality agreement, and ask the client who else is authorized to talk about their case.
- Case Information – Provide options for the type of case the client is pursuing (family, business, or real estate, for example) and ask for crucial details, like
- The timeline of events
- The potential defendant’s name
- The client’s legal issue with the potential defendant
- What the client seeks to gain from taking legal action
- Financial Information – Ask the client about their budget for legal services and describe the retainer process, if applicable. Ask about their income to determine whether or not they’re capable of paying for legal services prior to setting an appointment.
- Availability for a Consultation – Set an appointment for an in-person or virtual consultation with a legal assistant, paralegal, or attorney.
The checklist above ensures a thorough and detailed collection of pertinent client information that will help legal staff decide to take on or refuse a case.
Streamlining Your Intake Process
While maintaining a checklist is crucial to the client intake process for a law firm, how does your firm plan to implement that checklist?
During regular business hours, your firm may have an on-site intake specialist to field incoming calls from clients. But, there are two important considerations to make when establishing or refining your intake process:
- Which channels is your firm using for client communication?
- Who is managing those channels when the firm is closed for the day?
In our digital era, your firm should be using all of the available tools to keep up with the competition and offer options that will satisfy client needs, whether that be in the form of lawyers texting clients on a regular basis or using a client-facing portal to share confidential information about a case. A 2021 study discovered that 67% of potential clients look for a law firm that offers virtual services in addition to in-person services.
Offering omnichannel support via SMS text, email, and live chat for law firms, in addition to traditional phone communication, will improve your ability to connect with new clients. Clients will love the ability to communicate with intake staff on their own terms.
Your firm should also consider legal call center services to provide 24/7/365 monitoring of communication channels and provide customer support anytime and anywhere. If clients reach out after business hours are closed, they can complete the intake process then and there instead of waiting for a call back when the firm opens in the morning.
Innovative Intake with Alert
The first step to an effective intake process is coming up with a thorough checklist. The next is making sure prospective clients can complete the process in a timely manner.
Innovative intake tools like omnichannel support and 24/7/365 monitoring are not only available to your firm, but they’re also easy to set up and can streamline the implementation of your client intake checklist.
If your firm is ready to take the next step and grow, a legal answering service powered by Alert can take your client intake procedures to the next level. We provide the services you need to take your firm’s communication channels out of the dark ages and into the digital age. With intake specialists available all day and every day, your firm can take on more clients and provide multiple options for communication, leading to improved client retention, more cases, and growth.
Indeed. What is an Intake Specialist? https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/intake-specialist
Above the Law. 2021 Legal Trends Report Confirms That Remote Work Will Be With Us From Now On. https://abovethelaw.com/2021/10/2021-legal-trends-report-confirms-that-remote-work-will-be-with-us-from-now-on/?rf=1