So, you’ve hired an intake specialist for your law firm.

They seem to meet deadlines well enough, have exceptional communication skills and are well organized. But, do they have empathy when taking those calls?

Qualities of Empathy

We train our legal intake specialists two to three weeks before officially being left on their own. There are a lot of traits that go into training including: Mechanics (understanding how to maneuver through the account set up, locating resources provided by the client and Alert, and defining types of callers), Anatomy of an Intake (understanding the purpose and value of the intake, comprehending intake questions, and formulating appropriate answers to the intake), Service (positive language such as tone and script delivery, and empathy training), and Legal (overview of criminal and civil law, legal terminology, and types of law).

Training an intake specialist to have all these traits is not as difficult as it sounds. Empathy might be the toughest part to grasp. There are three qualities of empathy to teach: recognizing emotion, staying out of judgment, and perspective taking. If you can teach these qualities to your intake specialist, they will be converting even more leads for your law firm!

Recognizing Emotion

When someone recognizes a sad emotion it usually kicks in the desire to be empathetic. Usually a caller’s tone is all you need to recognize this emotion. Some callers will sigh, or they might have a very monotone type of voice or have lots of pausing because they are having a hard time retelling what happened to them or their loved ones.

If it’s hard for the intake specialist to recognize these cues then encourage or teach them to just listen to the words. Here are a couple examples your intake specialist can use to identify if someone may be going through a hard time.

  1. The caller will often give them the opportunity at the beginning of a call. “I was in an auto accident a few days ago…” Teach them to insert empathy here… “Oh gosh. I’m sorry that happened. Are you okay?”
  2. Another opportunity is after they ask, “Did you sustain any injuries?” Caller: “I am experiencing pain in my neck and my back.” Teach them to insert empathy here… “I’m sorry to hear that, but it sounds like you did the right thing by calling us.”

Staying Out of Judgement

A big disadvantage for an intake specialist is that they cannot see the callers. Human beings are very visual creatures. If our caller’s tone does not match the sadness we associate with suffering, then we can make a judgment and assume they are not suffering enough to deserve our empathy. Everyone responds differently to suffering, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve our empathy. Don’t let the law firm’s agenda prevent the intake specialist from hearing the caller’s needs. Completing an intake is the agenda, but don’t rush to each question while leaving the caller’s emotions in the dust.

Perspective Taking

Perspective taking requires connecting with something within yourself that knows what your caller is feeling. It may seem difficult when you have never experienced what the caller is going through but you should look at all of the other feelings associated with the caller’s challenge. Basically, put yourself in the caller’s shoes. How would you feel if you were going through the same situation?

Alert is Always Listening

Here at Alert Communications, we are fact-finding listeners. This means we remember what is said because it is useful for our intakes. Using empathy training is one of the many reasons why we would be a perfect fit for any law firm. All of our intake specialists are vetted during hiring, then with extra training and then monitoring. Give us a shot if you are struggling to train your intake specialist at 844-694-6825 or visit us at We can’t wait to hear from you!