A mass tort case is one of the most complex legal beasts, combining unique plaintiff suits with a research-heavy, hard-to-win argument—often against corporations with vast resources and roadblocks to discovery.
With an abundance of data and vastly different client situations and backgrounds, it’s critical to follow meticulous client intake protocols when filing a mass tort lawsuit. This leads to accurate client files and sets the tone for realistic client expectations.
Now, what is mass tort? Essentially, mass tort intake is the first point of contact that identifies whether a potential claimant fits the specific mass tort requirements. It involves establishing the client-firm relationship and will result in adding a plaintiff to your case. In this guide, we’ll explore everything there is to know about mass tort intake and how to streamline your intake strategy.
Why Is Mass Tort Plaintiff Intake So Important?
What is mass tort intake versus standard intake? When filing a mass tort claim, your legal team must plan for the following:
- Heavy contact periods in response to marketing campaigns
- Weeding out those attracted by a payday who don’t fit the claim
- Sorting out authentic complainants who don’t qualify for legal remedy
- Establishing initial mass tort client expectations
Dealing with intake at a one-on-one level without a plan in place can cause frustration and waste time for both your legal staff and prospective clients. And, frankly—you can’t afford to start out with either confusion or frustration in a mass tort claim. Data management is essential when crafting your case.
Plus, you need clients on your side. Their availability, willingness, and response time will impact how effectively and quickly the process moves ahead—and engaged clients are hard-won in mass tort cases.
According to a two-year procedural-justice study on plaintiffs’ experiences with mass tort litigation, or multidistrict-litigation (MDL) cases, only 1.8% believed their lawsuit accomplished what they had hoped. The negative stats were vastly higher:
- 65% were dissatisfied with their representatives
- 50% didn’t feel they could trust their mass tort lawyer to act in their best interest
- 67% didn’t understand what was happening with their lawsuit at any given time
Mass tort resolution is rarely a lottery-ticket experience for plaintiffs who have suffered significant damages, and the complexity of each case can result in protracted litigation that can cause frustrations.
As such, it’s essential that law firms follow the best practices and maintain an open line of communication with each client. To that end, consider adopting the following procedures:
- Document your mass tort intake policies to detail how client communication is handled
- Conduct a meticulous pre-screening of each plaintiff by setting up phone calls
- Be sensitive to clients’ experiences and expectations throughout the process
- Keep plaintiffs informed of developments in the case in a timely manner
What Are the Steps of Plaintiff Intake for Mass Tort Cases?
Once you’ve identified an individual case as a mass tort opportunity, you’ll soon move into a more formal step-by-step process of planning and completing intake with additional claimants.
Step #1: Target Leads
Based on the tort at hand, who else was affected by the same cause? Consider:
- Information source – Is there a central list of potential claimants, and can you access it?
- Demographics – Does age, gender, nationality, income, education, or religion affect the case?
- Location – Is the pool of potential claimants national or international?
Step #2: Make Strategic Campaign Plans
Targeting a pool of interested people when you don’t have an available list of names and contact information can be about adjacency—what else do these people likely have in common, and how can you leverage that information?
If the pool is dog owners in a specific neighborhood, you might put up signs at dog parks, vet clinics, and pet stores. At a digital level and for a larger-range audience, you might advertise on Google or via social media based on keyword searches, membership in types of interest groups, or regional or demographic breakdown.
Successful mass tort campaign approaches for identifying and attracting complainants include:
- Television ads – This traditional method is still effective for an older audience, usually the above-50 crowd.
- Video ads on streaming and YouTube – With a lower cost of entry, commercials targeted at niche or younger audiences are popular on streaming services and YouTube.
- Search engine marketing (SEM) – One of the more popular approaches is pay-per-click, or PPC ads, which—as the title implies—you only pay for when someone clicks on the ad. Here, you’re identifying common keyword searches used by your potential plaintiffs.
- Remarketing and retargeting – We’ve all encountered the ads that “follow us” around the internet. Those are created by coding web pages to track visitors to certain pages, such as someone who clicks on an SEM ad and visits your page but leaves without filling out the form. They could subsequently see a fresh set of ads on other pages that target key concerns (such as whether litigation will cost anything) and encourage a return visit.
- Website and newsletter/email marketing – Many organizations and companies sell ad space on their websites or in their electronic newsletters.
Working with a specialized legal marketing firm can provide you with the latest in how to most closely target your audience and other mass tort marketing ideas, particularly in the fast-changing digital advertising space.
Step #3: Conduct Data Management and Tracking
It’s all about the data—you’ll be gathering client and case information from day one to support the most efficient mass tort strategy. As such, you’ll need easy access to your client files and histories to:
- Categorize cases in subgroups related to jurisdictions, statute limitations, and more
- Work with expert witnesses to review medical records and other documents
- Understand exactly who your incoming clients are and how to reach more plaintiffs
- Plan for settlement negotiations
Data analytics should also inform your marketing campaign strategy, providing return-on-marketing-investment figures such as:
- Cost-per-lead, cost-per-signed retainer, cost-per-fileable case, and fall-off rate
- Average campaign response and intake times
- Success of recapture campaigns to pursue web page jumpers
- Hot spots around channel responsiveness
Connecting leads and intake results directly to your firm’s CRM is important to populate new client files as efficiently as possible, and marketing data can help to supplement your mass tort intake strategies.
Step #4: Create Materials
Consistent internal and external-facing materials go a long way toward keeping everyone on the same page in regards to messaging and responsibilities.
Items that you (or your intake/marketing partners) may need to create include:
- A plaintiff fact sheet
- Intake specialist scripts, checklist, and data entry forms
- Toll-free phone and text numbers
- Scripts for text prompts, questions, and answers
- Web page with a chat interface and web-based forms
- Scripts for live chat or chatbot interaction
- Contract templates for qualified complainants to sign as clients
- Scripts, filming plans, and edited videos for each television, streaming, or online channel
- Text and digital banners for each digital advertising campaign and vehicle
Step #5: Intake Potential Clients
Once you have campaigns running, who will pick up the incoming communication? Will respondents be filling out online forms or leaving phone messages?
When intaking clients, it’s essential that they’re connected with a case manager, supervising paralegal, or attorney as soon as possible. To that end, two critical elements of landing qualifying complainants include:
- Messaging – Unlike local personal injury or family law, incoming calls aren’t based on the strength of your law firm’s brand or overall marketing. People respond to campaigns that are visible to them, easy to understand and communicate the tort issue concisely and clearly.
Having a dedicated team to focus on intake with patience and consistency is key to activating this messaging and bolstering your claim. For firms of all sizes, outsourcing to an expert-level mass tort support and class action campaign service can help to streamline your intake process, customize your approach, and track data and analytics.
- Timing – Potential clients are often less likely to advance through the intake process if there’s a break in communication. Ideally, your active campaigns should be staffed with 24/7 coverage to promptly walk leads through the process soon after they show interest. A long response wait time may result in your firm losing the lead.
Step #6: Sign Clients in Real-Time
Once a complainant has responded to a campaign, the intake specialist will gather information and proceed forward with the case to identify the following:
- Whether the respondent meets the basic product use or other aspects of the tort
- Relevant facts, such as a timeline and past points of contact
- What records are available to support their experience
- If they have connected with any other legal representation
- Their availability to proceed with the discovery and trial process
An effective and efficient intake strategy may result in a signed contract with a qualified, willing complainant. Once a client is signed to the case, the intake specialist must then:
- Schedule the next client appointment or interview
- Initiate a call-to-action for gathering known records
- Set client expectations on how they’ll be treated and communicated with
- Help clients understand the basic steps and potential timeline of the mass tort
How Do You Staff for Mass Tort Intake?
Rarely does a mass tort case involve plaintiffs located in the same area. As such, the early steps of many mass tort lawsuits involve identifying and locating potential plaintiffs through marketing campaigns like commercials and digital advertising.
While gathering many plaintiffs can support the value of a mass tort claim, conducting open calls often takes up a large portion of your firm’s day-to-day operations. As touched on above, it may be beneficial to hire a mass tort solutions service to conduct communication and data analytics roles.
This allows your firm to limit internal staffing costs and streamline your communications.
Furthermore, an intake service can:
- Ensure incoming contacts are met with an immediate response
- Provide your firm with ready-made data analytics and integration
- Assist with scripting and planning the conversion process
- Respond to potential clients during non-business hours
Streamline Your Mass Tort Intake With Alert
An effective mass tort intake strategy involves strategic marketing campaigns, meticulous data management, and prompt client communication. However, part of running a successful law firm is making the best use of your team’s time and skills.
If you’re looking for a legal call center with specialized experts to assist your firm in administrative and mass tort communications, look to Alert.
Work with our highly trained team to customize your messaging, assist in outbound and inbound communications, improve online leads and conversions, and manage data and analytics. We provide omnichannel coordination, covering phone, web, text, chat, and more on a 24/7 basis.
Connect with us today to learn more about how we can support your mass tort intake.
Reuters. Life inside the mass tort machine. https://www.reuters.com/legal/legalindustry/life-inside-mass-tort-machine-2021-08-11/
LinkedIn. Mass Tort Metrics & Falloff. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/mass-tort-metrics-falloff-brian-vogel/