Clients are one of the most crucial assets for a law firm. Lawyers are liable to define this relationship as it’s important for their professional satisfaction and law firm growth. To provide the best experience for clients, lawyers must have a smooth onboarding process from the very beginning to the end.
According to a research report, most of the clients face problems in the onboarding process. Whether you are starting your new law practice or already running a law firm, it’s equally important for both to have a streamlined client intake process. The ultimate key is to make an amazing first impression on your clients.
What’s a Client Intake Process?
Client intake is a process of onboarding clients in a law firm and gaining personal information from them. This information will help lawyers in opening up the case. Lawyers often consider the client intake process time-consuming because usually, it’s unbillable.
However, lawyers need to know how they can create seamless and effective client intake forms that can help lawyers and clients to define their relationship. A well-composed client intake form will have all the required details which will showcase the firm’s professionalism. If you are new to this and don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in deep to know what’s client intake process is.
Understanding client intake process–
Attracting Potential Clients
Everything we have demonstrated so far leads us to the very first step to the client intake process. New leads can reach you from anywhere, but majorly, it comes from referrals, social media, blogs, websites, and paid ads. Clients may find you when they search for law firms in their local city.
Acquiring Contact Information
Acquiring basic information with ease should be the very first step towards converting a lead into a potential client. This can take place via sign-up forms or gated content through automated chatbots.
Before you schedule a consultation to meet with your potential client, pre-screening helps you understand if the client is even fit for your legal services. This way, you can refer the client to other attorneys, which will fit their needs if you can’t.
Make sure that you don’t have any commitment to anyone or any conflict that you can’t work for the incoming client. For example, if the potential client is the opposite party, in some other case, you are responsible for.
Allow your client to book an initial consultation with your ‘client intake’ software or practice management software, like CaseFox. This enables clients to easily submit details in effective client intake forms and custom templates.
Collecting Details and Information
Ask your clients to share the key points and details that you will need to open a legal case for your clients.
Signing Fee Agreement
An agreement is signed by the client about all the information like fees, billable hours, billing cycle, arrangements, and procedure, which is agreed upon and then signed by the client. With the right tools, this form can be easily generated by taking the information for clients’ intake form.
Have a detailed communication with clients about the billing cycle or how they can contact you in urgency, how to pay their bills, and other such important information.
Key components of a client intake form:
The client intake form is a vital part of the intake process of serious leads, which later can turn into paying clients. Therefore, it’s important to design the client intake form in a way that it can distinguish between general leads and potential leads.
From both of the client intake forms will gather information for serious leads which will be needed for a follow-up by the lawyer and considered lawyer in preparing initial case facts and opening up legal cases. Such information includes name, contact details, address, fax if available, the basic idea of what the case is about.
Another important aspect of the law firm client intake form is the case information. This may include case information, involved party details, income details, and current employment. This type of information outlines all the important aspects about the legal case, such as what is the case about, if there is a conflict, any obstacles the firm will face while working on this case, and budget limitations.
Client intake forms are a great way to know about their current client base or acquisition process. Not all leads end up signing the deal, but you can take advantage by adding a section in client intake about the referral section. This will let you know how the lead ended up coming to you.
Questions about the client, how they reached your firm, such as by getting referred by friends or family, or word of mouth, social media, content marketing, an online search or paid ads, etc.
Retainer agreements are a good opportunity to outline any specific expectations, procedures, and policies. This process of generating legal retainer agreements can be simplified by legal practice management software, as they can replace all the essential parts of information when needed.
Giving clients a transparent process about fees will just benefit them, but also benefit you in a way. Clients will trust you more if you are giving exceptional client service. Clients always prefer a seamless and smooth payment process.
The client intake form should include details about fees, any payment plans, what are the payment methods if there are any payment plans that can convert fees into smaller amounts, and all such information.
After the client intake process, setting up a consultation meeting as a follow-up appointment and communicating all the aspects of the case is very crucial for the starting stage, as it avoids clients seeking other law firms for consultation.
Scheduling a hassle-free follow-up appointment through an intake form shouldn’t be a problem if you use the right tools.
Creating a client intake form that has all the information eases up the client onboarding process. Giving clients the best experience from the very start will portray an image of great professionalism and exceptional customer service. If all of this is too much time taking then you automate this entire process by just adapting to case management software. It gets even better with the client intake feature of CaseFox.