Law Firm Client Intake Form as Quick and Efficient as Possible

If you have a legal practice, there’s no doubt you’ve been through the intake process. The decision to hire one of your law firm’s services takes us through a series of questions that take up time and energy for both parties.

Each time you meet with a new client, think of all the information you need to get from them. Have you been using a paper intake form and looking for an alternative? Consider gathering your legal client intake form digitally. Keep reading about how electronic forms can help transform your practice, and see how they can help get the information you need.

We all know how lengthy the client intake process is, especially when there are multiple parties involved. While onboarding, you’ll need to collect relevant documentation and personal information relating to their case alongside your clients, you’ll need to collect details related to their previous cases against their current ones.

Additionally, if they want to transfer representatives or jurisdiction, they’ll need to confirm certain information regarding their record and any relevant activity in other courts.

The legal process is information-driven and requires a longer onboarding process for the company. Generally, you don’t charge your clients for this process, which is why it’s so important to streamline the operation to make it as quick and efficient as possible, to save you time, and ensure client satisfaction.

Why is Important To Create a Client Intake Form?

A legal intake form helps to initiate the process of keeping good records for law firms and their legal services. The information you collect in your intake form will be used to track and provide the best possible representation for your potential clients. You should always have an up-to-date intake form to ensure that all information is private, confidential, and secure.

When you start using an intake form with your clients and potential clients, you’ll be able to show that you’re professional from the get-go and earn their trust quickly. By using an intake form with your clients, you can make sure you’re on the same page and that your client understands what to expect from the process saving hours of back and forward with emails, calls, etc that usually can’t be billed.

Some benefits of digital client intake legal forms.

  • Forms are accessible anywhere.
  • Reduces risk of errors.
  • Easily sort information.
  • Collects information before meeting with a client.
  • Customize forms specific to your needs.
  • Faster turnaround time.
  • Easy follow-up.
  • Sustainability for the environment.
  • Efficiency.
  • Facilitates future marketing efforts.
  • Help to manage more leads.

As you can see there are many benefits to using digital client intake forms for law firms. By implementing these digital forms, you will be able to work more efficiently and effectively with your clients. In addition, these digital forms will help reduce the risk of human error, save you time so you can concentrate on legal matters, and facilitate future growth opportunities for your law office business.

If you are looking for a way to improve your law firm’s intake process, consider using a digital client intake form.

Guidance for creating client intake forms for your law firms.

There are a variety of ways to create an intake form for your law firm business. The following includes a brief list of options and some questions that you might want to think about when designing yours.

  1. The first form can request contact information to reach the clients. Here you get some idea of why these clients want to hire a specific law firm. You can also include where they are at in their process of finding an attorney. Today, you’ll find that many people will contact you online. It is a great way to get the first introduction.
  2. Filtering incoming clients can help streamline the process in the office. This allows staff to schedule or not schedule; to find out if you are a good fit for them or vice versa. It’s okay not to work with a client. If the case is too much for your workload or out of your spectrum, refer them to someone in your network.
  3. Take the time to include questions that may make you reconsider working with them. Is there a conflict of interest for your business? Could their case not be tried? You have a reason behind your choice, and it is great to know if this is worth the time and effort upfront.
  4. Collect details of their claim or case such as where, why, who, or what was involved. This can help pinpoint highlights of what is most important to their case.
  5. Introduce your practice. This follow-up form can be sent automatically once an appointment is confirmed. Here you can outline the expectations from both parties, fees, and what will be covered at the first consultation. Include any other documents that need to be signed as a new client.
  6. Forms should be user-friendly which only encourages the potential client to complete them. Can a client complete them on their phone or laptop? Does it need too much information all at once? Looking at completing this form as a client will help with the compliance of paperwork.

Following some of the ideas listed above can help gather the information needed before getting started at an initial consultation with your legal services.

How Should I Create My Legal Client Intake Form?

These days, documents that used to be hand-delivered at the accounting office have to be done digitally (by email or personal Dropbox) or through courier services.

Regardless of the method you use to share information, privacy must always be your #1 concern, especially since the case records contain information that could be used for identity theft or other malicious activities if it landed in the wrong hands.

Offline Intake Forms.

Offline intake forms are paper-based forms that are used to collect relevant information about a client. It is usually done in person and at the first meeting. If these are done in person and on paper at the first meeting, you’re wasting valuable time from the beginning. Taking the forms online, it becomes easily accessible to your clients. File Request Pro offers an easy solution for digital forms. It allows a practice to move efficiently through the new client process.

Email Password-protected documents.

Your emails may not be encrypted, and thus any private information you’re about to send can be intercepted by a third party. This can lead to serious security risks in terms of intellectual property theft or leaked company data.

The American Bar Association (ABA) lays out specific rules for professional conduct relevant to lawyers. According to Rule 1.6 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, also known as the Client-Lawyer Relationship, a lawyer “shall not reveal information relating to the representation of the client unless the client gives consent. Therefore using email may not be a possible option.

Use a secure Form or Upload Page.

Another way to transmit documents is to use a secure portal or upload the page to upload them.

File upload page software is a part automation tool, part file upload software, and part form builder. It provides you with an easy way to request and organize files.  Clients are not required to log in, and the user experience should be more like filling in an online form rather than learning how to use complex new software.

An effective client intake form should be simple for your clients to use and guides them through what they need to upload.

This example has been created using File Request Pro:

lawyer client intake form example

You can always use our Law firm intake template to speed up the process of building your form.

If clients are sending you private and confidential data, you must make sure your data collection process is secure and trustworthy. Using unencrypted email or even links to shared cloud folders can be problematic.

In contrast, File Request Pro provides you with a secure way to collect data that is still easy for your clients to use. All our user data is encrypted at rest using AES 256-bit encryption algorithm.

If you’re a client, you can recommend this program to your Lawyer to help keep your own documents secure.

Legal Client Intake Forms Best Practices.

Legal client relationships are very important, so it’s crucial to get them off to a good start. Make the client intake procedure as simple as you can for your prospective clients while demonstrating that you are paying attention to them and interested in their problems.

A successful client intake procedure should be simple for the client, effective for the staff, maintain information structured for all parties, and include a personal touch that demonstrates your concern for the clients.

Keep a record of your client intake procedures and policies.

How should your personnel respond to phone calls or emails from potential customers? Who sets up consultation times? Where can I get the potential client intake form? What occurs when a prospective customer comes to your office?

Although the majority of the answers to these questions are obvious, it’s still a good idea to make clear what is expected of the staff and attorneys.

Include the client intake process as part of their training so your employees will be well custom on how to address new clients.

Make a Careful Pre-Screen.

Spending time onboarding clients who you know won’t be a good fit is the quickest way to squander time on client intake. Lawyers are naturally compassionate, but not every issue or client fits your area of expertise, workload, or firm size. It’s perfectly okay to turn down legal clients who would be better off receiving assistance elsewhere.

Try scheduling a quick phone contact with prospective clients to discuss the situation at hand. What does the person ask you to do for them? Have they previously worked with an attorney?

Refer them to another attorney in your network or to a website or organization that might be able to provide them with the information they need if you determine after this initial contact that the client isn’t a good fit.

Even though you’re not going to take on this person as a legal client, they will still remember your assistance and are more likely to recommend you to friends or family members who would be a suitable fit for your company service.

Make Sure to Pay Attention During your Initial Consultation.

After your client fills out the }client intake form it’s time to get in contact with them and do your initial appointment or phone contact, it is important to listen and pay attention to your customer and show emotional sensitivity so you start with the right foot in your client relationship.

Making a potential client feel at ease right away may influence their decision to engage with you. People frequently turn to lawyers for assistance with incredibly difficult life difficulties (even when it’s a business matter, there’s probably some amount of emotion or stress involved).

Spend Time Talking About Your Fee Details.

Allow time during your initial session to go over your billing procedure details, acceptable payment options, and anything else linked to the client’s payments.

Setting expectations and ensuring that your client can pay for your services in a way that benefits both them and your business is dependent on this. Never be afraid to bring up alternate pricing strategies, such as flat prices in place of hourly billing or client payment plans.

Follow Prospective Clients According to Where They are in The Client Intake Process.

Don’t let potential customers squeak by unnoticed after your client has to fill out the client intake form, your client must be more of a name in a contact form, but must already have a protocol to be called, and that, depending on what stage of the process they are in, they should be treated accordingly.

For a clear understanding of which clients you need to take action on—and what needs to happen—break your client intake process down into clearly defined stages, such as:

  • Not yet contacted.
  • Requires follow-up.
  • Client intake form pending.

Continual Improvement.

It’s critical to remember that no matter how much you have worked on your intake process, it will never be flawless: Regularly (e.g., every six months) reexamine your process to determine whether there are possibilities to make it more effective or enhance the user experience for potential customers.

Final Thoughts.

Creating an efficient and effective client intake process is vital for any law firm. By taking the time to create a client intake form that meets the needs of both your firm and your clients, you can streamline the intake process and ensure that everyone understands what to expect.

By continuously improving your legal client intake form, you can make sure that it meets the ever-changing needs of your law firm.