If you’re a law firm, the intake of new clients is essential to your success. Not only do you need to have a process in place for taking on new business, but you also need to make sure that the process is as smooth and easy as possible for both you and your clients.
In this blog post, we will provide you with a comprehensive law firm client intake checklist. We’ll explain each step of the process, give you some advice on how to streamline it, and tell you what to expect from start to finish.
What is a legal client intake process?
A law firm’s client intake process is the procedure by which a law firm takes on new clients. It includes everything from the initial contact with a potential client to signing them on as an official client of the firm.
There are many different ways to approach client intake, but there are some essential steps that every law firm should take in order to ensure a smooth and successful onboarding process.
What are the steps in the law firm intake process?
Here is a step-by-step breakdown of the law firm client intake process:
- Initial Contact: This is the first point of contact between you and your potential client. It can happen in person, over the phone, or online. During this initial contact, you will gather basic information about the potential client and their legal issue.
- Initial Consultation: Once you have gathered enough information about the potential client and their legal issue, you will schedule an initial consultation. This is usually a meeting in person or over the phone, during which you will discuss the details of the case and determine whether or not you are a good fit for each other.
- Case Evaluation: After the initial consultation, you will evaluate the potential client’s case to see if it is something that your law firm can help with. This evaluation will include things like researching the law, investigating the facts of the case, and consulting with experts.
- Engagement Letter: If you decide to take on the potential client’s case, you will send them an engagement letter. This letter will outline the terms of your agreement, including the scope of representation and the fees that will be charged.
- Signing on the Dotted Line: Once the engagement letter is signed, the potential client becomes an official client of your law firm. From there, you will begin working on their case and representing them in whatever legal matter they need help with.
As you can see, there are a few different steps that are involved in law firm client intake. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you through it. Read on for our advice on how to streamline your process and make sure everything goes smoothly.
Law firm client intake checklist
Use this law firm client intake checklist to make onboarding new clients and introducing them to your firm as easy as possible.
1. The initial consultation
The initial consultation is the first step in your law firm’s client intake process. This is usually a meeting in person or over the phone, during which you will discuss the details of the case and determine whether or not you are a good fit for each other.
Keep in mind that 67% of individuals searching for a lawyer want one that offers both in-person and remote (online) options. Familiarize yourself with platforms like Zoom to take advantage of this trend.
Here are some tips for making sure your initial consultation goes smoothly:
- Schedule enough time for the consultation. Depending on the complexity of the case, you may need an hour or more to go over everything with the potential client.
- Prepare ahead of time. Take some time to review the potential client’s file and familiarize yourself with their legal issue before the consultation. This will help you make sure that you’re able to answer any questions they have and give them the best possible advice.
- Be clear about your fees. During the consultation, be sure to discuss your law firm’s fee structure with the potential client. This will help avoid any confusion or misunderstanding down the road.
- Get everything in writing. After the consultation, send the potential client a summary of what was discussed, as well as your law firm’s engagement letter. This will help ensure that both you and the client are on the same page about what to expect from working together.
By following these tips, you can make sure that your initial consultation goes smoothly and that you’re able to gather all of the information you need from the potential client.
Read our guide on law firm lead generation to get more prospects in your pipeline as well.
That brings me to my next point.
2. Preparing for the meeting
The next step, as discussed previously, is to prepare for the meeting so you can provide prospects with the right information and answer any questions. This can be done by:
- Reviewing the potential client’s file and familiarizing yourself with their legal issue before the consultation.
- Taking some time to review the law and investigate the facts of the case.
- Consult with others, if necessary, to get their opinion on the case.
I highly recommend using a legal CRM to manage and organize all of your client’s information and case data.
3. What to bring to the meeting
In addition to being prepared with the right information, you’ll also want to make sure that you have everything you need for the meeting itself. This includes:
- Your law firm’s engagement letter.
- A copy of your law firm’s fee agreement.
- Any other relevant documents that the potential client may need to sign.
By having all of these things ready ahead of time, you can avoid any last-minute scrambling and make sure that the meeting goes smoothly.
4. Types of information you will need from the client
On that note, what type of information should you gather from clients during the intake process? Here is a list of information that you will need from every client, regardless of the type of case:
- The client’s full name and contact information.
- A summary of the legal issue.
- Any relevant documents or evidence that the client has.
- The names and contact information of any other parties involved in the case.
This is just a basic overview. You may need to gather more specific information depending on the nature of the case. But if you can get all of this from the client, you’ll be off to a good start.
5. How to take payment and schedule future appointments
Next, you will need to discuss fees, payment details, and schedule a future appointment. As mentioned before, it’s important to be clear about your law firm’s fee structure and payment terms before the consultation. This will help avoid any confusion or misunderstanding down the road.
As a matter of fact, being transparent about your legal fees is seen as a positive in 59% of cases.
When it comes to scheduling future appointments, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Make sure that you have enough time for each meeting. Depending on the complexity of the case, you may need an hour or more for each meeting.
- Schedule regular check-ins with the client. This will help you stay updated on the case and make sure that everything is going smoothly.
- Be flexible with the client’s schedule. If they need to reschedule, try to accommodate them as best you can.
6. What to do after the meeting
At this point, you’ve prepared for intaking the new client, sat down with them, and discussed their case and how you can help. Now it’s time to wrap up the meeting and get everything in writing.
After the consultation, send the potential client a summary of what was discussed, as well as your law firm’s engagement letter. This will help ensure that both you and the client are on the same page about what to expect from working together.
If everything goes well and the client decides to hire your law firm, congratulations! You’ve just taken on a new case.
By following these tips, you can make sure that your initial consultation goes smoothly and that you’re able to gather all of the information you need from the potential client. With a little preparation, you’ll be ready to take on any new case that comes your way.
The bottomline on law firm client intake
Your law firm can have the best marketing and advertising in the world, but without the right intake checklist and process, you won’t close prospects. Plain and simple. Use the legal intake checklist outlined in this article to onboard new clients more easily and convert them.
If you need legal marketing experts to help you with your digital marketing and generating more revenue, schedule a free consultation with the WiseMedia team.