We often hear that first impressions matter, and that is particularly true in the legal industry. The first impression that a potential client has about a law firm can sway their decision to hire that firm or look elsewhere. Part of making a great first impression is having a client intake form that speaks to your brand and the services that you offer.
A client intake form is more than just a form – it is the building block of your relationship with potential clients. With the right elements, an intake form can set you up to impress your potential clients and make their first interactions with your law firm an excellent experience. Below, the intake experts at Legal Conversion Center offer tips on how to create the perfect legal client intake form.
Intake Form Must Haves
With these 7 helpful elements, your client intake form can make intake more efficient, boost your conversion rates, increase your return on investment (ROI), and increase client satisfaction.
1. Contact Information
For a law firm, client intake is similar to a sales process. Intake is your opportunity to turn a lead into a paying client. The best way to boost these conversions is by having an intake process that is client-focused, effective, and efficient. To start this process, the first thing your client intake form needs is space to collect the following contact information:
- Full Name
- Email Address
- Phone Number(s)
- Fax (if applicable
2. Case Information
A great legal client intake form has a separate space for case information outside of the basic contact information already collected. In this space, you will want to collect information about the case itself – what parties are involved, are there other attorneys involved, and what is the legal status.
It is also helpful to have space for details about the particular type of case it is – such as personal injury versus debt defense. Having this detailed information helps your intake team screen potential clients more effectively. A good example of what information to collect includes the following (example using personal injury):
- What is the nature of the accident?
- What is the date that the accident occurred?
- Where did the accident occur?
- What injuries were sustained in the accident?
- Was anyone else hurt?
3. Client Income Information
In order to calculate what your law firm will charge for a case, it is important to consider the case itself, as well as the client’s annual income. Your firm needs to be compensated for the work done, and clients need to know what value they are getting in exchange for attorney’s fees. Ideally, a client will have sufficient income to support your pricing structure. But sometimes, cases are taken on a contingency fee basis, which means you will need to assess your fees based on the long-term outcome.
4. Detail Your Fee Structure
It is a good idea to detail your fee structure upfront with potential and new clients. Potential clients will appreciate you being forthcoming with fees and what to expect. Make sure that this part of your legal intake form includes information about:
- Billing Processes
- What Type of Cases are Flat-Fee Cases
- What Type of Cases are Contingency Cases
- Accepted Methods of Payment
- Payment Plan Options
- What Happens if the Client Doesn’t Pay
5. Follow Up with Potential Clients
If you are consulting with a potential client via telephone, make sure to schedule a follow up appointment with them before hanging up. This provides something of a soft commitment to your firm, which can help prevent the potential client from continuing to shop around for an attorney. Make sure that your intake form has space for follow up appointment information and notes. When you do follow up, make sure you update your notes.
6. Retainer Agreement
A great way to close out the intake process is by sending the client a retainer agreement. By sending the retainer agreement immediately, you are showing the potential client that you are serious about pursuing their matter. This also provides the potential client with an opportunity to verify their information and confirm that they understand your billing process.
Your retainer agreement should outline everything you have already discussed with the potential client, but should also include details on any policies or procedures that are relevant to your law firm. If your law firm has trouble managing and securing retainers, professional law firm intake services like Legal Conversion Center can help.
7. Push the Information into Case Management Software
Now that you have completed the intake form, the next step is entering the information into your case management software. Streamlining this process improves customer service and satisfaction. As the case moves forward, you will have all the necessary information at your fingertips in a professional and organized fashion. Some of the best case management software available to law firms include Clio, Lead Docket, and Captorra.
Putting the Process Together
When interviewing potential new clients for your law firm, you always want to give a great first impression. By crafting an excellent legal client intake form, you make a great first impression and help the potential client feel seen and heard, and know that you are serious about helping them.
If your law firm is in need of assistance with client intake, contact Legal Conversion Center to learn more about our legal intake services.