Technology is just as essential to the legal industry as any other. It offers exciting advances and allows for streamlined operations and improved client interaction. But if used improperly, legal technology is no better than inefficient, traditional methods.
One major concern when adopting new technology is ROI. Making sure your investment pays off in new leads or gained efficiencies is crucial. If you’re using case management software as your intake system, you can be significantly reducing your ROI.
Unaware of the value of specialized intake software, some practices rely on case management as an end-to-end option for handling both current caseloads and qualified leads. While some firms can get by with this approach, they may never land the volume of new clients needed to make the most of an elite case management strategy.
There’s no need to choose between case management and intake software. Both options can play a crucial role in your law firm’s strategy. It’s important, however, to know when and under what circumstances they should be utilized.
Top Differences Between Case Management And Intake Software
Case management and intake software differ in their structure, processes, and the types of information they are designed to handle. These differences underlie not only the purpose of these types of software, but also their basic operation.
The following are among the most important qualities that set these disparate, yet compatible, solutions apart:
Leads Versus Existing Clients
While case management and intake hold many surface-level differences, the main distinguishing factor involves the type of individuals to which they cater..
Intake should be exclusively dedicated to leads. These may include both prospects obtained through various marketing efforts and referrals from other law firms. The goal, of course, is to transform these leads into clients. This marks the transition from intake to case management, which should be reserved for active cases.
Marketing Versus Management
Rather than categorize leads or track nurturing efforts such as marketing emails, case management software focuses on the day-to-day logistics of working with clients. This can include everything from billing to calendars. Case management is also crucial for handling a high volume of client and case documents, which can otherwise be challenging to organize and track.
By streamlining these essentials via case management software, lawyers can better focus on providing the attentive, customized service their clients deserve.
Intake software optimizes the final stages of the marketing process. Metrics play a crucial role in this effort.
Data gathered through intake software offers much-needed insight into the efficacy of specific practices. Equipped with this understanding, law firms can tweak their marketing strategy as needed to produce a higher volume of qualified leads and ensure that those leads ultimately convert to become long-term clients.
Case management software also incorporates metrics, but these focus more on identifying efficiencies and cost-savings in case management to improve the firm’s performance and profitability.
Integrating Intake and Case Management Software
While intake and case management software can pay dividends when used independently, they prove most effective when implemented in conjunction. The goal: a seamless process in which leads become clients through nurturing and intake — and are then onboarded and maintained via case management solution.
Many aspects of dedicated intake software can pave the path to effective case management. eSign, for example, produces quick conversions and easy-to-manage documentation that can later be referenced as necessary. Likewise, tailored intake scripts help to ensure that the right leads are targeted — and that they come away from intake calls knowing precisely what to expect as a productive attorney-client relationship develops. Properly vetted and prepared leads make for easier relationships with clients and increased firm productivity.
The ideal setup involves an intake system that integrates directly into case management software. This eliminates the need for double entries, as client information generated during the intake process can be automatically added to the case management system. Automation produces significant time savings on the law firm’s end while also increasing client satisfaction via streamlined service.
Intake and case management need not be entirely separate. Multiple programs can be integrated to ensure that both leads and clients are managed most efficiently and effectively. As you seek the best solution for your law firm, don’t hesitate to take advantage of these helpful software solutions.