Arm Your Intake Staff with Proper Tools
It’s not enough to simply make sure you have the right people in the right roles. You need to, as an attorney and management team, make sure you are providing them the tools to ensure their success and in turn your success. This is not only referring to a software solution but in this case, a standard process and guidelines for that process to allow them as much autonomy as possible. This does not mean that attorneys should be removed from the legal intake process, but it is important to allow your staff to get through as much of the process as possible.
Empower Your Intake Staff
Some of the most successful law firms we work with give their staff criteria and guidelines to allow them to make a decision on whether or not to sign up a case. If this is not possible, they need to have at least the ability to schedule a consultation or an appointment with the investigator without getting an attorney involved. Potential clients need to see your firm as easy to work with allowing them to feel comfortable with selecting you as their attorney. Talking to numerous people and waiting for a call back to find out if you can take their case or not, not only puts doubt in their mind regarding your ability to handle their case but also allows for them to get on the phone with another firm. The call backs regarding case approval can also hinder communications that were disrupted by the case review. The majority of legal intake professionals we see want to do the best job possible. Even the best intake representatives forget to follow up with a potential client from time to time. More often they do follow up with the callback but never reach the potential client. Voice mail, phone tag give your competition a chance to step in. Who knows how many calls your potential client made to other firms, how many contact forms they filled out, how many friends and family are chirping in their ear about ‘their awesome attorney?’
Setting Intake Criteria for Everyone
A hurdle that we often see within firms that cause issues with standardizing a process is that each attorney has their way of handling things. While in their bubble this is usually fine, it is not advantageous for the firm as a whole as the intake staff are taking calls and following up with leads for all case types. Therefore, a standard process needs to be in place and attorneys will have to make some concessions for the greater good. We have also witnessed firms setting their criteria in fairly black and white terms. When a case is in the grey area intake is allowed to run these cases by individual attorneys. Experience and knowledge vary from attorney to attorney. A case in the grey area could be a case not worth turning down because in the past an attorney on your staff had success in similar claims.