Automation & Efficiency, Legal TechMay 01, 2023

7 Benefits and Features of Client Intake Software for Lawyers

Custom client intake for lawyers

First impressions can make or break a relationship. So why take a chance at such a critical moment? 

Whether you're a small or large law firm, incorporating client intake software for lawyers into your practice can help you better serve your clients and win them over right from the beginning. 

It’s a powerful tool that automates the gathering and organization of client information, allowing lawyers to focus on providing legal services rather than administrative tasks. As the legal industry becomes increasingly digitized, more and more lawyers are turning to this type of software to streamline their workflows and improve client relationships. 

In this article, we will examine seven benefits and features of client intake software for lawyers, including features to look for, best practices, and more. 

Why is client intake necessary for law firms?

Client intake is the process of onboarding new clients with your legal practice. It is the crucial first step in a law firm’s overall case management workflow.

Clients are how law firms make their money, so attracting and keeping good ones requires some finesse. That's where an efficient intake experience comes in handy. 

During intake, law firms gather information about a potential client's legal issue and assess its complexity and possible outcomes. This information helps them determine whether they have the necessary expertise and resources to handle the case effectively. 

The process also allows law firms to manage client expectations by discussing possible outcomes and legal fees. This helps ensure that the client understands the legal process and their role in it, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings and conflicts later on. 

Another critical aspect of client intake for law firms is compliance with ethical and legal obligations. You must ensure that your firm does not have any conflicts of interest and that you have the necessary expertise and resources to provide effective legal representation. Law firms can identify and address potential conflicts by conducting thorough client intake. 

It also helps law firms establish a positive relationship with their clients. You can build confidence and credibility by providing a positive experience during the intake process. This can result in repeat business and referrals, which are important for the long-term success of your practice.

What does a client intake process look like?

The client intake process can vary depending on the law firm and the nature of the legal issue. However, generally, it looks something like this:

  1. Initial consultation: The client contacts the law firm to schedule an initial consultation. Make sure the customer service is excellent all the way through, but especially during the initial consultation.
  2. Information gathering: During the initial consultation, the law firm gathers information about the client's legal issue. This will include its nature, key dates, relevant documents, and any other information necessary to assess the case.
  3. Conflict check: A conflict check is conducted to ensure there are no conflicts of interest. 
  4. Assessment of the case: Based on the information gathered during the initial consultation, the law firm assesses the case to determine whether it can provide the necessary legal services and whether the potential client is a good fit for the firm.
  5. Engagement agreement: If the law firm decides to take on the case, it will provide the client with an engagement agreement. This agreement outlines the terms of the representation, including the scope of services, legal fees, and the responsibilities of the client and the law firm.
  6. Client acceptance: The client reviews and signs the engagement agreement if they agree to the terms of the representation. At this point, the law firm can begin to provide legal services to the client.

Every client intake process will follow these fundamental steps. And as you can see (or already know from experience), it’s a lot of work. So how can you streamline it? 

Benefits of using legal intake software

Legal intake software (or case management systems with advanced intake capabilities such as Neos) is designed to help law firms smooth out the intake management process by automating many of the tasks involved. Some of the benefits include:

Increased efficiency

Legal intake software can help law firms automate tasks like data entry and document management. This can increase efficiency and allow them to handle more cases. This is especially critical when clients are looking for a 

Unfortunately, manual data entry and errors often go hand in hand, leading to mistakes in client records and other important documents. Legal intake software can help improve accuracy by automating data entry.

Better organization

Legal intake software can help law firms organize client data and documents more effectively, making accessing and sharing information with clients easier. This central organization can also make it easier to access and share with other practice members. 

Faster response times

Legal intake software can help firms respond more quickly and efficiently. For example, if a potential client fills out an online intake form, the software can automatically send an email response with the next steps or schedule an appointment with a lawyer.

Enhanced client experience

A streamlined and efficient intake process can improve the overall client experience, making clients more likely to refer others to the law firm and return for future legal services.

Customizable workflows

Legal intake software can be customized to meet the specific needs of a law firm, allowing them to create workflows that align with their unique processes and requirements.

Improved data analysis

Legal intake software can help law firms track and analyze data related to the client intake process, such as conversion rates and lead sources. This data can help firms make informed choices about marketing strategies and other business decisions.

By automating intake related tasks, legal intake software can free up resources for other vital jobs, such as legal research and client representation. Additionally, it can help law firms make data-driven decisions that improve business operations and client outcomes.

Must-have features of legal client intake software

The must-have features of legal client intake software include:

  • Customizable intake forms that can be tailored to the needs of the law firm and the specific legal practice areas. Client intake software for legal firms like Neos Pro means you can change existing templates to meet your needs or create entirely new forms.
  • Automated data entry that reduces manual input and ensures accurate client data recording. Automation is a powerful tool in client intake that's becoming more sophisticated. Take Neos automation as an example. Intake forms can be populated automatically, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from call-in or web sources with zero human interaction. 
  • Integration with other software tools the law firm uses, like Docusign, LawPay, RingCentral, Quickbooks, MailChimp, and more. Bonus points if the software allows you to use API to connect any program you choose. 
  • Document automation and management that helps streamline the document creation and storage process. Look for a program that lets you automatically generate documents or batches of documents. With Neos Pro, you can use advanced search and custom naming features to manage documents meticulously. 
  • Lead prioritization and management tools that help law firms identify and focus on the most promising leads.
  • Analytics and reporting tools that help law firms analyze the performance of their intake process and make data-driven decisions. With Neos Pro, you can set up custom dashboards to see the metrics that are most important to you. For example, when working on a family law case, you can easily track any asset or expense unique to each case, be it net worth, division of assets, child support, or anything else.
  • Track every minute with a lawyer time tracker in Neos Pro and set up your firm with the ability to bulk generate invoices and set up master client billing. You can even access QuickBooks Desktop or Online right from the platform. 

By offering features like those featured above, not to mention notification managers, ePayments, and PDF editing, legal intake software can help law firms streamline their intake process, save time, and improve the client experience.

Digital client intake for lawyers: Best practices

Developing and implementing an intake process will be different for every law firm, but here are some universal best practices that can help nail it down:

  1. Streamline the engagement process: Use client intake software to make the signed engagement letter process seamless and stress-free. 
  2. Keep communications simple: Take advantage of scheduling software to book client appointments. Look for software with a communications center, like Neos Pro that lets you keep tabs on all client communications. 
  3. First impressions are key: Ensure your website, marketing materials, and outreach are well-designed and thought out. Focus on developing a brand that prospective and existing clients can easily identify and understand. 
  4. Don't disappear: Clients, especially prospective ones, want to hear from you, so communicate often and use the tools available in your client intake software to note essential follow-ups.
  5. Implement a pre-screening process: Develop a pre-screening strategy that quickly determines whether a client is right for your business. Create a pre-screening form to keep the process simple. 
  6. Review and update the intake process: Do this regularly to ensure that it's effective and efficient. Analyze data on lead conversion rates and make changes to the intake form or process based on this research.

Create an impression with the best client intake software for lawyers

Creating a good impression with potential clients is crucial for law firms to build trust and credibility. Clients create value for your company, but you must deliver a top-tier experience.

With advanced automation and workflows, dynamic intake capabilities, document management, and communication tools, Assembly Software's cloud-based case management solution Neos will help your firm centralize all the important tasks and automate the routine ones. You'll be able to focus on clients and optimize how your firm uses its time. 

You'll discover that Neos provides numerous benefits beyond client intake software for lawyers - though it's pretty great at that too. Explore Neos for yourself. Schedule a tour here.


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