5 Best Client Intake Software for Law Firms
When it comes to practicing law, one of the most important parts of the process is client intake. You need to be able to identify exactly what your clients need, as well as how you can help them. Thankfully, client intake is being made easy. Recently, many different software options have become available. If you’re in a law firm and you’re looking for a client intake solution, keep reading! We’re here to help you get your client intake process up to speed.
Here’s What We’ll Cover:
What Is the Client Intake Process?
The client intake process is the first step in the client journey. It’s also one of the most arduous steps for smaller law firms. It takes time, and most of that time isn’t billable hours. This is where client intake software comes into play. This software goes by a few different names. You may have heard it referred to as legal intake software, attorney intake software, or injury case management software. Sometimes, you’ll hear it referred to as customer relationship management (CRM) software, as well.
The client intake process is more than just signing on prospective clients. It’s a lengthy process, and it starts before potential clients even approach you. When you’re thinking about the client intake process, it can be thought of in the following steps:
- Attracting a new potential client. This is before the client journey even begins. It’s like a pre-step to the entire intake process. This is how your clients find you. It can be done through marketing efforts, advertising, or client referrals.
- Obtaining contact information. Using an intake software that makes sharing contact info easy is important. Contact details can be collected by using a contact form, something that many software options provide.
- Pre-screening your clients. This is information that can be collected quickly. It doesn’t have to be detailed, it just has to tell you enough about their case. This helps you determine whether or not the client is a good fit.
- Checking for conflicts. You have to be able to work for a client to hire them. Make sure there are no existing conflicts that can prevent this.
- Initial consultation. Once you’ve finished the first steps, you’re ready to give the client a consultation. This can be scheduled by using many software options we’ll be covering.
- Collecting key information. After you’ve had the opportunity to consult the client, you’ll need to ask for key information. This is the information that’s relevant to their case.
- Providing a fee agreement. This step is one of the most imperative. You must create a fee agreement and get it signed by the client. This needs to happen before any more work can be done.
- Onboard the client. After the client agrees to your fees, you’ll go through onboarding. This process helps with getting them ready for the client experience. It tells them when to expect legal documents and bills, and teaches them the document formatting.
It’s plain to see that the law firm client intake portion of law practice is difficult. It takes a lot of time, and is the first part of the client’s experience. As such, it’s important to treat it as a client-focused experience. Being able to provide exceptional customer service throughout each step increases their desire to hire you.
5 Best Client Intake Software Options
When you’re looking to reduce costs and time associated with the intake process, you’ll need good software. We’ve taken a look and found the best 5 software options for your law firm. Check them out below!
1. Law Ruler
Law Ruler is a software package made specifically for law firms, meant for improving client relationships. It’s the longest running specific software for this purpose, being introduced in 2012. As such, they’ve had some time to iron out the kinks and make it the appealing program it is today. Law Ruler claims that they can help your law firm increase revenue by 20%. That’s a pretty bold claim, but they have features to back it up.
Law Ruler is a program that’s easy to use and navigate. It doesn’t take much time for law firms to get well acquainted with the way it works. It also helps with workflow automation for the lead nurturing process. Automation for law firms can be one of the best ways to reduce costs in the long run. What’s more is that they have a great customer support team. That means that if you get stuck, you’ve got someone to help you.
However, while Law Ruler is an excellent option, they do have their downfalls. They lack 3rd party integrations to the largest email services, Gmail and Microsoft Outlook. While that’s not entirely a dealbreaker, it does mean that you have to manage more than one system.
Clio is relatively new on the scene, and they are certainly making waves. The company is a dedicated law firm CRM. They cover the intake process, as well as just about everything else you can imagine. Built from the ground up for law firms, they’ve done a great job of taking the industry’s needs into account.
Clio is able to be scaled to a business of any size. It doesn’t matter if you’re a solo legal professional, or an enterprise-sized firm, they’ve got a plan for you. They offer dozens of integrations for your business. They also employ industry-leading security methods to protect the program. Being web-based, this is incredibly important.
The biggest thing to dislike about Clio is its lack of a desktop application. The program has to be used online or from a mobile app. While having a web-based program is great most of the time, it can become frustrating occasionally.
As the name implies, Lawmatics is another industry-specific software program. It’s actually the most used program in the industry, as well. They consider themselves an end-to-end solution because of all of the services they provide. These services include client intake, customer relationship management, and marketing automation. They also provide fully customizable campaigns and app integrations.
They claim to be able to increase customer engagement for your law firm. The program feels modern, unlike many other offerings. It’s sleek and intuitive, making it easy and enjoyable to use. One of the best parts, though, is their form builder. This builder allows your law firm to make a number of unique client intake forms. The online intake form builder allows for custom intake forms, as well as standardized ones. This is a huge bonus for firms that deal with a variety of cases.
The biggest issue we see with Lawmatics is the lack of document management integration. Other offerings allow for document automation. This means that client documents are routed to where they need to be without manual movement. Lawmatics prevents this from happening. Otherwise, this is a fantastic application.
While you may not consider FreshBooks to be an intake software, they are a great CRM option. In fact, they make collaboration easy with their software! FreshBooks brings along with it everything a small law firm needs to help their clients. The application provides a variety of features that your law firm may find helpful.
When you choose FreshBooks, you choose an application that’s made for collaboration. This software lets you invite employees and clients to use it, as well. This means that everyone is able to communicate within the same space. Having a portal that clients can use is huge. In addition to communication, FreshBooks also provides document management. All the documents your firm needs for your client’s case can be accessed through the software. No more searching endlessly for the files that you need.
A key part of FreshBooks’ innovative software is the financial tracking it allows. It’s useful as a project management software, but this can also be used to track your firm’s billable hours. Every case can be treated like its own project. After all, each case you take on needs the attention a business project would.
The last software we wanted to cover is interaction. About a third of all law firms use this software, giving it an impressive market share. However, with all of the law specific CRM options being developed, it has lost some traction.
Interaction is well-established, but it’s really only built for mid-sized or large law firms. This is likely the reason that it’s lost its market share in recent years. However, the program itself works well. It provides document storage options, as well as business development software. It’s a package that takes itself seriously, and looks to help your law firm grow.
One of the biggest cons of Interaction is its heavy amount of features. It may require IT assistance when it comes to installation, as well as training. This lack of a user-friendly experience can be intimidating for some individuals.
Client intake can be a difficult process. Thankfully, plenty of software options have arrived that make the process easy. Most of the options come with extra perks, too! Having a full customer relationship management package is helpful for a law firm of any size. Discover more information just like this over at our resource hub!