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Best practices to improve law firm conversion rates

An important part of improving the client experience for law firms is optimizing your law firm’s conversion rate. Law firm owners should be familiar with the term if they are investing in their firm’s marketing – but if you’re unfamiliar, don’t worry, I’m here to help!

Setting the scene

The client conversion rate for law firms utilizes a formula to determine how many new clients are being signed up in a given time period and is used in tandem with a firm’s marketing efforts to determine the efficacy of their marketing budget.

Keeping track of your firm’s conversion rates during different time frames helps firm management:

  • Identify ongoing issues at the firm
  • Pinpoint what has been working to convert leads
  • Plan for the future

Keeping track of conversion rates also helps your intake team:

  • Understand when and how new clients are joining the firm
  • Set benchmarks
  • Adapt intake processes to optimize conversions

I know, this sounds like a lot to understand, but I promise you, after reading this blog you’ll be able to track your firm’s conversion rate with ease.

You need to track your law firm’s client acquisition KPIs

Surprisingly often, when I speak with law firm owners and their intake personnel, they report that they are not collecting valuable data from new leads coming in.

If a new client calls in and your intake staff doesn’t ask where they heard about your law firm, a huge part of the picture for your client’s journey is missing.

By associating each lead with a point of origin, the acquisition cost of each lead can be calculated.

The approximate monetary value assigned to new leads and a clear understanding of how many of these leads are becoming clients are two client acquisition key performance indicators (KPIs) every marketing-minded law firm should be collecting. 

law firm lead conversion rates

The more effort (and money) you put into your firm’s marketing, the more critical it is to keep track of new leads coming into your law firm.

Lead attribution, or knowing what marketing channel each new lead comes from, is the first step in making sense of a client’s journey through the marketing funnel. 

Your firm’s client conversion rate is directly related to the quality of work your staff is putting into handling new leads, as well as your firm’s ability to properly allocate funds to profitable marketing channels. 

You should be starting to see why this data can change your firm’s marketing strategy and in turn, its intake process.

Time for some math

Now that you understand why keeping track of your conversion rate is an important KPI for your firm, we can get into the formula itself.

In its simplest form, the conversion rate formula for law firms is the number of new clients signed in a given time frame divided by the number of new leads.

Number of new leads➗number of leads = Conversion rate

In its basic state, the formula for calculating conversions can be a little misleading.

When I began introducing my clients to the conversion rate formula, I had a client express concern that applying this formula to all new leads, not just qualified leads, coming into his firm would produce inaccurate data, as he was not interested in how unqualified leads affected his firm’s sign up rates.

I agreed with this concern for his firm’s situation- their attribution channels were clear, the client journey down the marketing funnel was well documented, and we had already instituted intake protocols to qualify new leads.

So, we worked together to figure out how to adapt the formula for his specific situation. The new formula we developed was #NewClients/#QualifiedLeads = Conversion Rate.

If you operate a law firm with multiple practice areas, it may be effective to apply the conversion rate formula separately.

For example, a firm that takes personal injury and workers’ compensation leads may want to calculate the practice area conversion rates separately in order to see the lead volume for each department.

Doing so can show firm management which practice areas are bringing in the most revenue, which areas need to update their intake process, and how to maximize marketing dollars to convert leads to clientele.

The formula for individual practice area conversions would be:

Number of new clients in practice area ➗number of leads in practice area = Practice area conversion rate

The last example I’ll mention in this blog is using a modified conversion rate for firms that receive a high volume of referrals. This can help firm management identify the percentage of new clients that derive from referrals, and determine which referral relationships should be nurtured.

This formula can also be divided by practice area if necessary. A basic referral conversion formula would then become:

Number of new clients from referrals ➗number of leads from referrals = Referral conversion rate

Okay, we’ve made it through the nitty-gritty of creating a conversion rate formula that works for your firm. The next step is to get your intake team to start collecting this data.

Using your intake team to track conversion rates

My last blog post discussed how Client Relationship Management systems are an important tool for managing new intakes at a law firm. Many of these CRMS, like Lead Docket and Captorra, automatically generate reports about leads coming into law firms.

However, automated or not, proper reporting requires a well-trained intake team who understands what information to collect during each intake. To properly track conversions, intake specialists need to identify where leads come from and what practice area the caller is inquiring about.

Additionally, trusting that your intake team is trained to ask the right questions and communicate effectively with potential clients about the sign-up process is vital to turning leads into clients.

law firms conversion rates

If your firm is not using an intake CRM, a Google Sheet or Excel document can be used to record the number of leads contacting your firm. To properly apply the conversion formula that works for your firm, it may be helpful to divide this document by a predetermined time frame and by practice area.

Lastly and most importantly, your intake team needs to be made aware of which leads are signed up as clients if the intake department is not responsible for this step in the client journey. Without this last piece of information, the conversion rate formula does not work, and your firm will not be able to use it correctly.

It is my belief that tasking conversion rate tracking with the intake team is the most logical way to handle conversion data. This is because intake personnel is already keeping track of leads and communicating with attorneys on the viability of clients. It also provides law firm management with a KPI for their intake team to see how their performance is affecting sign-up rates.

In conclusion

Instituting a process to keep track of all leads coming into your firm and their approximate value can transform how you manage your firm. The last thing firm owners want to see is that you have been missing out on high-value cases because your team didn’t see their value, or left them waiting for a decision for too long.

Early intervention to solve these issues is more simple than you think- keep track of your lead conversions, and train your intake team on how to do so. 

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed or confused by conversion rate formulas, ESIgnite is for you. Our team will set up the necessary attribution channels to start tracking new leads, update your intake scripts, and create a conversion rate formula that works for your firm’s needs. We want to help your law firm thrive.

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, you can reach out to me directly at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you!

Mara Siegel

Legal Intake Training Manager at EverSpark Interactive