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A Guide to Client Intake and CRM Software for Law Firms

client intake and crm software for law firms

Why you need it and how to choose the best option

Technology is amazing, isn’t it? I know it’s a corny thing to say, but it’s true!

I grew up watching my mother, a seasoned paralegal, sort through boxes and boxes of client paperwork just to find a single document.

When I joined the legal field myself, I was amazed at the technological advancements the field had seen, especially when it came to digitizing the client intake experience.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and cloud-based client intake software are just two of the incredible and essential programs used in the legal world to organize cases. 

These programs offer a wide variety of integrations, workflows, and task management operations for law firms–including making intake a seamless process.

Keep reading to learn why client intake and CRM software for law firms is a symbiotic match made in heaven.

Picture your firm on a CRM

When I worked in-house as a marketing and intake director at a law firm, I saw my firm through the onboarding process of a new CRM. It was a long project that engaged all departments. From an intake perspective, I saw the value of such systems a little differently than the rest of my firm.

I saw its potential to completely revolutionize how we handled new client information, build relationships with clients, and track our marketing spend.

Today I want to share with you what I’ve learned about the best client intake software for law firms.

client intake and crm software

Proper intake tracking fixes most problems

At the beginning of my career, I was manually tracking all new leads that came into my law firm. I used Excel and various other forms to document new calls, how many times I’d attempted contact with potential clients, and the results of each call.

This quickly became unmanageable, especially when multiple intake specialists were working, attorneys received direct referrals, or information got written down incorrectly. This unsustainable methodology quickly collapsed every time an attorney made a change to their intake forms or the way they wanted leads handled.

So, I took to writing out my thoughts and theories on the importance of intake tracking to really get my message across. These issues ring true across many law firms.

Issue #1: Clients left in the dust

The first issue I addressed was return calls and voicemails. When the information about potential new clients is not written down or communicated across departments, it is impossible to reconnect with these callers and provide outstanding intake service. 

Issue #2: History repeats itself

The next issue is data validation. Cross-referencing caller data in a law firm’s CRM or legal case intake software allows intake specialists to see the caller’s historical relationship with the law firm.

In doing so, it can quickly be devised where a potential client is in the intake process and whether they have been a client of the law firm in the past.

Tracking this information also helps create a clear image of the client’s journey. This can mean keeping tabs on referrals, organic leads, or leads that come in through paid advertising.

Issue #3: Inconsistent answers

Lastly, there is the issue of call scripts. Frequent changes to intake scripts or questions lawyers want answers to during an initial phone call can be hard to keep up with. This is one of the areas of intake where excellent documentation and communication shine. 

My proposed solution for the firm I worked at, and the firms I work with now, is to take advantage of client intake and CRM software.

Utilizing your CRM to its fullest potential to capture client information

Almost every law firm I’ve worked with used a digital CRM to manage their firm’s legal operations, billing, and case statuses. If not, they were in the process of digitizing their files and fully making the switch to cloud-based data management.

These systems, like Captorra, Filevine, and Lawmatics work to integrate every aspect of law firm operations and far exceed the capabilities of their law firm management software predecessors like Needles.

However, I find that in my work, many law firms do not fully integrate their intake departments in these systems. This leaves valuable data out of client files, disorganization, and general chaos.

CRMs like Lawmatics and LawRuler pride themselves on their system’s legal intake integrations. Intake specialists are able to input lead data, track lead maturity, and automate client communications before the potential new client has even signed a contract.

Filevine recently acquired a new product, Lead Docket, that can both send intake data directly to lawyers and be used to open new cases within Filevine. All these systems then take the data input by intake teams to generate marketing reports and track conversion rates, eliminating the need for disorganized manual data validation. What isn’t to love?

CRMs are made to work for law firms, and not taking advantage of them is hurting your intake process.

cloud based client intake software

Now what?

If you’re interested in better understanding how you can utilize your firm’s CRM for intake purposes, auditing your current intake process is the first step.

This can be daunting and time-consuming–which is why we invented ESIgnite! Part of ESIgnite’s offerings includes extensive auditing of your firm’s training protocols, intake procedures, and operations. After we better understand your current systems, we can get into the nitty-gritty of taking your team to the next level. 

You could be wasting your time and resources by not properly taking advantage of the offerings your CRM has built-in. Our legal intake training team has experience with a variety of CRMs utilized in the legal industry and is happy to help you understand your CRM better.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog, I hope you found it useful. If you are interested in learning more about ESIgnite Legal Intake Training and our mission, feel free to reach out to me directly at [email protected] or schedule a quick zoom call with me using my Calendly link.

-Mara Siegel, Legal Intake Training Manager at EverSpark Interactive