As someone who has consulted law firms throughout the country on their intake and focused on this area for the last five years, one of the most frequently asked questions that is posed to me is “How much involvement should my attorneys have with intake?” I’ve heard both sides of the argument. For instance, some people believe that attorneys should stay away from handling intake because:
- Attorneys will avoid having a conversation with someone who may not have a meritorious claim;
- Attorneys (or their employer) would rather focus on litigation; or
- Attorneys look at Intake as an administrative or support staff responsibility.
In my opinion, and from my experience, attorneys should and do have a role with Intake. But not as an intake specialist; rather as The Closer. At the end of the day, your law firm needs to treat every qualified lead as someone who understands that they have a valuable claim and someone who knows that they have choices in choosing the right law firm. Once you realize this, you should draw two very quick conclusions:
- Your law firm needs to determine as fast as possible whether the claim reaches the want category; and
- If it does, you need to get that case signed as fast as possible.
Let’s briefly discuss # 1 above. This isn’t so much about attorney involvement as much as it is about providing your intake specialists (the person who first speaks with the claimant) with the ability to make the decision of whether an inquiry meets the firm’s criteria and thus becomes a “wanted” case. This takes training, education and decision making authority.
Regarding # 2, this is where the attorney involvement should come into play. Once your law firm decides that they want a claimant to sign with your firm, you now need to act as if the claimant has either 1) contacted another law firm prior to contacting your law firm; or 2) intends to contact another law firm after contacting your law firm.
In short, you need to treat this claimant as if you are competing for their business and your sole objective should be to convince the claimant that they made the right decision by calling your law firm. The best way to convince someone that they should sign with your law firm? Impress them. Obviously, there are many ways to impress a potential client (ie., reputation, resources, statistics). But remember you may only have one shot at impressing the potential client while they are on the phone. So what’s the best way to do that? Get an articulate and likeable attorney on the phone and make that potential client feel special. Why is that impressive? Because most law firms DON’T do this and you need to stand out.
Looking for an objective perspective? Contact me anytime at 844-Max-Intake or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gary advises law firms, attorneys and legal organizations on the importance of creating, utilizing, managing and maximizing the intake process. He has worked with countless law firms in improving their intake process and, importantly, increasing their conversion percentages by creating customized programs to improve leadership, time management, project management, delegation, prospective client relations and case conversion skills.