The way your handle your law firm’s phone calls has the potential to be the deciding factor in setting you apart from other firms. Considering the #1 bar complaint is lack of communication, call handling should be a top priority for your firm.
These are 16 of the most common law firm phone calls and how you should handle them.
1. Existing Clients Wanting an Update
The best way for your law firm to handle phone calls like these is to avoid receiving them in the first place!
Setting communication expectations from the start (and following through with them!) will leave your clients confident they will be hearing from you without prodding you constantly.
2. Existing Clients Upset About Something With Their Case
These are possibly the worst law firm phone calls. Disgruntled clients are likely to leave negative reviews. Therefore, smoothing things over with upset clients should always be a top priority.
Now, if you’ve already had the misfortune of receiving unfavorable reviews, this ABA article offers some advice on ethically responding to negative reviews.
3. Existing Clients Wanting to Schedule a Meeting
Schedule immediately. When a client calls wanting to schedule a meeting, they are ready with their calendar and information on hand.
There’s no telling what your client may busy with when you call back. The inconvenience of waiting for you to call back and then having to interrupt their work to take what may be a very private phone call (not everyone wants to be overheard on the phone with their attorney) makes a big difference in the overall experience.
At the very least, provide your clients with online scheduling links.
4. Existing Clients Needing to Make a Payment
If possible, allow your clients to pay by credit and debit cards. The ease of being able to pay from their device or over the phone with your receptionist makes collecting payment easier.
Plus, if your firm has a link to pay online, your receptionist can share that link with clients allowing them to pay on their own next time.
Furthermore, 40% of potential clients would never hire a lawyer who didn’t take credit or debit cards anyway. Give your law firm an edge by doing so.
40% of potential clients would never hire a lawyer who didn’t take credit or debit cards
5. Existing Clients Calling About a New Matter &
6. Previous Clients Calling about a New Case
These two law firm phone calls are where using an excellent Legal CRM comes into play.
If you aren’t already using one (or if what you’re using isn’t great), you will be shocked at the difference it makes.
You’ll be able to easily and precisely assign multiple cases to your clients eliminating the confusion of which case an update, payment, document, etc. is associated with. And it makes for easy information processing on the first phone call.
Some of our favorite Legal CRMs:
7. Potential New Clients Wanting to Schedule a Consultation
Complete potential client’s intakes during the first phone call!
Not only does this ensure that you collect all the information needed before the consultation, but it also increases the likelihood of retaining the client.
When intakes are completed during the first phone call, potential clients feel like they have already started their legal process with you and feel less like you are just another option that they’re considering.
If your office staff is too busy and unable to pause their work at any moment to complete full client intakes, this is where a legal specialized virtual receptionist can really help you out.
If your office staff is too busy to complete client intakes at the drop of a hat, consider a virtual legal receptionist.
8. Potential New Clients Calling on Behalf of Someone Else With Questions
The most important factor with this law firm phone call is to make sure you take down the information for not just the caller, but the person they are calling on behalf of as well.
This way, you’ll be able to reach out to the potential client to follow up. Even if you can’t get their contact information, make sure your receptionist at least takes down their name.
9. Potential New Clients Calling to Ask What Type Of Case They Have/If You Accept It,
10. PNCs Wanting More Information About What to Expect From a Consultation, &
11. PNCs Asking About Pricing/Payment Plans
For these 3 law firm phone calls from potential new clients, the importance of having the requested information on hand to provide to the caller is a given.
Consider creating a PDF with FAQs and information regarding your firm’s practices that you can email the callers:
- Case types you accept and examples
- Payment and Fees
- Payment types you accept and links to pay online
- Appointment types and what to expect
- Office hours
- Scheduling procedures and links to schedule
- Contact information
- Referral programs
- Client account information and troubleshooting
- Firm-specific FAQs
This has multiple advantages:
- Provides potential clients with all the information they need
- Gives current clients something to refer back to with questions
- Creates a more professional image for your law firm
- Allows you to collect every caller’s email address for your sales funnel, even if they aren’t interested in scheduling a consultation yet
12. Opposing Counsel Calling About an Upcoming Meeting &
13. Opposing Counsel Calling About Their Case
Calls from Opposing Counsels should be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Send a quick update to your receptionist each morning with any pertinent information:
- If Attorney Tim Walton calls about John’s case, transfer him immediately.
- Attorney Tim Walton will be getting back to me about availability for an upcoming meeting. I can do Monday or Wednesday. Otherwise, transfer to me.
This is an excellent way to save yourself and your staff time. If you haven’t left a note about the caller, you won’t be bothered with a call when a message would do, and your receptionist won’t spend their time attempting to transfer calls or checking on your availability before taking a message.
14. Judges/Court Clerks Calling With Questions/Information About a Hearing (New Location, Rescheduling, Needing Documents)
You probably want your receptionist to send calls over right away when they include time-sensitive information. But it’s also a good idea to have your receptionist take down any times, dates, or document types before transferring the call to you.
If you’re not in a place to take notes yourself, you’re likely to forget the details.
15. Fellow Attorneys Calling to Refer a Case
Answer calls from fellow attorneys referring a case right away!
As you probably know, attorneys are pretty busy. It might a while before they have time again to get back to you with the information.
Ensuring that calls are never missed and that time is available to take down all information is essential.
It’s common for law firms to receive phone calls from solicitors, so make sure you and your staff are prepared.
First, you need to develop a policy for solicitations.
Are you interested in staying aware but don’t have the time to listen to a sales pitch?
Consider having your receptionist take short messages. Make sure they get the name of the company (many solicitors won’t offer it) so that you will be able to do a quick search before committing to a sales call.
Do you have no interest in solicitations and don’t want your staff wasting time entertaining them?
The key is to get off the phone call as quickly as possible. The back and forth is what leads to awkward conversations.
Second, know how to spot them!
Don’t be afraid to ask probing questions. “Are you a solicitor?” may sound rude, but don’t worry, there are polite questions you can ask to screen out solicitors.
- “Are you calling to introduce yourself or your services?”
- “Do we have a current paid account with you?”
- “Are you calling to offer your services?”
If you get a “yes” to any of the above, move forward with your solicitation policy.
OVERWHELMED? Schedule a call with our Growth Solutions Strategist to strategize finding the time to set your law firm apart with top-notch call handling.