Legal Intake Forms: Why You Should Use Them
Do you currently use intake forms when answering new client calls? If not, you need to severely rethink your client intake! Using a detailed standardized intake form will streamline the process and ensure that important details have not been overlooked. If completing intake forms has not been working for you, perhaps your forms need a facelift. Here are some suggestions of what a great intake form includes:
- Contact information
- Details of the legal issue (some firms put a checklist here)
- History of prior legal matters
- Other firms they have worked with
- And any other information they feel is relevant to the matter
If the form is too basic, or if it does not apply, then surely it won’t be helpful. Sometimes it is helpful to create different intake forms for specific needs or areas within your firm. Some firms choose to simplify things even more by doing their intake forms online through Clio.
Intake Forms Are Versatile
Offering intake forms are useful for areas other than just streamlining the intake process. They can be used as:
- A screening tool. If a prospective client is unwilling or hesitant to provide certain information, it could be a sign of problems to come.
- Documentation. Intake forms are a great place to document that you have discussed the fee arrangement with your prospective client and that they have agreed to the terms you set forth. This ensures right from the beginning that the prospective client can afford your services.
- A risk management tool. Having clients sign that the information on the intake form is correct can save you in the future if something is incorrect or inaccurate.
- Identify future needs. They can help you identify if a potential client needs any additional legal services that you may be able to help with in the future.
Intake Forms Are Useful
As you can see, intake forms are infinitely useful and can be implemented in any firm. Remember, they’re not just a tool to make life better for you- your prospective clients will also love them because they offer an easier, neater, and more streamlined process for them too! When your client is going through [sometimes] long, expensive, and messy legal matters, they will recognize and appreciate every effort made by you to simplify their case.
If you have yet to implement intake forms in your firm, what’s stopping you?