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Set Your Firm Up for Excellent Client
Service from the Start

Joe Shields, Esq.,
Published: Published: February 7, 2018

From the moment a client engages with you, Firm Central can set you up to:

  • Show them that their matters will be handled with the utmost professionalism.
  • Optimally manage every detail of their case with the highest efficiency.
  • Ensure that your firm stringently adheres to legal ethics.

It's a powerful way to demonstrate to clients that hiring you was a smart move. After all, clients pay you for excellent legal representation, not data entry. So give them more of what they want from the moment they begin working with you with Firm Central. To see the difference this can make, review the outline below which overviews how primary client intake tasks are handled at too many firms and how they're done with Firm Central.

Intake Task #1: Completing the Client Intake Form

  • The Inefficient Approach

    You interview the client and take notes, or the client fills out the form and hands it back to you. You or your staff types this information onto another form and adds it to the client's case file.

  • Optimized with Firm Central

    You send the client the form through a client portal, an online interface that allows you to securely exchange documents and messages. The client enters the information and sends it back.

    Down the road, you move the case forward faster because the client portal allows you to:

    Freely communicate with clients knowing that your communication is secure, unlike standard email (you only use that to inform your clients there is something in their portal to review).

    Give clients greater autonomy. If a client has any concerns, they can simply log into their client portal to see the progress of their case, instead of reaching out to you.

    Speed document completion because clients can securely review and sign documents via the portal – everything is encrypted, unlike services like Google Drive or DropBox.

Intake Task #2: Completing Documentation

  • The Inefficient Approach

    You manually enter information from the client intake form for each of the following:

    • Conflict checks
    • Fee agreements
    • Documentation to open a case file
  • Optimized with Firm Central

    The intake form - completed by the client - is automatically uploaded to a central repository that populates every action and document that will move the case and the client relationship forward.

Intake Task #3: Checking for Conflicts

  • The Inefficient Approach

    You rely on your memory to identify conflicts, or you spend hours poring over boxes of files and hope that every detail was perfectly recorded.

  • Optimized with Firm Central

    You run a global search of your database that reveals conflicts within a few seconds to a minute.

Intake Task #4: Monitoring Relationships

  • The Inefficient Approach

    You enter those associated with the case – such as judges, opposing attorneys and experts – into a spreadsheet of outside parties who are associated with your firm's matters. If they are associated with multiple matters, you note what roles they play and hope you remember all the details when you work with them.

  • Optimized with Firm Central

    You click on their name in Firm Central which automatically provides their contact information and lists all of the ways they're associated with your firm.  This comes in handy when you have to reach out, because you're able to note, at a glance, all of the issues you must address so you can take care of everything in a single call.

Intake Task #5: Building the Matter Team

  • The Inefficient Approach

    As you assign colleagues to the case, you must keep them individually updated on the case's progress. This includes sending each of them:

    • Calendar notifications
    • Documents
    • Any updates every time they happen

    If you don't, no one will be on the same page.

  • Optimized with Firm Central

    With a click, you can add members to your matter team. Any time you update information in Firm Central, it's automatically updated for everyone else on the matter team, too.  It also automatically updates any details in the client portal, so the client is kept abreast of their case real-time.

Intake Task #6: Scheduling Deadlines

  • The Inefficient Approach

    You open a calendar or computer program to calculate legal deadlines. You scrutinize deadline dates to ensure they're aligned with jurisdiction regulations. You may check one calendaring program against another for accuracy. Then you update the calendars of everyone on the matter while hoping a holiday or weekend hasn't resulted in a miscalculation.

  • Optimized with Firm Central

    In three clicks, you place every legal deadline on every matter-team member's calendar. You rest easy knowing these deadlines are accurate for every jurisdiction because legal researchers are continuously monitoring and updating them. You also add your own deadlines for the matter, too, such as monthly client meetings or bi-weekly updates. As a result, nothing falls through the cracks and clients feel like they're your top priority.

By optimizing the client intake process with Firm Central, you're going to give clients the best first impression, and that's never been more important in today's marketplace.

Consider the thoughts of Heidi Alexander, Esq., Director and Law Practice Advisor for the Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program, and Deputy Director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, a nonprofit lawyer assistance program.

“In the face of competition like DIY legal services, small firms need to show clients they use cost-effective business practices,” she explains. “They're not going to pay for law firm inefficiencies. This includes unnecessary time spent on administrative work or processes that a computer could handle in a fraction of the time.”

Joe Shields

About the author
Joe attended Northern Michigan University for undergraduate and Saint Louis University School of Law for law school, graduating cum laude in 2013. After practicing at a small St. Louis, MO- based firm for two years, he joined Thomson Reuters in 2015 as an account manager. He is now a Product Specialist for practice management products, supporting Firm Central, Time & Billing, Deadline Assistant, Form Builder and Custom Forms.

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