Answering Legal FAQ

Getting Started

How difficult is it to start a free trial with Answering Legal?

Not difficult at all. We need to confirm how you would like to have your calls answered, establish a protocol for new and existing clients, and set up call forwarding – the way you want it. If you’d like to use rollover, choose how many rings you would like to have before it comes to us. If you’d like to straight forward the calls when you leave the office, we will confirm that the system is working. Interested in starting your free trial? Click here to start your free trial today or read more about rollover call forwarding here

What do I need to do in order to get set up?

We only need to ask you a few questions and confirm the settings for your free trial, before we determine what type of call forwarding you would like to utilize. Conditional Call Forwarding short codes are available on almost all mobile phones, and can also be set up by contacting providers for landlines. Straight call forwarding is usually as simple as dialing *72 and the number you would like to forward to, although there are other different short codes depending on your provider. Call us at 631-686-9700 to speak to an expert if this is something you would like to do!

Why does Answering Legal only answer the phones for attorneys?

We learned at the inception of our business that we were excellent at answering the phones for law firms. Our founders decided that from then on, we would only cater to lawyers and attorneys, providing excellent customer service and call answering instead of letting our quality decline to gain a hold on a larger market share. Since we only answer for law firms and attorneys, we never had to sacrifice our quality of service.

Is there a contract?

No. Answering Legal never puts any of their customers in a contract. This way, if you would like to leave, you can at any time! This is especially true for our free trial. If you try Answering Legal and simply feel we are not the right fit, there are no barriers to leaving.

How does it work?

Answering Legal uses conditional call forwarding in order to answer calls that you miss in your office. This means that 24/7, Answering Legal is fielding calls for your practice, since every phone call will ring 3-4 times in your office, and, if unanswered, forwards over to our service! If you would like to call forward with no delay, Answering Legal can easily accommodate as well. Learn more about how our live answering service works on our How It Works page.

General

What If I work off of a landline and a cell phone?

Simple! We forward both your landline and your cell phone however you want to the same dedicated telephone number in our system. When calls come through on that line, we know that they came from your phone!

 

Check out this video for a demonstration of what happens if you work off a landline and a cell phone! Watch Here!

Where are the operators located?

Our entire call center is located inside our office in New York. All of our receptionists are local to our office, and every legal intake receptionist is on site when they are working.

Where is Answering Legal located?

Answering Legal is located at 120 Lake Ave in Nesconset, New York. Proudly from Long Island!

Does Answering Legal outsource to different countries?

No. While we are a diverse group of people, we all live close by the office, which enables us to be even more dedicated to serving our clients.

What type of languages does Answering Legal cater to?

Answering Legal is fully bilingual in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Learn more about our Bilingual Answering Service here.

What if I have multiple offices?

Answering Legal easily accommodates. We can answer the calls and even help clients trying to find your office! We just denote where your offices are and take care of the rest. Utilizing call forwarding, we can figure out which office your callers are attempting to visit.

How long has Answering Legal been in business?

Answering Legal has been an answering service for attorneys for 5 years.

How does Answering Legal handle a firm with multiple phone numbers?

Simple! Our technical support team forwards your numbers to the unique telephone number in our system, letting the legal intake receptionists know where the calls are coming from specifically, and how to handle them!

What can Answering Legal do for me that my voicemail can not?

Answering Legal can perform all the duties of a legal receptionist, and captures new business exceedingly better than a voicemail system. Since new clients usually have urgent matters, forbes magazine has shown 80% of callers do not leave a voicemail, and will therefore hang up on your voicemail and look for representation elsewhere. Answering Legal can catch you new business even when you miss the call!

What happens to incoming calls when I lose cell service?

If you do not have service, since the call would normally have gone to voicemail, it will come directly to Answering Legal! This is what we mean when we say that the network gets jammed up and you didn’t even know someone had called you, because you never received a notification for a missed call. With Answering Legal, capture the callers when this happens!

 

Check out this video for a demonstration on what happens if you lose cell service! Watch Here!

What happens to incoming calls in the event of a natural disaster?

Our office has backup phone systems and enough generators to get us through the roughest natural disasters. We were up and running throughout Superstorm Sandy.

How does an answering service benefit attorneys?

An answering service benefits attorneys by ensuring that every caller is met by a live representative of their firm, and can capture new business even when the attorney misses the call. It also helps to ensure that while the attorney is working, does not wish to be disturbed, or is sleeping at night, new callers never perceive the indifference that a voicemail exerts. Read more about our Attorney Answering Service here.

My voicemail sends me a message alerting me that I received a call, how is Answering Legal different?

Answering Legal is only similar to a voicemail in that, we answer only after you have missed the call, and you get your messages instantly, as soon as the call has ended! Instead of your callers hanging up on a voicemail, which 80% do, they will be greeted by a live legal intake receptionist!

Why would I hire Answering Legal when I have staff?

Answering Legal provides support on the 3rd and 4th ring, after you miss the call in your office. This is great insurance for any law firm, as your receptionist might be out for the day, on a break, in the bathroom, or on another call! Answering Legal can help you on a rollover basis by answering only the calls that you miss, which can capture you new business at a fraction of the cost!

Customer Solutions

My Account:

How do I make adjustments to my account?

Easily. Our 24 hour support team is always here to help you make changes to your account. Call in at 631-460-5560, send an email to support@answeringlegal.com, or chat with a live representative (bottom left corner of your window) to have your matter handled in minutes.

Can I change how my calls are answered?

Yes. Your greetings and protocol are always customizable, and can be changed instantly when you call in, submit a support ticket, or send an email to our support team. Simply let them know how you would like your calls handled going forward, and they will ensure that your request is fulfilled. Visit our Support Page to make adjustments to your account now.

Texts/Emails:

Where can I find the caller ID for all patched and missed calls?

The caller ID of the person who called is automatically attached at the bottom of every email that is sent to you from the answering service. The number that the person leaves as a callback number is always sent to you via text as well.

Why aren't I receiving text messages?

If you respond to any of our messages via text, our texting provider may opt you out. To opt back in and start receiving text messages, you must text “ringsavvy” to the phone number 313131 Opting In Screenshot.

Services

Is Answering Legal 24/7/365?

Yes! Except on Leap Years. Then we’re 24/7/366. Read more about our 24 7 Answering Service.

Does Answering Legal schedule appointments?

Yes we do! We schedule appointments for you to ensure that every client has the best chance of getting your help as soon as possible.

Does Answering Legal do legal intake?

Yes! Answering Legal handles over 40,000 new client intakes every day! Our receptionists are trained exclusively for the legal industry, so they are experts in getting the correct information. Read more about our Message Taking.

Is Answering Legal fully bilingual?

Yes. At all hours of the day, there is a staff dedicated to Spanish speaking callers in 3 dialects of Spanish and even Portuguese! Read more about our Bilingual Answering Service.

 

Yes! Here’s a video of what happens when a Spanish speaking client calls you and Answering Legal takes the call. Watch Here!

Pricing and Billing

What are the pricing plans based on?

Our pricing is based on a per-minute basis, meaning you only pay for the time a phone call occupies your dedicated phone number. Once that call is ended, or as soon as it is transferred to you, you no longer pay for the minutes! Answering Legal does not charge for telemarketers, automated dialers, and “family/friend calls” that are calling for you, meaning you only pay for the calls that are relevant to your business. Check out our Pricing Plans here.

How much does Answering Legal cost?

Answering Legal’s average account pays about $250 dollars per month. However, we offer flat rates, and never charge overages at a higher rate than your per minute plan. For example, if you go over on your minutes one month, other answering services will charge you overages at an inflated minute rate. Answering Legal provides 25% overage protection, so unless you sustain over 25% of your plan for a period of 90 days, you will not be charged extra!  Check out our Pricing Plans or Start Your Free Trial Now!

Does Answering Legal charge by the minute or by the call?

Answering Legal charges by the minute, so that you only pay for the actual time a call occupies your dedicated telephone number. However, since we do not charge for solicitors, telemarketers, family calls, or anything else not pertaining to your business, we offer some of the most competitive pricing in the industry!

Is there a monthly minimum?

Yes. Our monthly minimum is $110. Since we include all premium features with every account, we expect that you will catch enough new business in the first 2 months in order to pay for the service for the year.

What happens if I go over my minutes?

Nothing! Answering Legal provides 25% overage protection, meaning unless you sustain 25% more than your allotted minute usage for a period of 90 days or more, you’ll never see an overage charge, and certainly won’t be automatically added to your bill without a notice of your increased usage.

Do I have to sign a long term contract to stay with Answering Legal?

No, there are never any contracts to stay with Answering Legal, and you stay because you want to stay. If you would like to cancel, or make a change at any time, there are no barriers to do so.

Does Answering Legal charge for call patching?

No. Call patching is one of the premium features included with every account at Answering Legal. If you miss the call, or didn’t recognize the incoming number and simply let the call forward to Answering Legal, if the caller is a potentially new client, your virtual receptionist will let you know, and transfer the call to you!

Does Answering Legal charge for talk time after the call is transferred?

No. After the call is transferred to you, the talk time is completely free. Talk to your potential new customer all you want, no charge!

Will my bill change with the amount of minutes I use?

No. Answering Legal offers 25% overage protection, meaning your bill will never change unless you sustain more than 25% overage for a period of 90 days. Even then, Answering Legal will only call you up to reconfigure your minute package.

Does Answering Legal charge for calls from family and friends?

No. If your family or friends are trying to reach you and instead reach our answering service, our virtual receptionists will let the caller know that they’ve reached your answering service, and will still be happy to send you over a message from your family or friends, free of charge!

Call Forwarding

If I forward my calls to Answering Legal, will I still have the opportunity to answer my own phone?

Yes. With conditional call forwarding, you can establish a ring cycle where the first few rings go to your phone, and forward over to Answering Legal’s virtual receptionists if that call goes unanswered. We only want to help your current infrastructure flourish, and if this is how your practice works best, we are here to encourage!

How do I forward my calls to Answering Legal?

Most call forwarding can be done directly from your phone. For example, straight call forwarding is usually activated by dialing *72, and the number to which you would like the calls forwarded. Each provider is different, and Answering Legal’s experts can help you establish your call forwarding protocols exactly the way you like it.

Can I forward my calls to Answering Legal so that I never have to pick up the phone?

Yes. Straight call forwarding will send all of your inbound calls to our answering service. But good news! You can still make outbound calls from your phone. If you only want to receive messages after Answering Legal has answered the call and performed the intake, you can definitely do so.

How do I get set up if I have Google Voice?

It’s easy! The same way we set up call forwarding with other providers, our customer service representatives will help you set up call forwarding with Google Voice. With Google Voice, there is no conditional call forwarding availability, since it is a free service, so what we do is take your calls on the first ring exactly like a receptionist would in your office. We will patch callers through to you or take messages depending on the protocol you request! It’s that easy!

Call Protocol

Does Answering Legal record phone calls?

No. The phone calls are not recorded because of obvious confidentiality reasons. However, our facilities are video-monitored to ensure there is no tampering with of messages, and all of our legal intake receptionists are exceedingly screened before hiring, and trained vigorously. They also sign a document agreeing to respect all confidentiality.

If I am on a call and receive another incoming call, will it go to Answering Legal’s legal intake receptionists?

Yes. Conditional call forwarding will allow you to still have call waiting, but if you let the call ring it will forward over to Answering Legal where it will be answered by our legal intake receptionists!

Does Answering Legal put people on hold?

No. The only time a caller is put on a brief hold is when your legal intake receptionist is attempting to patch you into the call. At most, this is a 10 second hold unless you answer and let the legal intake receptionist know that you would like to take the call.

Besides message taking, can you contact me if the call is an emergency?

Of course! If your protocol requests that we patch new clients, emergencies, and judges/lawyers into you, we can absolutely transfer the call to you wherever you are. If you are unable to take the emergency call, the message we send you will reflect the urgent nature of the call, letting you know the importance of calling that person back.

How will Answering Legal deliver my messages ?

Most of our customers enjoy getting an SMS text AND an email in order to ensure that they never miss a message, but some of our customers also prefer to have a fax, and some like different combinations of all three. You never have to call in to get your messages, we send them to you instantly. There is no additional charge for additional messaging mediums.

Can you send messages to multiple people?

Answering Legal sets up the protocol for who needs to be reached, according to how your firm operates. If a call comes in late at night, and the protocol states that a certain attorney should reached, your virtual receptionist will attempt to reach you in order to transfer that call to you. Messages can be sent to anyone and/or everyone at the firm, so that everyone necessary is in the loop.

Will new clients be handled differently than existing clients?

Yes. Generally, our customers like to speak to new clients right away, if they can. Our virtual receptionists usually ask for a name and number, place the caller on a brief hold, and let you know who is calling and ask you if you’d like to take the call. If you can’t take the call, your virtual receptionist will get back on the phone with the caller and perform the legal intake, letting the caller know you will be getting back to him/her promptly. Existing clients usually just have a follow up question that is not urgent, and therefore your virtual receptionist will not try to reach you, but will instead ask the caller’s name and number, as well as a detailed message to send to you instantly.

Can Answering Legal block incoming calls from penitentiaries?

No. In fact, a lot of our customers do take phone calls from people inside of prisons. If you elect not to accept these calls, our virtual receptionists will politely let the caller know that you do not accept the call. This will be a no charge to your account.

Will Answering Legal patch calls to me from solicitors?

No. Solicitations are seen as no charge calls in our system. When a lot of automated dialers call in at once, our system recognizes these calls and bars them from reaching your number.

Greetings

How are the calls answered?

The way that our legal intake receptionists answer your phone is entirely up to you, although our most preferred greetings usually sound like, “Good morning, the Law Office of Tom Lawyer, how may I help you?” This is a brief, polite way to exert professionalism and let the caller know that the person answering the phone is a part of your practice.

Competitors

How does Answering Legal measure up to the competition?

For starters, Answering Legal does not charge overages for using additional minutes. Our 25% overage protection is unmatched in our industry! We also answer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with live agents! Other services utilize voicemail and stop answering after-hours, which could potentially cost you some new business. Our quality of service and specialization for legal is unparalleled, and our free trial does not require a credit card to try!

Do the competitors charge for every patched call?

The truth is that some do. Even if a solicitor is calling you, you will likely be charged for the time it takes for the agent to realize the caller is a solicitor and end the call. They also charge for the talk time after they attempt to patch you in. We realize not every service may do this, but in our experience, most do.

Who We Serve

What kinds of law practices do you serve?

We serve all law practices! Our customers range from Criminal Defense, to Bankruptcy, to Family Law, to Social Security Disability Law. If you are a lawyer, you are welcome to use Answering Legal!

How do you customize to serve specific law practices?

We customize every account to each of our customers. You can determine everything from how your phones are answered to the questions the legal intake receptionists ask during the intake process. Also, you can make changes to your scripting on the fly!

Do you service boutique law practices?

Yes! If you are a niche law firm or a boutique law firm, we will work with you to ensure that your firm is represented to your standard.

Do you answer for large law firms?

Yes! Some of the largest firms in the country use Answering Legal for their virtual receptionist and legal intake needs.

Do you serve private practices?

Yes. We answer for many private practices. We do not turn any law firms away.

Do you serve solo practice law firms?

Yes. In fact, a vast majority of our clients are solo practitioners. They benefit from the service because they can expand their business without a costly overhead by using Answering Legal!

Does it matter which State my law practice resides in?

No! Because we are 24/7, we can answer for any time zone across the country. There are no barriers to joining Answering Legal!

Scholarship

What format should the essay be in?

Any format you would like. Write in a way that best represents you.

How do I email my essay to you?

Attach the essay as a file when submitting your full application. Should you encounter any problems, email mike@answeringlegal.com

When will I find out whether or not I won a scholarship?

The scholarship deadline is November 5th. We will announce the winner no more than two weeks after the deadline.

Can you offer any suggestions to make my application stronger?

Be yourself and really try to put effort into your essay. Your transcript and other things can not be altered, but an essay can speak volumes about why you should receive the scholarship and why you want to be a future attorney.

How do I apply for the scholarship?

Simply fill out the form, attach your essay and your unofficial transcript. Hit send and you are done!

Who is eligible to apply for scholarships?

Anyone matriculated in law school with a current course load of at least 12 credits is eligible to apply.

What are the levels and details of the contest?

Once you have applied, the board will read your application and decide whether or not you are a finalist. The best applications will be given second consideration, and then a final decision will be made.

When is the application deadline for the scholarship?

The application deadline for this year is November 5th, 2016.

Is the scholarship available to students who are in college?

No. Students must be matriculated in an accredited law school with a course load minimum of 12 credit hours.

What are you looking for in the scholarship essay?

We are looking for students with the best personal mission and the best argument for why they will be a successful and ethical lawyer. What do you want to do with your career in law? What do you hope to achieve? How are you going to achieve it? Answer to the best of your ability.