This blog will be a little bit different from others we’ve posted here at Answering Legal. We’ll be telling a short story, highlighting just one hypothetical call one of our legal intake receptionists could be handling as you read this.
This will be part two of our four-part series highlighting our legal intake receptionists’ training process. If you missed part one or would like to read ahead, click one of the links below.
- Part one covered screening and training
- Part two will cover the daily responsibilities of a legal intake receptionist
- Part three will cover customization and call protocols
- Part four will cover how we keep up with customer changes
In the following example call, the Answering Legal virtual receptionist’s name will be Linda. The example firm will be the Law Offices of Tom Lawyer, Esq. Tom Lawyer, a solo practitioner, specializes in family law.
Chapter One: Greeting A Caller
Linda concludes a call, takes a drink of water, and marks herself as available for the next one. A few moments later the ringtone plays through her headphones.
Onscreen, Linda sees that this call is for the Law Offices of Tom Lawyer, Esq. She’s familiar with the firm, though she doesn’t have all of Tom Lawyer’s settings memorized.
Linda takes a deep breath, clicks “Answer Call”, and as soon as the call is connected, greets the caller.
“You’ve reached the Law Offices of Tom Lawyer, Esq. My name is Linda. How can we help you today?” Linda’s voice is cheery and professional.
A man answers on the other end of the phone. “Yeah, hi.” He speaks quickly, and he sounds worried. “My name is John Anderson. Is Mr. Lawyer in?” Linda notes the name and phone number on the intake form in front of her while she answers John’s question.
“I’m not sure, Mr. Anderson. I can check that for you in a moment. But first, can I ask why you’re calling today? Just so I can let Mr. Lawyer know what’s going on.” While she waits for John’s answer, Linda navigates the account for the Law Offices of Tom Lawyer. It looks like this firm has selected that they would like to speak to new clients as soon as possible, and to attempt a live transfer during business hours.
“Of course,” John says. “I’d like to hire your firm. I’m, uh, getting divorced.” John doesn’t sound angry; he sounds embarrassed. Linda notices that while she considers what to say next.
“I’m sorry to hear that, Mr. Anderson,” Linda says a moment later. “I’ll see if Mr. Lawyer is available, but first, is this a good number to call you back at? In case we get disconnected?”
“Oh, sure,” John says.
“Great. I’m going to put you on a brief hold while I speak to Mr. Lawyer.” Linda moves her mouse over the “Hold” button on her call system.
“Sounds good,” John says. Linda clicks the button and puts John on hold.
Chapter Two: Transfer and Legal Intake
Once John is on hold, Linda navigates the account in front of her for Tom Lawyer’s personal number. She dials out on her call system and updates the firm’s legal intake form with the information she’s already gathered as she waits.
Unfortunately, Tom Lawyer doesn’t answer. Linda double checks the account; in the case of no answer, she is to conduct a legal intake and take a message. She clicks the “Hold” button again, taking John Anderson off hold.
“Mr. Anderson? It’s Linda,” she says.
“Yeah, hi Linda. Is Mr. Lawyer available?” There’s a little bit of hope in his voice.
“Unfortunately it looks like he’s not,” Linda says carefully. John sighs before she continues. “But, if I can just collect a few details about your case, I can pass that information on to Mr. Lawyer so he can get back to you as soon as possible.”
“I don’t really want to get into it twice,” John says. He sounds disappointed.
“Don’t worry,” Linda says. “Everything you tell me will go straight to Mr. Lawyer. You won’t have to explain yourself twice.”
“Okay,” John says. He goes into detail on his divorce. Linda listens and asks questions, using the firm’s legal intake questionnaire as a guide. All the while, Linda fills in forms and takes notes on her call system.
“So, yeah,” he says. “That’s why I’m calling today. I would really like to speak to Mr. Lawyer as soon as possible.”
“Of course, Mr. Anderson. Let me just make sure I have everything clear.” Linda scans the intake form. There are just two fields she hasn’t filled out. “You have two children, correct?” Linda asks.
“That’s right, Lara and Billy,” John says. Linda types the name of each child into the field.
“And you own your home with your wife?” Linda asks a moment later.
John replies. “Yeah.”
“All right. Looks like I have everything I need.”
Chapter Three: Concluding The Call And Taking A Message
“Is that it?” John asks. “Now I just wait for him to call me?”
“It won’t be long,” Linda says. “Mr. Lawyer will be getting back to you as soon as he’s available. In the meantime, is there a particular message you’d like to leave for him?”
“No, no,” John says. “Other than to call me back as soon as possible. I’m freaking out over here.”
“Of course,” Linda says. “I’ll make sure to mention that, as well as everything else we talked about. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“No,” John says, “no I don’t think so. Thank you, Linda. I feel a little better.” Linda believes him. He doesn’t sound nearly as frantic and embarrassed as he did at the beginning of the call.
“Of course. And don’t hesitate to call back if something else comes up. But if not, sit tight. Mr. Lawyer will be with you as soon as possible.”
“Okay. Thanks Linda. Have a nice day.”
“You too, Mr. Anderson.”
John hangs up the phone. Linda quickly gets to work composing a message. She double checks the legal intake form, knowing it will all be added to Tom Lawyer’s CRM. She summarizes the call in her message, and includes John Anderson’s request to be called back as soon as possible. She sends the message to Tom Lawyer’s email inbox, phone via text message, and to his CRM. Then she concludes the call, takes a drink of water, and marks herself as available for the next call.
Our Receptionists Are Always Ready For The Next Call
That is just one made-up call. A legal intake receptionist like Linda can handle dozens of these calls a day. Every call is for a law firm, and every attorney can customize their account so that our receptionists can best act as an extension of their firms. And with hundreds of receptionists just like Linda working for Answering Legal, that means we’re fielding thousands if not tens of thousands of similar calls every day.
If you’d like to learn more about our legal intake receptionists, click one of the links below. There are three other parts in this series that have plenty of information about how we train our receptionists, how attorneys can customize their call handling, and how our receptionists keep up with the changes to customer accounts.
If you’d like to experience what our legal intake receptionists can do for a law firm yourself, you can click here or call 631-686-9700 to sign up for our free trial. For a limited time we’re offering firms that sign up for our service their first 400 minutes free.