We’ve already covered how to perform a legal intake, in one of our previous posts, but for those who haven’t set up a New Client Intake Form, we’re going to discuss the type of information you should look to obtain during the initial call from a potential new client!
What Should Be On The New Client Intake Form?
Depending on the type of law you practice, (this could be multiple areas of the law) you’ll want to have individualized new client intake forms in order to make sure you have not only the necessary information to get in contact with the caller, but the pertinent information regarding his/her case. So, first and foremost, make sure you always ask for the basic contact information first.
Basic Contact Information:
Ask the caller for his/her:
- First and Last Name
- Callback Number (Do not assume the caller ID is a good contact number)
- Email Address
Obtaining this information will allow you to identify who actually made a qualified call into your office, and just in case the phone call is disconnected, you will have a way to get in contact with that potential new client again. Even better, if you could not convert that caller right away, you can send him/her additional information by email, which may convince them to hire you in the future.
Once you’ve acquired the basic contact information, you can delve deeper into the details of the caller’s particular case.
Depending on the type of law you practice, here are some of our suggestions for questions you can ask your potential new clients, after asking them them for basic contact information, in order to better understand their case.
Criminal Defense Law:
- What are you being charged with?
- What was the date of the arrest?
- Which county/municipality did this occur in?
- Do you have a court date? If so, which day?
Once you obtain this information, you’ll know how to start properly creating a defense for this potential new client, and you’ll have a timeline for when you have to be ready. Knowing the location can also be paramount, because certain counties might have different laws.
Personal Injury Law:
- What was the nature of the accident?
- What were the injuries sustained?
- What was the date of the accident?
- Where did the accident occur?
Knowing how the accident occurred and where it occurred can help you start to strategize a plan of action for your client. If an accident occurred in a particular place and you can begin to understand the liability and subsequent negligence, you can advise the potential new client to your course of action, and convince him/her to hire you for his/her case!
- Are you currently employed?
- If yes, have your wages been garnished?
- Is your home under threat of foreclosure?
- What are your yearly earnings?
These questions will help you to understand the situation of the person who is calling, which will allow you to perform an informal “means test,” helping you to determine whether the person calling will fall under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It will also let you know whether the person is in jeopardy of losing their home!
- Is this a new divorce?
- Are there children involved?
- Do you and your spouse own a home together??
These questions will allow you to understand the context of the divorce that the potential client is calling about, and will help you to determine the next steps of his/her case.
If you didn’t see any suggestions for the type of law you practice, send us your info and we will send you the top legal intake advice from an attorney in your field!
Ending the New Client Intake
Now that you’ve covered the most important parts of your new client intake form, you’ll need a plan of action for retaining that client, by having him/her meet with the attorney, or in some cases, yourself! Once you’ve asked all the questions, you’ll want the very last question to be:
- When can you come in for a brief consultation?
Once you schedule a time, make sure to follow up with that person by sending an email confirmation, and a follow up reminder a day before and the day of the consultation. This will most likely be in the form of a phone call.
Once you meet with the client, it’s out of our hands, but we’re confident you’ll handle that client’s case to the best of your ability.
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