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6 Elements of Effective Client Intake for Lawyers


6 Elements of Effective Client Intake for Lawyers


One of the most crucial elements of managing a law practice is the client intake procedure. It encompasses every step of the legal process, from getting in touch with potential clients to building a case file. Effective client intake procedures help law firms bring in more customers, keep them longer, enhance the client experience, and boost revenue. Good client intake can influence how the client and the lawyer will interact throughout the entire legal process, therefore it’s crucial for attorneys to approach client intake methodically and thoroughly. In this blog, we’ll look at the components of a successful lawyer client intake process and talk about how they might help lawyers give their customers better service.

6 Elements of Effective Client Intake for Lawyers

1. Efficient and Clear Intake Process

Having a clear intake procedure in place is a key component of a good client intake process. The entire legal team should be informed of this procedure. Record the procedure and set a timeframe for finishing the intake process, along with a checklist of actions lawyers must complete for bringing on new clients.

Law firms must have an organized, transparent intake procedure. The procedure must include a deadline for finishing the intake as well as a step-by-step instruction manual on how to manage new client intake. Each procedure should be explained in the training process to ensure that everyone is on the same page. To help with planning and designing the intake process, we suggest you map out a workflow for how intake should work. Here is an example of a basic intake procedure that can help define processes for all staff members but also can be used to plan automation as part of the intake process:

2. Screening Clients

An essential component of customer intake is client screening. Client screening involves evaluating prospective clients to see if they would be a good fit for the law firm. Law firms should have a system in place to screen potential clients to ensure that they are a good fit for the firm. This may involve conducting a background check, potential conflicts of interest, assessing the potential client’s legal needs, and determining if the potential client is able to pay for legal services. There may often be two levels of screening at a law firm, one done by a non-attorney administrator and one done by an attorney. Administrators should at a minimum try to determine the following:

  1. How did you hear about us? (this helps identify referral sources)
  2. Is the prospect’s legal matter something the law firm can help them with (practice area).
  3. Is the legal matter in a jurisdiction or geography that the firm services.
  4. Determine the name of the adverse party if any so that a conflict check can be run.
  5. Whether or not the prospect is prepared to meet the financial commitments for a matter of their type.

It is your duty as a lawyer to give your clients the best legal counsel you can. To guarantee that you can produce the best results, you must properly evaluate potential clients. Screening clients enables attorneys to make sure they can provide their customers with high-quality legal services while upholding their professional commitments, controlling their workload, and safeguarding their financial interests. Lawyers can reduce the likelihood of ethical lapses, prevent taking on clients who might be a financial risk, and guarantee a good fit between the client and their practice by thoroughly vetting potential clients before taking on their case.

3. Define Goals and Objectives

Establishing the client’s aims and objectives is the first stage in a successful client intake process. It’s important for attorneys to determine what the client wants to get out of their legal representation. For instance, a client might want to safeguard their intellectual property or seek compensation for a personal injury. In any situation, it’s critical for attorneys to understand the client’s aims and objectives in order to customize their counsel. Once an attorney defines a client’s goals, they can examine potential legal options and give these options to the client. This helps give them a better understanding of the case, including possible outcomes and strategies that can be used to help the client accomplish their goals. Attorneys should outline each option’s advantages and disadvantages as well as any prospective expenses and deadlines. The client will be better able to decide how to continue as a result of this.

Successful client intake also involves setting expectations and clear communication after establishing a client’s goals and objectives. Lawyers should establish expectations for how often they will communicate with the client and provide progress updates. 

4. Intake Coordination

Having someone manage the intake procedure can significantly help improve the entire process. An intake coordinator can ensure that each phase is finished promptly, and use software to improve the process. The intake coordinator can also serve as a potential client’s point of contact, responding to inquiries and providing details about the services offered by the law firm.

An intake coordinator ensures that each stage is finished on time and correctly. They can also serve as a potential client’s point of contact, responding to enquiries and providing details about the services offered by the law firm. An intake coordinator can also assess a client’s requirements and concerns. For instance, a client can be apprehensive about the price of legal counsel or the length of time it will take to address their legal issue. These concerns can be addressed during the intake process.

5. Workflow Automation

Obtaining pertinent information about the client and their legal situation is necessary for effective client intake. This entails locating important records, such as contracts or court files, as well as gathering data regarding the client’s personal and professional history. Obtaining this information, though, can be a lengthy process. Workflow automation software can significantly improve the intake process’s efficiency. It automates tasks such as sending out intake forms and reminders to clients, creating legal case files, and assigning tasks to staff members. This can free up staff time and reduce the risk of errors.

6. Client Onboarding

One of the most important aspects of a lawyer’s practice is the client onboarding procedure, which entails obtaining information and paperwork from clients. A well-designed client onboarding process helps lawyers control risk, stay in compliance with ethical and legal obligations, and offer clients high-quality legal services. 

Is it key that throughout the entire onboarding process the client has easy and direct access to the lawyers, to make sure that all their concerns are addressed. Otherwise, the client could feel neglected and eventually decide to go away. Constant exchanges can be achieved through the use of appropriate communication technology, allowing lawyers to easily follow-up on all the client’s questions.

A successful onboarding process includes collecting the client’s personal information and documentation, as well as having them fill out a standardized intake form. Lawyers should then verify the client’s identity, which can help prevent fraud. After confirming the client’s identity, lawyers should conduct a conflict check to ensure there are no conflicts of interest. 

Lawyers should identify if the client meets the firm’s criteria–by considering factors such as location, branch, ethical standards, and budget–which helps to determine if a working relationship would be beneficial for both parties. Lawyers can then establish billing arrangements, explain the scope of services, and obtain informed consent, which means that the client fully understands the risks, benefits, and alternatives to the services the law firm is providing them.

In case that the lawyers consider that they are not able to work with a potential client at that moment, they should still keep them engaged through drip campaigns that provide relevant legal information, as it is possible that in the future they meet the criteria and want to contact the firm again. 


A successful client intake procedure is a key component of law firm success and growth. It can help firms grow their profitability, draw in new clients, and enhance client satisfaction. Defining goals and objectives, client screening, hiring or training an intake coordinator, workflow automation, and a clear and well-documented intake procedure are essential to client intake. Law companies can improve customer satisfaction, expedite the intake process, and boost profitability by putting these processes into place.

Contact Our Law Firm Marketing Team Today

At ONE400, we are proud to be leaders in digital law firm marketing. Our team of professionals helps lawyers and law firms craft comprehensive strategies—with a focus on everything from consulting to website development to SEO. If you have any questions about the components of your law firm marketing strategy, please do not hesitate to contact us to learn more about how we can help. 


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Natalie Bogdanski

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