How to Determine the Best Intake Tools for Law Firms of Any Size
Law firm intake tools are widely available, and their features vary. Deciding which one is right for your firm is more than a mental exercise. Most of them require an investment of both money and the time it takes to train and adapt to the new system.
The decision is tricky because standalone intake solutions are available, but many solutions (like GrowPath) enable you to integrate intakes into case management – thus, intake case management. That broadens the scope of the exercise, so you need to decide first what kind of system you want moving forward.
ICYMI: In Case You Missed It
This is the sixth in our series of blogs that cover intake case management for law firms. Here are links to the series (which will update as they’re published):
- Preamble: The Marketing and Intake Cycle
- How to Create an Intake Department for a Personal Injury Firm (or Any Firm)
- 3 Keys to Successful Intakes Part 1: Before the Call
- 3 Keys to Successful Intakes Part 2: On the Call
- 3 Keys to Successful Intakes Part 3: After the Call
- How to Determine the Best Intake Tools for Law Firms of Any Size
The Standalone Option
For some firms with ingrained task routines everywhere else, you may want to focus only on the squeaky wheel of intakes. That may have you leaning toward a standalone solution. Ask yourself:
- How does this work with the other systems I have in place?
- Will this solution scale with the firm?
- How much will it cost both in time and dollars?
If you have multiple systems, talk to those vendors before making a decision. They may be able to tell you which tools integrate with the systems you have, and that could significantly reduce the time and cost. You’ll still have a patchwork system, but at least you’ll theoretically reduce the teething troubles.
Software, Service, and the Possible Disconnect
Let’s elaborate on standalones a bit. You can, for example, outsource answering the phone. There are providers who handle intake calls and online inquiries on your behalf. Easy! You can also find software solutions specifically for intake calls you handle yourself. The software ideally organizes and prioritizes intake tasks and helps you manage the call.
However, trouble may arise when these bespoke intake solutions are integrated into the case management software you’re using. How good is a solution that just exchanges one kind of work for another? And while you may have gotten what you wanted from the intake, it won’t matter unless you’re able to consistently follow through with that information.
Try to tease out whether a standalone solution is going to play well with the rest of your firm’s systems. If the disconnect is too great, you may just be trading one problem for another.
The Integrated Option
Most firms will opt for a more integrated approach – intake and case management in one. In fact, the more integrated your tools and systems are with each other, the more benefits you’ll realize. So, if you’re making a change, consider making the one with the greatest benefit over time.
Whether you’re “modernizing” a firm or starting a new one, you want to eat that investment of time and money in as few bites as possible. Again, there are many choices.
We’ve outlined the must-have aspects of case management software before, but here are the unbiased questions you may want to ask yourself when considering new case management software:
- Does it offer the features my firm needs?
- Are there features we do not have that the software will offer?
- Am I paying for features we will definitely never use?
- How will it increase efficiency?
- Will this solution scale as the firm grows?
- Can my staff work remotely, if necessary, with this software?
- Is it cloud-based, or will I have servers on-site?
- How does it handle security?
- What kind of support does it offer, both during and after implementation?
- Is it future-proof – will I be looking for something else in a few years?
Those are the big-ticket questions, and they apply to every firm and case management solution equally. Every single one is (or should be) a concern.
All-in-One, or All-or-Nothing?
Integrated solutions are not by any means created equal, as noted above. It’s vital to vet the solution, its update and upgrade cycle, features list, and so on, but there’s another evaluation you can consider.
On the positive side, an integrated solution should be as soup-to-nuts as possible. You should not have to add much in, and what you add should be easy to integrate. It’s an integrated system – that’s the point. If it doesn’t have some key features you want, how integrated is it, really?
The drawback to an integrated that it’s often all-or-nothing – a wholesale change to how you do things. Read that as, “learning curve.” Some are far more intuitive than others, and firms usually adjust to the new solution quickly once the features become familiar and the benefits are realized.
What Makes GrowPath Different?
GrowPath integrates the intake process with case management. Here are some features of our intake suite:
- Our proprietary Lead Scoring algorithm identifies cases that you really want, and enables intake representatives to move to sign them quickly.
- Every question a client answers is added automatically to the case file once the client signs – in just one click.
- Any Buzzwords™ your firm has programmed will automatically prompt further questions if entered during the intake call.
- Forms can be generated and sent for e-signature during the intake call.
- When the client is signed, smart reminders for next steps are generated for those handling the case moving forward.
Law Firm Intake Case Management: In Conclusion
There are so many variables between law firms that it’s challenging to create something and confidently call it an “exhaustive” guide to intakes. This series was our attempt.
Each phase and factor can be its own deep-dive – deeper than we’ve gone here. We see many different methods that law firms have cobbled together to make intakes “work.” We hope that the tips and information we’ve shared will apply to and help your firm regardless of its current methods.
And we believe we’ve created a better solution with GrowPath. We’d relish the opportunity to show you what it can do for your intakes (you’re the client, and we’re asking for your case). If you’re not there yet, we hope that the information here helps you get better.
Want to learn more about GrowPath and how its patented tools can help you manage your firm? Schedule a demo today.