How To Improve Criminal Defense Law Firm Intake

Josh Brown - SEO Consultant

Written by: Josh Brown

Many criminal defense law firms are all too familiar with this problem: they’ve revamped their marketing and they’re starting to get more leads…yet they’re not acquiring more cases. The usual culprit is a mismanaged intake system.

If someone has an urgent need for legal help and can’t get in touch with someone from your firm ASAP, chances are they’ll move on to calling – and hiring – the next firm they find. Keep reading to learn how to improve your criminal defense law firm’s intake process from the moment of contact to lead conversion.  These simple tips will boost your case acquisition and set you up for success.

Ask The Right Questions

Asking the right questions will keep a conversation going, establish trust, and give you a better understanding of a lead’s legal issue. Apart from asking for basic information (such as name, email address, and contact number), anyone answering your criminal defense law firm’s phone should always ask someone the following:

  • “How may I help you?”: Though this seems basic, it immediately reassures a caller that your firm is ready to assist them and put their mind at ease.
  • “Can you give me more details about your case?”: This is a must for getting important information about a potential case and the solutions you may present to them.
  • “Do you need immediate legal help?”: This helps you gauge how urgently your lead needs something resolved, as well as how soon you can start on their case.

While it’s helpful to have a script, make sure your receptionist or other firm staff know to ask these as well as other probing questions. These questions don’t just help you gather useful information – they show a potential client that you’re listening, making them more likely to trust and hire you.

Respond To Inquiries Quickly

Even if you have rockstar lawyers in a firm, you’ll struggle to get new clients if you don’t get back to them quickly. A shocking 42% of the time, law firms take three or more days to reply to a voicemail or web-generated form filled out by a prospective client.

Remember that when a lead is contacting you, they may be stressed or impatient and worried about needing legal advice. Don’t make someone wait too long to get a reply from you (whether by email, call, or other means of communication), or they may take their business elsewhere.

A study found that 64% of law firms never respond to the leads that contact them. Simply put, if you don’t follow up on those calls, you’ll have a hard time acquiring new business. If your firm misses calls, don’t leave those leads hanging. Make sure you or a member of your staff gets in touch immediately with anyone they weren’t able to personally talk to.

This doesn’t just apply to the first time a lead contacts you and becomes a client. Your criminal defense law firm should quickly respond to them about the next steps they should take, what outcome they’re trying to get from their situation, and how their case is progressing.

Regular updates on case developments are critical to your criminal defense law firm’s intake plan, as they show clients how concerned you are about resolving their problems. Answer any questions they have as soon as possible, and always communicate in a professional and empathetic manner.

Remember: even if a lead doesn’t end up becoming a client, every good impression counts.

Make Sure Your Leads Are Talking To A Real Person

Alternatively, you can avoid missing calls altogether and include 24/7 answering in your intake plan. After all, more than 7 in 10 consumers reach out via phone when initially contacting an attorney, and 72% of potential clients will hire the first attorney they speak with.

This means you can edge out your competition if you make sure you’re consistently answering calls instead of letting them go to voicemail. Accidents and other significant events happen all the time, so if someone can’t reach you, they’ll just call a different attorney.

Improve your intake by ensuring potential clients are always talking to a live person when you’re not available. Follow these tips so callers leave their details, increasing the chances of becoming acquired cases:

  • Assign your law firm’s staff to rotating shifts for answering the phone.
  • Hire a receptionist to answer calls during office hours.
  • Get an answering service to manage calls after regular business hours and weekends.

Create A Monitoring Plan For Your Firm’s Intake

Look at how your criminal defense law firm handles leads and where there’s room for improvement. Your plan should check the following metrics:

  • How many calls are received daily, weekly, and monthly
  • How many calls lead to scheduled consultations
  • How many of these calls become acquired cases

A solid intake plan should also have these items integrated to create a standard system that’s simple and quick for your firm to execute:

  • A standard spiel for greeting leads and getting their information
  • Tracking for inquiries, follow-ups, and case conclusions
  • Document automation or templating to rapidly create engagement agreements

Take the time to create and execute these changes, then get feedback from your staff and clients to see what other improvements can be made. Monitoring key metrics and simplifying recurring tasks will help you keep what works and cut out what doesn’t, making your firm’s intake plan more efficient.

Don’t Wait – Let Me Get The Job Done

Improving your criminal defense law firm’s intake is just one thing you can do to turn your leads into clients. Without a solid, aggressive marketing campaign, leads may not even know your firm exists. No audience awareness, no intake – and no leads to convert into cases.

If you’re interested in criminal defense lawyer SEO, what you need is a legal SEO specialist with experience in making firms dominate the first page. Call Josh Brown Consulting at (310) 462-2034 or send us a message through our secure online form today. If you have problems getting leads, I have solutions that’ll put your firm well above the competition.