Intake Law Consultation

Intake Law Consultation

Intake Law consultations are incredibly important in your law firm. This is the first in-person interaction with a potential client. A well established process should be in place for efficient decision making.

Good screening requires thorough and accurate information. It gives you the opportunity to evaluate the case, as well as the client. The client intake consultation can begin with the initial phone conversation.

intake law consultation	Client Intake Forms

You know that you need forms for client intake. Ensure your intake forms are of high quality. You should incorporated a template document requiring the essential information, as to not forget to document anything important.

Incoming Call Forms

A client may call you to inquire about their case. It is advised that you have a specific form for the person taking the call to document information. The data gathered during the call should be thorough enough to make a decision on whether or not the firm will want to take the case.

Processes and procedures should be in place to gather necessary information quickly. A quick response to the client is crucial, therefore the phone client intake process needs to be efficient. Make sure that all necessary information is gathered in order to respond to the client in a timely manner.

Office Forms

These are the forms that you will want to gather concrete and personal information such as: social security numbers, legal names (both past and present), spouse names and other necessary but sensitive information. This is the information that cannot be received from a phone conversation.

Intake Evaluation

There are many questions and concerns that need to be addressed during the consultation and afterward during the evaluation period. You need to ensure that the case is desirable for your firm. You also need to consider the client that you will be representing.

There are many reasons to not take a case. Be aware of your natural and professional instincts. You may not agree with the client’s decisions. If you think the client is lying, then you should not represent them. If the matter is outside of your expertise, you may not want to take the case.

Client intake law consultations are crucial in all law firms. When you consult with a law firm consultant, they can advise you with the best client intake practices. They have the experience and the knowledge to provide you with efficient intake strategies.

Lawyers’ Contingency Fee Agreement

Have you recently been injured? Do you have money owed to you? You need an attorney’s knowledge and experience to help you win your case, but you may not know how you will pay for it. There is a law firm contingency fee agreement that allows you to get the representation that you need to win your case.

law firm contingency fee agreement

Contingency Fee A law firm contingency fee occurs when a lawyer agrees to take a case and receive payment only when it is won. That is correct! You do not have to pay the lawyer until they have won your case and put money in your pocket. If the case is not won, then the lawyer does not get paid. A law firm contingency fee agreement will benefit you when you do not have the funds to pay the attorney up front.

Cases that Qualify

Whether or not an attorney offers a contingency fee agreement is completely up to them. There are many cases that can qualify for this agreement.

1) Car accidents.

2) Work accidents.

3) Personal injuries.

4) Unemployment.

5) SSI Disability.

These are just a few cases that may qualify for this type of payment agreement. If you are in one of these situations, you should definitely consult with an attorney. Even if you do not see your legal situation on this short list, you should still contact legal assistance. It is best to consult with a lawyer regarding your own personal case.

There are also legal situations that will not be available for this agreement:

 

1) Immigration.

2) Legal separations or divorce.

3) Business.

4) Copyrights.

There are many other situations that do not qualify. Again, contact legal assistance with any questions, as consultations are usually complementary.

Fees

The fees that lawyers charge will vary. However, the most common contingency fee is 33%. Some lawyers charge more, but you may find one that actually charges less. The fee is entirely determined by the attorney. They should disclose their fee during your initial consultation with them.

Benefits

There are many benefits when you work with a law firm’s contingency agreement. You may not have the money to pay the lawyer, but this agreement allows you to receive representation when you need it most. You will have an experienced attorney working on your behalf.

Since the lawyer is taking a risk with your case using the contingency fee agreement, they will only accept your case if they believe that they will win it. You should know during the consultation, or shortly after, if your case has been accepted. Contact a lawyer today to ask about their contingency agreement.

Don’t Rely on General Business Advice for Getting Legal Clients

One of the most vital things that an attorney needs to do for their practice is bringing in new clients. Turning a prospect into a client is not always the easiest thing to do, especially for a new practice. One of the ways that an attorney can improve how they bring in new clients is by attending intake workshops for attorneys. This attorney consultant intake workshop can change the way that you prospect and sign clients.

Business Advice for Getting Legal Clients Why Attend Intake Workshops for Attorneys

There are all types of professional development courses available to business owners that can help them to bring in more clients. These classes are all well and good, but attending a workshop geared towards attorneys will make it easier to apply what you learn to your business. You won’t have to piece together how to best fit the information given to a general business to your law practice. This attorney consultant intake workshop will focus solely on how your law office can improve.


Who Should Attend?

Any attorney that is looking to fill out more of their schedule by bringing in more clients can be benefitted by attending this intake workshop. It can change that way that your practice runs entirely just by tweaking how you are currently handling your daily tasks. This workshop is also a great tool for your team to learn. Send in the advocates or support staff to give them better tools in running the law office more effectively.


What Can You Learn

Over the eight hours of the workshop, you’ll learn several different techniques that will help you to find clients better. We look at what you do as prospecting to harvest better leads that turn into clients. You may be doing something ineffectively with how you respond to people that respond to your office. Some of the tips that you’ll learn about include how to better respond to people that call your office, how to better respond to Internet leads that come in from your advertising and website, and how to capture people’s attention when they try contacting your office at times when your office is closed. Each of these actions can change the narrative, and help to harvest that prospect into a client. This, however, is just the tip of the iceberg in how you can maximize your legal practice.


Register Soon

The time is now to change the way that your practice brings in new clients. Keep your schedule full with clients with just a few tweaks to the way that you do things. Register today for an upcoming attorney consultant intake workshop to change your life.

How Can Law Firm Management Services Benefit My Firm?

Managing clients, operations, marketing, and new business development is challenging for any organization. Law firms that are already busy handling a high volume of clients and cases can benefit from a law firm management service. Law firm management services help organize clients in a way that an attorney might not realize can be done. By hiring a management firm, your firm’s efficiency will skyrocket. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits.

An attorney may be an exceptional counselor to his or her clients, but that doesn’t mean that the attorney is good at running business operations of the firm. Management services ultimately increase the profitability of your law firm by finding ways to reduce costs. Busy attorneys do not have time to make sure that business operations are running at the most cost-efficient level. A management team will evaluate a law firm’s expenses, identify where any cost savings can be achieved, and work with the law firm to execute those measures.

For example, you may find that it would be more profitable to collaborate with other law firms in certain cases if your attorneys do not have specialty qualifications needed. This will ensure your client is getting the best representation and allow your firm to focus on cases within your expertise instead of spending additional time, which impacts the firm’s bottom line. It’s important to have contractual agreements with any law firms that would be involved in the collaboration.

Also, a management firm will assess existing cases to determine which ones are most profitable. Given a firm’s capabilities, financial, and professional goals, the management services team evaluates how the lawyers and staff work to find the cases that are more labor intensive but less profitable. This helps the firm target cases in the future that will be more profitable for the business.

Another benefit of hiring a law firm management service is the focus on acquiring new business and new clients. To stay financially viable, it’s clear that a law firm needs clients. With demanding schedules and a full roster of existing clients, it’s nearly impossible for attorneys to do the marketing needed to grow new business. That’s where the service management team comes into play. The right mix of advertising that reaches your target audience will help your law firm grow. Understanding how to target those individuals is a key factor in that new business growth.

Gaining More Time for Your Clients Through Law Firm Management

Practicing law is a profession, but the law firm business should be treated as a business. There is a structure in which a law firm should be managed in order to make the most progress and in order to make the most time for clients. Without clients, the business won’t be successful.

depositphotos44188919m2015

Most firms have a managing partner or president. The management position of a firm has become very complex and requires a management president to devote a lot of time to the position to his or her own firm. In a growing number of large firms, it can be hard to stand out and have the best management team. Also, it’s hard to have enough time to devote to all aspects of your firm if you’re doing it all by yourself, or with a few colleagues.

 

That’s why it’s a good idea to hire a law firm management service. This service will take care of all the odds and ends that consume so much of your time. They will do things like advertising, billing, and making sure that your firm is meeting all the necessary requirements.

 

When you hire a law firm management service, you automatically gain time. You will have so much more time for your clients, and your clients should always be the main focus of your firm. When clients feel appreciated and needed, they will be more willing to approach your firm and use your services.

 

Shared responsibility always supports growth and time management. When you add people to the team at your law firm, you will create more time and money for everyone who participates. It’s always best to let others help you, that way you can focus on the most important aspect of your business–the clients.

  Bringing outsiders into management will also benefit your law firm as whole because it will generate new ideas and thoughts that can grow your business. Everyone wins!  

Hire a law firm management service to improve your business today! You won’t regret it!

 

MINE YOUR MARKETING GOLD

Are you getting all of the gold out of your marketing? The answer is probably a resounding NO!

When I consult for firms, no matter what the initial purpose of the consultation, I usually find that they are not maximizing the results of their marketing. Most are not as egregious as that of a client that I recently helped. This attorney was concerned that he was not getting enough clients from his new television ads in spite of some kick-ass commercials. I can complement the commercials since I wrote them.


I had the firm record every call that came in from the ads. The problems were incredible.

  • Problem one:The firm policy was to have a person who was at best moderately trained screen the call to determine if they wanted to represent the caller
    • If the caller was approved by that screener they would be called back by an attorney.
    • In the two hours I sat in the call center cases that were going to be rejected ultimately settled for $84,000.
    • The next problem was that 25% of the prospects were not there when called back by an attorney or intake specialist.

  • Problem two: One of the screeners sounded as if the people were lucky to have someone to talk to.
    • She acted too busy to spend much time talking with them.
    • She sounded as if every caller was lying and she was going to catch them.

  • Problem three: Anywhere from 40% to 70% of the calls went to voice mail.
    • 80% of them hung up.
    • When the hang-ups were called back they were not interested or had already found an attorney.

The next issue is firm owners who trust non-attorneys or associates to determine who the firm will not represent. This may be a good policy but not without occasionally calling some of the people who were rejected to determine if the correct decision was made, that they were spoken to with respect and were satisfied with the reasons given for not being represented. If intake calls are recorded it is incumbent upon the firm owner to listen to some of the calls by each of the people doing intake. Determine the quality of work being done by the people making the first impression on prospective clients.


The people answering your phones and screening the new clients are the face of your firm. When they reject callers with good cases it is your wallet that is thinner. When they do not treat the caller with the proper kindness and respect, that person my find a different attorney and you miss out on a client with a good case.


Intake is huge. You have three seconds to make a good first impression. All but one firm I have consulted for. For various reasons, has let good clients slip away. Look at your procedures carefully to make sure your firm signs up the clients you want.

Screen your Clients for Mass Torts

The major area where firms are losing money is failing to screen for mass torts. I recently taught an estate planning firm to look for drug cases and they have gotten one women into the Lipitor class and two men into the testosterone class. It’s a simple process but you are losing a lot of money if you don’t pay attention to the mass tort potential of the people who call your firm for representation. They may not have a case you can handle but they still may be eligible for one of the mass tort classes.

Every person who calls about any case in any area of law should be screened for mass tort potential. This is gold on your shelf that you are just letting slip away. When new class actions are filed you can send a letter or email to every current and former client to see if they or anyone they know has ever used that drug.

A client of mine with a social security practice found 861 children who had used Risperdal. He didn’t have the staff to call them all but hired two college students to do the screening. Sixteen of his former clients got into the class action lawsuit. That will be a huge co-counsel fee for him someday because of that records search.

Teach your intake specialists to take the extra few minutes and ask the questions necessary of your prospects and clients to determine their potential to join a class action case. If they had a hip replacement, ask what kind of hip it was. If they used a medication for erectile dysfunction find out if they have had a melanoma.

How do you make sure your intake personnel do this? My recommendation is that you give a $25 bonus for each person they screen who is accepted into a class. Money talks and this little bonus will do wonders for getting your people to respond properly to your new intake procedures.

The difference might be hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to your firm in co-counsel fees. That’s definitely worth an extra few minutes with each prospective client who calls your firm.

Diversify your practice

Should you diversify your practice? With a stroke of a pen the legislature can wipe out your practice. I advise every firm I consult for to have at least two areas of specialty.

In some states caps have been put on malpractice claims that have virtually destroyed that area of practice. In others the caps on pain and suffering have greatly reduced the value of many accident practices. What if Congress decided that fees could no longer be withheld in Social Security practices? Representatives would then have to collect the fees from their clients.

What areas of law compliment what you are already doing? Add these areas to the mix of your practice; increase your income and protect your practice from the whim of a legislative onslaught.

If you are doing workers’ compensation think about adding Social Security or Veteran’s Disability. If you are doing one of those areas, add the other. Very few firms practice Federal Worker’s Compensation but those that do are very successful.

Your imagination and creativity are the only limits you have in what you can do to enhance your practice. That is the only protection you and your clients have in these times from a legislature that may not care about you or your clients.

Don’t be caught unprepared. Open your eyes now to the possibility that your area of practice could be wiped out and be ready to change. It is your future that you must protect!

Outsmarting the Conservative Judges: My Strategy for Beating the Statistics and Winning More Cases

Social Security Lawyers are complaining about how conservative the judges have become. Yes, it’s true the reversal rates have gone down, the judges are paying fewer cases and the fees have gotten smaller.

Times have changed. Instead of just handling every case the way you used to do it, lawyers need to figure out ways to keep up with the times. Your clients deserve your creativity. Figuring out how to win cases is an ongoing adjustment process. Most judges will pay the claims if you push the right button. It is up to you to figure out where that button is and how to push it.

As a lawyer, it’s easy to tell a potential client their case can’t be won. If you want to beat the statistics, you need to become a great lawyer. That means figuring out how to win more cases. Here’s how:

What Wins a Case?: A Judge by Judge Analysis

The first thing to do is take all of the claims you have won with a conservative judge and put them together. Conduct a serious analysis of those cases. What is the common thread in those claims that runs through each case?

For example, one of my clients found that with one particularly conservative judge, the credibility of the client made all the difference. In each case, when the physician of record specifically stated that the patient was credible, the judge paid the claim. That made it easy. From then on, the attorney asked each physician for a comment on the patient’s credibility. My client’s win rate with that judge, who was paying about 20%, skyrocketted to almost 80%.

In another recent situation, the attorney found that the conservative judge ruled in favor of the claimant only when ALL lab work was included. In fact, when all lab work was included, the judge paid EVERY case. If labs were missing, however, the judge assumed that the lawyer was hiding evidence and denied the claim regardless of the other evidence.

Don’t try to make sense of this reasoning. Rather, look for patterns that emerge for each judge that your firm is having trouble with and simply give them what they need to rule in favor of your clients. It is just figuring out what it takes to get a judge to pay the claim.

Sometimes, it’s not so cut and dry. Often mere persistence is the best option. Let the judge know you mean business. You might just have to wear the bad judge down. Go into the hearing room and make up your mind that you will not leave until the judge pays the case. If it is a video hearing ask for three hours. If pain is involved, ask the client about the end joint of their little finger, then the middle joint, then the proximal joint, then move to the ring finger. Tears help as you are working through the pain. Bring in the neighbors to explain how the claimant used to cut her lawn. Now when she tries she ends up in bed for three days and the witness has to cook her meals. Punish the bad judge with lay testimony until you obtain a judicial surrender.

One of my favorite things to do with the bad judge is to tell the claimant in the waiting room that the judge will be offended if they don’t shake hands when they are introduced. Then, when you walk into the hearing room say to your client, “Mr. Smith, this is Judge Jones, Judge Jones this is my client, Mr. Smith” and hold in your smile as the client walks up with their arm out to shake hands. If your client did heavy work and now has soft hands comment on it during the hearing and make sure you say, “Your honor, you probably noticed when you shook hands with the claimant how soft his hands have become.”

Writing a Winning Brief in the Era of the Conservative Judge

Most claims are turned down for the identical reasons they were denied previously. Make it harder on the judge to deny a case on the same grounds by specifically addressing that faulty reasoning. Give them a short (two page maximum) memo on your case. List every diagnosis, past relevant work with DOT codes, all restrictions (not just from RFC but also from office records), non exertional restrictions and a heading that says “Problems with the Case”.

Use bullets to list the problems with the previous decision. This should include the reasons the case was denied and any other problems (i.e. Younger individual, no severe impairment, etc.). After each bulleted “problem,” list the evidence in the file to rebut that problem. You have now made it difficult for the judge to deny for the same reasons the case was previously denied.

Next give one paragraph explaining why the case should be paid. Make your brief be brief. Use bullets. Judges won’t read long paragraphs. They do not need the medical re-written for them. Bullets work.

Real World Praise for this Strategy:

“I just wanted to thank you for sending us your brief/OTR template. We have been using your format along with a bullet point summary of selected medical records, instead of the long paragraph format that my father was using before. We are averaging 12 hearings per month cancelled and paid since we implemented your system. A chief judge called and told me this is the easiest memo he has ever read. He appreciates a nice concise simple way to tell him why the cases should be paid. The judges in his office are all talking about our new format. We used to get maybe one case every four months paid without a hearing. This is great. Our hearing rate has gotten back to where it used to be. We are about to begin using your other memo for initial apps and recons.”

“Your OTR format is incredible. I didn’t believe you but my staff is able to write them and cases are actually being paid without hearings being held. Some of our hearings since we started using it are taking 5 minutes and the judges have said they didn’t read my memo until right before the hearing. Some are getting cancelled. The judges have complimented me on the new format. I didn’t believe it could be done but we are almost at our old win rate.”

For questions about this method or for a sample template:

Jim Brown can be reached at Jim@AttorneyConsultant.com.

NEW BOOK AVAILABLE: Marketing for the Contingency Fee Law Firm, By James M. Brown

James M. Brown’s first book is already creating buzz – and more clients and higher profits for contingency fee lawyers around the country. The first ever book specifically written on marketing for the contingency fee law firm presents strategies that are proven to work.

If you want to take on more clients, handle cases more efficiently and enjoy your work more than you do now, this is the book for you. Jim’s book will teach you how to design a marketing strategy that will get you more phone calls and prospective client inquiries, how to organize your office to handle the increased volume, how to retrain your staff, and how to rethink how you manage your own time all so that you can be more effective and less stressed out.

James M. Brown is receiving phone calls daily from lawyers thanking him for the endless succession of great and easy to implement ideas about how to improve their practice! Don’t be left out! Order your book now!

ORDER ONLINE!