Best Virtual Receptionists for Law Firms Reviewed

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Hiring an in-house staff member just to answer the phones is a luxury many small law firms cannot afford. And you’re probably too busy with casework to answer every call yourself. But if you’re not picking up the phone every time a client or potential client calls you, your business will suffer.

To a client, not answering the phone creates an impression that you don’t care. This negative experience will make clients more likely to call another, more responsive firm.

Fortunately, using a virtual receptionist service, otherwise known as a legal answering service, can be the perfect middle ground. It gives your firm the ability to pick up the phone whenever a client calls, but without the costs of hiring a full-time staff member. This post reviews the best virtual receptionists for law firms to help you choose the best call answering service for your attorney’s office.

What are the Benefits of a Legal Answering Service?

Between client meetings, being in court, and travel, lawyers aren’t always able to answer every call that comes in. Traditionally, a law firm would have a receptionist pick up the calls but with the rising popularity of virtual law firms and remote work, legal answering services have become more common.

The benefits of a legal answering service include 24/7 availability, increased client satisfaction, saved time and money, and boosted work productivity. With a virtual receptionist delivering quality customer service, your team is free to focus on more important work.

Virtual Receptionist Reviews for Law Firms

There are hundreds of different virtual receptionist services available, so it’s not always easy to choose the right provider. For this reason, we put together a list of some of the most popular legal answering services, including a brief review of each.

The following reviews come from publicly available information about these legal answering services and our informed opinions. Always do your research before signing up for any service.

App partner - Ruby

Ruby Receptionists Review (Call Ruby Review)

Ruby is one of the most widely used virtual receptionist services for small law firms. They provide exceptional customer service and are known for having very friendly and well-trained staff answering their phone calls.

When you sign up for a Ruby account, you receive a customized local business phone number. You can transfer this number to different lines if more than one person interacts with clients over the phone. You explain what you’d like the virtual receptionists to say and how you would like them to handle the calls (e.g., transfer, take a message, leave a voicemail). They’ll manage the rest, including notifying you of new calls via email or text message if you’re unavailable.

Ruby is one of the better options for receptionist availability, they offer 24/7 legal answering services and live chat services. They also answer on weekends, which some other virtual receptionist services do not, and they have Spanish-speaking receptionists available should you have any Spanish-speaking clients.

Another great feature which sets them apart from the competition is their mobile app. The app allows you to manage your standard availability, set up “away” times when you do not wish to receive calls, place outbound calls from your business phone number, keep track of your call log, and more. You can do all of this from anywhere using your smartphone.

Finally, Ruby has integrated its answering service with popular law firm solutions including Clio Manage and Clio Grow. These integrations can save you time and make your life easier by eliminating data entry, making Ruby one of the overall best options for a small law firm virtual receptionist.

Services Offered

  • Call answering
  • Call routing
  • Bilingual receptionists
  • Taking messages
  • Integrations with other software
  • Outbound calling on your behalf
  • Mobile app

Pricing Information

  • $349/month – $1,499/month (100 call minutes – 500 call minutes, respectively)
  • Overage fees for any additional minutes beyond your plan
  • 21 day money back guarantee
  • View pricing page

Back Office Betties’ Review

Back Office Betties is another popular virtual receptionist service that is used by many law firms. The company is not as large as Ruby, but their basic virtual receptionist service offering is similar, with friendly receptionists and a custom phone number that can be transferred to any phone number you’d like.

Back Office Betties provides some additional services on top of what Ruby has to offer as well. This includes things like scheduling appointments/managing your calendar, processing payments, creating work orders, and even making outbound calls to follow up with clients. They also have bilingual receptionists to answer phone calls in Spanish if you have Spanish-speaking clients.

Back Office Betties does not offer a virtual receptionist mobile app, whereas Ruby does, but their receptionist services do integrate with Clio Grow, and the additional services on offer can be a huge plus for certain firms, depending on the nature of the practice. Back Office Betties’ virtual receptionist services are available Monday – Friday from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST (8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST), which is somewhat limited, and they do not answer on weekends.

Services Offered

  • Call answering
  • Call routing
  • Bilingual receptionists
  • Taking messages
  • Integrations with other software
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Processing payments
  • Generating work orders and estimates
  • Outbound calling on your behalf

Pricing Information

  • $299/month – $1299/month (100 call minutes – 500 call minutes, respectively)
  • Overage fees for any additional minutes beyond your plan
  • Additional one-time fees: ($99-149) for training ($49/month) for appointment scheduling and CRM access if a separate login is required ($25/month) for payment processing if a separate login is required ($99/month) for creating work orders/estimates
  • Free trial available (length not disclosed)
  • View pricing page

Alert Communications Review

Alert Communications has been in business since 1965 and have worked with thousands of attorneys. In fact, they work exclusively in the legal industry, and they use more of a client intake call center approach compared to other virtual receptionists (who typically pick up the phone and transfer it to you).

Alert Communications offers 24/7 services, bilingual virtual receptionists, and large call centers for high-volume law firms fielding hundreds of calls per day. Because they focus exclusively on the legal industry, they also train their receptionists in legal terminology and provide other hands-on services for attorneys.

The add-on services they offer include outbound calls to website leads, taking down client intake information, processing retainers via e-signature, scheduling consultations, delivering documents, scheduling appointments, and more. They also integrate their service with Clio Grow and several other popular software programs to ease the burden of data entry.

Services Offered

  • Call answering
  • Call routing
  • Bilingual receptionists
  • Taking messages
  • Conducting client intake interviews
  • Integrations with other software
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Processing retainers via e-signature
  • Delivering documents
  • Outbound calling for website leads
  • 24/7 availability

Pricing Information

  • Not publicly available (although, they do mention a “$750/month plan” on their FAQ page)
  • A refundable deposit is also required upfront (equal to the monthly payment amount)

Gabbyville Review

Gabbyville is a popular virtual receptionist service targeting small and medium businesses of all kinds. They are not exclusive to law firms, but law firms appear to make up one of their most important customer segments (it’s shown first on their list of industries).

The virtual receptionist services they offer are slightly more robust than Ruby Receptionist but not as in-depth as Alert Communications. On top of just answering phone calls and routing them, they can place outbound calls to clients (e.g., appointment reminders), set up bridge lines for conference calls, and schedule appointments on your calendar.

They offer text messaging between you and your team of receptionists to streamline communications, and you can also get text alerts for new calls when you’re unavailable to take them. Although Gabbyville does not currently have a mobile app,it has indicated that it’s in development and coming soon.

Potential downsides of Gabbyville are a lack of software integrations, and that their availability is not 24/7, instead limited to 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. EST.

Services Offered

  • Call answering
  • Call routing
  • Setting up conference calls
  • Taking messages
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Outbound calling on your behalf

Pricing Information

  • $250/month – $1,200/month (40 calls – 400 calls, respectively)
  • $99 one-time setup fee (this is waived for the top two most expensive pricing plans)
  • 14 day free trial available
  • View pricing page

Answering Legal Review

Answering Legal is another virtual receptionist and phone call answering solution that is exclusive to the legal industry. They only work with law firms, so they train their staff to understand how law firms operate and they provide additional hands-on services related to client intake.

Answering Legal appears to be somewhat of a hybrid between Alert Communications and Ruby Receptionists. They operate more like a call center for high-volume firms similar to Alert Communications. But answering phone calls, routing them, and taking messages is still their primary focus, more like Ruby.

One interesting feature about Answering Legal is their advanced call forwarding logic. For example, you can set it up to call you directly at first, but if you don’t pick up within the first few rings, redirect the call to Answering Legal. Giving you exceptional control and flexibility to best configure the call handling process for your office and your clients.

The biggest possible drawback to the service is that it does not appear to integrate directly with any other software, which means caller data would likely need to be entered manually into a CRM or case management system.

Services Offered

  • Call answering
  • Call routing
  • Advanced call forwarding
  • Taking messages
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Outbound calling on your behalf for follow ups or appointment reminders

Pricing Information

  • 100 call minutes for $250 and 200 call minutes for $398
  • Custom price quotes for firms with higher call volume
  • 10 day free trial available
  • View pricing page

Nexa Review

Nexa is yet another popular virtual receptionist service that is aimed at businesses of any kind and any size. Their differentiating factor seems to be their technology, as they boast about their software infrastructure which is developed in house and promises reliability with greater than 99.98% uptime.

Nexa trains its virtual receptionists by industry, and they provide 24/7, bilingual service across a variety of channels, not just phone calls. This virtual receptionist service will also communicate with clients via email, webchat, text message, etc., giving you a more robust service offering and enabling your law firm to interact with clients however they feel most comfortable.

Their client portal comes with native integrations to several prominent CRMs, as well as a Zapier integration to allow you to connect to hundreds of other software programs, which is a huge plus. They also provide more hands-on services for their customers, such as appointment scheduling, lead qualification, basic IT support, and ticketing/help desk management.

While some of these features may not be useful for a law practice, it’s always nice to work with technically savvy vendors and business partners, as technology plays a key role in running any type of modern business.

Services Offered

  • Call answering
  • Call routing
  • Bilingual receptionists
  • Taking messages
  • Live chat/email/text message communication options
  • Lead qualification
  • Integrations with other software
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Technical support/help desk management
  • 24/7 availability

Pricing Information

  • $200/month – $900/month (100 call minutes – 500 call minutes, respectively)
  • $90 one-time setup fee
  • Additional fees (amounts undisclosed) for CRM admin support, calendar scheduling, and text messaging
  • 21 day money day back guarantee
  • View pricing page

Smith.ai

Smith.ai is a small but fast-growing virtual receptionist service based in Silicon Valley. They have expertise in solo and boutique law firms, as well as other small and medium businesses. They are a newer player in the virtual receptionist space, but their key differentiator is the way that their software tracks phone call data. Using this data, the Smith.ai team learns the ins and outs of your business. Their pay-per-call pricing is also favorable

Key technology features include the ability to set your availability by simply sending a text message command which is automatically handled by Smith.ai, and the ability to set up call priorities so that calls from certain phone numbers are automatically handled in a particular way.
Smith.ai also has some great software integrations with other companies, including Clio Grow. Other integrations include Zapier, Calendly, YouCanBookMe, Resurva, Capsule, Assistant.to, Square, IFTTT, and more, with new integrations coming nearly every month.
One downside is that Smith.ai does not offer 24/7 answering services or answer calls on the weekends. They are available 9 a.m.-9 p.m. EST, and they can route calls directly to a number you specify, or to a voicemail system that sends you the recording via email or text outside of their normal hours.

Services Offered

  • Call answering
  • Call routing and live transfer
  • Taking messages
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Call screening and prioritization
  • Spam/sales call blocking
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Integrations with other software
  • SMS control of availability/away status
  • 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST availability

Pricing Information

  • Pay per call model
  • $210/month – $750/month (30 calls – 150 calls, respectively)
  • No charge for spam, sales calls, wrong numbers, etc.
  • 14 day money back guarantee
  • View pricing page
An attorney using virtual receptionists for law firms

Overall Impressions

Which virtual receptionist service is best for a law firm will depend on a variety of different factors, from the types of clients you work with, to the level of service you would like to provide, to the price you’re willing to pay.

Here are our top choices of legal answering services based on a variety of different factors which may be important to your law firm:

Overall Quality/Reputation

Ruby is probably the most widely used virtual receptionist service for small law firms and is known for providing top-notch service. Ruby is slightly more expensive than the others (per minute of call time). Also, they don’t offer additional services beyond answering phone calls. So, if cost is a concern or you would like more hands-on services, Ruby may not be the best fit. Otherwise, it’s an extremely reliable and high-quality service. There’s a good reason they’re the number one virtual receptionist service in the industry.

Low Call Volume/Lowest Cost

If you’re a solo lawyer with low call volume, and you’re looking for the lowest-priced option, Nexa is a good virtual receptionist service to consider. Their starter plan is only $200/month givingyou 33-50 calls per month.Assuming an average call length of about 2-3 minutes.

High Call Volume/Most Services

Alert Communications is a good virtual receptionist option for larger firms that spend heavily on advertising, such as mass tort or personal injury law. They can screen calls and handle many intake-related processes beyond just answering the phones and transferring them to you.

Best Technology

Smith.ai features top of the line technology, a wealth of software integrations, and additional technical-support-related service offerings. They also provide additional communication options for clients, such as web chat and text messaging. Their team also seems to be focused heavily on building quality software and continuously adding more integrations to make the service work seamlessly with your workflow.

The Virtual Receptionist Service With The Most Intimate/Personal Touch

If you’re concerned about losing control of the brand or image of your law firm by outsourcing your call answering, or you want to establish a closer relationship with the receptionists so they get to know your business better, you might consider Gabbyville or Back Office Betties.

They’re a bit smaller and both have a reputation for working closely with their customers and going above and beyond to meet their needs, even when that means logging directly into their Clio Grow account to schedule appointments or input new leads.Ω

Categorized in: Business, Technology

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