One of the most important parts of the client journey is the client intake process. And using a legal client intake form template can help you enhance and standardize this early and essential communication interaction with clients.
What is a legal client intake form?
A legal client intake form helps your firm document important details about your client before you meet them. The form allows you to pre-screen your clients to see if they’ll be a good match for your services. It also provides you with the essential information about their case required to determine the next steps.
The importance of a legal client intake form template
A legal client intake form template helps standardize the intake process, ensuring every client gets as close to the same experience as possible. This first two-way exchange with clients (the sending and receiving of the form) helps build a positive reputation with your clients. A straightforward experience will leave them feeling optimistic about moving forward with your legal services. The client intake process is a valuable opportunity to start your working relationship off positively. It’s also an opportunity for you to build your reputation as a reliable, organized legal professional. You can also take the opportunity to build your firm’s brand.
And from your team’s perspective, a template can streamline routine work. If your team sends a standardized form (one that provides everything they need to know about a prospective/new client), they’ll avoid the back and forth of emailing clients or playing the unnecessary game of phone tag.
What should be included in a client intake template?
The fields included in the form will depend slightly on your practice area. However, below are some standardized fields to include:
Personal information: Include fields for any personal and contact information you need to conduct business and run a conflict check. It’s a good idea to reach out to your bar association to confirm what client information requests lawyers can make.
Law firm services: Give your clients the ability to select what service(s) they’re interested in. If you often get questions about what a service covers, include a brief description of this on the form.
Explanation of the potential case: This field should provide clients with the opportunity to briefly explain their incident. It’s a good idea to include helpful prompts to ensure you get the information needed.
Remember, clients are likely filling out your legal client intake form template while feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Knowing this, do your best to make the client intake form easy to complete. Be sure to use friendly language and humanize your form however you can. For example, you could include a reassuring note at the beginning or end of the template. Including this personalization might help calm the nerves of a worried client, and set you apart from the competition.
How do I introduce a client intake template at my firm?
Above all else, do your best to make it easy for your team to use a legal client intake form. The simpler it is for your staff to find the template they’re looking for and send it to clients, the higher the likelihood they’ll use it. Below are some tips for best practices when it comes to introducing templates at your firm:
- Ensure everyone on your team knows where the templates are stored. Sending a link to your team of the template’s location is a good idea.
- Regularly check in with your team and inquire about the process. Are clients requesting additional space for some fields? Is your team getting all the information they need, or do they have to follow up via email for specific details? This will support you in providing the optimal client-centered experience.
- Look for ways to enhance the template based on feedback from your clients and team.
- Consider investing in legal CRM software, which allows you to create reusable templates for essential documents that must be generated and/or signed during the intake process.
Client intake templates
Below are some examples you can modify or use as inspiration for your firm’s legal client intake form template:
- The American Bar Association’s client intake form (downloadable word document)
- Personal injury legal client intake form
- Legal client intake form template for immigration law firms
- Intake form for a marriage/cohabitation agreement
Remember to include your firm’s logo, contact information, and anything else you want clients to have on hand. While it may seem like this is just a simple template, it’s still a representation of your firm and brand. It should match the tone and style of your business to maintain branding consistency. After all, these seemingly small touchpoints with prospective and future clients all present an opportunity to market your firm.
Final thoughts on client intake templates
While the intake process is just one step in the client journey, it’s arguably the most important. And utilizing a legal client intake form template supports you in creating the best first impression with your future clients.