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Streamlining Client Intake in Small Law Firms: A 5-Step Guide

by Terrifio Team | February 5, 2021

Streamlining Client Intake in Small Law Firms: A 5-Step Guide

It is no secret that smaller firms face challenges when growing/building the firm in comparison to an already existing, thriving larger firm. A larger firm can afford to outsource specialists to help them/focus specifically on the Client Intake Process.
Smaller firms may not have the same budget or resources, this may serve as a challenge to them but it does not mean smaller firms have no hope or way to perform or execute efficient Client Intake Processes.

Here are five tips smaller Intellectual Property firms can consider:

1.As mentioned above a smaller firm may not be able to afford to hire an administrator or a specialist. The administrative tasks may fall on the attorneys or paralegals in the firm to follow up or take turns checking on and updating any pending and existing tasks.
This may seem overwhelming – which it can be – but if the firm is tight-knit then employees can help one another. It makes communication and the flow of information within the firm easier (despite not having an administrator) and helps the attorney or paralegal acquire administrative skills.
Creating a universal process/timeline will help any team member jumping on to the Client Intake Process; they will be a following protocol which will, also, ease them into the administrative tasks at hand.

2.As a result, it is imperative that the people who hire or bring on board are productive and dedicated.
They should be able to understand the firm’s situation and be open to receiving work that may be non-billable and outside their scope. As a firm grows, however, this will not continue to be the case.
You can invest some time in training the team in software integration or other technological tools that you will be utilising.

3.Another positive aspect is having direct relation between the team member and the client as people skills are necessary.

If the smaller firm utilises an Intake Management Software or Client Intake Form then the team member is the one scheduling the meeting with the client and looking over their applications and information (as they handle their case).

4.In the current 2021 climate, during a global pandemic, it will be inevitable for a firm to cut costs, corners while still maximising profits.
Offering client-specific discounts, billing structures or a payment plan may encourage them to pick your smaller firm over a bigger one. The likelihood of your expenses being less than a bigger law firm is high. As a result, smaller law firms can afford to cut corners by offering different ‘discount bundles’ to their clients.

5.As we have mentioned in previous articles the world is becoming more digital and technologically advanced; smaller firms should consider offering their clients the option to pay electronically. The above may help avoid any potential issues with the payment process.
Clio, an Intake Software Management, suggests ways of improving your law firm’s billing process through:

a) Creating, paying and approving of bills on the move;
b) Have a payment plan in place to reduce the time spent on billing. The above is achieved by pre-setting up payment plans.

c) Offer payment options and accept payments for different bills in one single transaction.


As a small Intellectual Property firm, it can seem frightening to break into the market. Yes, larger Intellectual Property firms are leading the race but, you should not feel left behind.

But this should not deter you from creating a more efficient system for your clients.

With a bit of hard work and a good team together, you can offer your client good service.

Remember, the first step to a good relationship with your client is by creating a solid Client Intake Process in place.