A firm, no matter small or large, is nothing without its clients. It is for this reason that Client Intake practices are essential to any law firm – be they on a smaller or a larger scale.
It is for this reason that a firm should put thought and effort into their Client Intake Practises.
Here are some Client Intake Practices that Intellectual Property firms can consider:
1.If you have not considered a Client Process Form then you should consider including it in your Client Intake process.
After doing so you should consider an administrator or an administrative team to oversee the Intake Process.
Finally, Intake Management Software should be integrated into a firm’s process.
2.Do not overlook the screening aspect in the Client Intake process; ensure that the potential client is compatible with the firm.
To avoid any potential conflict in the future, a firm must be able to understand and connect with a client. It is not enough to just know what Intellectual Property issues or concerns a client has that they are attempting to solve.
If you are not compatible with the client or some conflict of interest does arise the client can be informed from the first stage. This also avoids an instance of ‘dropping’ a client halfway through the working relationship.
3.Since the Covid-19 pandemic in December of 2019, society (inclusive of legal firms), have had to adjust to business moving online. With government lockdown measures and working from home measures, communication has moved online.
This includes the way client-firm relationships have transformed. Face-to-face meetings have been limited or eliminated. Video calling apps like Zoom or Skype have become the norm.
But you, as a firm, should not let this be an excuse to lose the ‘human touch.’ Firms can implement bi-monthly or monthly meetings between clients and the attorney/paralegal.
Follow up with a client outside of work-related circumstances. Ensure that, even when you are handling the client on a work-related issue, you are making them feel heard. It is very easy to forget about client follow-ups when an administrator is handling and coordinating meetings on behalf of the firm. The client should not feel like a commodity to the firm but rather a part of the cog in the machine – this is especially imperative during an era where everyone and everything has become digital.
4.Speaking of technology…
If you have integrated Intake Management Software into your Client Process then you may acknowledge how smooth the administrative process has become for your firm.
A Management Software eliminates human errors and the need for tedious data entry or repeated/unnecessary information and data. The Management Software consolidates the firm’s data and client information. Clients also have the option of self-entry through the Client Intake Form (available on a firm’s website).
This also eliminates the use of paper and physical storage as all the information becomes available electronically.
Clients may also be able to sign and pay electronically; this eliminates the need to go to the firm which may be time-consuming while keeping in line with Covid-19 lockdown rules.
Firms can also send clients reminders for their meetings before their appointment through the Management Software they are using.
As mentioned in the introduction, smaller scale and larger scale firms alike should develop an efficient, effective Client Intake practice.
It gives the firm a good footing and place to start with their business/client management. Intellectual Property firms need to go beyond being good at handling Intellectual Property issues and cases; they need to learn how to manage and handle their client’s case.
If an Intellectual Property firm can create a balance between the way they handle a case and the way they handle their clients then they will be on the right track.