The client intake process is your chance to convert potential clients into paying ones, so you must make the most out of this opportunity to focus on valuable prospects. You'll want to steer clear of those who may only be seeking some advice without an actual intention to hire you, or who simply cannot afford your services. A great way to do this is by implementing a legal client intake form that can help you collect the relevant information to evaluate whether or not you should consider working with a potential client.
If you're not sure how to go about creating your own law firm intake form, we're here to help you out. We have listed the essential elements you must include in your questionnaire and how they will benefit both you and your future clients. So before you even book an initial consultation, make sure you tick all the boxes!
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What Should a Client Intake Form Include?
As you are aware, providing legal services involves gathering a lot of data when onboarding new clients. Your legal client intake form should allow you to easily follow up on prospective clients, find out if you're a good fit, and quickly sort information so you can identify red flags. Here are the elements you must not miss when creating your own client intake forms.
Basic Contact Details
For starters, you must ensure you have all the data necessary to address their legal issues and take prompt action in response. Begin with a set of questions to gather your client's full name and contact information such as phone number, physical address, email address, business name (if applicable) and any other information you find relevant. You can also ask them to provide their age/date of birth and social security number.
Next, you'll want to find out more about the client's life and especially, their current working situation and annual income. You're looking for paying clients, so you don't only want to make sure your prospect is qualified, but also they can actually afford your services. Although target earnings will differ amongst law firms, having this knowledge will speed up the screening process and make it easier to find the right customers.
Here are some questions you could include in your intake form.
- What company do you work for?
- What position do you currently have within the company?
- Please include the address of your workplace.
- Please provide the name of your organization/business (if applicable)
- Describe your line of business and size of the company.
- What is your yearly income?
You want to get a better understanding of the services your client is interested in and investigate any potential conflicts of interest. To do so, you must gather any preliminary information regarding the legal issue they're currently facing or potential future legal requirements they may have. Gather information about their case or claim, such as the location, the reason it occurred, the parties involved, etc.
This can assist in highlighting the key points of their case.
- Please describe the type of legal assistance you need.
- What do you want legal counsel to help you accomplish?
- Do you presently have any more legal matters for which you are being defended by a different attorney or attorneys?
- What kind of accident was it?
- What wounds were there?
- When did the incident happen?
The type of questions you ask here will vary depending on the type of legal services you offer. For example, a divorce lawyer may include the following questions:
- What is the basis for your divorce petition?
- Are there any children you and your spouse have together?
- What is your living status at the moment?
It's also a great idea to include questions on your client intake form regarding the client's availability and preferred method of communication. This can be useful for you to do proper follow-up and be able to schedule future meetings or calls in case you can meet the client's legal needs.
Some example questions include:
- When would you prefer that we call? What days of the week?
- Do you have any availability for video calls at this time?
- Do you allow email communication with us?
- Are you open to text messages from us?
- What is your work schedule?
To end your client intake form, you can leave a section for your client to express any doubts or concerns, and share any details they may deem useful that your questions may not have uncovered. You can also ask if they were referred by someone and gather the details (name and phone number), which can also be useful in determining whether or not it will be good to represent potential new clients.
Step up Your Client Intake Process With Bonsai
An effective client onboarding process is critical to the success of your law firm. But you don't want to spend more time than you need to on so many daunting administrative tasks such as creating intake forms, proposals and contracts. Luckily, Bonsai's all-in-one product suite has everything you need to achieve a streamlined process and leave time for what really matters; your clients.
With Bonsai you can create perfect online client intake forms that you can send to all of your potential clients via email, URL link, or have it embedded to your website for added convenience. Our flexible forms allow you to include as many questions as you need, and choose your preferred answer format (multiple choice, text, single option, etc...).
Additionally, you can use our fully customizable templates to create business proposals and contracts. They have all been legally vetted and verified by thousands of independent professionals in your industry. Check out everything Bonsai has to offer with your 14-day free trial. We help you save tons of time so you can focus on your passion, not your paperwork.