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TOP 7 MISTAKES LAW FIRMS MAKE DURING INTAKE: #1 THE SILENT KILLER

August 07, 2017
TOP 7 MISTAKES LAW FIRMS MAKE DURING INTAKE: #1 THE SILENT KILLER - blog post image

At Vista we have audited the intake processes, systems, and personnel of firms all over the country. Intake is one of the few things at your firm where you can fix something today and see big results tomorrow. We enjoy analyzing the process step by step and finding inefficiencies that increase our clients’ signups without increasing their spend. There are several common things that we see firms struggle with, but there is one that very few pay attention to, yet it costs them thousands of dollars (sometimes hundreds of thousands) a year in lost revenue.

What is it? The mistake many firms make is not tracking or improperly tracking whether a decision has been made to sign up or reject every single lead that comes through the firm. This is the situation where someone calls your firm, you take down their information and for whatever reason, no one proactively decides whether this is a case you are going to attempt to sign up or reject. That may sound improbable, and you may be saying that this doesn’t happen at your firm, but on average this can cause a 5%-10% decrease in signups if you are not handling this process properly.

For the firms that we work with, we typically create a “No Decision” report that is monitored throughout the day. The systems for intake are set up so that someone has to flag the file in the case management system as an accept, reject, or no contact (we will talk about these next week). If the field is left blank, it shows up on the “No Decision” report and gets remedied immediately.

For firms that do track this decision in some form or fashion, we also see some that track it improperly. The most common error is that firms write over this information with different information so that they cannot accurately run reports. An example of this is when a firm has a case that they don’t make a decision on, so they flag it as “pending decision” or some similar status. What then happens is that the firm never goes back to finalize that decision or it gets moved to a different status such as “reject” by default, without a decision being made. The way to alleviate this is to have a field in your case management system that is dedicated to tracking the decision that was made regarding accepting the case in house or rejecting it. I realize that there is a third option, which is referring it out, but that is a separate process.

If you would like Vista to audit your intake department, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will take a look at your systems, processes, and reporting, and give you details on how to make improvements.

Richard Harris
"After founding and managing one of Nevada’s largest personal injury law firms for over 30 years, and teaching law practice management, I didn’t think there was much a consultant could do for me. I initially asked Vista, “Why would I pay you to tell me what’s wrong with my firm – when I already know it?” Their response was, “We’ll help you fix it.” That had actually never occurred to me, which showed how much I needed them. Beginning with the onsite visit and comprehensive Needs Assessment, the Vista team not only helped fix what I already knew needed attention, I’m pleased to admit they revealed and helped us resolve several problem areas I previously didn’t know about. Not only that, through consistent coaching conferences and initiation of dynamic reporting of key performance indicators, Vista trained and transitioned a new management team to take our firm to the next level. I’m completely satisfied with Vista and recommend their services to any firm, large or small."
- Richard Harris
Wendy and David Share
“We met with Vista for a strategic planning session as our firm is at the crossroads and we wanted some outside perspective to help us with our planning. Vista provided a very focused environment so that we could develop our “Painted Picture” or 5-year plan. As we were very involved in the process, the conclusions we arrived at were not surprising to us, but having a road map to help us take the next step has been very beneficial to us. We have been working on the required steps and are making progress, and we do always come back to the Painted Picture and the principles we discussed in realizing our objectives. It is very much an ongoing process, and we know Vista is there for us, if and when we need their further input and objective perspective. Vista’s knowledge of the inner working of Plaintiff Personal Injury law firms allowed them to offer their insight and perspective to our unique circumstances. The fact that we are in Canada proved to be no barrier to understanding what our firm is all about.”
- Wendy and David Share
Paul B. Harding
"As our firm grew, it became difficult to track the progress of cases through the various units, along with the customer service provided to our clients. VISTA developed dashboards for all this and more! When viewing our dashboard, I now have all the important data at my fingertips: client contact, file review, the number of demands filed, files placed in suit, and so much more! Our unit managers also use these tools to ensure that attorneys and staff are staying on-track. As Managing Partner, I am pulled in many directions at once and am often out of the office — the dashboard allows me to zero in on issues as they develop, regardless of my location or the time of day. Great solution for us!"
- Paul B. Harding / Managing Partner