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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.

Kenny Harrell
“The Joye Law Firm would whole-heartedly recommend Vista Consulting’s services. It’s been nearly two years since Vista did the initial needs assessment at our firm, followed by several weeks of ‘boots on the ground’ work. With the benefit of hindsight, I can easily say that improvements we’ve made as the result of their services have easily more than paid for the costs of the same (and that was probably true a few months in.) This is true based on improvements in our case management efficiency and especially in regard to better intake procedures. Our average new cases per month have increased 50%, and this is due in large part on our doing a better job of following up on potential new clients.”
- Kenny Harrell / Managing Partner
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
Jim Reed
"I have to confess, I was initially skeptical that Vista could significantly improve my firm. Heck, we are a small firm (4 lawyers) in a small city and have been in business for 60+ years. Frankly, we were already doing well and had managed to carve out a successful business handling personal injury and malpractice cases. But I met (and liked) Tim McKey and we were having a good year, so I thought, let’s give them a try to see if they can offer any meaningful improvement. I am happily surprised to say that hiring Vista is one of the best business decisions I ever made. Vista analyzed and made recommendations in a few key areas and helped us implement changes in those areas. In less that one year, we are already reaping substantial dividends from those simple changes. As lawyers, we think we are pretty smart and know our business pretty well, but I can tell you that inviting an outside set of experienced eyes to take a close look at the way your firm operates WILL reveal many things you never saw and many areas for improvement. If you want to REALLY learn about your firm and how to improve it, I HIGHLY recommend a consultation with Vista."
- Jim Reed / Owner