Best Practices for Lawyer Client Intake - Huntersure

Best Practices for Lawyer Client Intake

Posted on: August 19, 2021 by Huntersure LLC.

Unfortunately, lawyers sometimes have to defend themselves in court. No law firm can win every case and sometimes people blame their attorneys for not adequately representing them.  Covering your clients with lawyer professional liability insurance is the best way to help them avoid the costs involved with legal malpractice suits. However, firms can also help themselves by improving client intake procedures. Here are four best practices for lawyers when seeing clients for the first time.

Evaluate Current Practices

Some firms do not have a documented procedure for handling people that walk in the door and sometimes even leave initial decisions up to the front office staff. Employees of larger firms may not communicate with each other on a daily basis and thus may make wrong assumptions about who handles which duty. Ask the attorneys you work with whether their firms have policies in writing about how to intake clients.

Create a Decision Tree

A decision tree is a flowchart that guides a user through a series of questions that lead to a decision of whether or not to onboard a client. It is helpful for getting everyone on the same page when it comes to understanding the types of clients who are a good fit for the firm. They should base questions on variables such as the following:

  • Attorney expertise
  • Availability of lawyers
  • Risk of losing the case

Be Upfront About Fees

 Attorneys should let clients know right away the cost of their representation, advice, and other services. Advertising a low price and then adding fees later is not a good business practice because it can lead to hard feelings that make clients want to sue to avoid paying. Your clients should create a fee schedule to distribute as part of the intake process. The document should clearly state the hourly rate, contingency costs, and other expenses.

Refer Clients Elsewhere

When a firm has to tell potential clients no, it should immediately refer them to another lawyer who might be able to help. Even though the lawyers are temporarily losing business, clients who are satisfied with the referral they receive are more likely to speak positively about the firm to their friends and family. The office should maintain an updated list of lawyers who deal with cases outside its areas of specialty so that no one walks away empty-handed.

If your clients file an excessive number of claims on their professional liability policies, inquire about their existing intake procedures. By changing the method they use to intake clients, law firms can increase their rates of success and decrease the number of lawsuits filed by those they represent. Explain to them that implementing changes could help keep their premiums low.

About Huntersure

Huntersure LLC is a full-service Managing General Agency that has provided insurance program administration for professional liability products to our partners across the United States since 2007. We specialize in providing insurance solutions for businesses of all sizes. Our program features can cover small firms (grossing $2.5 million annually) to large corporations (grossing $25 million annually or more). We make doing business with us easy with our breadth and depth of knowledge of E&O insurance, our proprietary underwriting system that allows for responsive quoting, binding and policy issuance and tailored products to meet the needs of your insureds. Give us a call at (855) 585-6255 to learn more.

Posted in: Lawyer's professional liability insurance