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Gimbal's Tip of the Week

The Lean Law Firm Blog

E172: Does your law firm need a screen door? 5 Ways to Boost Your Lead Conversion

productivity Mar 07, 2023
screen door

Nothing takes me back to my childhood like the sound of an old-fashioned screen door (this is as close as I could find. One slam, and I’m right back on the verandah of my grandparents’ cottage in Norway Bay, Quebec.

If you live in a part of the world without mosquitoes, you may not be familiar with screen doors. Up here, they serve a noble purpose. They let all the good stuff in (the sun, the breeze, the grandkids), and they keep the bugs out.

This week’s tip: Every law practice needs a screen door. Not a real one (unless you’re practicing from your verandah), but a pre-screening process that lets in only the clients you want to serve, and filters out everyone else.

Over the years, as we’ve advised lawyers on ways to improve their intake and lead conversion rates, we’ve seen many law firms struggle with a common issue: they spend a lot of time and resources on potential clients who are not a good fit for their practice. This is especially a problem for lawyers who offer people initial consultations or phone calls, only to discover they can’t or don’t want to serve them.

What do we mean by pre-screening?

Pre-screening (or pre-qualifying, if you prefer) is what should happen after you’ve generated your leads, but before a potential client calls your firm or completes your full intake form. Clients see your services and either select the right service for themselves or move on if they don’t see what they need.

Once you’ve got this process in place, you won’t waste any more time talking to people who aren’t a good fit for your practice.

Here are 5 tips for creating an effective pre-screening process:

  1. Define your ideal client: Understanding your ideal client is the foundation of your pre-screening process. Identify the key characteristics of the clients you most want to serve. Who are they? What do they need? What will you do for them? What’s their budget? And just as importantly, consider the clients you do NOT want to work with. Learn more here [link to E153] and here [Link to 158].
  2. Put clear service descriptions on your website: Ensure your website says what you do and who you serve. If you do more than one type of work, consider having a button for each service that leads people to a few short questions that qualify them further, provides them with service-specific information, or streams them into the next right step in your intake process.
  3. Automate your prescreening: Chatbots and online forms are great ways to pre-screen people and stream them toward the services they need. We love Lawbrokr for this [LINK TO:]. It’s a new system that uses logic and a quiz-type Q&A to help clients pre-screen themselves, plus it captures that data for you! (We know the founder, so if you want a demo, book it here and tell them you heard about it from us!)
  4. Be upfront about your fees: Being transparent about your fees and payment structure can help to pre-qualify potential clients based on their budget.
  5. Have a plan for your unqualified leads: You need an effective, polite, and ethical way to deal with the people you don’t want to work with. Will you offer them a specific referral? Will you refer them to your local bar? Will you simply (but politely) decline? Whatever path you choose, ensure you’ve built it into your pre-screening process.

Your action item: Review your intake process to ensure you’ve got a pre-screening step in place.

You’ll save time and resources, increase efficiency, and focus on the clients who are most likely to be a good fit for your practice.



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