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Gimbal's Tip of the Week

The Lean Law Firm Blog

E78: The Most Important Thing To Do For An Efficient Intake Process

process improvement Apr 14, 2021
Computer do more

If you don’t have a clear intake process, chances are you’re not consistently gathering the right information from your new clients at the beginning of every matter. And that means you’re potentially losing time and money across the life of your matter. We work with a lot of lawyers—solo practitioners and attorneys in larger practices. They’re universally united in their frustration with inefficient methods of collecting and entering client information. It’s tedious, time-consuming, and prone to human error.

Welcome to Gimbal’s Tip of the Week, where you get practical, actionable advice you can use right away to start building a more productive and profitable legal practice.

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Last week, we talked about how a smooth and efficient intake process helps build a good relationship with your clients from the start. Today we’re continuing to look at intake through the lens of our new & improved Gimbal Guide, 8 Ways to Stop Losing Time & Money in Your Practice.

This week’s tip: create an intake form that consistently and accurately collects the client information you need, every time.

Without a form, you’re likely going to find some of the eight wastes we talk about in the Gimbal Guide. For example, rekeying information into documents and accounting systems leads to human errors (that’s defects) and takes time (that’s waiting waste). There’s probably some non-utilized talent in there as well, since you may have higher-value resources like associates keying in basic information every time they generate a new document. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, defects, waiting wastes, and non-utilized talent are just three of the eight ways you’re losing time and money in your practice. Download the free Guide to learn more!

Back to your intake form. You’ll need to invest time in developing your form or improving your existing one. You don’t need fancy software or automations to do it (although that helps).

You can build a basic form in Word or Google Forms. If you want to get more automated, try a system like Lawyaw, Lawmatics, or LawProcess. No matter what system you use, start by identifying the key pieces of information you need.

It will take time (and probably a few tries) to get it right, to collect ONLY the information you really need, so you can balance your desire to gather a LOT of information against the client’s desire to get it done quickly. But once you’ve got it right, you’ll save countless hours of time and resources that would otherwise be spent correcting errors or performing repetitive tasks. And you’ll avoid the embarrassment of having to keep going back to your client with more questions as the matter progresses.

As lawyers, we’re professionally obligated to “know our clients.” Having incomplete or accurate data can lead to major issues, including the possibility of a malpractice claim. In short, KYC helps you to CYA!

So this week’s tip: block time in your calendar to review and revamp (or start building) an intake form that gives you the information you need for every new client.

Legal professionals who onboard new clients smoothly and effectively will save themselves time and deliver more value for themselves, their firm and, most importantly, their clients. Put simply, they’re much more likely to be recognized as value-driven professionals.

Stay tuned for next week’s tip on more ways to save time and reduce waste in your practice. In the meantime, don’t forget to get our new Gimbal Guide: 8 Ways to Stop Losing Time & Money in your Practice.

That’s it for now.



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