This is the fourth in a series on client intake. I will focus on some of the reasons why it makes business sense for a law firm to develop and use a client intake system as well as how a practice management system can help make the whole process much easier.
A final reason to streamline and automate your intake process is to use and retain less paper. It is possible to use your electronic practice management system in a way that eliminates much of the paper you are currently creating as part of file administration. If your information is collected and stored correctly, there is no need for file info sheets. Checklists can be stored electronically, documents can be scanned and stored electronically and many other administrative tasks can be incorporated into your file intake process.
The most flexible format for your scans is PDF. Most document and practice management systems provide an easy way to save your PDFs and index them with the system. Scanning is fast and easy with tools like the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500.
The bottom line is that using less paper has to begin at the intake stage or it may never happen. Are you currently collecting a stack of documents only to place them in the paper file at intake? Why not just scan them, save them in a searchable and easily retrievable format and give them right back to the client? If you do need a copy, you can always print the PDF.
On April 15, 2010, I had the pleasure to do a nationally broadcast webinar entitled Best Practices: Client Intake. The webinar was sponsored by LexisNexis and a recording of the webinar will most likely be made available on the Legal Business Community site. Try searching for the recording there as I do not have a link as I write this post. I also invite you to download a white paper from my website describing how to apply some of these client intake methods in Time Matters. That white paper can be found at http://www.krausepm.com/resources/documents/ClientIntakewithTimeMatters.pdf.client intake, fujitsu scansnap, law firm practice management, Time Matters