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Client Intake Part I – Define a Process

It has been a crazy couple of months.  Probably the busiest quarter Krause Practice Management has ever experienced.  Unfortunately, that meant very little time to blog.  Now that things are finally calming down, even if only a little, I am going to make a serious attempt to start blogging again on a regular basis.

This is the first 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.

The first reason to create a workflow within a practice management system is to streamline workflow within your office.  A well designed and consistently used intake process ensures that your files are opened correctly and makes it far less likely that they will fall through the cracks or otherwise cause problems later.

Many offices have an intake process and a file management system.  The problem is that the system is not documented, is seldom reviewed and is not always followed.  When your intake and other file management processes are documented, the administrative aspects of your files follow a specific set of rules as they progress through your office.  Once documented, it becomes far easier to consistently completely tasks and to train new employees to perform those tasks.  In addition, it gives your attorneys and staff confidence in the system and makes it possible to identify and correct issues in the process.

Checklists are easy to create.  A simple Word document with a three column table works perfectly.  Column 1 is labeled “Done” and is used to check items off as they are completed, Column 2 contains the specific step to be done and Column 3 is labeled “Notes” and used for comments and suggestions.  A practice management system provides even more flexibility.  Most provide some ability to create checklists.  Many also include the ability to create these checklists in date dependent formats.

If you would like to learn more about efficient client intake, I invite you to attend a webinar I will be giving on April 15, 2010.  The webinar, entitled Best Practices: Client Intake is sponsored by LexisNexis and is free.  You can register at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/833521633.  I also invite you to download a free 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.

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