What Happened After People Contacted These 1,000 Law Firms?

When you’re trying to bring more clients, cases and revenue to your law firm, perhaps this is the biggest no-brainer piece of advice you could hear: Make sure someone is answering the phone.

But according to an extensive study by law firm software company Clio, firms are surprisingly bad at this.

Clio conducted a test, emailing 1,000 law firms and calling 500 of the firms to check how well they responded to potential clients. The study focused on legal practices in family law, criminal law, bankruptcy law, employment law and business law.

It showed a lot of missed opportunities for cases. But it revealed an opening for your firm: Responding better to client calls could be an easy way to outdo your competition.

These were the key results:

  • 60% of the law firms never responded to emails.
  • 27% of the law firms didn’t answer phone calls or return voice messages.

Effectively Responding to Law Firm Emails

Clio issued a warning to law firms that ignore emails from prospective clients:

“Given that this is the preferred method of initial outreach for 25% of potential clients, this means that these firms are missing a sizable portion of their potential market.”

Of the firms that did respond to emails, most responded within 24 hours, which is the standard for a timely response, the study said.

But only 29% of law firms that responded to emails did so in a helpful way, the study found, by answering at least one question, using clear and courteous language and providing information on next steps.

In fact, Clio only rated .5% of the firms as “excellent” at handling emails, while 71% were “unsatisfactory.”

Effectively Responding to Law Firm Client Calls

The authors concluded that attorneys seem to prefer phone calls, citing the lower non-response rate of 27% and the fact that 53% of the email responses asked potential clients to call instead.

But as important as it is to make sure someone answers the phone, that alone isn’t good enough.

Clio assessed how much useful information its testers received in client calls, like fee details, what to expect from the legal process and answers to callers’ questions. It only rated 7% of the firms as “excellent” in phone calls.

“While many firms picked up the phone to speak with us, few were able to provide a lot of key information, and even fewer were able to demonstrate their knowledge and experience in working with similar types of cases,” the report said.

The authors suggested more training for assistants who answer phones, so they can answer more questions—and making more lawyers available to take calls.

Improve Your Intake Process. Grow Your Firm.

At the Firmidable legal marketing agency, we pay a lot of attention to how law firms can better secure callers as clients. See these blog posts:

We focus on this because, as legal marketers, we want to see the leads we bring to law firms make it across the finish line and convert into clients.

You can employ the greatest marketing strategies known to law firms, and have prospective clients calling and emailing day and night, but it could amount to little if you miss the simple step of responding well.

When your intake process runs proficiently, including your systems for answering calls and emails, you sign more clients and get more value for your marketing investment.

Instead of letting clients slip away to other firms, you can be the one catching the clients that they let go.

If you want to talk more about how better to turn calls into cases, talk to us at Firmidable.

Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for almost 30 years. It brings law firms customized, data-driven marketing strategies and services, including online and traditional media for a wide range of legal practices. From Maine to Hawaii, it has transformed the lives of attorneys—and their clients.

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About the Author: Mark Waller

Mark Waller is the senior writer/editor at Firmidable. He has written book-length websites for law firms, enhanced content on dozens of law firm sites for search engine optimization, written and optimized law firm Paid Search ads and developed scripts for law firm TV ads—helping firms across America grow their caseloads. Before he started in legal marketing, Mark’s writing and communications career included working for a university president and as a local journalist. He was a member of the staff at The Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans that won the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

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