5 Law Firm Contact Management Best Practices
In the legal industry, your contacts are one of your most precious assets since they are fundamental for creating a steady stream of business, and referrals. You would never throw your diamonds in a junk drawer and forget about them would you? So why would you treat your prized legal contacts any differently? Because contacts are key to your law firm’s business development, organizing them is a must.
Read on for practical law firm management advice for managing and tracking your contacts and eliminating “contact chaos” in your law office.
1. Start things off on the right foot
Whether you’re organizing legal contacts or putting together a 1,000-piece puzzle, the logic remains the same: it’s much easier if you have a systematic organizational process from the start. Going back and trying to put the pieces together later with no system in place doesn’t just take longer, it will test your sanity.
The minute someone contacts your law firm or submits their contact information through your website, collect as much information as you can. Even if they’re not hiring you at this very moment, they’re still a future prospect — hang on to their information!
This is where a legal CRM is an indispensable resource for storing your contacts' details.
Enter your contacts’ names, phone numbers, emails, and any other important details like their job title. The more specifics you can gather, the better. From that point on, a law firm CRM will store any important notes and contact details that you can refer back to later. Once a contact decides to hire your firm, your CRM can seamlessly populate their existing information directly into important contracts, eliminating the risk of errors, and boosting your efficiency.
2. Ditch spreadsheets and redundant systems
One of the biggest culprits of chaos in a law firm is spreading out your processes in multiple locations. Your law firm should have one single database to work with, that doesn't require digging through your email inbox, or scrolling through a long spreadsheet. Store your contacts in one single cloud-based location, in a CRM.
That way, you can access your contact details no matter where you are, as long you have an Internet connection. This makes it much easier for everyone in your staff to stay on the same page, and eliminate the risk of confusion and errors. Not to mention the additional costs and logins associated with managing multiple systems at once.
3. Make it easy to send and receive important documents
Gathering important documentation is a routine process for onboarding new clients. Real estate clients may need to send you property contracts, criminal defense clients may have to send you waivers of appearances, and so on. It's easy for everything to become chaotic when gathering these essential documents from your clients requires them to jump through hoops.
Instead of asking your clients to print, scan, and sign important documents — or worse, go to the post office, allow them to directly upload using a digital file request builder.
Attorneys can find and receive files within a matter of seconds while also collecting an electronic signature, implementing a much more streamlined workflow into their practice. The end result doesn’t just make things easier for your clients, but also for everyone on your team. With everything all in one place, you can save yourself hours of tracking down the files that you need. Centralized storage will modernize your practice, and take on the labor of keeping your contacts' and important documents organized neatly.
4. Make automation your friend
Automation accelerates your data collection and makes managing and nurturing your prospective and paying clients painless. No more manually analyzing your leads and scrambling to figure out who needs to take what action when. A pipeline management tool organizes your contacts into segmented lists so you can categorize and add tags in a way that makes the most sense for your practice. From case type to former clients, to current clients, your pipeline allows you to effortlessly analyze how each contact is progressing through your workflow and what needs to be done next.
Automation tools make sure that the right email goes out at the right time, guaranteeing that your contacts receive personalized attention throughout each phase of the client journey, from intake to billing.
Whether it’s an email welcoming them as a new client, or a drip marketing email to a lead keeping them engaged and one step closer to becoming a paying client, automation takes care of it for you.
5. Integrate your tools
Running your practice across multiple platforms can quickly start to become chaotic. When workflows across softwares begin to overlap, your processes have become inefficient, and you can easily make mistakes. The best way to organize your contacts is to sync everything across all of your different programs. A CRM and client intake software like Lawmatics easily integrates with a wide variety of apps that you likely use in your law practice every day.
Integrations allow you to automate your tasks, and build a tech stack that will modernize and streamline your practice. You can integrate your CRM with your legal practice management software, your billing software, Zoom, and more.
There's No Such Thing as Organized Chaos When it Comes to Your Contacts
26% of legal professionals fail to track their leads in any capacity. This is a huge missed opportunity for organizing leads and retaining clients. And while a spreadsheet of potential clients is certainly a start, it’s hardly the most efficient way to ensure that your marketing methods are getting you the kinds of results you need.
If you want your law office to be a success, then organizing your contacts and tracking them throughout the client journey is essential. Implementing a CRM for lawyers into your law practice will accelerate your growth by meticulously tracking and labeling each of your contacts in the best way that works for your law practice. The end result isn't just a smarter and more flexible solution for you, you'll wow your clients with your modern and organized approach.
Martindale, The State of Online Marketing in the Legal Industry, 2014, http://www.martindalenolo.com/sites/default/files/MHN%20Whitepaper.pdf