Do you have written instructions on how new client contact with your office is to be handled? If you don’t, you are leaving it to the discretion of whoever gets the initial contact. In addition, if you have staff turn over you need to repeat the verbal instructions, hoping they will remember them. Every office should have a basic system, in writing, for handling new client contacts, but this is especially true of small personal injury firms. There are a lot of ways of doing this, but here is our system.
Please note that some lawyers insist on the receptionist finding out the name of the caller and some even want them to ask why the call is being made. I always felt this was offensive and if lawyers couldn’t handle a sales person calling or other nuisance calls they weren’t lawyers. I felt you lostgood willand sounded like a big shot when you had your receptionist ask this, so my instructions are to transfer all calls without asking for the name of the person calling.
Here is an outline of our procedure
New Client Telephone Calls
When we get new client telephone calls where no specific lawyer is asked for, the person taking the call will obtain the basic information and store it in our case management software. New client calls where the caller asks for a particular lawyer are to be transferred to the lawyer.
Note that Paul Luvera wants ca;;s where the person asks for him,transferred without asking the caller for their name or any other information. Other lawyers want the name of the caller before transferring. Ask the lawyers for preferences.
The basic information to obtain from new client general office calls is:
(1) Name of caller
(2) Phone number of caller
(3) Email address of caller
If the caller is not the injured person and instead is someone calling for the injured person we need the same information about the person calling and the name of the injured person.
To get this information you should say something like this: "While there is no fee or cost for talking to an attorney, we do need some information for our office records. Could you please give me your name, ..etc…"
If the person calling objects to giving the information, do not argue. Just transfer the call and tell the lawyerabout the objection. Let the lawyer handle it.
Please note: The receptionist or staff who takes the call must not give any advice, information or answer legal questions nor disclose names of clients. Even when you know the answer to questions, you should say you "are not authorized to discuss that matter and they should ask the lawyer."
An automatic forty hour reminder, to determine if the matter is concluded, will be created for every new call that is received and for which information is obtained.
New Client E-mails or letters
When we receive E-mails to the office either from our website or general office email address, they are to be noted in our case management system and forwarded to Paul Luvera.
Letters to the office from new clients that are not directed to a particular lawyer are also to be entered in our case management system and delivered to Paul Luvera.
An automatic forty eight hour reminder, to determine if the matter is concluded, will be created for every email or letter of this nature.