Virtual lawyers have the advantage of choosing the best use of their time. Client intake and document automation are two places that you can save a ton of time.
Who wants to live their life bogged down by repetitive client tasks? Not us! Building an intake process and document automation will save you a tremendous amount of time.These processes also help avoid transcription errors. Overall, that means happier clients and a happier lawyer life for YOU. This is one of the biggest areas we get questions about from attorneys and this is a great time to learn about it.
Every law firm does client intake and has a process for it. Maybe that looks it’s your client meeting with an assistant, or talking with you on the phone, or collecting information electronically. At MyVirtual.Lawyer, we suggest moving entirely to an electronic process. We use a Q & A form, and while attorneys new to that idea balk, it makes your life so much easier in the long run. Think about it: overall, if a person is filling out information about themselves and their situation, there is way less possibility for errors, And, if there are errors, they are client errors, not yours.
Many practice management services exist for this intake service. There are lots of choices! We recommend that you use a practice management service instead of a non-secure format (such as Google Forms). As attorneys, we still have to adhere to ethical requirements as we collect information.
Document automation is not just about filling in the blanks on your documents. It means actually automating your document. At MyVirtual.Lawyer, we heavily automate our documents with estate plannings and also with basic litigation complaints. Automating is so much better than retyping client info and document content over and over again!
Technology Solutions for Client Intake and Document Automation
When you’re looking for technology to do this, the main thing that you want to ensure is that your client intake software can integrate with your document automation tools. For example, MyVirtual Lawyer chose our practice management software specifically for its automation tools. Every managament software is going to have flaws, unless it’s custom built for you. It will take some time to find the one that is right for your practice. We chose our software because everything we need is within it. So, the answers from the intake form are mapped with codes that can be embedded into a word document: the end result is true one-button automation. Now we have a system where if we get client needing a divorce, or will, or power of attorney, we can click one button and it populates all the pertinent client information. If you don’t go with an all-in-one practice management solution, just make sure that your intake process can “talk to” your automation process.
It takes a lot of time to set up this kind of workflow on the front end. You can do it yourself (we’ve done this and wouldn’t necessarily recommend that), or you can outsource it. It’s worth it if you can afford it. because it really does save you massive amounts of time when you are doing repetitive tasks for clients. You can use that time to do things that can only be done by a lawyer, which will bring in more money for your practice. Or, you can use that time to live your life, or go on a vacation! One more thing, if you choose to outsource, make sure you have time and space for communicating properly, because it will take a lot of communication on the front end.
Feeling overwhelmed? Get help from the experts.
Using technology and setting up workflows for client intake and document automation can be overwhelming. However, in the long run, you’ll be so glad you did! And here’s some great news: if you want to skip straight to advice for your situation, based on our years of experience, you can take our course where we cover it all, or set up consulting with us personally!
Brooke Moore and Laura O’Bryan are co-owners of MyVirtual.Lawyer, a completely virtual law firm that offers a wide range of flat-fee, unbundled legal services. They are known internationally for their expertise on building virtual firms and speak regularly on the topic. MyVirtual.Lawyer also offers courses and partnerships for attorneys who are ready to “Lawyer Outside The Lines” with their own virtual practice!