Why Your Administrative Law Firm Needs an Answering Service


Administrative law offices face unique challenges in the legal industry. Because you and your team work exclusively with executive branch agencies of the US government, you don’t deal with statutory law or the general public. An experienced legal answering service can help you streamline office operations, improve communication with government agencies, and reduce wasted time and effort. 

The challenges facing administrative law firms

All law firms face increasing challenges, regardless of the type of law practiced. However, administrative law firms face a unique combination that can affect everything from attorney efficiency to being able to comply with SLAs. Some of the most common challenges an administrative law firm may face include the following:

  • Lack of availability: Attorneys and other team members should be engaged with client-facing tasks. That might be reporting or communicating in some other way, but it could also include things like research to find precedents, investigative work, and much more. This can lead to a lack of availability for other communications, increasing pressure on the firm as a whole, and even affecting your ability to comply with service level agreements (SLAs).
  • The question of automation: Automation is making major inroads into all industries, including administrative law. While it has been overall beneficial, it is affecting a range of important aspects, according to Elizabeth Fisher et al., including transparency, accountability, individuation, and due process”. This can limit the value and use of automation within administrative law firms. That in turn creates bottlenecks and inefficiencies that can be challenging to eliminate.
  • Lack of productivity: Administrative law requires a significant degree of attention and focus. Interruptions break that and derail your firm’s processes. UC Berkley and UC Irvine report that it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds for the average person to recover from an interruption and regain their previous pace of productivity. Every single phone call, client request, email, or text message your team must field comes with that kind of time debt. Imagine what that does to your overall law firm’s efficiency and productivity.
  • Lack of time: Most administrative law firms experience time crunches periodically. That’s inescapable. However, if your team routinely lacks the time to handle both client communications and their more mission-critical responsibilities, it means there’s a deeper problem. That lack of time can mean major delays in creating contracts, handling research, putting together agreements, and other important responsibilities.
  • Lack of scalability: You’ve assembled a great team. You’ve built a sterling reputation. You have all the pieces in place, but your law firm just isn’t growing. Often, this is because of a combination of the preceding challenges. Teams faced with too little time, too many interruptions, too little automation, and too little availability cannot thrive. You must find a way to add some breathing room so that your people can do what they do best.

These are just some of the challenges your administrative law firm could be facing. It can be a frustrating situation with no clear solution. However, there is a way out: working with an experienced legal answering service.

A legal answering service can help

Law firms are no strangers to finding help from outside sources. Chances are good that your team regularly works with specialists in fields outside your firm to accomplish important goals. Working with a legal answering service is no different, but rather than focusing on casework, this is about alleviating the challenges we discussed previously. So, how can a legal answering service help?

  • Call answering: The most obvious benefit here is simply alleviating the need to answer phones. The right service will offer flexible call-answering solutions to fit your needs and staff scheduling. Need overflow answering? No problem. After-hours call answering? That’s available, too. Want professional virtual receptionists to answer every call coming to your office? That’s doable.
  • Access to real-time data: Any administrative law attorney can appreciate the value of having access to accurate, real-time information. A legal answering service can provide real-time call data enriched with metadata, transcriptions, and call recordings. That allows you to connect the dots between callers and their history with your firm and build stronger relationships.
  • Screening callers: What’s the percentage of calls you receive daily that ultimately convert into clients? It’s probably pretty low. Many of the calls your office gets are likely spam or marketing calls, which do nothing but waste your team’s time. Other calls might be from agencies inquiring about services, but still in the comparison stage and not yet ready to commit to one firm. A legal answering service can screen calls, vet leads, prevent your team from wasting time dealing with spam calls, and more.
  • Beyond the phone: While the telephone might be the primary communication tool for your firm, clients have a wide range of other methods at their disposal. They might reach out by email, web form, online chat, or even text. A legal answering service can answer questions through Live Chat, SMS and email, and other channels to further save your team time and ensure they can focus on what matters most.

Building a successful administrative law firm

Putting together a successful firm requires a lot of time, effort, and strategy. You need the right people in the right place. You need both connections and a strong marketing strategy to get your firm’s name noticed by agency decision-makers. You must also have a plan to handle the challenges that your team will face day to day. 

Working with a legal answering service like Smith.ai ensures that your team has the time and focus necessary. With our help, you can improve productivity, reduce disruptions, boost efficiency, and scale your practice. Our virtual receptionists can answer phone calls 24/7, book appointments with clients and others, provide accurate call intelligence and metadata-enriched information, provide lead screening and intake help, and so much more. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai.

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Written by Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing Manager with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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