Why Your Civil Law Firm Needs an Answering Service


The legal industry has been historically slow to adapt to change. However, technological advancements have made inroads here. Automation, digital tools, and even remote communication capabilities all play common roles within your civil law firm. 

However, that does not eliminate the need for reception. It remains a key function within any law office, although there has been something of a reimagining here. Reception does not refer solely to having a dedicated receptionist sitting at a physical desk to welcome clients and answer phones. 

Today, reception is a much broader term and covers answering communications as they come into the firm, including both phone calls and emails. It also touches on newer capabilities, such as website chat and responding to digital form submissions from potential leads.

For most civil law firms, handling these responsibilities is a full-time job in itself. Smaller firms tend to delegate them to other team members, spreading the responsibilities around so that everyone has some role to play in reception in addition to their roles in researching, documenting, or representing clients. 

Of course, forcing team members to wear too many hats leads to serious challenges. If someone is tied up in a client meeting or otherwise unable to answer the phone, how many leads might you miss? And you cannot expect those leads to call back, not in a time when they can easily research and then contact multiple civil law firms within minutes right on their smartphones. 

Then there’s the converse of this. How many times has a team member been so busy answering phone calls and replying to emails that they’ve fallen behind on their more important responsibilities? That shifts the onus to other team members who must make up the difference, which then affects their own workloads. This snowballs and eventually reduces law office productivity, efficiency, and profitability, all the while driving down client satisfaction and lead conversion. 

It's a lose-lose situation. A legal answering service can help your civil law firm achieve more wins while boosting productivity, efficiency, profitability, and client satisfaction.

Never miss a call again

Many businesses, let alone law firms, experience such a high call volume that most phone calls just go to voicemail. The problem with that is that most callers won’t leave a voicemail. Instead, they’ll either try to call back some other time or they’ll call a competing law firm. At a time when law firms are busier than ever but finding it hard to bump profitability because of a lack of billable time, that’s a costly mistake. 

With a legal answering service, you never need to worry that a lead or current client might end up going to voicemail. The right service will also ensure you have live 24/7 answering. After all, depending on the areas of civil law you focus on, you could have leads calling after hours. 

Lead screening made easy

Let’s face it, vetting leads isn’t simple. How many of the calls and emails your team fields ultimately convert into a client? It’s probably a pretty small percentage. Leads can evaporate for many reasons. Maybe you don’t offer the service they need. Perhaps you’re not a good fit schedule-wise or perhaps they’re looking for an attorney who takes cases on contingency and you don’t.

The point is that every minute a team member spends communicating with someone who ultimately does not convert is a wasted minute. With a legal answering service, you no longer need to worry about that. Experienced virtual receptionists will handle phone, email, and website-generated lead screening, ensuring that only those best suited for your practice are forwarded to a team member’s phone.

Call intelligence

How many times have you wished the team member handing off a phone call had provided you with more than a scribbled note on a sticky pad? Chances are good it’s just about every time. That’s because you’re essentially going into the call blind, even if you have a client name or a piece of relevant information.

With a legal answering service, you get all the details every single time. Virtual receptionists will get the caller’s name, what the call is about, contact information, and more. That information is then forwarded to you with the call, but it goes deeper. The right service will also enter this information into your CRM so you can tell at a glance if this is their first call or their tenth, as well as relevant information about every other touchpoint they’ve had with your civil law firm. 

Call intelligence and metadata make it possible to deliver a seamless experience for your clients. It also helps you build strong relationships that can last for years to come. And that’s what it’s all about – creating a civil law firm that your clients love to recommend and use again and again.

Payment collection

Running a successful civil law firm means billing your clients and getting paid. However, billing, payment processing, and collecting from slow-to-pay and nonpaying clients can be time-consuming. It also takes you or a valuable team member away from legal responsibilities. 

A legal answering service can offer a broad range of payment collection-related services, from ensuring consultation fees are charged at the time of service to handling late payments and collection actions. Not only does that reduce your team’s workload and ensure they’re able to focus on case-related responsibilities, but it also ensures that you get paid faster.

The services your civil law firm needs to grow

A legal answering service may be the key to giving your team the ability to focus more on what they do best and less on time-consuming tasks that are better delegated to someone without legal expertise. At Smith.ai, our virtual receptionists have deep experience working with civil law offices and provide the services you need to ensure your firm grows.

From appointment setting to payment collection, call intelligence, call recording, and lead screening and intake, we work with you every step of the way to ensure client satisfaction and maximum flexibility for your legal team.

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


Law Firm
Virtual Receptionists
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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