Why Your Debt and Bankruptcy Law Firm Needs an Answering Service


Business is booming for debt and bankruptcy law firms. That’s good news, but it’s also a major challenge. 

With rising consumer debt and an increased number of people realizing they cannot meet their financial obligations, you and your team have more to do than ever before. It’s all too easy for calls to get lost in the shuffle or for new clients to feel like they’re not getting the attention they deserve because you’re busy dealing with other clients’ creditors. 

A legal answering service can give your team the breathing space they need to regroup and refocus, providing compassionate, professional service tailored to each client’s unique needs and situation.

America’s mounting debt problem

Debt is nothing new for Americans. However, many households are experiencing a major surge in debt, leading to a historic rise in the number of bankruptcies filed across the country. 

  • According to an Experian study, the total household debt in the US was $17.5 trillion as of the fourth quarter of 2023 – a record high and an increase of 4.4% over the same period in 2022. That correlates with a dramatic increase in bankruptcies. 
  • The Administrative Office of the US Courts reported 452,990 bankruptcies filed in 2023, compared to 387,721 in 2022. Business bankruptcies rose by almost 41% and non-business bankruptcy filings rose by 16%. While the totals are still well below those in December 2010, it’s a startling trend.

What the increase in debt burden and bankruptcy filings means for law firms

On the surface, the increase in debt and the growing number of businesses and consumers seeking to discharge those debts through bankruptcy is good news for law firms. It means you have a steady stream of potential clients and perhaps more work than you can handle. That sounds like a good problem to have, but it can lead to some serious issues.

It takes a lot of time and focus to help a client find a path out of debt or to negotiate a bankruptcy agreement with creditors hungry for each dollar they can get. If your team is constantly having to stop and answer phones, screen leads, handle client intake, book appointments, and more, how much time do they have remaining to focus on client service? Little to none.

How a legal answering service frees your debt and bankruptcy law firm

Debt and bankruptcy law firms regularly deal with emotionally volatile clients. There’s something uniquely stressful about being harassed by creditors night and day or watching in mounting horror as you realize the bank is about to force you out of your home with nowhere to go. Attorneys and their legal teams must approach each client with compassion, understanding, and attention.

It's not just client communication that takes a lot of time and focus. Architecting a successful bankruptcy requires more than just legal knowledge and a client in need. You must also get each creditor to agree to come to the table to begin negotiating. Depending on the type of bankruptcy in question, you may have to deal with some creditors who know that they’ll get nothing trying to block the process.

If you’re working with a client to negotiate better payments on their debt, you’ll need time to focus on creditor communication and to create binding agreements that benefit your client while also giving something to each creditor. 

It’s a lot, but a legal answering service delivers critical solutions and provides significant relief. Here’s how:

  • 24/7 phone answering: You and your team spend a great deal of time just answering the phones. An answering service takes that task off your plate, ensuring that you no longer need to deal with spam, sales calls, wrong numbers, or people looking for answers to basic questions. Plus, such a service ensures that every call is answered, even if it comes at midnight, ensuring that potential clients facing financial crises always have the compassionate assistance they need.
  • Lead screening and intake: New leads are the lifeblood of your practice. However, they do you little good if you’re too busy screening them and handling intake to work for your existing clients. A legal answering service can handle lead screening and intake, ensuring that every call that makes it to you has been pre-screened and is a good fit for your law firm.
  • Appointment booking: It takes a surprising amount of time to book an appointment with a client, depending on whether it’s the initial consultation, a follow-up, a meeting with creditors, or something else. A legal answering service can handle all of your appointment booking needs, ensuring that clients, creditors, and others can set appointments that work for them while you focus on delivering solutions.
  • Call recordings and transcriptions: How many times have you had to do a deep dive into manual notes to try to verify something a client told you or locate a name or phone number? It’s a huge waste of time. A legal answering service can provide call recordings and transcriptions, so you never need to worry about losing vital case details again. 

Smith.ai is the legal answering service you need

Debt and bankruptcy law firms face growing demands for their time and expertise. At Smith.ai, our virtual receptionists provide the buffer you need between incoming calls and vital responsibilities. Our goal is to ensure you’re able to give each client the time and attention they deserve and that you’re able to create viable solutions that help them move forward from these trying times.

From lead screening and intake to payment collection, email and SMS follow-up, call intelligence and metadata, call recordings and transcriptions to around-the-clock live answering, we ensure that your team can do what they do best while we handle communications.

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

Law Firm
Virtual Receptionists
Written by Mike Graner

Mike Graner is the Marketing Manager at Smith.ai. He focuses on engaging content, company updates, and in-person events.

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