Why Your Labor Law Firm Needs an Answering Service


Unions are the backbone of the American economy. They ensure fair wages and fair treatment for workers, and that employers and customers benefit from highly skilled, dedicated tradespeople. While union membership declined significantly over the decades, unionization has seen a significant increase in response to low wages, as well as unfair and unethical workplace practices. 

Labor law firms are in higher demand today than at any point in the past few decades to help negotiate contracts between employers and unionized employees and to navigate the complex rules and regulations surrounding unions. Of course, that increased demand comes with a tradeoff. 

It’s challenging to ensure that your team can answer every call and email while still representing your clients, performing due diligence, and otherwise handling your normal responsibilities. An experienced legal answering service can help.

Unions in America today

Before we explore how a legal answering service can help labor law firms handle the influx of communications they’re experiencing, let’s take a closer look at the state of unions in the country today. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • 16.2 million wage and salary workers were represented by a union in 2023.
  • The median earnings for union members in 2023 was $1,263 per week, compared to $1,090 for non-union workers.
  • 2023 marks a continued upward trend that began in 2021, although union membership is still lower than in 2009 when it was just under 17 million.

According to CNBC:

  • While union membership grew only a little between 2022 and 2023, demand for unionization remains strong.
  • Public support for unions is also at a high point.
  • Labor union membership has grown, but so has the workforce, including non-unionized workers, which offsets that growth and keeps the percentage of union vs. non-union workers similar to 2022’s numbers.
  • The primary hurdle for labor unions is not public support, but restrictive labor laws many pro-business states have adopted.

That last line should resonate with labor law firms. Changing labor laws is part of your job description. You work with both unions and state and local governments to change laws and create a more equitable situation that ensures everyone benefits. But who helps you handle the influx of calls, emails, and chat requests? A legal answering service.

How a legal answering service helps labor law firms

As interest in unionization increases and more people realize the need to change state labor laws, law firms must balance an increasing workload with the need to answer more phone calls, emails, and other communications. Law firms have a couple of options here. 

First, you can hire more employees. More in-house staff members would certainly help ensure that more calls are answered, and more emails are replied to. However, hiring more staff isn’t always the answer. In some cases, it’s not even possible. 

Employees cost a great deal. In addition to their salary or hourly pay requirements, you have to worry about vacation pay, sick time, increased payroll taxes, the costs of onboarding, and more. Even if you were able to hire a couple of new staff members simply to answer the phones and help with administrative tasks, there’s a problem: what happens when calls come through and all your in-person receptionists are busy? Those calls go to voicemail. Emails sit, awaiting a reply. Web chats languish until someone has enough spare time to reply.

The issue here is that if you’re unable to reply to communications within a reasonable time, those people will look elsewhere for representation. And don’t think that a day or two is a “reasonable time”, either. Today, people expect a reply within a few hours at the most. You have less time than ever before to handle a communication volume your firm has likely never experienced. It’s a stressful situation.

A legal answering service can step in and help in several different ways.

24/7 answering

One of the most important benefits of hiring a legal answering service is that you get access to experienced virtual receptionists who can handle communications 24/7. That frees your staff members to do what they do best while simultaneously ensuring that your phones are covered day and night.

Overflow answering

Perhaps you have an in-office receptionist, but the increased call volume means they’re regularly overwhelmed. Overflow answering ensures that no call goes unanswered while allowing your in-house team to field calls and other communications when they can.

Appointment booking

Booking appointments can take an inordinate amount of time, but it’s an essential part of the client onboarding process. A legal answering service can book appointments for new leads or existing clients directly on your calendar, around dates you already have blocked off.

Lead screening and intake

While you might focus on labor law, you may not represent all parties in this area. That means you’ll need to vet potential leads to ensure that you’re spending your time wisely. A legal answering service screens leads to make sure that your team only speaks with potential clients who are a good fit.

Get the help you need to grow your practice

Labor law firms are busier than ever, but that can mean being unable to grow your practice because you’re too busy serving existing clients. A legal answering service offers the breathing room you need to deliver outstanding client service while also ensuring that incoming calls, emails, and even website chats are handled professionally and promptly.

At Smith.ai, our experienced virtual receptionists can help you grow your practice with 24/7 answering, lead screening and vetting, appointment booking, and more. 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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