How Legal CRM Software Benefits Law Firms in Your Practice Area
May 26, 2023
It’s no secret that running a law firm means adapting to a rapidly-evolving legal landscape—which, largely, means finding new ways to make your practice more efficient, cost-effective, and client-friendly.
Implementing new forms of legal technology in your practice can make a huge impact for you, with modern legal software serving as the best example of this. You likely have heard of practice management or case management software, and potentially about legal client intake software as well.
But, maybe you haven’t heard about legal Customer Relationship Management software—also called a legal CRM.
In this post, we’ll discuss:
- What legal CRM software is
- How legal CRMs combine with lead management software (or client intake software) and case management software
- And the benefits that using a legal CRM has for your firm
Then, we’ll look specifically at how firms in your practice area use legal CRMs to succeed. We’ll highlight the uses of legal CRM software, lead management software and client intake software in Family Law, Personal Injury, Litigation, Business & Employment Law, Estate Planning, and Real Estate Law practices.
What Legal CRM Software Does
Legal software to manage your clients, prospects, and contacts
The core function of legal Customer Relationship Management software is to organize every bit of contact information you have at your firm into one simple, convenient database that you and all of your staff can access from anywhere.
This means that whenever you have a new potential client, an existing client, or a non-client contact, all of the data you have about them lives within their contact entry in your legal CRM.
The kinds of information that get stored under their contact entry include:
- Contact information
- Case or matter history
- Communication records
- Important dates
- Relevant documents
All of this information can easily be updated at any time, in moments.
Easy, rapid conflict checking during client intake
Another one of the foremost reasons why law firms use legal CRM software (often included with their lead management software and client intake software) is to vastly improve their conflict checking processes.
Because the legal CRM organizes all of the firm’s contacts in one central database that lives in the cloud, conflict checks can be conducted rapidly—on any device with access to the CRM system.
This way, lawyers and staff don’t waste valuable time digging through files to check for conflicts, and there’s a much lower risk of errors or missed conflicts of interest than there would be using traditional conflict check methods.
How legal CRM software combines with client intake and case management software
Creating an end-to-end legal software solution
The true value of a CRM for legal professionals isn’t in its stand-alone properties, however; instead, legal CRMs make an enormous difference for legal practices because they combine with legal client intake software and, many times, case management software as well.
Need a general overview of how legal lead management software helps your specific area of law? Start here.
Legal CRM functionalities commonly exist within a client intake software application, such as Smokeball’s. This combined legal client intake and CRM software solution works wonders for the firm’s client intake processes.
Then, as is the case with Smokeball, the client intake and CRM software also integrates seamlessly with a law firm’s case management software, creating a true end-to-end solution that spans a legal client’s entire journey with the law firm—from the very beginning of client intake all the way through the management of a case or matter.
Let’s look at these uses one at a time.
Enabling legal intake software to operate at its best
Legal CRM technology improves many aspects of the intake process by forming an integral part of a lead management software or client intake software. For instance:
- Legal CRM technology improves client intake software’s communication and email integration tools because the CRM enables the software to instantly sync and store client data across all forms of correspondence.
- Legal CRMs link a firm’s contact database to all of the firm’s calendars, appointments, and task lists—so that contacts and schedules get updated in real-time across the firm.
- Legal CRMs integrate with online intake forms, such as Smokeball’s, creating a robust solution that instantly captures data submitted by potential clients and imports it directly into the firm’s database.
- Legal CRMs make a firm’s business development and marketing efforts more effective by organizing potential new clients’ information, enabling the firm to monitor how potential clients are progressing through the intake process (or not), tracking the success of marketing campaigns, and helping the firm see which existing clients generate lots of referrals.
These are things that CRMs do simply by combining with legal client intake software—but integrating with a firm’s practice management software takes things to another level.
Legal client intake software + legal CRM + legal practice management software
Strong legal lead management software or client intake software solutions contain legal CRM technology as part of their platform—and the best client intake and legal CRM software also integrates directly with a comprehensive case or practice management software offering. Smokeball’s client intake and case management software suite exemplifies this.
By creating an end-to-end solution from the beginning of intake through the end of the case or matter management, software providers like Smokeball give legal professionals a set of tools that all communicate with each other to help the firm operate more efficiently.
In addition to what they do for client intake, legal CRMs aid case or matter management by:
- Allowing firms to easily track cases and matters and access client information from anywhere, at any time
- Creating a powerful document management system that enables firms to store, share, organize, and locate any and all client documents with ease
- Enhancing a firm’s reporting and data analytics capabilities by enabling the firm to track how much revenue and new business different clients generate, how much time is spent on each client’s matters, and other relevant statistics.
- Integrating with other software tools such as virtual receptionists, chatbots, legal billing software, time tracking software, and many other applications that are useful for law firms.
The benefits of client intake and CRM software for law firms
In general, the functionalities described above yield a number of high-impact benefits for legal practices like your own.
- Improved organization and efficiency across the firm
- Reduced manual data entry for you and your staff
- Fewer lost leads due to mishandled or erroneous client information
- Smoother, simpler onboarding experiences for clients
- More time for important, billable activities
All of these benefits can lead to improved client satisfaction and enhance your firm’s bottom line.
How legal CRM software benefits your specific practice area
The benefits listed above are generalizations for the impact that legal client intake and CRM software can make for all law firms. But, you may be wondering, how does this software specifically address the needs of YOUR legal practice?
Depending on your practice area, client intake and legal CRM software can help in many different ways.
Client intake and legal CRM software for Family Law practices
In Family Law practices, relationship-building is critical—and legal CRMs combined with a lead management system and client intake software enable you to develop stronger relationships with potential and existing clients, faster.
How? For one thing, legal CRM software improves communication between you and your clients by organizing all of your client interactions in one place, integrating with email and client intake communication tools like chatbots and virtual receptionists, and making it simple for you to schedule automated emails that remind clients of upcoming court dates and other important details.
The CRM also makes it easy to store and manage all of your clients’ vital and nuanced information—such as spouses, children, grandchildren, executors, guardians, and assets—which you can easily collect using online intake forms. Smokeball and other client intake software providers like it offer Family Law-specific intake forms that get the information Family Law practices need in the most efficient way possible.
And, by integrating with legal billing and payments software, a legal CRM makes tracking all of the financial information involved in Family Law—such as child support, property division, and alimony—a simple and streamlined process.
Client intake and legal CRM software for Real Estate law firms
For Real Estate law firms, a legal lead management system and client intake software with CRM capabilities enables you to get potential clients’ information into your system, fast—so you can get to work on what matters.
The CRM can also be used to store and search for documents, which saves tremendous amounts of time compared to old-fashioned document storage methods. And, because many client intake software providers like Smokeball include e-signature functionalities, you can share documents with clients for them to sign online—then watch the signed documents get stored automatically in your CRM.
You can also use a legal CRM to rapidly generate contracts, letters, and task lists based on saved templates. This drastically reduces the time spent on these activities, ensures greater data accuracy, and enables your staff to focus on higher-value priorities.
Client intake and legal CRM software for Estate Planning law firms
In Estate Planning, it’s all about attention to detail and enabling your clients to feel at ease, right from the start of their interactions with your firm.
Legal client intake software makes things easy for you and your clients, thanks to helpful features such as Estate Planning-specific online intake forms that import clients’ detailed information directly into your CRM system—where you can easily access and update details anytime.
This means that all of the detailed information you’ll ever need to know about a client and their estate is at your fingertips, across all of your devices. By syncing with your case management software, the information in your CRM creates an incredible database you can use in many helpful ways.
Additionally, client intake and legal CRM software’s document storage, e-signature, and email integration capabilities are especially important for Estate Planning firms because they make the process of interacting with your firm much smoother, hassle-free, and engaging for your clients.
And when the software integrates with an Estate Planning client portal, as Smokeball does with DecisionVault, this allows you to sync all of the information in your CRM with everything you do in the client portal—and vice versa.
Client intake and legal CRM software for Business & Employment law firms
Software makes a big difference in Business & Employment Law—no matter whether you’re handling business formation, contract negotiation, IP, labor compliance, or mergers and acquisitions.
With a client intake and legal CRM software system in place, your firm can easily form new relationships with potential clients thanks to how easy the software makes the intake process. Then, by syncing with your case management system, the CRM allows you to quickly update clients’ files over time as needed—and send them email reminders automatically if there are important dates or deadlines they need to remember.
Using the CRM, you can instantly pull up a client’s file and see all of your history with them—including communications, documents, deals they’ve made, and how much revenue they’ve contributed to your firm.
Online document sharing, signing, and storage is especially powerful in this area of law, as it saves time, paper, and money by eliminating the costs and delays of printing, mailing, and faxing documents.
Client intake and legal CRM software for Personal Injury law firms
For Personal Injury law firms, legal intake and CRM software enables you to get potential new clients into your system, fast—and accurately.
This is critically important, especially if your practice handles a large volume of clients and matters. Legal CRMs help high-volume firms in a major way because they ensure that files don’t go missing, everyone in the firm can access the data they need from anywhere, and every potential client, client, and contact is neatly organized in an easy-to-search system.
Legal CRMs also make document collaboration much simpler and more streamlined by integrating with online intake forms and case management software—and the CRM can help track settlements, negotiations, expenses, and communications within each client’s file.
Client intake and legal CRM software for Litigation law firms
Lastly, for litigation law firms, CRMs help many aspects of your cases go much smoother, faster, and with less effort than they would without the software.
For instance, legal CRM software organizes client and case information, deadlines, communications, and documents in one centralized database. This means that while you’re working on a case, everything you need lives in the same place—and anything that you change or add instantly gets updated in the cloud, which is ideal for collaboration across your firm.
Also, legal intake and CRM software helps you ensure that your clients are always kept aware of court dates, depositions, hearings, and any other important deadlines. It does this thanks to integrations with email applications that enable you to schedule and automatically send email reminders to clients directly from your legal software.
Using software to improve your firm’s business
Whichever area of law you practice, legal client intake and CRM software like Smokeball enables you to be more organized, efficient, and client-friendly.
It does this by giving all of the information your firm has for each prospect, client, and contact—and giving it all a home online in the cloud. So, you can access everything you need to, from wherever you need to, whenever you need to.
Lead management tools like those found in Smokeball also allow legal professionals to understand the sales process, or the process of converting a potential client into a retaining client. When law firms have lead tracking capabilities in their software, they can understand which marketing or referral sources these incoming cases came from.
So, when legal teams look at their "sales pipeline" of cases and they understand which lead generation sources are the most likely to convert into retaining clients and successful cases, that provides the firm with a lead scoring system. Now, law firms have data driven information guiding them to accept or reject cases with confidence.
And, by integrating seamlessly with legal practice management software (the way Smokeball does), client intake and CRM software creates an end-to-end solution. By doing so, the software taps into the power of the CRM’s data and puts it to work in countless ways, all of which make things easier and better for you and your clients.
Learn more about Smokeball document management for law firms
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