Answering Services for Your Law Firm: What to Look For

If you’re an attorney and looking for a legal answering service, there are quite a few options out there. From rudimentary to fantastic, answering services for attorneys can run the gamut. In order to make the most of your new service, there are a few things you should look for when doing your due diligence. When researching, be sure to call, experience the service for yourself, and ask the following questions:
1. Do the legal receptionists answer every call live?
Some legal answering services answer most calls live but when they receive more calls than receptionists, federal employment lawyer san antonio callers may hear an automated greeting. Ask what their procedure is for when things get busy.
2. Can they transfer calls live?
A few answering services can only take messages – in fact, some even batch messages during the day, sending a stack at one time during the day. Confirm that your service can transfer calls live and that they send messages immediately when you’re unavailable. Some attorney answering services can even text your messages to you and send voicemails in a convenient .wav file so you can see them even when you’re at the courthouse!
3. Can the attorney answering service differentiate between urgent and non-urgent calls?
Not every call needs to be responded to right away; a client calling for an update on his case can usually wait a few hours while a judge cannot. The best law firm answering services can distinguish between types of calls and respond accordingly. For example, they may take messages from current clients and try your desk and cell phones for someone from the court. They’ll still set a great impression for your firm but help you prioritize your day and make the most of your time.
4. Do they perform intake family law divorce from potential clients?
Along the same lines, some services can take down some initial information from new clients. If you can’t or don’t want to be reached, they can ask preliminary questions to make potential clients feel like they’ve engaged with your firm and so that you’ll be more informed when you’re ready to return their call. Questions can range from “How did you hear about our firm?” to “Is this regarding a ticket?” to specific questions based on the response (If regarding a ticket, “What county did you receive the ticket?”).
5. Can you view your call history?
You may be able to access a client portal where you can view your call records, search through old messages, and even update your call handling instructions on the fly. This can come in handy for client billing and, since not being responsive is one of the most frequent bar complaints, it can be a lifesaver.
6. Does the law firm answering service have a confidentiality agreement in place?
Attorney-client privilege is essential, and even if your answering service won’t be taking down sensitive information, even the fact that someone is calling a law firm falls under this protection. Make sure your service is mindful of this and has a confidentiality agreement with its legal receptionists.
While doing research on answering services for your law firm, keep the above in mind. A service can greatly enhance your image and help save you time but not all are made equal. These days, answering services can do much of what a full-time employee would do, without the salary and benefits — you just need to know what to look for!

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