Screening calls


People call with a question, about your services or about their case. Or they call to sell you something. Everyone wants to speak to you immediately, and if they leave a message, they want you to call them back the same day. 

But you can’t talk to everyone immediately, or call back everyone the same day. At least you shouldn’t. You need to a gatekeeper to screen calls for you.

If a client calls with a question about their case or another legal matter, your gatekeeper needs to know what to do. Your clients need to know what will happen when they call. Who will they speak to? Where can they get additional information? What to do in an emergency?

Clients should be told all of this the day they become a client, so they can get the help they need in a timely manner, and not panic if you’re not available. 

What about prospective clients? They might expect to speak to you when they call, or at least speak to someone. If they cannot, they need to be told (by the gatekeeper, voicemail, website) what to expect so they don’t call someone else. 

People with something to sell? You don’t have to take their call, return their call, or reply to their email. And you probably shouldn’t.

Okay, the basics. But you might want to refine the basics to make things run more smoothly. 

One way to do that is to have different policies for different types of calls and emails:

  • Prospective clients with a certain type of case 
  • New clients
  • Long-time clients 
  • Business clients
  • Consumer clients
  • Referred clients
  • Emails (who gets a form reply, who gets a personal reply, who gets called)
  • Inquires from old/dormant clients
  • Calls/emails from other lawyers (non-case related)

What to do, what to tell them, and when (or if) you will follow up.

You might create a list of clients your screener should always put through to you, and another list of clients you don’t want to speak to. A list of clients to call back immediately and a list of those who should be called back within 48 hours. 

Lists like these can make life easier for your clients and prospects, and more profitable for you.