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While there are a lot of choices for legal practice management software, there are far fewer for client intake and customer relationship management (CRM). That’s unfortunate, because attorneys, like any other client-focused profession, need to be able to track people from the moment of initial contact to the signed retainer. Intake software should allow attorneys to systematize that process with standardized forms and other tools. Additionally, good intake/CRM software should also help attorneys measure the success of their marketing efforts by being able to see what types of lead generation or marketing campaigns lead to the greatest number of retained clients.
Intake123 offers a broad range of standardized forms and ways to track clients through the sign-up process. Unfortunately, the program is hobbled by a difficult-to-navigate interface for form creation, and it doesn’t provide any advanced CRM tools.
On signing up for Intake123, the program will walk you through a series of setup questions. You can input your firm info, including your logo. That information will be automatically loaded into any forms you create. You can also specify your practice management areas and what practice management software, if any, you use.
After you’ve input your basic information, you can begin to design your forms. Here’s where the choices got far too overwhelming.
Intake123 has form templates, section templates, standard questions, and other miscellaneous form objects. If you decide to go with one of their form templates, you’ll get a list of common practice areas. So far, so good.
If you expand those templates, though, you get a dizzying array of options.
The problem with this sort of interface is that each time you open up one of the choices, you get another nested list of choices, and so on and so on. You lose track of what the top of your list is—the major category you are currently in—quite quickly.
From here, you drag and drop these items into a form. In theory, it is a great idea–treating each piece of a form as a separate building block that can be rearranged at will. In actuality, I kept getting lost each time I dropped something new into my form. Watching training videos didn’t give me much greater clarity.
Initially, I thought that what might fix this problem was if Intake123 were to provide some additional workflow guidance so you could quickly figure out how to move from one section to another. However, the user interface is just too chaotic for that to fix things entirely. Case in point: I was not able to figure out how to save a form. It’s not at the bottom of the page. It’s not at the top of the page. It’s not in the form itself. If I backed out of the form designer, the form was in my form list as a draft, but I never found a way to save it (nor could I find if there was a way to save the form permanently and make it static rather than being a draft).
If you get the forms to work to your satisfaction, you can embed them on your website so that you can have clients fill out intake forms without leaving your website. You can also send a prospective client a direct URL link to the form.
Intake123 syncs with Clio. If you create a new intake client or matter in Intake123, it will automatically create a corresponding new contact or matter over in Clio. Intake123 briefly indicates that Zapier can be used to connect to other apps and that it has an open API, but I couldn’t find any other information about that.
Unlike the typical practice management software structure, in which you pay per user, Intake 123 tiers their pricing based on how many intakes you do per month. That’s a fairly sensible structure and one that favors users with relatively few intakes. Prices range from $9/month to $79/month. On the low end, you can have one active form and ten intakes per month. On the high end, you get unlimited forms and intakes. There is a free 30-day trial that is full-featured and allows you to design as many forms as you would like.
Intake123 feels unfinished. There are big design shortcomings that make you wonder if your form was actually saved and leave you feeling overwhelmed by too many choices. Additionally, it doesn’t help you get your arms around your intake data in any systematic way.
Unlike its chief legal intake rival, Lexicata, Intake123 has no CRM tools or reports for tracking your lead conversion rate or practice area performance. That omission might be acceptable if Intake123 were superior at form creation, but it isn’t. I can’t recommend Intake123.