If you’re having trouble managing client intake and meeting with new and potential clients, staying in touch with your most important referral sources, or getting leads converted into actual paying clients, it might be time to consider investing in a law firm CRM. Salesforce is the most famous CRM, but it is cripplingly expensive and there are CRM solutions available that are a much better fit for law firms in general, and small and solo law firms in particular.
Hold On. What Is a Law Firm CRM?
At its most basic, a Client (or Customer) Relationship Management software could be described as a contacts list of your current and prospective clients, combined with a to-do list and calendar. But it is so much more. A good client intake CRM software gives you a systematic approach to maintain and strengthen client relationships and trust. You can set meetings, manage contacts with potential clients, and extract data to help you analyze your workflow, your relationships, and your success rate with new and current clients.
A good law firm CRM stores contact information, plus legal needs, previous interactions you’ve had with this client, and some biographical information about the client. With previous interactions tracked, you can better engage with clients on a more personal level, rather than playing catch-up the first few minutes you meet. A CRM will also motivate you to be proactive in how you interact with your clients.
What’s the Difference between a CRM and a LMPS for Client Intake?
A CRM is different from law practice management software because most LPMS doesn’t really focus on client intake, client acquisition, or relationship management. A robust LPMS typically focuses on being more productive with existing clients and matters. Still, many LPMS have updates and features that start to feel more like client relationship management software.
- HubSpot CRM is a cloud-based free CRM that tracks and manages interactions between you and your potential and current clients. Learn more about HubSpot CRM.
- Infusionsoft is an automated marketing, sales, and CRM software for small businesses to help you better manage your emails and interactions with clients. Learn more about Infusionsoft.
- Intake123 is a drag and drop form creation tool. Its broad collection of standardized forms and questions allow you to create more than just intake forms. Learn more about Intake123.
- Law Ruler is an AI-powered cloud-based CRM and client intake software designed exclusively with attorneys and law firms in mind. Learn more about Law Ruler.
- Lawmatics is a law firm focused CRM That features an automated intake process, custom emails for drip campaigns, and custom fields and reporting. Learn more about Lawmatics.
- Lexicata is a cloud-based CRM and intake software designed specifically to help attorneys automate their intake workflows. Learn more about Lexicata.
- Nutshell CRM is a user-friendly CRM tool that is catered more towards those in sales, but can help attorneys better manage and keep track of clients. Learn more about Nutshell CRM.
Features Comparison Chart
See all the key features for all the law practice management software options in our directory.
How Should I Select a CRM?
In selecting a law firm CRM, ask yourself:
- What do I want to achieve with a law firm CRM? Maybe the goals you want to achieve with a CRM can be achieved with your current LMPS. If so, you’ve just saved yourself some monthly expenses, and get to learn how to better utilize the CRM features in your LPMS.
- What features do you need in a law firm CRM? If you don’t have a LPMS, or the one you have doesn’t meet your needs, then ask yourself what features you’d need to meet your goals.
- Can I customize those features? Once you find a law firm CRM that has the features you’re looking for, what options are available to customize those features to fit your needs?
- Is it easy to learn? This matters in all kinds of ways. First, you’ll need to learn it yourself so you can get comfortable with it as a solution to meet your firm’s needs. And if you will need to train a bunch of people on the software, make sure you and your colleagues will have plenty of resources available to help you learn how to use your fancy new tool without too much issue. And if it is tricky to learn (and, probably, even if it isn’t), a good law firm CRM should offer free training.
- Does it integrate with software you already use? Does it integrate with your LPMS? Your email? Your calendar? Any client intake software or systems you use? It complicates things if your new law firm CRM exists on a digital island. That means more things for you to download and pay attention to.
After you’ve narrowed down your law firm CRM choices, give them a try. Most have a free trial. When testing out a law firm CRM, see if it works by importing just a few contacts, rather than your entire client list. See if you like the interface and the experience with 30 clients first before you try it with 3000.