Attorney answering services: everything you need to know.

Legal answering service

Lawyers do it all. Between litigation, mediation, advising clients, strategizing about cases, conducting research, negotiating agreements, writing briefs, and staying up-to-date with new laws and regulatory changes, any given day for an attorney resembles a week’s worth of work for anyone else.

That said, lawyers don’t have to do literally everything. Successful attorneys know that some tasks are better left to others. They maximize the value of their time by using attorney answering services.

An answering service allows a lawyer to outsource the time-consuming and often distracting work of screening phone calls, conducting client intake, answering questions, and engaging in ongoing communication with the various parties involved in a legal matter. These services make use of on-demand agents who can respond to clients and prospects via phone and (in some cases) online chat.

By putting trained, professional receptionists on the frontlines of communication, attorney answering services also eliminate much of the friction and frustration attorneys experience when they navigate client relationships alone.

Challenges attorneys face when managing client relationships.

When your time is at a premium and you’re already spread thinner than thin, you can’t afford to personally answer every inquiry that comes into your firm. 

Sometimes, the call or email arrives at an inopportune moment—during a meeting, for instance, or when you’re away from the office or in the middle of a demanding project. Other times, the communication is a waste of billable hours. Perhaps it’s an overly anxious client who likes to micromanage, or a disorganized client asking for the same document for the fifth time.

These sorts of individuals get in the way of not only their own interests, but their legal representatives’ lines of business. Attorneys must balance communication with numerous clients and prospects, all of whom expect responsive, personalized service. Spend all your time managing existing clients and you’ll miss out on opportunities to build your practice. Spend your time chasing new business and you’ll damage client relationships.

Compounding the challenge are clients’ expectations of attorney availability. Many people assume their legal partners will be ready to take calls and emails all hours of the day, and on weekends. A delayed reply or a call sent to voicemail could cause a client to lose trust in their attorney. No response, however, may be preferable to speak with an attorney who seems irritated or overwhelmed.

Technology has pushed the already-heightened pressures of ordinary legal matters into extremes. Clients now expect answers immediately, even when no clear answer exists, even when the better strategy is to wait and see. As one lawyer explained in a recent ALM article, “you’ve got to be responsive without being irresponsible.” 

How does one do that? By taking advantage of an answering service built for attorneys.

The benefits of a legal answering service.

Fortunately for today’s overburdened attorneys, there are a number of answering services out there tailored for the specific challenges legal professionals face.

Virtual receptionists can answer calls on behalf of you or your firm, transfer calls, schedule appointments, take messages, collect information about callers, make outbound calls, and answer basic questions from callers.

Live chat specialists can perform the same tasks for people who visit your website, through an online chat box, engaging in real conversations with web visitors and helping you or your firm capture more leads and convert them into clients.

Legal technology solutions can boost your firm’s client intake, satisfaction, and retention numbers with automated communication, scheduling, relationship management, document management, and finance tools.

Virtual receptionists differ in terms of what they offer. Some services provide just virtual receptionists or live chat capabilities. Others (including Ruby) provide both, as well as integration with legal practice management software (in our case, integration with Clio).

See it in action.

Learn the real-life impact of an attorney virtual receptionist in the Tyra Law Firm case study!

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The benefits of using an attorney call answering service include…

  • Increased response rates: your answering service provider will minimize the number of calls and inquiries you or your firm would miss otherwise.
  • Improved lead count: capture more prospects and collect valuable information about those prospects.
  • Better client experiences: it’s an answering service agent’s job to delight your clients and make sure their needs are met.
  • Better first impressions: WOW your new clients and prospects every time with a service that fosters personal connections.
  • More flexibility: take the calls you want to take, when you want to take them—and let your answering service manage the rest.

Read more in our article: “What Is an Answering Service?”

The important answering service features to look for.

Not all attorney answering services are created equal. When evaluating your options, look for a provider with demonstrable experience in the legal industry, as well as the capabilities and features your practice depends on. 

Ask the following questions about a law firm answering service—every “yes” is a point in the solution’s favor.

  • Is the solution integrated with legal technology and law practice management software?
  • Does it provide both phone service and live chat?
  • Is it powered by live humans rather than bots?
  • Can it provide call forwarding?
  • If it provides live chat, does it log chat transcripts?
  • Can it handle conference calls?
  • Is it optimized for client intake?
  • Can the on-demand receptionists make outbound calls in addition to taking inbound calls?
  • Does it allow for call filtering and prioritization?

Attorney answering services at Ruby.

A law firm receptionist

Ruby offers all of the above features—and more. We can respond to your clients and prospects during and outside of regular business hours, working around your schedule and helping you stay focused. Our award-winning team of bilingual (English and Spanish) agents is available when you need us to represent you or firm via phone and chat.

With proven experience in the legal field, state and local bar association discounts, and integrations with Clio, Lexicata, and Rocket Matter, Ruby is a leading choice for attorney answering services.

Curious to learn more? Download The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Receptionists for Attorneys!

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