Law Firm Client Intakes & Sales Survey Results: State of the Legal Industry


PaperStreet investigated the best practices in the legal industry regarding client intake. We wanted to know where clients’ leads come from, how firms handle them, what software they use, and how fast they respond.

Five Key Takeaways

We have five key takeaways and opportunities for firms:

  1. Speed is key. Nearly two-thirds of potential new clients sign within 48 hours of contacting a lawyer, and almost all potential new clients sign within one week. Law firms must get back to clients quickly if they want to win business.
  2. Respond Quickly. The quickest firms respond within one hour to new client inquiries.  Again, law firms must respond nearly instantly to a lead.
  3. Get a Brochure & Sales Scripts: There is an opportunity for firms to have more formal brochures and sales scripts. They already have the retainers, but they can use these standardized materials to help make the sale.
  4. Implement a CRM, Scheduling System, and Automate Follow-Ups. There is opportunity for firms to get a CRM, online scheduling system, and automated appointment reminders to help improve sales.
  5. Test Your System. Nearly no law firms test their sales process. This is a big opportunity to see how your process can improve.

Summary of Our Law Firm Client Intake Survey Results

One of the biggest ways to win or lose business is speed. Law firms need to respond quickly, as clients are making decisions fast. Your law firm needs a detailed sales script/checklist to follow, should have ready-to-go brochures/retainers, and be trained to enter the client information into a CRM that can help with scheduling and automated reminders. Finally, law firms need to test their sales process to improve.

  1. Lead Source – Law firms get their leads from five big areas: Referrals (79.5%), Phone Calls (70.5%), Contact Forms (56.8%), Email (56.8%), and Live Chat (22.7%).
  2. Response Time – More than half the firms respond within 1 hour to inquiries (56.8%).
  3. Intake – Intakes are run by many different people (partners, associates, paralegals, admins, intake specialists, receptionist, and live chat/call answering).
  4. Call Answering – A bit over a third use call answering services (38.6%).
  5. Live Chat – Only 27.3% use live chat.
  6. Sales Script – Only a third use a sales script (34.1%).
  7. Brochure – Less than half have a standard sales brochure (45.5%).  Most send the brochure via email/pdf/online (88%).
  8. Retainer – Almost everyone has a standard retainer agreement (88.6%).
  9. CRM – Only a bit over half have client relations management software (55.8%).
  10. Appointment Scheduling – Nearly no one uses automated calendar scheduling (20.9%).
  11. Client Signings – One-third of clients sign the same day, one-third within 48 hours, and one-third within a week.
  12. Everyone Helps – Law firms are all over the board with who handles inquiries, from partners, associates, and admins, to paralegals, receptionists, and dedicated intake specialists.
  13. Signing – Firms are pretty good at signing clients once they meet them. Most law firms reported a better than 50% to 90% signing rate.
  14. Follow-Ups – Most follow-ups are done manually and completed within two days.
  15. Testing – Nearly no firm tests its sales process.


PaperStreet sent the survey to 100 clients and received 44 responses. The law firms that participated in the survey ranged from solo practitioners to 100+ attorney firms in a variety of all major practice areas, with the majority between 2 and 50 attorney firms.

Detailed Questions

detailed questions

Analysis – Almost everyone gets some leads from referrals, followed by phone calls, email, and then live chat. There was a significant drop-off to other categories, as we allowed a type-in field for “other” (which received various responses).

pie chart

Analysis – Most clients respond fast – within 1 hour.  Some are lightning quick in less than 15 minutes.  Those who are waiting all day or more than a day need to pick up the pace to compete.


Analysis – Law firms use a variety of individuals to handle intakes. Each firm may have best practices that work for them.

call service

Analysis – Lots of firms should consider implementing a call answering service.

live chat chart

Analysis – Are you leveraging your website to its full potential? The following tools can be integrated into your PaperStreet WordPress website: CRM and contact forms, live chat, and/or a proposal generator.

lead sales chart

Analysis – Law firms should really consider a checklist for sales or a sales script. What are your key benefits? What is your unique value? How can you best help the client and find out what they need?


Analysis – Law firms absolutely need a brochure to follow up with clients and showcase their brand.


Analysis – Law firms should make the brochure into a PDF that can easily be emailed, linked, or printed.


Analysis – Law firms already have a standard retainer but should consider using online tools to make signing easier.


Analysis – A lot of law firms should consider updating to a CRM.


Analysis – Most law firms should consider an automated appointment scheduling service for automatic follow-ups.


Analysis – Clients sign quickly! Nearly all clients sign within a week and most within 48 hours.


Analysis – Partners or associates follow up a vast majority of signings.


Analysis – Law firms are actually really good at signing once they get the lead.


Analysis – Follow-ups are completed manually, with some firms using automatic software.


Analysis – Most law firms follow up within two days or less.


Analysis – A shocking majority of law firms don’t follow up at all or only one time.


Analysis – Nearly no law firm we surveyed tests its sales process.

Future Surveys

If you would like to be part of the survey in the future, let us know by leaving a comment.  We will update our mailout list.

Share This

Join the Sales and Marketing News, receive our last insights, tips and best practices.

Our 7 Guarantees

Keeping 2,000+ Clients Happy Since 2001.

You Will Love Your Design We design to please you and your clients
Same-Day Support 24-hour turnaround edits during business hours
Free Education We provide knowledge to help you expand
No Hidden Charges We quote flat-rate projects
Own Your Site No strings attached
We Create Results SEO, PPC, content + design = clients
We Make Life Easier One agency for web, branding and marketing