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Survey Says Lawyers Need to Be Better About Responding to Calls and Emails

Young man sitting at his desk talking on landline phone at office.
By Laura Temme, Esq. | Last updated on

To say most lawyers are "busy" would be a colossal understatement. But, in most cases, the way to get new clients through the door is to pick up the phone when they call - or to answer their email. A recent study published by Clio took on a thorn that sticks in many attorneys' sides: Responding to client inquiries. And, well...the results aren't great.

Please Leave a Message

The research firm conducting the survey attempted to contact 1,000 law firms via both email and phone to assess their responsiveness. The emails, phone calls, and voicemails included a brief list of questions a typical client might have. They also surveyed 2,000 consumers to figure out what kind of communication clients look for.

Not only were the results a bit discouraging, but they run contrary to what clients want:

  • Only 40% of firms responded to the email inquiry
  • A live person answered only 56% of phone calls

When the surveyors left a voicemail, more than half of the firms still hadn't responded three days later. When firms did respond to emails, 82% sent the response within 24 hours - indicating that if a client doesn't receive a response within 24 hours, they aren't going to get one.

Swing, And A Miss

But when the attorneys did answer, the "clients" got what they were looking for, right? Unfortunately, no. Nearly all of the responses to voicemails consumers called "unsatisfactory." Around 70% of firms provided unsatisfactory email responses, and 6 out of every 10 firms gave sub-par responses on the phone.

"Adequate" email responses were those that:

  • Responded within 24 hours
  • Answered at least one question posed in the inquiry
  • Provide information on rates or how to schedule an appointment
  • Did not confuse the potential client

The good news is: There's nowhere to go but up.

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