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MasterFile’s Professional Client Intake
MasterFile’s Professional Client Intake
In new litigation, understanding your client’s case is paramount. The traditional approach is to ferret out the initial information over several interviews which naturally raise follow up questions. However, this is time consuming, expensive for your client, and generally not an efficient use of time.
In this article, we show you how MasterFile’s intake module and professional practice area specific intake forms save you valuable time, ensure you capture critical case information and by reducing tedious and time consuming data entry, help you load your case into MasterFile quickly. The intake forms can also be used internally by your own staff or yourself for rapid initial loading of facts and players.
Here’s what we’ll cover
A recent trend to capturing preliminary case information has been to ask clients to complete a questionnaire or intake form to collect preliminary information. These forms are usually practice area specific, such as for personal injury, family law, criminal law, etc. The advantage of this method is that it guides the client through the process, prompting them to provide specific information you require — much like an interview. For example, some of the information required when dealing with a personal injury intake form for an auto-accident might have the following questions:
This helps ensure critical information is not forgotten. The intake form is also more efficient for you and less expensive for the client as preliminary information can be obtained without taking valuable interview time. Once an intake form has been completed and reviewed, follow up interviews will then naturally be more productive as you’re able to focus in on specific issues with probing questions.
However, for documents, people and organizations, the typical intake form is cumbersome and the logical approach would be for your client to simply list this information in tables since these items just consist of basic information such as name, organization name, and document date. Normally, you request this information from your client. They typically send it back in an e-mail which you will then have to enter in MasterFile.
Similarly, to capture the case chronology the fact/event table will help your client think about their case in those terms — as a logical chronology. This in turn helps you as the information is more organized when you receive it. Also, for complex litigation a traditional intake questionnaire would be insufficient to capture the facts as each case will be unique in its character and the fact/event table lends itself well to such cases.
Therefore, MasterFile provides professional, practice area specific intake forms (a partial example of which is shown above) including specific structured tables from which MasterFile directly imports document, chronology and player information. The practice area section of the intake form ensures critical information is captured and not forgotten; you can frame relevant information from it as facts within MasterFile. The structured tables containing lists of documents, players and chronology events are imported directly into MasterFile eliminating time spent in data entry and helping you quickly populate your MasterFile database. The intake form itself is also loaded and stored in MasterFile so it’s always available for reference.
MasterFile comes with ten practice-specific intake forms in Word template format (also available free to download below) that you can modify to include other information as needed or use as a starting point to create your own versions for specialties we haven’t covered. Since your client will fill these forms in Word, he has Word’s full editing and formatting abilities to emphasize, spell check and add whatever information is needed without restriction.
To create a blank intake form for your client, or to load a completed one returned to you, simply open MasterFile’s Client Intake window, shown below:
Next is a completed intake chronology/fact table from in Word:
Here is the same chronology as it appears after importing into MasterFile (only facts with dates — i.e. events — are listed here):
MasterFile’s colour coded “by Impact Assessment” view below, lists all the facts and shows you right away where you need to focus attention.
After importing the intake form, you can review and revise facts, updating the type, impact assessment and/or fact description, etc. as needed. In the above example, three facts imported also had associated questions or issues to investigate so they are also listed in MasterFile’s “Facts with ?” view shown below; no longer forgotten, you can also see at a glance which issues need further investigation.
Players listed in the intake form are also imported as shown below saving data entry and interview time.
MasterFile’s client intake module and practice area specific intake forms make you look professional. They save you valuable time, ensure you capture critical case information and help load your case into MasterFile quickly by eliminating time consuming data entry. Currently we provide intake forms for:
Legal professionals not using MasterFile are welcome to download and use the above forms in their practice as long as the page header is maintained intact. Companies providing products and services to legal professionals may not use or redistribute these forms.
To download click here.
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