With a keen focus on detail and a determination to use the best technologies available, the Law Office of Ruby L. Powers helps Houston area residents with US immigration and nationality law issues. Three attorneys make up the practice, which specializes in areas like citizenship, asylum, humanitarian parole, and consular processing among others.
According to the Houston Chronicle, there are nearly 1.5 million foreign-born residents in the region, and Houston’s immigration population is growing at a rate that is double the national average. This creates demand for services offered by Powers, as well as competition. As many small law firms are learning, technology gives them a competitive advantage. One such advantage is the ability to quickly, and efficiently, collect important information. The simplest way is through an online form potential clients can fill out prior to meeting. Online forms, however, can be cumbersome to build, and the data may require additional work to format and extract meaningful information.
For a long time, Powers didn’t have a systemized method for collecting data. Clients used to spend a long time filling out paper forms once they arrived at her office. Utilizing online forms has allowed her to pinpoint key issues before the client comes into the office, saving everyone a boatload of time.
“Now we’re able to spend more time reviewing our client’s case rather than trying to figure out what their case actually is,” Powers said. “With the intake we already have an idea on what possible process we could help our client with.”
Like any business, Powers gets ahead by using tools that make it easy to run her office. That’s where JotForm comes in, Powers’ favorite method for gathering important information.
“We collect information for consultation intakes online before conducting a consultation, and we consult with hundreds of people each year,” she said on how the firm uses JotForm.
Boiled down simply, build-it-yourself online forms have reduced the costs of running the office. Greatly reducing the need to print and saving lots of time have been significant added benefits.
JotForm, which was founded in 2006, is a form building platform that lets anyone create custom web forms without needing to know how to code. Instead, you drag and drop what you want to know, like name, address and phone number, a text box for explanations or answers to questions. You can also create surveys, drop down menus, or use radio buttons to make it easy for users to answer questions.
Powers, who discovered JotForm because of the recommendation from a friend, has been using the popular form building platform for several years.
“I was about to move my law firm to Dubai and I needed to work efficiently while remote,” Powers said. “Then when I brought up this situation to my friend he suggested JotForm. Furthermore, I was having the issue that when people came for consultation it took them a long time to complete the forms, but once I implemented the online intake form procedure my consultation time was cut in half.”
The firm’s contact form is meant for potential clients to send them quick emails expressing why they need their services, when they could possibly come in, and other basic information such as their phone number and email address.
Intake forms at The Law Office of Ruby Powers are more detail oriented. They’re focused on the individual and their case. From these intakes the firm is able to tell if the client could qualify for any type of relief. Additionally, upon scheduling a consultation at the office the client is reminded of the documents they have to bring to maximize the time spend during consultation.
Nowadays, all of the firm’s intake forms are online, allowing the entire paper trail to be stored digitally. One of the great benefit of using a do-it-yourself online form platform is the easily sortable submission data hosted in the cloud. While she gets notified whenever new responses arrive via email, all the data is nearly organized in her JotForm dashboard when she logs in as well.
“This allows us to keep a digital paper trail, and most of our processes can be done using JotForm. Before we used paper or email,” she said. “The service has really helped us get organized.” Once the firm receives intake sheets, they copy and paste them into a Word document and then save into their consultation notes.
Whether it’s used for gathering consultation information from clients, or as a tool for collecting information for potential clients, using an online form builder can make life easier for attorneys. Tools like JotForm allow firms to simplify data collection, while making information more accessible for an entire team and saving some serious time paper along the way. Since this type of service allows firms to create sub users, anyone on the team can have access, making it a workable solution for firms both large and small.