Apps to Simplify Client Intake

Since I have a tech background and I am a tech nerd, I knew I wanted to incorporate as much technology as I could into my practice when I started. And since I essentially started my practice by working out of Starbucks, it was even more important that I utilized technology to support my mobile style and maximize my accessibility, efficiency, and convenience.

Something that was really important to me was to be able to do client intake on my iPad. Initially, I figured I would start taking notes onto PDFs with my stylus. Then I realized I would have to retype all of that info into Clio (my law practice management software) by hand, so it didn’t make it much more of a time saver than using a paper intake form. Not an efficient use of my time, that’s for sure.

I decided I wanted to hand the iPad to clients so they could type in their own info and have it go directly into Clio, without exposing my entire Clio to the client. I tried to do this a few different ways with different software and in the end, the method that worked best for me was using Wufoo, Zapier, and Clio (not only did this work well to do intake on iPad, but now I can also email the form links to clients, which is a benefit I hadn’t thought of at the time).

Wufoo is a web based form creating app. You can create forms for anything and embed them in websites or send out links for people to fill in, among other things. Zapier is a web automation app that works with tons of other apps to make things happen. And Clio, of course, is my favorite practice management software.

Here is how I connected these three apps to do client intake on my iPad and have the information go directly into Clio:

1. Make sure you have active accounts in all three apps. Wufoo and Zapier have free accounts you can start with.

2. Log into Wufoo and create a form to match the information you want to inake into your client information in Clio. I opened a browser window with Clio open to a new contact page, and a browser window open to the Wufoo form building page, and put them side by side so I could see exactly which fields I needed to add. Make sure you name your form. For more details on how to make forms in Wufoo, check out the info on Wufoo.com. They have really good info on how to use their software.

3. When your form is finished, make a test or sample entry in your form by following the links in the manage forms section. You need at least one entry to make all the steps in this process work.

4. Log into your Zapier account. Click on “Create New Zap.”

5. Next, in Zapier, start by selecting Wufoo as your first app. Then select “New Entry” as your trigger. This is the process by which you will tell Zapier to take the info from your Wufoo form and put it into Clio.

6. Zapier will then prompt you to connect your Wufoo account. Go ahead and do this.

7. Zapier will then prompt you to select which Wufoo form you want to use in a drop down. Select the name of the form you just created above.

8. Zapier will run a test to make sure it is active (this is why you needed to make sure you had at least one entry in the form).

9. Click “Continue” and Zapier will prompt you to select your “Action” app, so in this case, select Clio.

10. Zapier will then prompt you to select your Clio Action. In this case, select “Create Person.”

11. Follow the instructions to connect your Clio account.

12. Then Zapier will take you the page where you edit your template. This is where you are connecting the info coming into your form to the fields in your Clio Person. For each field, click the + or the dropdown at the far right and select the proper label. For example, the field should be the person’s name. Select “First Name” in the drop down.

13. Then put a space.

14. Then select “Last Name.” I emphasize step 13 because I did not do this the first few times and it screwed everything up. I called Clio (always amazing support), and even though they did not have the answer, they did walk through with me and troubleshot until we realized I needed to put a space.

15. Continue connecting each field to that in your form. If you are including the “Address Line 2” in the Street Address field, make sure to add the space between Street Address and Address Line 2!

16. When you are done, click finish and turn your zap on. You can also run a test before you turn it on to see if it works, or you can turn it on and then start entering data into your form and see how it looks then.

17. Enjoy doing easy intake on iPad and using a form that goes right into Clio!

I now do intake on my iPad even at the office, where I just hand an iPad to new clients and have them fill everything out on a Wufoo form. Within seconds, the info is synced into Clio via Zapier and I don’t have to retype everything and waste time and worry about more papers. It also often email clients the link to the form so they can fill it out before they come in or if we have a phone consultation and they are a new client or new potential client.

Personally I just have a New Person’s basic contact info going into Clio. I know there is a lot more I can do with Zapier and I can’t wait to explore more! What kinds of things are you doing with Zapier? Please tell me in the comments, I would love to hear more ideas on making things easier in practice!

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

About Julie M. Tolek

Julie M. Tolek
A solo family law attorney in Boston, Julie Tolek is equal parts geek, lawyer, entrepreneur, and marketing maven. Julie launched her firm Think Pink Law with the goal of providing her clients with convenient access to the law by harnessing technology and keeping things real with a human touch, making the law less intimidating and more accessible. With a previous career in leadership and technology training, Julie is naturally hardwired to solve problems. When not running outdoors or stuffing her face in Boston’s dining culture, you can catch her online at www.legallyblondbos.com (@legallyblondbos) and www.thinkpinklaw.com(@ThinkPinkLaw).

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  • Mike C

    this seems awfully complicated and can get costly because Zapier and Wufoo are not free…have you checked us out yet at Lexicata? We built a client intake system specifically because lawyers don’t have the time or energy to hack together a system like this (we also integrate with Clio).

  • attorneysupport.co

    This is a clever hack and will work pretty neat. With Zapier data integration opportunities are endless and most cloud-based Practice Management software will integrate. But most lawyers may have trouble in rigging it up. It’s a lot easier and efficient to use an application that’s created specifically for Client Intake by law firms.

  • Great read. Zapier is an awesome app to integrate with other software. Some legal case management software like ours, PracticePanther, have a client intake feature available to all users. You can see ours over here: http://www.practicepanther.com/legal-client-intake-forms-law-firms-online/