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Monzingo Commentary: How Client Intake, Marketing and Records Management are Intertwined, ALM | LAW.COM, PRO MID MARKET, Oct 2022

See Mary Beth Link, founder of Monzingo Legal, published in in “How Client Intake, Marketing and Records Management are Intertwined.”

Reprinted with permission from the October 26, 2022 issue of ALM | LAW.COM PRO MID-MARKET © 2022 ALM Global Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited, contact 877-256-2472 or

Mary Beth’s article reads as follows:

“Congratulations! You’ve landed a new client for your legal services. You quickly send out a well-drafted engagement letter, obtain the client’s signature, scan or file it in the new client’s record, jump into the case, and start billing. However, what else could be accomplish this early in the relationship? The formal start of a matter presents a broader opportunity to move your law firm forward utilizing a formal client intake or case intake system, which is an onboarding process and planning for the future of the relationship with the client, the file progression, and valuable marketing data.

Expanding the Intake Process

Client intake is a golden opportunity to contribute to future marketing efforts, track historical data, and tend to records management. For example, whether you have an electronic newsletter (e-news) or not, include a sentence in your engagement letter that allows the new client to “opt-in” or not to your marketing emails, hopefully adding them to your mailing list. Also, be sure to capture information such as how the client found you specifically, including the name of the referral source or media. For example, do not stop at “found you on the internet.” Instead, ask the client exactly where on the internet:  Google Ad? Facebook? LinkedIn? Martindale? Avvo? Your website? In other words, in addition to the engagement letter, complete a detailed new client engagement form to extract this and other data.

Ideally, it would be best if you had Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software like Clio, Salesforce or Interaction to track important marketing information and case management software like Abacus Law, Amicus Attorney, Time Matters, Prolaw, or any of many others to follow all case details, perform billing and set records retention policies. Even better if you have software that does it all in one. Obtaining all relevant data in the front end will save you money and hours of labor in the back end and earn you money by remarketing to clients.

What to Track for Marketing Purposes

Software automation is ideal, but if you do not have CRM/case management software, that is fine too. The lack of custom software should not be an excuse not to capture detailed data because there are many ways to organize your marketing efforts manually. It may be early in your practice, and you are not ready to invest in cloud computing or software programs but get started one way or another, and with MS Excel, this is easy to do.

Tracking with No Database Software

Most law firms start their practice with Microsoft Office tools at a minimum. If so, use MS Excel to keep a spreadsheet of marketing and case data for clients and potential clients. Remember that most software programs allow for importing of data via Excel. Therefore, when you purchase software in the future, all previously captured data in your spreadsheet will be easily preserved and usable for the life of your law firm.

What Data Do I need to Capture?

Below is an exhaustive list based on my years of experience implementing document management and CRM software systems for law firms. There is a reason for each field in your spreadsheet that will only come to light if you advance to a database software system.

New or potential client data to capture, in separate columns, in Excel is:

  • File Open Date
  • Salutation
  • First Name
  • Middle Name
  • Last Name
  • Suffix
  • Nickname
  • Mailing Address
  • City
  • State
  • Zip
  • Other Address
  • City Other
  • State Other
  • Zip Other
  • Cell Phone
  • Work Phone
  • Other Phone
  • Email Address 1
  • Email Address 2
  • Website
  • Employer
  • Title
  • Assistant
  • Spouse
  • Referral Source
  • Referral Source Name
  • Referral Source Company
  • Area of Law 1
  • Area of Law 2
  • Area of Law 3
  • Billing Attorney 1
  • Attorney 2
  • Attorney 3
  • Billing Rate 1
  • Billing Rate 2
  • Billing Rate 3
  • Paralegal
  • Billing Rate Paralegal
  • Email or Mail Invoices?
  • Voicemail Ok (yes or no)
  • Texting Ok (yes or no)
  • Marketing Mailing list (yes or no)
  • Best way to contact
  • Person to contact in case of emergency
  • Other Parties and their Relationship to Client (List all for conflict check)
  • Opposing Counsel
  • Date Suit Filed
  • Court/Judge
  • Date Returned original documents to client
  • File Closed Date
  • Records Retention Period
  • Date of Destruction or Archive

You may want to expand this list according to your area of law and customize it. For example, “date of divorce,” date of marriage,” or “date of incident.”

Use the Data; No Guessing Needed

In reviewing this long list, I am sure you can see why good database software would be ideal. Imagine printing a report every quarter or so with the source of new business, such as “Facebook” or “Rotary Club” or the person’s name or the company referring you the business. This key information would enable you to focus future marketing efforts in the best direction for new business.

Keeping in mind that it is far easier to obtain new business from an existing client, whether for a new matter or via their referral than it is to find and cultivate a brand-new client, attorneys should take this tracking seriously.

Capturing pertinent data, obtaining mailing list opt-in, and determining records retention policies according to State law at the front end will help you:

-Remarket to the client via e-newsletters, event invitations, promotional items, mailouts, and other marketing efforts. In other words, create a dynamic, ongoing marketing mailing list.

-Assist you with whom to cross-sell other legal services (for example, making a divorce client aware of your estate planning services via social media posts or e-news)

-Maintain dates and information on handling your files and records, saving staff time and storage or informational technology costs later.

-Keeping a living spreadsheet to convert to a database, meaning a future import into a case management software or CRM program to expand further automation.

-Analyze data by practice area or attorney and billing rates concerning how long a case takes from start to finish and personnel resources utilized.

-Maintaining data that help run the business.

As you can see, this spreadsheet is a living document. Client intake is not a one-and-done task. As more relevant information about the matter or client relationship evolves or changes, it should be notated or updated in your spreadsheet or database. But always remember the database management rule: “trash in; trash out,” which means hire diligent and professional staff for data entry so that it is entirely usable and meaningful. When used often and correctly, data-driven metrics used for management and marketing help produce an efficient law practice with ongoing success.”

Reprinted with permission from the October 26, 2022 issue of ALM | LAW.COM PRO MID-MARKET © 2022 ALM Global Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited, contact 877-256-2472 or


Monzingo Legal is a personnel and law firm marketing and management consulting agency. Founder Mary Beth Monzingo Link is the driving force behind Monzingo Legal which she founded in 2013. With over 30 years of experience in the legal industry, Link’s background includes as a Legal Administrator, Marketing Director, Executive Director, Human Resources Director and in other legal operations. She has led law firms of varying sizes and practice areas, making her uniquely qualified to understand and deliver on the specific needs of her legal clients. Additionally, Mary Beth is a Certified Personnel Consultant through the National Association of Personnel Services and has served on professional boards of directors in the legal and public relations industries. She is an award-winning entrepreneur featured on various business podcasts, and in the Business ObservereBella Magazine, The KNOW Women, Res Gestae (of the Lee County Bar Association) and Gulfshore Business News. Awards including Best of Busines 2021 by Gulfshore Business and Best of Florida® in Guide to Florida. Mary Beth was also the recipient of the coveted Ginnie Duffey-Troyer Award of Professionalism by the Florida Public Relations Association-Center West Coast Chapter.  A recent graduate of Leadership SWFL, Inc., Mary Beth is also a regular columnist for American Legal Media on, Pro Mid Market by ALM Global Properties, LLC. For more information, please visit

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Mary Beth Monzingo Link
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