A law firm client intake form is completed by a client so an attorney can evaluate their legal needs before the initial consultation. The client will be asked to provide basic contact and personal information as well as their current legal issues. Gathering preliminary information will help the attorney assess whether they can represent the client and how they might go about providing their legal services.
While a client intake form does not establish an attorney-client relationship, the information provided by the client is considered confidential and cannot be disclosed without their consent.
Attorney intake forms are often the first documents provided to potential clients. The document provides the attorney with an overview of the client, including their personal information and the legal issues they are hoping to resolve.
An engagement letter or retainer agreement will be presented to the client if the attorney agrees to work with them. These documents allow the parties to enter into a formal attorney-client relationship. It breaks down the obligations of the parties, the fee arrangement, and the scope of the attorney’s legal services.
To provide a proper consultation, an attorney will need the client to complete the sections of the intake form truthfully and as thoroughly as possible.
The attorney will want to know the client’s name, address, DOB, marital status, and military history.
The client will need to include their phone number and email address. They may also choose whether or not the attorney can leave voicemails. (For example, if a client is involved in a divorce proceeding, they may not want to receive voicemails on their home phone.)
Employment and Education Information
The intake form asks for information pertaining to the client’s current employer and educational background. This can help the attorney with their case assessment, determining a fee structure, conflict of interest checks, and estimating damages (if applicable).
The client will be asked to provide a brief description of their current legal issue, such as relevant dates, involved parties, and any other facts related to the case.
If the client has engaged or consulted with another attorney, they will have to include this information on the form.
The document includes a statement notifying the client that it does not create an attorney-client relationship and any information provided is solely used to evaluate the case to potentially assist the client.
Any information provided to the attorney is confidential and protected, as expressed at the end of the form. Furthermore, any information provided will only be disclosed to third parties if explicit permission is given (unless when necessary under law or court order).
After the attorney has reviewed the completed intake form, they will check to make sure there are no conflicts of interest. If they aren’t any, and the attorney is willing to take on the new client, they will likely schedule a consultation.
At the initial consultation, the attorney will ask more detailed questions about the legal matter. Assuming the attorney agrees to take the case, they will enter into a legal agreement (retainer or attorney engagement letter) to formalize the attorney-client relationship.
Retainer Agreement – A retainer reserves an attorney’s legal services in exchange for an upfront payment.
Attorney Engagement Letter – An engagement letter is used to establish the key terms and conditions of the relationship between an attorney and their client.
Contingency Fee Agreement – This contract establishes a fee arrangement where the attorney is paid only if they are successful in winning their client’s case.