While you are in court appearing for your cases, sitting with a client in a meeting, or counseling a client on their legal options, who is answering your law firm’s phone?
Every law firm needs a good law firm receptionist. If you don't have one at all, or you don't have a good one, you are stuck taking the calls or backtracking on what information the receptionist should have gotten when taking a call or talking to someone at their desk. If you're looking for a good law firm receptionist, here are the qualities to look for.
1) Excellent Communication Skills
If someone calls your law firm for the first time, whether it is a potential client or opposing counsel, your receptionist provides the first impression this person will have of your law firm. Therefore, your receptionist needs to have excellent communication skills and be able handle phone calls flawlessly. The receptionist should be able to speak loudly and clearly, and pause when they need the caller to answer. This employee will often greet visitors to the office, so these skills must translate well in person and stay consistent even when juggling multiple tasks. Look for a candidate who is attentive, energetic and can handle bursts of business with grace.
2) Knowledge of a Variety of Computer Programs
Good receptionists will already know how to run (or can learn very quickly how to use) the latest and greatest office, phone and legal technology. It's hard to operate your law firm without technology, so it's imperative that your law firm receptionist is adept in a variety of programs the computer, as well as smartphones and tablets. Of course, they would need expertise in Microsoft Office, as well as being able to catch on quickly to operating the office phone, copier, and printer.
3) Organization and Time Management
Often, law firm receptionists have to take messages, file papers, handle the mail, greet visitors, arrange schedules and meetings, and run errands. If this is the case, you need someone who can keep themselves and their tasks organized, while completing tasks in a timely manner. This includes the ability to prioritize and complete tasks for the business and your clients. It also requires they be dependable and always show up on time. It's especially important that they understand which tasks are a higher priority, even when they come up out of the blue. Look for candidates who can prioritize conflicting needs and are able to create or follow organization methods which help your business operate.
4) Legal Experience a Plus
Although a law firm receptionist isn't allowed to give legal advice, someone with some legal experience, either as a paralegal or even as a criminal justice student, can be really helpful when it comes to the common questions that potential clients might have. Legal receptionists should also be familiar with terms such as a subpoena, pro se and voir dire. They should understand the difference between legal procedure and know how to create and format pleadings, and discovery documents.
5) Attention to Detail
Law firm receptionists also take care of correspondence, such as letters to attorneys, courts, and/or clients. If your receptionist is writing these letters, or proofreading them before sending them out, you want this person to pay close attention and check the spelling of each word, grammar, and sentence structure. Much like greeting guests or talking on the phone, these letters are also a face of the law firm, and typos could create a bad impression if not handled properly. Attention to detail is important in nearly every receptionist task from scheduling meetings and calendaring deadlines.
If you are having trouble finding the right person, then look no further. Consider getting a law firm receptionist from Abby Connect! Not only is this option more affordable, but you don't have to worry about finding the right person with the right experience and then training this person on your software or on how to take calls. All the training is taken care of through Abby! Through our live answering service, we can ensure that the person acting as your law firm receptionist will have all of these qualities and can be trusted to handle the calls of your potential customers. Try us out with a no-obligation 14-day free trial.