Virtual Receptionist Reviews for Law Firms

Hiring an in-house staff member just to answer the phones is a luxury that many small law firms cannot afford. However, if you’re not picking up the phone every time a client or potential client calls you, your business is going to struggle. In reality you are probably just too busy, but to a client, not answering the phone creates an impression that you don’t care. This is a negative experience and it will make them more likely to call another firm which is more responsive. Fortunately, using a virtual receptionist service can be the perfect middle ground. It gives your firm the ability to always pick up the phone when a client calls, but without the unsustainable costs of hiring a full time staff member. In this post, we provide virtual receptionist reviews for some of the best call answering services for law firms to help you make a choice about which service is right for your practice.

Virtual Receptionist Reviews for Law Firms

There are literally hundreds of different virtual receptionist services available, so it’s not always easy to choose the right provider. For this reason, we put together a list of some of the most popular call answering services for law firms and wrote a brief review of each.

Keep in mind that these are merely our opinions and they are based on publicly available information. You should do your own research prior to signing up with any service.

Ruby Receptionists Review (Call Ruby Review)

Ruby Receptionists is one of the most widely used virtual receptionist services for small law firms. They provide exceptional customer service and they are known for having very friendly and well-trained staff answering their phone calls.

When you sign up for a Ruby Receptionists account, you are given your own local business phone number which can be transferred to multiple different lines if you have more than one person who interacts with clients over the phone. You provide the instructions for what you’d like the receptionists to say, and how you would like them to handle the calls (e.g. transfer, take a message, leave a voicemail), and they will handle the rest. This includes notifying you of new calls via email and/or text message in case you’re unavailable.

Ruby is one of the better options in terms of its receptionist availability, with hours of 8am – 12am EST, or 5am – 9pm PST. They also answer on weekends, which some other services do not, and they have Spanish speaking receptionists available should you have any Spanish speaking clients.

Another great feature which sets them apart from the competition is their mobile app. The app allows you to manage your standard availability, set up away times when you do not wish to receive calls, place outbound calls from your business phone number, keep track of your call log, and more, and you can do it from anywhere using your smartphone.

Finally, Ruby has integrated their service with other popular law firm software including Clio and our own product Lexicata. These integrations can save you time and make your life easier by eliminating data entry, making Ruby one of the overall best options for a small law firm virtual receptionist.

Services Offered

  • Call answering
  • Call routing
  • Bilingual receptionists
  • Taking messages
  • Integrations with other software
  • Outbound calling on your behalf
  • Mobile app

Pricing Information

  • $259/month – $989/month (100 call minutes – 500 call minutes, respectively)
  • Overage fees for any additional minutes beyond your plan
  • 21 day money back guarantee
  • View pricing page

Back Office Betties Review

Back Office Betties is another popular receptionist service that is used by many law firms. The company is not as large as Ruby, but their basic offering is similar, with friendly receptionists and a custom phone number that can be transferred to any phone number you’d like.

Back Office Betties provides some additional services on top of what Ruby has to offer as well. This includes things like scheduling appointments/managing your calendar, processing payments, creating work orders, and even making outbound calls to follow up with clients. They also have bilingual receptionists to answer calls in Spanish if you have Spanish speaking clients.

Back Office Betties does not offer a mobile app like Ruby does, but they do integrate with Lexicata, and their additional services can be a huge plus for certain firms, depending on the nature of the practice. Back Office Betties is available Monday – Friday from 6am to 5pm PST (9am – 8pm EST), which is somewhat limited, and only Saturday morning hours on the weekends.

Services Offered

  • Call answering
  • Call routing
  • Bilingual receptionists
  • Taking messages
  • Integrations with other software
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Processing payments
  • Generating work orders & estimates
  • Outbound calling on your behalf

Pricing Information

  • $199/month – $639/month (100 call minutes – 600 call minutes, respectively)
  • Overage fees for any additional minutes beyond your plan
  • Additional one-time fee ($99-149) for training
  • Additional fee ($49/month) for appointment scheduling and CRM access if a separate login is required – scheduling on a web based calendar that does not require a login is free
  • Additional fee ($25/month) for payment processing if a separate login is required
  • Additional fee ($99/month) for creating work orders/estimates
  • Free trial available (length not disclosed)
  • View pricing page

Alert Communications Review

Alert Communications has been in business since 1965 and boasts having worked with thousands of attorneys. They work exclusively in the legal industry, and they use more of a client intake call center approach compared to other virtual receptionists on this list which simply pick up the phone and transfer it to you.

Alert Communications offers 24/7 services, bilingual receptionists, and is capable of providing large call centers for high volume law firms fielding hundreds of calls per day. Because they focus exclusively on the legal industry, they also train their receptionists in legal terminology and provide other hands-on services for attorneys.

The add-on services they offer include outbound calls to website leads, taking down client intake information, processing retainers via e-signature, scheduling consultations, delivering documents, and more. They also integrate their service with Lexicata and several other popular software programs to ease the burden of data entry.

Services Offered

  • Call answering
  • Call routing
  • Bilingual receptionists
  • Taking messages
  • Conducting client intake interviews
  • Integrations with other software
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Processing retainers via e-signature
  • Delivering documents
  • Outbound calling for website leads
  • 24/7 availability

Pricing Information

  • Not publicly available (although, they do mention a “$750/month plan” on their FAQ page if that’s any indication)
  • A refundable deposit is also required upfront (equal to the monthly payment amount)

Gabbyville Review

Gabbyville is a popular virtual receptionist service targeting small and medium businesses of all kinds. They are not exclusive to law firms, but law firms appear to make up one of their most important customer segments (it’s shown first on their list of industries).

The services they offer are slightly more robust than Ruby Receptionist, but not as in depth as Alert Communications. On top of just answering phones and routing the calls, they can place outbound calls to clients (e.g. for appointment reminders), set up bridge lines for conference calls, and schedule appointments on your calendar.

They offer text messaging between you and your team of receptionists to streamline communications, and you can also get text alerts for new calls when you’re unavailable to take them. They also mentioned that they don’t currently have a mobile app, but that it’s in development and coming soon.

Possible downsides of Gabbyville are a lack of software integrations, and that their availability ends at 8pm EST, which is only 5pm PST. This could be too early for some West Coast based law firms.

Services Offered

  • Call answering
  • Call routing
  • Setting up conference calls
  • Taking messages
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Outbound calling on your behalf

Pricing Information

  • $99/month – $699/month (50 call minutes – 600 call minutes, respectively)
  • $99 one-time setup fee (this is waived for the top two most expensive pricing plans)
  • 14 day free trial available
  • View pricing page

Answering Legal Review

Answering Legal is another virtual receptionist and call answering solution that is exclusive to the legal industry. They only work with law firms, so they train their staff to understand how law firms operate and they provide additional hands-on services related to client intake.

They appear to be somewhat of a hybrid between Alert Communications and Ruby Receptionists. They operate more like a call center for high volume firms similar to Alert Communications, but answering calls, routing them, and taking messages is still their primary focus, more like Ruby.

One interesting feature about Answering Legal is their advanced call forwarding logic. For example, you can set it up to call you directly at first, but if you don’t pick up within the first few rings, redirect the call to Answering Legal. This gives you a lot of control and flexibility to configure your call handling process however you think it will work best for your office and your clients.

The biggest possible drawback to the service is that it does not appear to integrate directly with any other software, which means caller data would likely need to be entered manually into a CRM or case management system.

Services Offered

  • Call answering
  • Call routing
  • Advanced call forwarding
  • Taking messages
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Outbound calling on your behalf for follow ups or appointment reminders

Pricing Information

  • 100 call minutes for $250 and 200 call minutes for $398
  • Custom price quotes for firms with higher call volume
  • 10 day free trial available
  • View pricing page

Answer 1 Review

Answer 1 is yet another popular virtual receptionist service which is aimed at businesses of any kind and any size. Their differentiating factor seems to be their technology, as they boast about their software infrastructure which is developed in house and their reliability with greater than 99.98% uptime.

Answer 1 trains its receptionists by industry, and they provide 24/7, bilingual service across a variety of channels, not just phone. They will also communicate with clients via email, web chat, text message, etc. giving you a more robust service offering and enabling your firm to interact with clients however they feel most comfortable.

Their client portal comes with native integrations to several prominent CRMs, as well as a Zapier integration to allow you to connect to hundreds of other software programs, which is a huge plus.  They also provide more hands-on services for their customers such as appointment scheduling, lead qualification, basic IT support, and ticketing/help desk management.

While some of these things do not seem particularly useful for a law practice, it’s always nice to work with technically savvy vendors and business partners, as technology plays a key role in running any type of business these days.

Services Offered

  • Call answering
  • Call routing
  • Bilingual receptionists
  • Taking messages
  • Live chat/email/text message communication options
  • Lead qualification
  • Integrations with other software
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Technical support/help desk management
  • 24/7 availability

Pricing Information

  • $239/month – $749/month (100 call minutes – 500 call minutes, respectively)
  • $90 one-time setup fee
  • Additional fees (amounts undisclosed) for CRM admin support, calendar scheduling, and text messaging
  • 21 day free trial available
  • View pricing page

Smith.ai

Smith.ai is a small but fast-growing virtual receptionist service based in Silicon Valley. They have expertise in solo and boutique law firms, as well as other small and medium businesses. They are a newer player in the virtual receptionist space, but their key differentiator is the way that their software tracks call data and helps their team learn the ins and outs of your business, as well as their pay-per-call pricing.

Key technology features include the ability to set your availability by simply sending a text message command which is automatically handled by Smith.ai, and the ability to set up call priorities so that calls from certain phone numbers are automatically handled in a particular way.
Smith.ai also has some great software integrations with other companies, including Lexicata. Other integrations include Zapier, Calendly, YouCanBookMe, Resurva, Capsule, Assistant.to, Square, IFTTT, and more, with new integrations coming nearly every month.
One downside is that they do not offer 24/7 answering services or answer calls on the weekends. They are available 9am-9m EST, and they can route calls directly to a number you specify, or to a voicemail system that sends you the recording via email or text outside of their normal hours.

Services Offered

  • Call answering
  • Call routing & live transfer
  • Taking messages
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Call screening & prioritization
  • Spam/sales call blocking
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Integrations with other software
  • SMS control of availability/away status
  • 9am – 9pm EST availability

Pricing Information

  • Pay per call model
  • $50/month – $400/month (10 calls – 100 calls, respectively)
  • No charge for spam, sales calls, wrong numbers, etc.
  • 10 call free trial available
  • View pricing page

Overall Impressions

Which virtual receptionist service is best for a law firm will depend on a variety of different factors, from the types of clients you work with, to the level of service you would like to provide, to the price you’re willing to pay.

Here are our top choices based on a variety of different factors which may be important to your firm:

Overall Quality/Reputation

Ruby Receptionists is probably the most widely used service for small law firms and they are known for providing top notch service. It is slightly more expensive than the others per minute of call time, and they do not provide some of the additional services beyond answering the phones. So if cost is a concern or you would like more hands-on services, Ruby may not be the best fit. But otherwise, it’s an extremely reliable and high-quality service, and there’s a good reason why they are number one in the industry.

Low Call Volume/Lowest Cost

If you are a solo lawyer with low call volume, and you are mainly looking for the lowest priced option, Gabbyville is a good option to consider. Their starter plan is only $99/month and it gives you 33-50 calls per month, assuming an average call length of about 1-2 minutes.

High Call Volume/Most Services

Alert Communications is a good option for larger firms who spend heavily on advertising, such as mass tort or personal injury law. They can screen calls and handle many intake-related processes beyond just picking up the phones and transferring them to you.

Best Technology

Answer 1 appears to have the top of the line technology with their wealth of software integrations and additional technical support related service offerings. They also provide additional communication options for clients, such as web chat and text messaging. Their only major limitation in terms of technology is that they don’t have a mobile app just yet, but their website does mention that one is coming in 2017.

Smith.ai is another top contender in terms of technology, and their team is focused heavily on building quality software and adding a lot of integrations to make the service work seamlessly with your workflow.

Most Intimate/Personal Touch

If you’re concerned about losing control of your brand/image by outsourcing your call answering, or you want to establish a closer relationship with the receptionists so they get to know your business better, you might consider Gabbyville or Back Office Betties.

They are a bit smaller and both have a reputation for working closely with their customers and going above and beyond to meet their needs, even when that means logging directly into their Lexicata account in order to schedule appointments or input new leads.

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