Online Intake with LegalServer

Purpose: Allow an organization to provide an online application process (or processes) to the public, or to select people and entities you provide the link to.

The online application is hosted by a separate LegalServer site and transferred to the organization's existing LegalServer site using the electronic case transfer feature. Transfer to different organizations using LegalServer based on criteria in the online application is also possible (think regional or statewide online intake).

Online applications are built using the standard LegalServer process management tools and additional elements designed specifically for online intake.

Watch a video about this feature:

See Also: If your organization already has an online application, and you have the ability to post data from it to an API, we support "direct" etransfers via our Etransfer Portal, without the need for a separate LegalServer online intake site.

Cost: $4,500 one-time setup fee, plus $50/month additional maintenance fee. This includes the cost of the required Electronic Case Transfer module for the online intake site and one site that you will be sending online intakes to. Additional receiving sites must also have the Electronic Case Transfer module or buy it.

Application Setup and Configuration: A basic online application (intake process) is provided. One hour of help setting up an initial user and organization, and providing an overview of online intake is included. Help configuring the process or configuring it per provided specifications is billable at our standard hourly support rate.

Additional options:

  • An online intake can be offered in multiple languages with that feature enabled.
  • Two APIs are available. One to allow your external program to send someone to an online intake and pass limited information to it (the human applicant would proceed as if they had started a new online intake manually). Another API to allow your external program to create an online intake and "complete" it (have it transferred to a destination site).
  • Legacy option: An online intake instance of LegalServer can also be setup to accept XML data from an agency's existing system. This option requires billable time in addition to the cost of the online intake instance of LegalServer. Pricing is on a project by project basis.

In this Article:

Electronic Case Transfers

Online applications that reach the submission stage are transferred using the electronic case transfer feature. The administrative setup requirements apply to the online intake site and the organization's primary instance of LegalServer. See Electronic Case Transfers - Admin Setup for more information.

Separate Online Intake Site and Database

Providing online intakes requires creating a separate "online" instance of LegalServer. A separate site provides:

  • Security. Unlike regular LegalServer intakes that require a user name and password to login, online intake applications are intentionally exposed to the public (or whoever the organization gives the link to) and accept data from anyone. If there is a problem with an online site's operation or security, it does not affect the operation of the organization's primary instance, and greatly reduces any security implications for the regular site.
  • Conflict data separation. Online application data is not stored in the organization's primary database unless a staff person expressly begins intake on a pending electronic case transfer. An online applicant cannot intentionally or otherwise create a potential conflict for the organization simply by filling out and submitting an online application.
  • State or Regional Online Intake. Online intakes can be designed to transfer to one of multiple organizations using LegalServer based on information the applicant enters.

Demo and Live Online Intake Sites

You initially get a demo online intake site that will do etransfers to your regular demo site. This lets you build and test your online intake without transferring test applications into your live site.

Once you are satisfied with your demo online intake, you can file a ticket from it asking that your live online intake site be created. The live online intake site is created from the demo online intake site database, so your intake, settings, users, etc. will be the same on the live online intake site. The only difference is that the live online intake site will transfer new applications to your regular live site automatically.

Possible exception to doing your build on the demo online intake site: If you plan to create a lot of custom fields and set them up to etransfer, we recommend getting your live online intake site early and doing the field transfers and build on the live online intake site. Alternatively, do your build on the demo OI site, with placeholder instructions for custom fields. Then get your live OI site created, and create your custom fields from there.

Intake Process and Forms

Online intakes are built using the same tools used to build regular intakes. Intake forms are built and added to an intake process. This help page covers aspects of an intake process that are unique to intakes that will be presented online.

To see the online version of the intake, use the "Direct Link" link that appears on the intake process page below the Permissions section, to the right of the "Embed" field. The Direct Link URL can be bookmarked for easy access.

Styling the Forms

Online intake processes have an optional "Custom Profile Style" option. Select "Yes" to see the various attributes you can set to change the appearance of the forms in the process. The "Color" attributes take standard HTML Color Names. See, for example:


Like a typical LegalServer intake, the intake process consists of a series of forms. Each form is a step in the intake. Unlike a standard intake, online intakes typically make use of the Subsection configuration options available on each form.

As shown in the image below, each form can have a subsection name assigned to it. If no name is assigned, it will assume it belongs to the subsection above it. To start a new subsection, check the Subsection Start option. These subsections correlate to the numbers and names across the top navigation of the online intake. Each of the individual forms are used to build the left side navigation.

Show In Sidebar

Another option available on each form is Show In Sidebar. This shows or hides the form as part of the navigation on the left side of the intake page.


Each form also has a Title field. This field is used when displaying the form in the sidebar navigation. If left blank, it will use the actual name of the form to display in the navigation.

The Process Finish option is deprecated and will eventually be removed. It controlled the display of the "Finish" flag when using the now-deprecated Road Trip theme.

Configuration Tips

  • The first page of an online intake is often just initial information and instructions. However, the form needs at least one field on it. The field can be defaulted and hidden. Common ones to use are Intake Date (defaulted to Today and hidden) and Case Disposition (defaulted to Open and hidden).
  • As noted above, put the Case Disposition field on the first or second form, default it to "Open", set Default Overrides Existing Value, and set it to "Hidden". This will let you click on the case number and see information about the application. Otherwise the case number link will open to the intake process, but it will appear blank and not let you walk through it.
  • If you are collecting detailed financial information, for example with the Online Financial Information - Detailed block, let that block display the household size fields. If you want/need to instead use the individual fields ("Number in Household 18 and Over" and "Number in Household Under 18") those fields must be on a form before the form with the block on it. In other words, those fields must have values saved before the financial block loads.
  • Add at least one email address to be cc'd when tickets are created on the Admin > Site Settings page. Errors in an online intake automatically submit tickets.

Special Blocks and Other Elements

There are blocks designed specifically for online intake, and blocks that have options that are relevant to online intake.

Conditional Branch Logic Form Include

This block allows a branch logic form to be displayed based on one or more conditions. For example, the form could be displayed based on a matter's percentage of poverty, legal problem code, and county of residence. The conditions can be joined by the AND option (all conditions must be met) or the OR option (the form is displayed if any of the conditions are met).

Lock Step(s)

Primarily used on the "Review and Submit" step of an online intake to prevent the applicant from making further changes and intentionally or accidentally re-submitting the application. The block has options to lock the current step of the process and/or all previous steps. This block disables the sidebar and top links so the applicant can't click on them.

Locked on Submit

Once an online intake is submitted, it is put in a static read-only state to prevent further changes. "Submitted" means the form containing the Online Intake Transfer block has been loaded. This locking occurs whether or not the Lock Step(s) block has been used.

Online Intake Additional Assistance

Allows an applicant to indicate they receive assistance that is not counted as income. Common examples are food stamps, housing assistance, etc. Displays the active values in the Additional Assistance Type lookup list.

Online Intake Adverse Party (deprecated)

This block has been deprecated and will be removed in the future. Use the Online Intake Opposing Parties block instead.

Online Intake Maintenance Window

Designed to be placed on the first step of an online intake, it allows configuring a day of the week and start and end times during which an online intake application will display a "site maintenance" message instead of the intake. Useful for sites that have experienced failed applications because the destination site was being updated (typically very early morning hours on Fridays).

Online Intake Opposing Parties

A simplified means of adding multiple opposing parties. Only asks for type (Individual or Org/Business) and name.

Online Financial Information - Detailed

Allows applicant to input financial information. Configuration options to show assets and/or expenses in addition to income.

Online Financial Information - Simple Version Blocks

Simple Income, Simple Expense, and Simple Asset blocks. Each block presents a row for each active lookup value in the corresponding list. Each lookup value name is displayed as a label followed by a number entry field. For example, if a site's Income Category lookup contains 8 active lookup values, the Simple Income block will display those values in 8 rows, with each label followed by a numeric data entry field. All values are assumed to be monthly.

Note: If you use the Simple Income block and want percentage of poverty to be calculated and stored, you must put the Household size fields on a form before the form with that block on it.

Initial Legal Problem Category (Descriptive)

Allows collecting only the category early in an application if desired. If collected and the Online Intake Legal Problem Code block is used later, the applicant's selection will be used in that block.

Online Intake Legal Problem Code

Provides an interface for the applicant to choose a legal problem category, code, and special code using consumer-friendly text in a 'cascading' format.

Note: Legal problem category must be enabled for the branch logic to work.

The block uses the "descriptive" lookup lists for legal problem category, code, and special code. Those lists map the consumer-friendly text to the underlying LegalServer fields. For example, a problem code like "01 Bankruptcy/Debtor Relief" can be displayed as simply "Bankruptcy".

Each category descriptive can be configured to display a form or left blank. If a form is configured, it is displayed and stops the cascade. If left blank, the problem code descriptives associated with the category the user selected are displayed. Problem code descriptives can likewise be configured to display a form (stopping the cascade) or left blank to display special problem code descriptives associated with the problem code descriptive the user selected (if special problem codes are enabled in the block).

Online Intake Non-AP/Family

Provides configuration options to collect the name of a non-adverse party/family member.

Online Intake Referral Organization List

Displays a list of organizations that match specified criteria and can accept an e-transfer from the online intake site. The Online Intake Transfer block (see below) can be configured to transfer to the organization the applicant selects.

If your online intake site is part of Referral Hub, there is a "Use Referral Hub" option.

Note: For an organization to show in the list, it must either: 1) Be set for etransfer (as usual), or 2) it must have set "Accepts emailed case transfers?" to Yes in its Referral Hub record.

Online Intake Transfer

This block performs the e-transfer to the selected site. The e-transfer will be attempted as soon as the form this block is on is displayed; therefore this block is typically put on a form that follows a "Review and Submit" form.

The block has configuration options to select the site to transfer to, a program to display to the receiving site, a text box for a success message, and a text box for a failure message.

The block has an option to transfer to the organization selected by the applicant via the Online Intake Referral Organization List (see above).

Note: This block does not work with the standard Branch Logic block, but does work with the Conditional Branch Logic Form Include block.

Process Language

(Only available if multiple language support has been enabled). Displays a dropdown list of available languages, which will set the language for various parts of the intake. The block has a configuration that makes the selection also set the applicant's Language (as in the language they speak). This option requires a one-time setup of editing each Language lookup value the intake is offered in, and setting the corresponding System Language.

Submit (Configurable)

The "Submit (Configurable)" block has a "Form" configuration that allows the Continue button to save the current form and 'jump' to a different step in the process. Frequently used in online intakes to send the applicant to a specific exit page.

In Development: A Previous Page option.

Notes (Generic)

This block can be used on online intake forms. If the site receiving completed online intakes has the same Note Type in its lookup list, the notes will transfer as the corresponding type; otherwise the notes will become general case notes on the receiving site.

Reporting Problems or Questions

If you are filing a ticket about a problem or have a question about an online intake, we will need:

  • A link to the online intake process -- the process on your site, not a link to start an online intake. Many sites have multiple online intakes, testing ones, etc.
  • Detailed instructions on what to select to get to the point where you are having the issue or need help.
  • For example: "Start the online intake. Select "X" on the first step, then "Baz" on the second, then "Foo" on the third step. After you select "Foo", I expect THIS to happen, but THAT is happening ...". You get the idea.

Miscellaneous Notes

Maintaining Poverty Scales

If the online intake process uses any block to calculate percentage of poverty, you must update the poverty scales each year (Admin > Poverty Scales). Otherwise the online intake will throw an error if it reaches a form that calculates percentage of poverty.

Embedding an Online Intake in Another Site

We no longer support this option and it will be removed in the future.

An online intake process provides IFrame information to embed the online intake in another site, for example an agency's existing web site. Embedding is not trivial. The recommended option is to have a link on your web site to the online intake. We cannot troubleshoot problems with an embedded intake because we do not control the other site. Requests for help with an embedded intake require buying a minimum of 3 hours of support time.

Copying and Transferring Custom Fields

E-transfers only transfer select system fields by default. Each custom field has an option to allow its value to be transferred, but the same field must exist on the receiving site. The Admin > Field Transfers feature makes it possible for a site to send receiving organizations selected custom field definitions. Each receiving organization then has the option to accept the transfer and add those fields to the site's database without having to manually create them.

Transferring Documents

You can allow documents to be uploaded during an online intake and they will be transferred to your primary site (or wherever you are sending the transfer).

NB: Transferring documents may not be enabled on older online intake sites. If documents aren't transferring, file a ticket from your online intake site and request that it be enabled. There is no charge.

NB: The standard etransfer limit of 100MB of files applies.

Suggested configuration on an OI form:

  • Header and Instruction elements as desired.
  • Add Document block -- all configuration options unchecked or set to No (to reduce noise on the page)
  • Optional: A "Submit (Configurable)" block -- configured for "Same Page", "Draft Save" option checked, and "Label" = "Upload Another Document". This is if you want to allow the application to upload more than one file.

Matching an Online Intake and a Case on a Receiving Site

After intake has been started on a pending case transfer, the receiving site can display the sending site's case number by adding the "Transferring Agency Matter/Case ID#" field to intake forms and/or case profiles.

"Internal Server Error" Pages

You may run into one of these mostly white pages that just say "Internal Server Error". You may be able to get more detail on what the error is by clicking your browser's back button, then adding "&_DEBUG=1" to the end of the URL and resubmitting the form. The detail may give you a clue about a particular field causing the problem. If not, the detail is always helpful if you need to file a ticket.

The most frequent causes of these error pages:

  • Lacking a field on the first step. See "First Page Needs at Least One Field" above.
  • Trying to collect financial information without having the number in household fields asked and required before reaching that form.
  • Not having an up to date poverty scale available. See "Maintaining Poverty Scales" above.

Online Intake Session Timeout

Online intake sessions will timeout according to the "Default Session Timeout" set on the Admin > Site Settings page. In other words, if someone starts an online intake, then does nothing for 60 minutes (the default), their session will timeout and they won't be able to continue.

Income Rows with Amount = $0.00 Do Not Transfer

If an applicant picks an Income Type, but puts a zero in the Amount field, that row of information will not transfer. Other rows, if any, with a non-zero amount, will transfer. (Ref: LS-83828)

Expense Type "No Expenses" Does Not Transfer

If your intake collects expenses and offers "No Expenses" as an Expense Type, that selection will not transfer. (Ref: LS-83824)

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