The size and reach of the Clio platform is nothing short of impressive.
As the leading cloud-based legal practice management platform, they can pick and choose what to release and when. Most organizations of their size would sit on a pedestal happy about dominating and wait idly by to change their platform.
But not Clio.
Over fourteen months ago they embarked on a journey to the other side of a mountain named reinvention. For anyone who has worked in the software space before, you know that mountain is tall, and the path to the summit wrought with obstacles.
The decision was made to revamp the now nearly ten-year-old platform, which was completely functional, but beginning to show its age. As Jack Newton, Co-Founder and CEO of Clio put it during the launch of the new Clio experience at the 2017 Clio Conference, “Software ages in dog years.”
A true statement considering the number of features, and tools incorporated, as well as the 70 plus integrations added to the platform since 2008. And if there was ever a time to conduct a ground-up reinvention of the Clio platform, better do it at 150,000 users instead of when you’re crossing a million!
Let the Data Be Your Guide
For a project of this magnitude it takes months of planning, research and user interviews before coding can even begin. Clio surveyed over 3,000 users, traveled to 60 cities spending 600 plus hours onsite at law firms, and reviewed nine years of usage data to ensure that the rebuild would not only improve usability but give the platform a strong foundation to build on.
User Experience Overhaul – New Navigation
The first and most recognizable difference is the main navigation menu. It now resides on the left-hand side, as a full list of options or collapsible stack of icons to take advantage of every inch of screen real estate.
The header bar has been reduced to three primary functions: Search, Time Keeping and New Activities. To ensure a more efficient experience, a customer’s most used or referenced features are displayed in this high-value area. As soon as you enter the platform, you quickly get to what you need via the search bar. You can bill time right away, or create a new matter, contact, and more without ever having to access the main menu.
Clio’s user research found that most clients started with an internal search. To improve both results and speed, the team re-programmed the entire way that search functions. Now, it includes the ability to search custom fields for records like insurance provider, beneficiary or intake information. A new menu on the left categorizes your results by type, which can be used to run a full conflict check.
Record Time with Lightning Speed
For a quick phone call or document revision, start the active timer from the top bar. A dropdown list allows you to run multiple timers across several matters at once. Then, bill time back to a matter without opening the file directly.
+ New Activities
The farthest option to the right of the screen gives you the power to create new items at the drop of a hat. Jump into Clio while you’re on the phone with a potential new client, and create a contact record for them in seconds. Next, generate a new matter. Add a task, and finally, log the call with your notes. Without ever leaving the home screen!
New Matters = New Contacts
If you choose to create a matter first, you can enter the client’s contact details to create both at the same time.
Clio’s new Matter Dashboard provides an easy-to-navigate view of your matter so you can quickly find matter-level information and make important decisions with ease.
This new overview is incredibly powerful—it customizes itself based on the information you’ve entered for the matter. For example, if you are working on a flat fee case, contingency information won’t appear. A timeline on the right-hand side of the dashboard gives you precise information on what has happened with the matter, and an up-front financial section lets you stay on top of your cashflow and amounts in trust.
Customize Screens like Excel
For major sections, such as matters, clients, time and billing, you can now customize the columns to present the information you find most valuable. Adjust size, and filter the information to get to the information you need faster.This is an adaptation particularly useful when comparing what a paralegal might need to see, versus a managing partner. Exit Clio and come back to find your preferential layout saved as your default view.
Use activity descriptions to speed up the billing process, by defining the services you offer and their corresponding rate. Another great use case is to run a report of activities and sort by type to view the volume of work in a particular area, by an individual attorney, or across the whole practice. Perfect for flat fee based law firms.
Within the Matter screen, filter time records or expenses. Sort by employee or a date range. Then, when you’re ready, select the records you need to create an invoice. If more review is required, export the list to Excel with one click in the bottom right-hand corner of the page.
Default Billing Settings
Set a matter as billable or non-billable right from the start. Choose flat rate or hourly, saving your fee as a default. For contingency matters, save a percentage rate or pre-set award amount.
Bill Review and Invoicing
View bills across your entire contact list, as well as outstanding AR (Accounts Receivable). Apply a bill theme to a group of clients. Then, filter by client to submit for approval by certain firm members. Users can also send the entire group into the next stage of the bill approval process as a batch. For solos, turn off the bill approval feature altogether for even faster invoicing each month.
Another huge improvement was the invoice preview screen, which has been simplified to make last minute changes and edits easier than ever before! Fix typos or create new entries in real time. No re-saving necessary. Any changes made are recorded back to the original version.
A wow moment at the Clio Cloud Conference this year was the demonstration of the new Trust Request feature. Clio Payments users see the available trust account balance for every client. When required, you can easily request more funds for one invoice or an entire group of invoices. Existing balances are applied against the invoice, and new transactions are run against client’s payment methods previously saved in the system.
Legal professionals are no longer required to manually apply trust payments one at a time to invoices. With the new Clio experience customers have the ability to bill, approve and apply trust payments in batches, saving vast amounts of time.
Clio Connect with Clio Payments
Clio’s data shows that law firms using Clio Payments to send invoices via email or through Clio Connect, their client portal, get paid 30% faster. Traditional payment recording can also be logged manually via check, credit card, or direct payment via the +New button discussed earlier. Payments received apply to the oldest invoice first. Alternatively, Clio customers can manually divide a payment across a group of invoices, a feature request that came to life from customer feedback.
The calendar is roomy and clean, and now operates like a Google Calendar or Outlook’s web edition. The updates allow customers to better manage their schedule, regardless of location.
It wasn’t just the Clio platform that received an overhaul. A refreshed API will support integration partners and give more development flexibility for enhanced integrations. Clio also launched a new App Directory, highlighting their over 70 integration partners by category type. This makes for easy navigation and ensures it’s even easier for legal professionals to accelerate their business with Clio anchoring their tech stack.
Native Office 365 Plugin
Clio is also proud to introduce the highly requested Microsoft Outlook add-in, which connects Clio to the popular mail client.
The Outlook add-in allows you to sync individual emails, attachments, or entire email threads to Clio. You’ll also be able to log time to a Clio Matter directly from Outlook. Ensure no communications are missed as you build your case, and eliminate the need to juggle apps, tabs and manual data entry in more than one place.
Intuit QuickBooks is the global leader in cloud accounting, and Clio is now the only practice management software approved by 64 Bar Associations, 44 State Bars, and the Legal Cloud Computing Association (LCCA) featured on Intuit QuickBooks Online App store. As the most extensive integration of its kind, the QuickBooks Clio integration now makes monthly reconciliation between accounts easy. Make Your Own Adventure with Zapier.
With Zapier law firms can connect Clio to hundreds of web services they use daily to save time and improve productivity. Link online services and tools such as, Slack, Evernote and MailChimp to automate daily tasks.
The Clio Migrations Team
For law firms needing migration assistance, you’re in luck. Clio offers free migration services, with a data extraction tool that supports over 70 applications. A member from Clio’s migration team will work with you to assess the data you have, and create a tailored plan to move your firm into Clio.
Migrations typically take about five business days. But that shouldn’t stop you from jumping in right away. New cases and contacts can be added from the moment you sign up. These technology planning and support services make a huge difference in adoption and return on your investment.
To meet the needs of modern legal professionals, Clio offers iOS and android apps.
The new Clio experience is now available!
From start to finish this year’s Clio Cloud Conference was a showstopper. The event attracted a crowd nearly the size of famed ABA TECHSHOW, filling rooms with die-hard fans. And, it’s easy to understand why. The Clio team poured almost a year and a half of their lives into rebuilding the platform. Every feature, color and change was driven by data and conversations with real clients.
So, if you haven’t checked out #NewClio it might be time to pay them a visit, and see if there’s a feature inside that makes you as over the moon as so many of their customers.
Request a free demo of the new Clio experience here.