Cloud-based connectivity is the key to emboldening the next generation of legal professionals.
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Clio, the leader in cloud-based legal practice management, announced today the winners of The Reismans, the inaugural program established to recognize Clio customers who demonstrate law firm excellence and innovation. These firms were honored at the Clio Cloud Conference in New Orleans.
“We were absolutely blown away by the amazing ways Clio customers leverage our platform to better the lives of their employees, clients, and communities,” said Jack Newton, CEO and co-founder of Clio. “We’re proud to recognize legal professionals who are making a profound impact on the world through their work.”
The 2017 international recipients are:
- Law Firm Innovation: Dallas-based Vela Wood
- Best New Firm: Edinburgh-based Ergo Law
- Best Growth Story: Illinois-based ASA Law Group
- Community Champions: Louisiana-based The Hite Law Group and the California Innocence Project
The Law Firm Innovation category honors a practice that has successfully challenged industry norms, either through technology, delivery of legal services, or meeting the needs of a non-traditional market. Vela Wood exceeded this call with its commitment to making international travel accessible to their team. This year, two employees spent one month working and living abroad in the cities of Lisbon, Portugal and Zagreb, Croatia.
“We believe that travel, especially international travel, builds character, grants perspective, and facilitates understanding,” Kevin Vela, founding partner of Vela Wood explained. “We feel strongly that employees can be productive remotely and that travel will actually motivate and develop them, and make them better employees.”
Going forward, Kevin hopes that members of the firm who are hesitant about travel will be encouraged to give it a shot when they see their colleagues having positive experiences abroad. “This isn’t just a job,” he explained. “You can’t own a law firm and separate work from life. With today’s technology, you don’t have to. It’s easier than ever to integrate work into life.”
Best New Law Firm honors a newcomer who has weathered the trials of entrepreneurship and come out on top. Cathy Donald and Emma Reid, directors of Ergo Law in Scotland, turned a profit from their boutique law firm within a year of launch on the strength of valuable referrals.
After starting their own practice, Emma and Cathy are able to work more flexibly and achieve a better work-life balance. They’re also able to focus on what they believe is most important—serving their clients.
“I think it’s the best thing we’ve ever done,” Reid said. “It does challenge you in a way that getting up and going to a job that somebody pays you a salary for doesn’t, but it’s exciting.”
Best Growth Story honors a firm that has experienced exceptional gains. Cutting-edge technology helped ASA Law Group grow its employee base 533% and increase revenue from $80K per year to $1.2 million per year.
All lawyers and staff at ASA Law Group have the flexibility to work remotely when they need to. They use technology to meet, share documents, collaborate, and more, and for many of them, that’s been a game changer.
“The whole point of being remote is you don’t have to sit in front of your computer from eight to five,” said Shuaib Ahmed, founder and managing attorney at ASA Law Group. “If you have a doctor’s appointment, go to it. If you have a kid’s play that you need to go to at three o’clock, do it. This creates that work-family balance that I was really striving for.”
Community Champion honors firms that prioritize giving back to their communities, whether it be through pro bono work, donations, volunteering, mentorship, or another altruistic activity. The Hite Law Group bridges the justice gap between free legal aid and unaffordable market rate services with a specific emphasis on serving the LGBTQ community and adult and child survivors of intimate abuse, while the California Innocence Project (CIP) works to free the wrongfully convicted from prison.
“You work really closely with some of these clients, and you see what they go through. You end up being a major part of their lives, sometimes like family,” said Mike Semanchik, Managing Attorney at the CIP. “We try to change laws in the criminal justice system to help solve problems at the source.”
Since 1999, the organization has successfully freed 28 individuals who collectively served more than 300 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. All services are offered free of charge. As of 2014, the CIP has been using Clio, and Clio donates licenses to all CIP staff free of charge.
“When we talk about equity and justice, we should be taking the needs of individuals into account to make sure that we’re really treating them appropriately,” said Nicholas Hite, Founder and Managing Attorney at The Hite Law Group.
The Hite Law Group aims to bridge another access to justice gap by serving people who don’t qualify for free legal services, but who can’t afford to hire a lawyer at market rates. Hite uses technology to keep the costs of running his practice low, which helps him continue to provide affordable services.
Named for Clio’s very first customer, Catherine Reisman, an entrepreneurial attorney whose feedback helped shape the software, The Reismans celebrate the legal industry’s game changers, groundbreakers, and pioneers.
“By recognizing firms of different sizes and at different levels of success, we’re highlighting the most enterprising and ambitious of our community,” said Newton. “Our customers are on the leading edge of this industry, and we’re proud to honor their hard work.”
Founded in 2008, Clio is the most comprehensive cloud-based practice management platform for the legal industry. With the help of the cloud, Clio eases the processes of time tracking, billing, administration, and collaboration for law firms of all sizes. One of Canada’s fastest-growing companies with international reach, Clio employs over 240 individuals with a rapidly growing customer base spanning 90 countries. For the last two years, Clio’s growth has been recognized by Deloitte on both the Fast50 and the Fast500 lists. Learn more at clio.com.
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