Best Practices To Optimize Your Firm, With Michael Carroll

In practice for more than 25 years, Michael Carroll recently returned to a former firm. While he is now one of the named partners in Coppola, McConville, Coppola, Carroll, Hockenberg & Scalise, P.C., he is in fact, the only lawyer in the Des Moines, Iowa law firm to use Clio.

The other lawyers in the firm firm (like Michael did at his past firms) currently use a desktop based system, but the nature of the firm’s structure allows for flexibility in how individual practices are managed. For Michael, being tied to a desktop solution was not optimal, and when he returned to the firm in 2014, he started using Clio.

Cloud Mobility

Michael practices in the areas of civil litigation, employment law, and personal injury. This often means he needs to be on the go and out of the office. A cloud-based practice management solution was the best option for him.

“Technology has had a profound impact on how we practice law. Clients expect us to do what we do from anywhere and doing that is not easy,” says Michael. “I needed more mobility for my practice so I could manage it on my own when I need to.”

From his experience at former firms in using desktop solutions, Michael felt that being tied to an in-office-only solution was limiting. He also saw many of them as being antiquated, time consuming, and not as robust as Clio’s cloud-based option. Given this exposure to such solutions, he wanted something cloud-based that had smartphone app availability, and could be readily available when he was out of the office.

Since his current firm is set up so they don’t all have to use all the same systems, Michael jumped at the chance to use Clio. His entire practice is now as close to him and as portable as his smartphone.

And that app is a practice saver! Having information on clients available to him even when he’s not in the office or at a computer is the most useful aspect of Clio. He can record and retrieve anything about a client through the app, and stay on top of every matter at any time.

Right On Time

It is a basic truism of law practice that time equals money. Capturing time and accurate billing are vital to the sustainability of a private practice. Those are some of Michael’s favorite things about Clio. With its intuitive timer and billing features, added to the convenience of its mobile app, he’s able to ensure his work is recorded contemporaneously and allocated correctly.

“For some more experienced lawyers, converting to the cloud can be kind of daunting, but in the end, it is a much more efficient way of tracking time, and doing things,” adds Michael. “Other time tracking systems that I’ve used are brutally complicated. But Clio is pretty straight forward and it is easy to capture time wherever you may be, from whatever device you’re using.”

Indeed, some of those previous systems were, as Michael describes them, a black hole. The process was complicated, information and time sometimes went missing, and he wasn’t always certain that things were doing what they were supposed to be doing, especially when he was on the go. Thanks to Clio, he has a much more complete sense of what is going on; tracking time is easier, and it is more transparent.

A Practical Partnership

While Michael is currently the only partner in his firm to use Clio, he views it as a tool that helps sustain his practice. The partners in his firm give him the flexibility to practice in the cloud, and Clio helps make it happen.

“A partner like Clio can help leverage the advantages of the cloud and minimize the risks associated with it,” adds Michael. “The people at Clio are working hard to deliver a product that can make our lives as lawyers easier so we can spend more time doing what we want to do and less time managing the practice.”

Michael realizes he has more that he can learn and get out of Clio and he and his assistant are planning on investing the effort to do so. Fortunately, they can rely on Clio’s exceptional support and training resources to get them there. Whether it is an article, a tutorial, or a call into the support team, they know they’ll get the education and solutions they need.

The Case for Clio

Michael knows that not every lawyer fully appreciates or understands the value of cloud-computing and practice management software. He thinks they are missing out. The benefits he has reaped have been tremendous, and he knows there will be more to come as he grows his practice with Clio.

“My overall experience with Clio is that it is a great system for small and solo law firms to capture time and generate billing,” Michael concludes. “It offers a seamless process with use of both the web interface but also with the smartphone app. That makes the process of capturing time and managing clients and cases much more simple.”

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