A few years ago, LaFonda Gulley was dealing with a personal legal matter when she realized that she didn’t know a lot about how the law works—but she did know that it was something she found so fascinating. So, she did the research and applied to South University in Savannah, GA to pursue a degree in Paralegal Studies and begin a legal career.
While there, LaFonda also got an administrative internship at a small law firm. “I thought interning would be a good way to get to know more about how law firms work,” says LaFonda. “When you’re working in a real law office, you see how everything works on a daily basis and how what you’re learning in school applies in the real world.” Interestingly, she was about to pass on some of what she learned in school to the lawyers and assistants at her firm.
Introducing Clio through CAAP In the final months before graduation, LaFonda was taking a course on computing in offices. That’s when she was first introduced to Clio. The Clio Academic Access Program (CAAP) provides students in law programs around the world with free access to Clio’s cloud-based legal practice management platform. Legal professionals need to know how the law works, but if they don’t learn how to manage their practice, schedules, and financial matters, they’re not going to go very far.
That’s where CAAP comes in, by helping students bridge the gap between academic and practical legal training. One of the assignments in LaFonda’s course involved working in Clio. Almost immediately, LaFonda fell in love with its functionality and user-friendly application. So, she decided to mention it to the lawyers at her firm.
Out With the Old
For almost eight years, the firm had been using the same legal practice management application. It was a desktop solution, but in many ways, it offered more problems than solutions. Billing and invoicing were a hassle. Calendars weren’t always updated effectively. And there was no mobile app, meaning lawyers and staff couldn’t access it remotely.
Opportunity in Hand
After experiencing Clio’s functionality and ease of use, LaFonda decided to tell her firm about it. Her timing was just right; she set up the free trial and soon, the firm was sold. With Clio’s iPhone app, their lawyers can check schedules, files, and any other changes—even in court! LaFonda recalls, “Sometimes we’ve called or sent a text to one of the lawyers to let them know of a last minute change, and the answer comes back, ‘I know. Clio told me.’”
Clio’s billing and online payment capabilities are also boosting the firm’s bottom line, and as LaFonda reports, “Since starting in Clio, we send invoices out more often. Bills are easier to prepare and deliver to clients and payments have also been more frequent and quicker.” Thanks to progressive legal education programs like the one at South University, thousands of students like LaFonda are being empowered with the skills needed to not just be competent in the law, but also excel in managing the business of law. And the Clio Academic Access Program is helping them do just that.
The Clio Academic Access Program (CAAP) is designed to offer the Clio web-based practice management solution to students, faculty, and administrators across the globe at no charge.