Jennifer Reynolds has been using Clio to manage her family practice, Fresh Legal, since 2013. She wanted a solution that would allow her to go paperless, work from home occasionally, and spend less time on administrative tasks. So she switched from traditional desktop software to cloud-based practice management software—and it’s changed the way she practices law.
At the 2016 Clio Cloud Conference, Jennifer spoke about the five biggest ways that Clio has impacted her practice. Whether you’ve never used practice management software, or whether you’ve never tried an option that’s based in the cloud, Jennifer’s experience is worth reading about.
Here’s a brief overview of what she’s noticed since her switch:
1. Easier billing, faster payments
With Clio, Jennifer can easily charge hourly or flat rates for her services. She even has a simple billing process for consultations with clients that haven’t even opened a matter with her yet. Sharing bills with clients is also easy—clients can use Clio Connect, Clio’s secure communication portal, or Jennifer can email PDF versions of their bills.
All of this has made a big difference in the service Jennifer provides.
Because billing is easier, everything is more transparent for my clients. They feel better about how things are going, where things are at in the process, and where their money’s going, because they’re constantly being billed—not because I want to send out bills and have money coming in all the time … but to have my clients be informed.
2. Increased flexibility
Clio is cloud-based, which means lawyers, paralegals, and legal assistants can use the software from anywhere. This has been invaluable for Jennifer.
For me, this is huge. [I have] the opportunity to work from home, or from the lobby of this hotel. Wherever I am I can get things done. And it’s not a matter of merely being aware of what’s going on in my practice … [I’m also] able to act on things.
Jennifer’s clients also appreciate how accessible she is:
They can reach me in whatever way is most convenient for them. Whether that’s sending me an email, or using an intake form on my website, or giving me a call—and no matter how they choose to communicate with me, I can capture the time and the communication [using Clio]. I can literally travel all over the world and get my work done.
3. Less time spent training
Jennifer added an additional user to Clio for the first time last year. She didn’t know what to expect, but she was pleased to find that she didn’t need to spend days, or even hours training her new hire.
I didn’t have to sit down for a full day and say, ‘this is how you use this really old software that nobody understands how to use properly.’ It’s very intuitive. I could sit her down and say ‘here’s your log-in, go to town. If you have questions let me know … or call Clio, because their support staff is fantastic.
Meet with Clio support staff in person and get plenty of tips on how to run your law firm more efficiently—attend the 2017 Clio Cloud Conference!
4. Better client service
“The most important thing that I use Clio for is to provide better client service,” Jennifer said. To give an example, she explained how she uses Clio to streamline the process for an uncontested divorce in Ontario, Canada.
An uncontested divorce in Ontario is fairly straightforward. We start with an application that originates a court process, and then down the line, we file an affidavit, and then further down the line, we get an order. Everything’s pretty standard in terms of the court documents.
So, I was able to use document automation and custom fields in Clio to [automatically] enter in all the information that I need for an uncontested divorce. The application is easily put together, and it’s emailed to the client. They review it, and take a look. If they’re happy, they come in and sign it.
They spend maybe five minutes in my office because they filled out all the information that I need by using online intake forms.
In other words, if someone uses Jennifer as their lawyer, there’s no need to take an hour or more out of their day to go over basic information. They can fill out a few forms from the comfort of their own home.
5. Less time spent on administrative tasks
Jennifer spends less time on administrative tasks with Clio, because she uses Clio to automate repetitive tasks. For example, Clio’s document automation functionality helps her populate documents quickly.
So, say we need to serve this uncontested divorce application, I have one document that comes out, and it includes a letter to the opposing party, a form they need to fill out, and another form we’re required to send them by the rules. I say ‘populate’ and I have everything I need, I hit ‘print’ once and everything comes out.
What this lets me do is focus on my clients because I’m able to do administrative tasks more quickly.
Streamlined practice management = deeper client relationships
The right software can change everything for your law firm. By switching to cloud-based practice management software, Jennifer has saved her firm time and money, while at the same time providing a better client experience.
More importantly, Jennifer finds that Clio helps her build deeper relationships with her clients—to help them through what might be the most difficult period of their lives.
In the work that I do, which is primarily based around divorce and separation, our clients are coming to us during one of the most traumatic experiences that they’ll ever have. They’re not in a place where they want to worry about making sure that I have the right information, or that steps are being taken, or that they don’t know what’s going on. They’re in a place where I need to meet them emotionally to get work done and to form a trust relationship really quickly.
Because all that administrative stuff is taken care of, and because we don’t have an assistant who’s answering the phone, if a client calls, they’re reaching a lawyer right away. We don’t worry about capturing basic information, and so they don’t have to worry about providing it more than once, or thinking that something has been done incorrectly. Then they trust us more, and that allows us to do our work.
Want to hear more of what Jennifer had to say? Watch her full talk below: