The day-to-day of your legal practice requires a lot of technology—probably even more than you realize. In addition to your practice management software, you might be using half-a-dozen other tech tools to hire employees, execute contracts, manage your calendar, and perform legal research, among other tasks.
What if you could save time and increase efficiency by streamlining your use of all of this software?
That’s what Andrew Legrand, a New Orleans-based attorney, spoke about in his 2016 Clio Cloud Conference presentation. With the help of two programs, Clio and Zapier, there are plenty of ways you can streamline how you use technology to save time and money for your practice.
Zapier is an application that helps connect over 500 other applications, including Clio, Google, and QuickBooks Online. It acts as a silent middleman between you and all the apps you use to manage your legal practice.
How does it work? Zapier lets you set up Zaps, consisting of automatic actions that occur in one app when a specific event happens in a different app. For example, you might set up a Zap that automatically copies any email attachments to Dropbox whenever you get an email in Gmail.
How can Zaps supercharge my legal practice?
Because Clio integrates with Zapier, which in turn integrates with hundreds of other apps that you can use for your legal practice, you can make your practice even more efficient by connecting Clio with all of the other apps you use to run your business.
Here are two examples of what that might look like:
- Gmail and Clio. Let’s say you use Google’s email and calendar apps for your practice. Your Google account syncs directly with Clio, but with Zapier, you can do even more. For example, if you set up a label in Gmail for a specific client, you can set up a Zap that will automatically store that email in the correct Matter in Clio.
- Evernote and Clio. If you use Evernote, an app that creates multimedia notes, you can integrate it with Clio via Zapier to keep your firm’s information organized. For example, if you use Evernote to take notes when doing research or during client consultations, you can create a tag with the same name as a given matter in Clio, and then set up a Zap to automatically store all notes created with that tag under the correct Clio Matter. Beyond that, there are plenty of other options for automating your practice.
You can find instructions on how to set up Zaps between key apps for your law firm in this Integrations Zapbook. Or, for a shortlist of Zaps that are popular among lawyers, check out our post on the 7 Most Popular Zaps to Improve Your Legal Workflow.
How do I use Zapier?
Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating your first Zap:
- Log in and click “Make a Zap” in the upper right corner of the app.
- Select an app you’d like to connect. For this example, we’re using Clio.
- Review the list of triggers available for that app and decide which you’d like to implement. For this example, we’re creating a new Matter in Clio.
- Select the trigger.
- Authorize the connection between Clio and Zapier.
- Add an action:
- Choose the app (Gmail in this case)
- Click “Show me more options”
- Select “Create label”
- Select your email account
- Name the label. Zapier will show you Clio data that you can use to create the label using the same naming convention you use in Clio.
- Click the field next to “Your Zap is” in the top right to turn your Zap “on.”
- Name the Zap.
That’s it! Now, whenever you create a new matter, this Zap is going to create a label in Gmail to store any relevant emails under.
You can build on this Zap with additional actions. For example, you might set the Zap so that, whenever you create a new matter, in addition to creating a new label in Gmail, a new Evernote notebook or tag is also created, so you’ll have a spot to go and drop your notes and communications for that matter.
The power of a supercharged practice
With the power to organize all of your client communications, billing, research, and other apps into one place, there’s a world of opportunity available in terms of how Zapier can save you time.
For example, Andrew was able to automate recurring monthly billing for his clients with Zapier, and the time he spent setting that up has been well worth the investment. “This was an hour’s worth of work to set this up and figure this out. But it’s saving me 15 minutes every month,” he said.
Whether you like to take notes in Evernote or manage your firm in Asana, it’s easy to keep using your favorite apps while also streamlining the way you organize and track your information. With the help of Zapier and Clio, you streamline many of your administrative tasks in favor of a more efficient and profitable practice..
Want to watch the full talk? See Andrew’s presentation here:
Want more advice to help your practice thrive? See more great talks like Andrew’s at this year’s Clio Cloud Conference. Register now to join us in New Orleans this September!
Andrew Legrand is the owner of Spera Law Group, LLC, a cloud and paperless law firm in New Orleans, Louisiana. He helps small business owners create and protect successful companies. The firm’s business model has been recognized in Forbes, New Orleans City Business, and Business Insider, among others. SuperLawyers nominated him to their Rising Star list in 2015, 2016, and 2017 as a Business/Corporate Attorney. You can find him on Twitter at @LawByLegrand