How a Law Firm Reduced No-shows, Accelerated Client Intake, and Increased Efficiency with Clio
Number of Staff
Started Using Clio
Tucson, AZ, USA
Michael Boreale, Boreale Law
Boreale Law, PLC, serves small and medium-sized businesses in the Tuscon and Southern Arizona area. The three-person Boreale Law team uses technology to power their practice through business, employment, international trade, and government law matters. With a flat fee billing structure that works for Michael Boreale and his clients, efficiency is critical to growth. A solution that combines client intake and case management software has proven invaluable in helping Boreale Law deliver consistent, top-notch results.
Michael Boreale of Boreale Law has been an attorney since 2005, specializing in business, employment, and international law for small to medium-sized businesses. After years of working at a private practice and an in-house government agency, Michael opened his own practice in 2012 with a clear mission: Help small and medium-sized businesses gain access to quality legal counsel.
“I felt there was a gap in the market,” Michael says. “There are lots of DIY online legal tools, but I felt smaller businesses were underserved by what was out there. I wanted to be a general counsel for them.”
The link between efficiency and profitability
Built on a flat fee billing model, Boreale Law had two goals seemingly at odds with one another: charging a fair rate to his clients and making money. He quickly realized that to do both well, his practice would need to be highly efficient—and that software would be key to making it happen.
“I didn’t want a traditional law firm model with paralegals, assistants, and associates—I wanted something more streamlined that would give my clients more direct access to me,” Michael says. “Technology allowed me to do that.”
The first legal technology Michael tried was Clio Manage, the industry-leading practice management software. Clio Manage helped Michael streamline and simplify Boreale Law’s operations, including case management, document editing and organization, and the billing and payment process.
“I’ve had Clio Manage at my firm since day one,” he says. “Case management was like the hub of my wheel.”
“I’ve had several colleagues ask me about starting their own practices, and Clio Manage is the first thing that I recommend,” Michael says. “That’s the starting point of a modern practice … I don’t even tell people to consider another practice management tool.”
Adding new solutions to a growing firm
As his business grew, Michael began to think beyond practice management, and realized that his client intake process had the potential to drive future business and revenue.
In the days before he implemented client intake and legal client relationship management (CRM) software, Michael’s intake system was disorganized and inefficient, often causing prospective clients and new business to fall through the cracks.
“I would grab my legal pad and start jotting down details at the start of every intake call,” says Michael. “I was relying far too heavily on my clients to keep track of their appointments because I wasn’t sending any kind of reminders for new potential clients.”
This, of course, led to wasted time due to no-shows, people showing up at the wrong address, or clients calling him at the wrong time.
“If you are a firm that uses flat fee billing, and a potential client does not show up for a meeting, it’s inefficient and costly,” Michael says.
Now, Michael uses Clio Grow, the leading client intake and legal client relationship management (CRM) software, in combination with his Clio Manage software.
With Clio Grow, Michael sets up automated meeting reminders to keep clients updated on relevant details.
“Having the reminder emails go out makes it really easy for clients to respond, and even to reschedule if they need to,” he says. “The templates come from my email and look like I’m sending them, and the replies come directly to me.”
Since he started changing his client intake practices, Michael has dramatically reduced his no-show rate—and he no longer suffers the pains of intake scheduling.
“Before, we were probably at a 20-25% no-show rate before,” he says, “and since setting up email confirmation, reminders, and a consultation fee, we’re probably down to less than a 5% no-show rate. So we’re looking at a major reduction, and most of our appointments show up on time, which is really nice.”
One chance at a first impression
Michael says that most clients perceive lawyers as old-fashioned, and they don’t expect lawyers to be able to do the things Michael can do using the software.
“Clio Grow’s client intake process has been such a great addition to my practice—it’s streamlined, fast, and a pleasant surprise to my clients,” Michael says.
With Clio Grow, Michael can process clients himself. It’s easy for him to gather essential details, schedule consultations, and create and send documents—all online, all from the same place, and all during a 10 to 15 minute call with a potential new client. Michael says his clients are consistently impressed by the speed and ease at which he can take them on as clients.
“It sets the relationship off on a positive note and lets my clients know they’re dealing with a different kind of law practice,” he says. “One that’s a lot more tech-savvy and client-centered.”
His clients’ experiences are key to his success. By utilizing client intake and legal CRM software, Michael has created a more client-friendly intake process at his firm. Because modern consumers have higher expectations of businesses—including law firms—he believes that companies that leverage technology to deliver better customer experiences will be better positioned for sustainable success.
“Clients just expect this stuff,” Michael says, “especially the younger clients. And they’re happy I have these capabilities.”
“I can be more efficient than ever and trust that a client’s information—from intake to invoice—is accounted for, up-to-date, and accurate across their entire lifecycle,” Michael says. “Clio Grow and Clio Manage allow me to standardize my firm’s operations and automate important tasks. The software is critical to moving cases forward, ensuring I get paid for the work I do, and also affording me the peace of mind and time I need to do my best work for my clients.”
How Complete it is
Thanks to the connection between Clio Grow and Clio Manage, Michael says the time it takes to go from landing a client to receiving payment is drastically reduced. This means no more floating receivables and much more insight into his budget and predictability.
“Clio Complete is a huge time-saver, for one. Just having to input data once, and having it show up in both Clio Grow and Clio Manage is huge,” Michael says. “With the flat fee model, the integration helps me eliminate inefficiency, and automate processes. The costs are minimal compared to what they save me in time.”
Though he feels that Clio Complete would be extremely helpful to him even if he used an hourly billing model, Michael advocates for flat fee billing because he believes it has enabled him to do more impactful work in far less time. And streamlining his operations with software has been key not only to Boreale Law’s success, but also to his clients’ satisfaction.
“If a project ends up taking me less time than I estimated, that’s actually a good thing,” Michael says. “It’s more profitable for me, the client knows what it will cost up front, which makes them happy—which makes me happy. That’s crucial to my practice.”
“There are efficiencies that we need to have as attorneys to be cost-effective in the marketplace. If you’re not using Clio, you’re wasting energy.”
In addition to automation and streamlined intake, Clio Grow provides other benefits to Boreale Law, such as expediting the contract creation and signature process. In a few clicks, Michael can create documents online, share them with clients, and have them signed and returned turning a process that previously took days into minutes. Michael calls Clio Grow’s features “indispensable” to his practice.
“I’m constantly uploading documents for my clients. Having the ability for them to view them online is essential. They don’t need to look for a place to print it out, sign it, and send it back,” Michael says. “I’m able to settle cases faster and increase my turnaround time. The clients don’t know what’s making me so efficient, they only think, ‘Wow—I hired you on Monday and you have documents filed for me by Tuesday. ’ They’re viewing that as, ‘this guy is really good,’ and that has really helped me with reviews and referrals.”
Thanks to the integration between Clio Manage and Clio Grow, Michael is able to sync the client intake and practice management elements of his business.
“Even though we’re a small firm, the software conveys an image that we’re polished and technologically sound, and our clients really appreciate the ease and speed of working with us,” Michael says. “It keeps clients with us, and it helps with our referrals because it’s painless on the client side.”
Michael believes that improving reviews and referrals is absolutely critical because it keeps a fresh stream of new clients coming into his practice.
“This is one of the major ways using Clio pays for itself,” he adds. “It makes my clients happier with the whole legal process, and that makes them more likely to recommend my firm to others.”
One other benefit of using both Clio Grow and Clio Manage, Michael notes, is the ability to process client payments via credit card thanks to the Clio Payments functionality found within the practice management software.
“Clio Payments has been really easy to use,” Michael says. “When I first started using Clio, I had it linked to my PayPal account—which worked, but it certainly wasn’t as user-friendly, and it was not as polished.”
Michael uses Clio Payments to send out invoices, get email updates on payment statuses, and even to request trust payments. “It syncs with my accounting software, Xero,” he says, “and we’ve been using the Payment Plan function recently, putting the payments on a kind of auto-pay, and that’s been really good.”
Finally, for legal professionals considering Clio Grow, Clio Manage, or the entire Clio suite for their practices, Michael says that now is the time for lawyers to adapt to changing client needs.
“To be set up as a law firm for the long term, you have to embrace technology,” he says. “We’re no different than any other industry—our clients are accustomed to using technology to improve efficiency, so you want to show that you’re up to date. Offer them a service that can make life more convenient for them. In turn, they’re going to infer that you’re professionally sound, that you know the law, and that you’re an expert.”