At 53 years old, Chris Trebatoski decided to start his own law firm.
After working in Big Law and medium-sized law firms for nearly three decades, Chris wanted to work for himself, but for a long time, the startup costs of running a law firm were too expensive. Then, in 2014, with $25,000 in capital and one client with a fee advance of an additional $25,000, Chris’s wife Inna convinced him to start his own law firm.
The venture paid off. Revenues at his firm have grown by over 91% in the past three years, and he’s seen the same revenues in the first quarter of 2017 as he did for all of 2016.
Chris bought Clio on a strong recommendation from a close friend, who told him his practice management software and his accountant would be the two most important choices he made. Chris didn’t consider anything else, and he hasn’t been disappointed.
Clio: A minute to learn, a minute to master
Before purchasing Clio, Chris explored the program with a free trial, and immediately decided it was for him.
“As soon as I looked at it for 10 minutes I knew that that was all I needed to know. I could tell by looking at it how fast things would go. I could move around easily despite never having touched it before,” he says.
Chris’s first impressions proved correct—setting up his firm in Clio was fast and simple. In addition to that first client, Chris had five or six clients who moved with him to his new firm. After lengthy processes to open new matters at his previous firms, Chris loved how easy it was to set up his clients in Clio.
“I think that it took me all of seven or eight minutes [to set up their matters],” he said.
After setup, Chris finds it especially useful that he can easily update and organize his matters in Clio.
“If I don’t have all the client’s information readily available, let’s say I don’t have the client’s address for example, but I have an email, and I’ve got a phone number, I’ll go and put that in, and boom, I have the matter. I can just run all checks that I need to run, and then update that later, which really is amazing.”
Billing in 10 minutes instead of 30 days
While working at previous firms, Chris could easily spend his entire day on administrative tasks. With Clio, Chris completes the same administrative tasks in a matter of minutes.
Take billing, for example:
It was funny—it was so easy that I couldn’t believe after working in three different places how complicated billing was.
I had been the Head of the Billing and Collection Committee [at one firm] and I knew that just to get the bills from when they were first taken off the computer, to drafts, to going out, if you were really pushed hard, it took 30 days for everybody to get them all out … Well with Clio it literally takes 15 minutes.
Not 15 minutes per bill: 15 minutes to send out all of Chris’s bills—about 20 per month.
“Literally from start to finish it takes 15 minutes.”
Also, all of Chris’s bills look professional, because he’s formatted them using Clio’s Bill Themes to include his firm’s logo in full color.
91% Revenue growth in three years—and counting
Because he spends less time on administrative work, Chris has more time to practice law, and to do things like attend the Clio Cloud Conference to get ideas to help his business grow.
For example, Chris has implemented plenty of marketing ideas from the conference—he is active on social media, has a blog that is gaining traction, and has rebranded his firm from “The Law Offices of Chris J. Trebatoski” to “Treblaw.”
And it’s worked.
In his first three years of going solo, revenues at Chris’s firm grew by over 91%. In the first quarter of 2017, Chris brought in more than his total revenue for all of 2016 combined—and he expects to keep growing.
With the right technology, Chris believes that anything is possible. What would he say to other lawyers considering Clio?
“I’d tell them not to waste their time with anything else.”
Billing in 10 minutes or less:
Sending out bills used to take Chris Trebatoski over a month, but with Clio’s legal billing software, it takes just ten minutes. Here’s what his process looks like:
- Log into Clio
- Click “Bills”, then “Billable Clients”, then “Generate Bills”
- Check off the clients you’re planning to bill
- Click “Generate” to create your draft bills
- Call up the drafts and approve them one by one
- Downloads the bills to your client files to keep your firm organized
- Email out all of your bills