Transforming Call & Time Tracking with Clio + Dialpad
Harrelson & Harrelson LLP
Number of Staff
Started Using Clio
Troy, Ohio, USA
William M. Harrelson II, Partner, Harrelson & Harrelson LLP
When Will Harrelson and his father, Rob, started their firm in 2018, they knew that Clio would serve as the software foundation for the practice. They also knew they wanted to find a reliable and efficient system for taking client phone calls—even while out of the office—and tracking billable call time more effectively. Enter Dialpad, a leading cloud communication platform that integrates seamlessly with Clio.
Together, Clio + Dialpad have given Harrelson & Harrelson LLP the flexibility the firm needs to function like a well-oiled machine, even when the team is working remotely. Clio + Dialpad also has enabled the firm to record and track all client call time, improve firm members’ privacy, and give the firm’s leadership better insight into how well the practice is operating.
Read the case study summary below, or scroll down to the Q&A section.
A firm looking for a better system
When Will Harrelson assumed his role as Co-founder and Partner at Harrelson & Harrelson LLP, he was already well-versed in Clio from his time at another firm.
“I first started using Clio because I realized that, to accurately keep time records, and get invoices out, keep accurate trust ledgers, a world based on spreadsheets and manual data entry just wasn’t going to do it,” he explains. “There was going to be too much information and it was going to be too inefficient.”
So, Will looked for a practice management solution that contained all of those core features—and Clio quickly became what Will refers to as the “cornerstone” of the firm.
As that cornerstone, one of the key advantages Clio offered Will, as opposed to other practice management software, was a comprehensive App Directory with 200+ software integrations—the largest app ecosystem of any legal software provider.
When Harrelson & Harrelson LLP wanted to find a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solution to streamline the firm’s communications and record- and time-keeping, their ideal option had to integrate with Clio. That’s where Dialpad came in.
Clio’s Dialpad integration, Will adds, lets clients reach the firm’s staff more easily—while giving more work-life balance to the staff. This works because firm members can receive calls and messages from clients whenever they want, but they don’t have to sit by their office phones all day or surrender their privacy by giving clients their cell phone numbers.
And of course, there’s the tremendous benefit provided by tracking time and call records in Clio via Dialpad: “There’s a lot of value from being able to capture your time accurately because it enables you to better analyze how you’re spending your time,” Will says. “And obviously, you capture revenue that you would otherwise leave on the table.”
The benefits of Clio + Dialpad
Before integrating Dialpad with Clio, Harrelson & Harrelson was dissatisfied with their phone and communication systems.
“Our prior phone system was a server-based, internal office phone system, and you couldn’t even conference call or forward calls all that easily,” Will recalls. Luckily, switching to Dialpad and getting started was “a breeze” for the firm—they were up and running on the platform in under an hour.
“And once we set up Dialpad, we were able to immediately download the app on our phones and travel for work, travel for vacation, whatever,” Will says—a fact made possible by the Dialpad app, available on iOS, Android, and desktop platforms.
“You could still access your voicemail system, you could make phone calls, and your clients didn’t know you weren’t in the office.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Will called this integration a lifesaver. Rather than face a major disruption to the firm’s business when the Midwest went into lockdown, Harrelson & Harrelson’s staff were all able to transition rapidly to remote working without missing a beat.
“We were able to serve our clients immediately on Day One of working from home,” Will says. “If we didn’t have Dialpad in Clio, we would not have been able to transition overnight and provide the exact same level of customer service that we were already providing.”
Recently, Will said, he reflected on how the shift to remote working altered the legal landscape, and how law firms will need to operate in more flexible, client-centered ways in order to succeed in the future.
Looking back, Will realized that his decisions to go with Clio and Dialpad saved his firm many headaches—and they prepared him for a new era in legal practice.
“There was a feeling of satisfaction,” Will says, “where I was like, ‘I made the right choices. I knew what I was doing. I set this up the right way.”
By combining Dialpad with Clio, Harrelson & Harrelson’s firm members are more successful—and more satisfied—at work.
For other firms that are considering Clio and Dialpad, Will says, “Just sign up and start trying the software out. See if you can’t admit that in 30 days, life is easier on you.”
“I think it’s going to be pretty obvious that you’re going to be happy within a month, that you’ve been able to take advantage of some of those features right away,” he adds. “I don’t think it takes a long time to make that decision.”
What needs did you have that made you consider Clio's integration with Dialpad?
“I first started using Clio because I realized that, in order to accurately keep time records, get invoices out, keep accurate trust ledgers, a world based on spreadsheets and manual data entry just wasn’t going to do it—there was going to be too much information, and it was going to be too inefficient. So, I looked for a practice management solution that contained all of those core features, and Clio obviously did that and then offered a whole bunch of other features and integrations that I knew I would utilize as I developed our practice.
As for Dialpad: We selected Dialpad at the very start of our law firm. So, it was a decision that we made without any prior product. And we spent some time looking at all the different cloud-based phone options, because we knew we wanted a cloud-based option. Our criteria were that it had to be easy to manage, it had to be able to scale and grow, and we had to be able to use it completely remotely if we wanted.
Dialpad fit all of the criteria that we had, it allowed us to integrate with other pieces of software, and it had all of the features that we wanted for the ability to work wherever we were. So, I’ve been really happy. The core product is really great.
Using the integrated version of Dialpad and Clio, we could log all of our telephone calls more efficiently rather than having to manually type it in, or put a note in our phones, or grab a post-it note. We could automatically bring those calls into Clio and capture that time.
There’s a lot of value from being able to capture your time accurately because it enables you to better analyze how you’re spending your time. And obviously, you capture revenue that you would otherwise leave on the table.”
Can you provide any specific examples of ways that Clio and Dialpad make a difference?
“In a general practice like ours, you have different types of cases every day, and you have different types of clients. You have clients that are sophisticated, corporate clients, you’ve got probate family members, you’ve got clients that are dealing with a death in the family. And so there’s different expectations of how quickly to get back to someone.
Having Clio and Dialpad allows you to quickly get back to all of your types of clients quickly and efficiently. You can even text them … And you can keep those communications organized.
Dialpad allows you to get voicemails sent to your email. So, if you’re out of the office and you’re waiting on a call from a client or another attorney, you don’t have to wait until you get back to your physical office to find out if there’s a voicemail—and you don’t have to call in through a complicated system to check your voicemail. You just get an email.
That’s allowed us to be far more responsive. If we’re in court for the day and we get some phone calls, we can go home and from Dialpad, we can get our voicemails, we can call clients back after hours if needed. They don’t know we’re not in the office and they don’t have our personal cell phone numbers, so it gives us some sense of privacy.
It’s absolutely evident that without Clio and Dialpad, there would be far longer delays in getting back to our clients or other attorneys, because we wouldn’t have the ability to figure out that we’ve been called. Without Dialpad and Clio, you have to go back to your office to get phone messages or have them emailed to you or whatnot.
So, if you’re driving to an appointment or to court or somewhere else, you can have your phone hooked up to your Bluetooth in your car, ring from the office, and people don’t even know that you aren’t there.”
How do Dialpad’s automated communication records help your firm?
“It’s really helpful to the billing process because we can be confident that all the time we’re spending on calls with clients is automatically brought into our timekeeping records.
Recently, it was fascinating how I had a case that I was just wrapping up some billing on, and going back into Dialpad … I captured hours of phone calls that I had just forgotten about.
It’s also very helpful to leverage the integration to better collect data. You’re more accurately documenting your time spent—and a lot of that time spent is really important legal work on the phone, especially in a time like COVID-19, where you’re going to have more telephone calls than in-person visits like you used to. Those are substantive legal services that you’re providing, and it’s appropriate to capture that so you can better analyze all your data.”
How did Dialpad + Clio help your firm respond to the COVID-19 pandemic?
“When the COVID 19 work-from-home shut down affected the Midwest, if we didn’t have Dialpad in Clio, we would not have been able to transition overnight to working from home and providing the exact same level of customer service that we were already providing. Clients didn’t know we weren’t in our physical office location when we answered the phone—the phone system just rang to everyone’s laptops or cell phones. So it avoided any shutdown time that we otherwise might have faced during the pandemic.
There was a feeling of satisfaction where I was like, ‘I made the right choices. I knew what I was doing. I set this up the right way.”
What are some of your favorite Dialpad features, and how do they help?
“Using Dialpad, immediately we were able to work from wherever we were.
With our prior phone system, it was a server-based internal office phone system, and you couldn’t even conference call or forward calls all that easily. Once we set up Dialpad, we were able to immediately download the app on our iPhones and travel for work, travel for vacation, whatever.
You could still access your voicemail system, you could make phone calls, and your clients didn’t know you weren’t in the office.
During COVID-19, we were able to work from home and have all of our staff go home, set up their laptops, download the desktop app, or have it on their phones. And they were all able to work and we were able to serve our clients immediately on Day One of working from home, without any real issues, since we had already set up a cloud-based phone system that enabled us to do that from the get-go.”
How would you describe the process of getting up and running with Clio? And Dialpad?
“Clio is so easy to use that every time we have a new staff person start, they seem to be apprehensive about having to learn a practice management system—but within the first day, they’re already doing basic tasks in Clio. You can just sit down, and within an hour or so, you’re already up and running.
As for getting started with Dialpad, that was also a breeze. Within the first day, we’d downloaded apps and set up phone numbers, and we were using Dialpad within an hour. It was automatic.
There’s not really much of a learning curve with it. It just becomes like any other integration with Clio. It just works.”
How does Clio act as the central foundation for your firm?
“Clio is the technological platform upon which all of our other technology is built, because all of our client data and practice data reside in Clio. So you may use Dialpad for your phone system or something like QuickBooks for accounting, but it’s all linked back in to Clio with the data from those other apps. If we don’t have Clio as the cornerstone of our whole suite of products, then everything else has to operate independently and that just takes too much time.
Clio has really enabled us to have a more enjoyable time working. Being able to use Clio has brought some joy into our practice because it makes it easy for us to work. And so, you can focus on the work itself, and all of these things just reduce the friction in our practice. It reduces the communication friction, it reduces the data collection friction, and it allows us to be organized and efficient.”
What’s your advice to other attorneys?
“My advice to attorneys that are still in paper-centric practices and may not be using a computer-based practice management system—or a cloud-based one—is that it isn’t as scary as you think.
It’s going to be incremental … It’s not about just eliminating all aspects of paper. It’s about reducing those places where it’s inefficient, or could be prone to errors, and making it easier to stay organized. It takes some time, and that’s okay. You can get started with it, and start to transition those parts of your practice into Clio.
So, my advice to a firm that’s considering using Dialpad and Clio would be to just sign up and start trying the software out. See if you can’t admit that in 30 days, life is easier on you.
I think it’s going to be pretty obvious that you’re going to be happy within a month, that you’ve been able to take advantage of some of those features right away. I don’t think it takes a long time to make that decision.”