To Run a High Performing Law Firm, You Need Technology that Scales
Number of Staff
Started Using Clio
The foundation for building a multi-state business for legal practice
David Crum, ESQ, Attorney and CEO, leads US Legal Groups which oversees a group of subsidiary law firms: Colorado Legal Group, Nebraska Legal Group, and New Mexico Legal Group.
Today, David oversees 85 employees working in offices located across three different states, with many working upwards of 50% of their time remotely.
David started from a clean slate, leaving nothing but room to grow. This meant that from very early on, everything about his company—especially its technology—needed to be scalable. “We started from zero. This was a greenfield law firm, meaning we had no clients, no office, nothing,” says David.
How starting with the right technology set up US Legal Groups for success
David knew that getting the technology right was what was going to enable the team to grow. “We wanted intuitive, powerful technology, and we wanted the ability to quickly onboard new people,” says David.
Brent Harkins—now Chief Marketing Officer at Cardinal Concepts, a marketing firm under US Legal Groups—came on board to help develop plans for the company’s growth. He had prior experience with enterprise-level technology infrastructure, and he quickly got to work in leveling up their systems.
“I just saw what a gap there was, and what a need there was within the business to really streamline efficiencies across multiple departments,” says Brent. “I wanted something that could be the ultimate source of truth for all things client-related and that handled our document management, billing, communications, and all of these different areas of the business.”
1. Creating the source of truth
It was critical that the business have one platform that connected all of the company’s information. “We wanted to alleviate manual data entry to the best of our ability, which meant our platforms needed to talk to each other,” says Brent.
Not only did Clio give US Legal Groups the means to store all of its data in one place, it also connected the company’s other essential software solutions. This ensured their system would work for every stakeholder—from the executive team overseeing high-level business functions to the paralegal answering initial client inquiries.
“Integrations were one of the key decision makers in regards to what platform we went with,” says Brent. “That was the number one selling point for me when I was looking at it from a holistic point of view, because each and every team member is a different stakeholder that has different needs.”
“We’re an 8-figure law firm. You don’t get to that point by having people waste time. Each and every year we’ve increased our gross revenue since we adopted Clio.” – Brent
2. Empowering their attorneys to stay on top of their work
Paige Gleason, Divorce and Family Law Attorney at Colorado Legal Group, was one of the first lawyers brought on to help grow the Denver-based team.
She says her previous firm didn’t have much in the way of technology, which meant spending too much time on administrative tasks and tracking down important information. “We had a terrible internal system. We used Outlook and paper files. We had essentially no tech.”
Now, her entire day revolves in and around Clio. “I love Clio because I find it to be super user-friendly for my practice,” says Paige. “I use Clio every single day as an attorney.”
A day in the life of an attorney using Clio
“Clio helps track everything and keeps things organized for me. I really don’t have to do it. My activities, my time entries—when you are in an area of law that you have to track your time, it’s super easy to just go into your matters to add time entries and revise them, so it’s very accurate.”
“The integration into our local drive, where we access documents from Clio, is incredible. Our previous solution was very clunky in terms of accessing documents. With Clio, I can just drag and drop—and then my paralegal can immediately open the document and start working on it. The seamless flow with our team to be able to save, pull, and create documents is great.”
“Our office uses the calendar function. All the attorneys have their calendars, and we also have a firm calendar for conference room bookings, birthdays, office closures, work from home—so we all rely heavily on the calendar. In my daily practice, I’m on it all day, and it’s super user-friendly.”
“Our paralegals do a lot of scheduling in Clio’s calendar, which syncs to Outlook. They’re scheduling consults and court deadlines. When we do initial consultations, they put in the documents, and then we gather information during the intake. It’s all synced through Clio.”
“I also love Clio’s mobile app. I have been in court, and I just pull it up on my phone. My paralegal wants me to look at a document? Same thing. To basically mirror what I experience on a desktop on my mobile phone is incredible. I don’t have to worry about it.”
“As a managing attorney in the office, we track our AR and pull data from Clio all the time. We do check-ins with our team, and we pull data from Clio to give specific feedback to our team.”
“We have raving fans of Clio’s ability to take our yearly goals and break them down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals. The attorneys and staff that set these goals for themselves are the ones hitting their numbers. And the folks that don’t use the feature are the ones that tend to fall a little short. We find that to be pretty powerful in our office.” – Paige
“I don’t like to worry about technology, and Clio removes that worry. I can just do my job, which is to be an attorney.” – Paige
3. Streamlining the intake process
David and his team have worked hard to minimize the amount of manual work involved in routine tasks—and in doing so have set up a system that virtually eliminates barriers to signing new clients.
Each firm has a website with a contact form. Once someone fills out the form, the team responds and moves them forward in the process. From there, Clio will send out fee agreements, which are routed to multiple people and paid online through Clio Payments. Once those are signed and returned, Clio uploads the documents automatically to the relevant folder and sends them a long-form intake, which also gets uploaded once it’s returned.
“We’ve automated our processes in a very profound way. I’ll see payments come through at 10 o’clock on a Saturday night—and Clio will set up the case and send out the follow-up questionnaires. It’s pretty awesome.” – David
“As an attorney, I’m on the receiving end of that. I’m being told in real-time, ‘You just got hired.’ I go in, and it’s all there when I go into a consult. Fee agreements are already sent and uploaded—so, as an attorney, I just get to dive right in.” – Paige
4. Keeping lawyers on track and hitting their targets
David and his team want to be one of the top-performing law firms in the US, and hitting their targets requires that everyone knows where they’re at.
“We had a kid who was just okay—was just at target—and then started using the dashboard in Clio this year, and he became the top biller in the entire organization,” says David. “That’s one of the things he credited to it—that he was very clear about what he had to do each day, where he was tracking, and if he fell behind, he caught back up and got ahead. That feature has had a profound impact on the firm.”
“We’ve always been pretty clear about our billing expectations, but when our attorneys started using the dashboard tool, that’s where things changed a lot.” – David
5. Helping see the bigger picture
David and his team know that they brought in and serviced 1,022 clients last year—and they know it because it’s easy to track in Clio.
Clio allows David and his leadership team to see everything that’s going on at each firm, what work is in progress, what’s been paid, and what’s in trust. With this information, the team can guide their attorneys towards work that has money available, and make them more effective in the hours they put towards their work.
“Most of the interaction I have is in the reporting that’s done out of Clio. My executive team pulls a lot of data out of Clio. The value for the leadership team really lies in being able to analyze what’s going on in real-time,” says David.
“If we don’t see what we need in a report, it can be customized to show it. There’s really not going to be any data you can’t get your hands on.” – David
6. Making it easy to onboard and train new staff
Scaling an organization requires being able to bring on and train new members quickly and effectively. “To have a platform that allows us to bring in new team members and have them ramp up at a much faster rate, and then start achieving those financial goals that we set, has really been what has allowed the firm to grow,” says Brent.
“It’s been great for our onboarding with attorneys,” says Paige. “It’s just really easy to train—and even down to the little things, the text snippets that Clio offers in your time keeping, and the billing and invoices that we want to keep professional—even that is really beneficial to attorneys in a very easy and efficient way. Training attorneys on Clio and getting them ramped up has been really great.”
“We get attorneys to buy in because it’s just what we said it would be. We said it’s going to be user-friendly, that it would be easy, and then it is. It’s always easy to get buy-in when you promise something and then you deliver it.”
“Clio is the Goldilocks solution. The combination of ease-of-use with complex abilities is what I think is amazing. Ease-of-use is number one for me, because if we can’t get people trained, it’s useless, no matter how good it is.” – David
7. Access to ongoing support, when needed
At the speed and scale that David and his team operates at, if he has a question he can’t afford to wait for a response. For that reason, Clio and its knowledgeable customer success team have been extremely helpful for the US Legal Groups team.
“We’ve had such a positive experience from every single touch point that we’ve had with Clio,” says Brent. “As a business, Clio has been a delight to work with. Everyone’s been super responsive. We feel like our feedback is heard. If we have questions they are quickly answered.”
“Finding a true partner, not just a platform—I wasn’t surprised by it, but I was certainly delighted by it.” – Brent
Running US Legal Groups without Clio?
Clio has become so integral to the business’s day-to-day operations and long-term vision that the team can’t imagine working without it.
“Without Clio, the firm would be sad and underperforming,” says Brent. “It would just be a very average law firm, and that’s not the vision that we’ve set out for the team. We want to provide the best client service, we want to have the best employee experience, and we want to enjoy what we’re doing. Without Clio, we would just have a really messy, sloppy, back-office where we would be using Google Docs and Sheets, and a hodgepodge of different things.”
“If we didn’t have Clio, it would be bad. It would be very bad,” agrees David.
“The proof is in the pudding with us,” says Brent. “We’ve used Clio for years, so we’re the use-case of its effectiveness. When we go to an event to talk shop, we can say with the utmost confidence that we’re using the best technologies that are enabling our law firms to grow in a way that many others aren’t able to. We’re a result-driven organization, so we can let our results speak for themselves.”
“I just want to say ‘thank you’ for giving us a product that our team uses and helps propel our business to the goals we want to achieve.”
What’s Next? Helping other law firms grow
With over 25 years of expertise growing and running his own law firms, David Crum partnered with Brent Harkins to launch Cardinal Concepts, a Clio Certified Consultant. This innovative agency offers a unique blend of efficient marketing and effective operational strategies designed to help law firms thrive like their own practices have.
“It only takes a 5-minute screen-share to show another firm how powerful the platform is, and how simple it is.” – Brent