How a Managing Partner Runs a 60-Person Law Firm with Clio

Brian King Testimonial

King Law

  • 2002

    Year Founded
  • 50+

    Number of Staff
  • 2019

    Started Using Clio
  • North Carolina, USA

    Location
  • Contingency

    Flat Fee

    Hourly

    Fee Types
  • Civil Litigation

    Criminal Defence

    Family

    Wills and Estates

    Practice Areas

Brian King, Managing Partner, King Law Offices

Change can be scary, but as Brian King, Managing Partner of King Law now knows, getting over the fear of change can be just what you need to grow. With multiple locations and a team of 60 attorneys and staff, Brian’s team had all the drive and talent needed to be successful, but their server-based practice management system was holding them back. By switching to Clio, King Law was able to reach its full potential, provide exceptional client service, and improve its bottom line.

Powered by Clio, Brian is now running his firm in a whole new way. Clio Manage’s Firm Dashboard gives Brian a centralized view of his firm’s billing and financials, empowering him to manage the firm and its attorneys from a more data-informed position. And Clio makes it easy for the firm’s attorneys and staff to collaborate and work securely from wherever they are—so in just two years, that increased efficiency and transparency has led to millions of dollars of growth.

Read Brian’s case study summary below, or scroll down to the Q&A section. You can also learn how the entire King Law team uses Clio by visiting our firm-wide King Law profile here.

 

Growing $4 million in the first two years

Because King Law has 60 staff and multiple offices spread across North and South Carolina, coordinating so many people and moving parts was a time-consuming challenge for Managing Partner Brian King. Adding to the difficulty: the firm’s outdated practice management software made working flexibly and collaboratively a pipedream.

“Before we were on Clio, we were on a server-based program,” Brian explains. “It made it almost impossible for us to be able to practice from different locations.”

Brian and his partners knew the firm could work more efficiently by switching software, so they evaluated different practice management options. After attending the Clio Cloud Conference and learning more about Clio’s solutions and team, King Law went all-in—and didn’t look back.

“From day one, Clio has changed the way we practice law and has changed the way we’ve been able to take care of our clients.”

“Once we joined with Clio, it immediately put us all on the same page across multiple locations, and the results have been incredible,” Brian says. “From day one, Clio has changed the way we practice law and has changed the way we’ve been able to take care of our clients.”

“Clio has really been a game-changer for us,” Brian adds, because Clio’s intuitive, simple, and easy-to-use platform has helped the firm unlock major improvements in a short amount of time.

“Clio turned us from a $4-million firm to an $8-million firm in two years.”

“Clio has really been a game-changer for us. Clio turned us from a $4-million firm to an $8-million firm in two years.”

A big part of that growth comes from improved productivity. “Clio saves us an incredible amount of time,” Brian notes. “I would say our billing immediately jumped up 20%, just purely on the fact that Clio’s Time Tracking enabled us to enter time immediately … It goes straight to the time entry, right to the client, for a savings of time and a 20% increase in revenue.”

Software that makes every firm member’s job easier

From Brian’s perspective, much of King Law’s success with Clio rests in how the cloud-based software offers unique benefits to everyone at the firm.

“Clio is like a cube that comes to you, and each person is looking at a completely different side of that cube—but all that data is the same,” he explains. “What one person does immediately impacts all the other parts. I think that’s incredible.”

“Clio is something completely different for each part of our firm … I think that’s incredible.”

Brian says Clio adds value in a different way for each part of the firm, such as data reporting and firm-wide visibility for the partners, case and document management and e-signatures for the attorneys, contact management and organization for the support staff, and comprehensive billing, trust accounting, and payment collection for the firm’s accounting department.

For Brian personally, Clio enables him to have a higher level of insight and impact than the firm’s previous software. “Clio really does allow me to be a true CEO of the firm,” he says, “and to have that data right at my fingertips. You don’t get that from any other practice management software.”

Before Clio, Brian spent half of his day on management and the other half practicing law. Now, that dynamic has changed—he can spend more of his time growing the firm for the future, and far less time with his head buried in administrative work.

“Now, my management is no longer trying to find and run reports out of software programs that literally sometimes take 45 minutes to get me those reports. That time is spent one-on-one with my people.”

“Clio really does allow me to be a true CEO of the firm, and to have that data right at my fingertips. You don’t get that from any other practice management software.”

Transitioning 16 years of data into Clio

When King Law decided to make the switch to Clio, it had 16 years’ worth of documents, data, and client files to transfer into the new, cloud-based system. For Brian and his partners, this was initially intimidating—until he realized he could lean on the Clio team’s support and expertise to ensure a smooth transition.

“When we went to Clio in 2019, we had to take 40,000 files and 150,000 client contacts and all of the documents into Clio. It was an incredible amount of work,” Brian says. “Clio was with us every step of the way.”

Working with Clio’s award-winning, 24/5 Customer Support team and Clio’s in-house Data Migration Specialists helped King Law feel well taken care of throughout the migration process, which was invaluable to Brian and his partners.

“If you get Clio and you implement Clio, they will be there with you to help you through the transition process, and you will immediately net what you used to gross. That’s going to happen immediately.”

As soon as the transition was complete, Brian couldn’t believe how much of a difference he noticed. Speaking to other firm partners about his firm’s experience, he had this to say:

“If you get Clio and you implement Clio, they will be there with you to help you through the transition process, and you will immediately net what you used to gross. That’s going to happen immediately.”

After committing to Clio and coming out with a more productive and profitable firm, Brian can attest that the switch was worth it.

“Switching to Clio has changed the way that we think,” he says. “Yes, there were some pressure points during that shift, but it changed the way we thought, and now we couldn’t even imagine any other way.”

Reflecting on his firm’s Clio adoption, Brian had one more piece of advice for leaders at other mid-sized firms: Commit.

“You have to commit (to making the switch),” he says. “You can’t say ‘Oh, well, a few of the partners want to use Clio, but some of them still want to use pen and paper.’ You have to embrace it, and if you do embrace it, you will never find a program that makes it easier to be a manager of a law firm.”

“You will never find a program that makes it easier to be a manager of a law firm.”

Q&A Questions

How has Clio had an impact on your firm’s success?

“Clio has really been a game-changer for us. Clio turned us from a $4-million firm to an $8-million firm in two years.

Once we joined with Clio, it immediately put us all on the same page across multiple locations, and the results have been incredible. From day one, Clio has changed the way we practice law and has changed the way we’ve been able to take care of our clients.

Before Clio, we were on a server-based program. Everything was pulled into one place, and it made it almost impossible for us to be able to practice from different locations—Clio changed all that for us.

Since we have attorneys that are literally four hours apart in terms of day work that we’re working on the same cases, we had to have a solution that allows everybody to be tied together. Clio does all of that, and it does it in a very simplistic and easy-to-learn way that really tied our attorneys to our staff, to our accounting department, to our client intake group—everything was able to be put on the same page, and now we practice wherever we are. Our attorneys now have a full-flex schedule—they work from home, they work from the courthouse, they work from wherever they are. Clio makes that possible—we couldn’t do it without Clio.”

How does Clio provide value for mid-size law firms?

“Clio is something completely different for each part of our firm. Marketing uses Clio for the statistical models on where our clients are coming from. For client intake, it is contacts, it is quick, it is attorneys’ calendars and shifting to make sure all 15 of our locations—it’s air traffic control for them. For case managers, it’s templates, lists, and paper filing: All of that is connected.

For attorneys, it’s templates, how to practice law. It’s making sure that our clients are taken care of, that court arguments are clearly set up in documents when they’re on the go or in the courtroom. For our accounting team, it’s a completely different program. For them, it’s a billing collection program.

Clio is a cube that comes to you, and each person is looking at a completely different side, but all that data is the same. What one person does immediately impacts all the other parts. I think that’s incredible for what it means to us.

We’re able to do one click and say, ‘Okay, what is Seth doing in Spartanburg today?’ I can instantly say, ‘Okay, his conversion rate is 48%, that’s pretty good for where he’s set the path.’ He’s got a scale and on his own dashboard that tells you exactly where he is, and that’s how he hits bonus. I mean, every one of our attorneys knows exactly where they are on bonus at any given time by opening up Clio. If the blue line is over the black line, you’re going to make bonus that quarter, and that’s exciting for people and it turns the practice of the law—the part that a lot of attorneys don’t like, the financial part, the accounting part—into almost like a game. Clio encourages you to push it, and what’s great is that I don’t have to be the one doing it. Nobody is surprised at our office when I come and talk to them. Why? Because they know what I’m talking about, because it’s so clear on the statistics. You’re two colleagues looking at numbers, and that is a different way to experience the interpersonal relationship of what a managing attorney has with an associate. That is exciting, that’s something that gets me pumped up.”

As the firm’s Managing Partner, how does Clio help you day-to-day?

“As managing partner of 30 lawyers and countless different locations with what has now certainly grown exponentially since we started with Clio, you know to a $350,000-a-month payroll, I have to be looking at this on the macro level. Clio lets me do that.

Every day I’ve got a dashboard, and with one screen I can know exactly how much money we have, how much money is outstanding, and what kind of bills are out there. I can see what the hours are of each one of our attorneys, what they’re working on, who might be struggling out there, who’s good at retaining clients, and what the percentage of retaining clients is. I immediately will know what’s going on in terms of their collection rates—they may be billing well, but are they actually collecting money?

Before we had Clio, these things were in multiple programs—if I could get them at all. Now it’s one step every morning, and I’m able to manage the firm.

I was in Cancun last week and I was able to—just on my iPhone, on a beach in Cancun—see in one glance not only how the firm was doing that day, but also get my forecast of what it’s going to look like for the full quarter. These are the kinds of things I do a lot. Now, I love working with clients, I love getting back and doing the client interviews, I love being in the courthouse.

Clio really does allow me to be a true CEO of the firm, and to have that data right at my fingertips. You don’t get that from any other practice management software.

One of the things that Clio does that instantly, I can tell, makes a difference is to be able to manage attorneys, which is difficult. Any other senior partner out there, whether you’re a managing partner of the firm or a general manager like what we have at King Law, you know what I’m talking about: It is difficult. Attorneys are everywhere; they’re always doing different things. They could be an excellent attorney, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a profitable attorney. Clio allows an excellent attorney to be a profitable attorney.

I cannot underline that enough. It’s important that I instantly know not just what kind of result that person is getting in court, but also how that person’s client-centered practice is actually connecting to our firm goals and what we’re trying to accomplish—are they meeting the requirements. You know an attorney could be fantastic in the courtroom, or with a client, or drafting deeds or wills, or even working with a municipality—but if they’re not able to take that productivity and turn it into something I can document and see in a clear way, they don’t have the answers. I see that, and other firms don’t have those answers. They don’t know who the rainmakers are at their firms.

You have three firms: You have the firm you think you have, you have the firm that they tell you you have, and then you have your actual firm. Clio makes that third picture crystal clear. I know what kind of firm it is and I know what kind of numbers there are. It allows me to make hard decisions, and that means that it is still on me. It gives me the data to make those hard decisions.

When I started Clio in January 2019, half my time was doing management and about half my time was practicing law. If you are a managing partner, you know what I mean: That means the first shift was practicing law and the second shift was doing management.

Clio allows me to do my management in a much different way. Now, my management is no longer trying to find and run reports out of software programs that literally sometimes take 45 minutes to get me those reports. That time is spent one-on-one with my people.”

Did you consider other legal software—and why was Clio your choice?

“We commissioned three attorneys in a group together—because, of course, we were looking at solutions in lots of different areas of things that we do—and it came back overwhelmingly that Clio was going to be the choice. We heard our pitches and we went through our process in terms of those things, but what really did it for me was the Legal Trends Report

The Legal Trends Report is fantastic. It is gold. I would honestly pay $5,000 for that report, but Clio gives it away free. I carried that Legal Trends Report with me for five years before we actually took the plunge. I had to spend my money on a firm that was going to produce software to help me practice law and take care of my clients. Why wouldn’t I pick the firm that cares about my industry? Clio cares about all that stuff. 

Let me tell you what I got from my old software package, though I’m not going to name their name: I got a lawsuit. When we decided to get Clio, I had been using the same one for 18 years. I didn’t get a thank you for 18 years, I didn’t even get a pitch of how they were better than Clio, I got a lawsuit, because I was still under contract. I ended up having to pay I think $50,000 to get out of that contract.

Think of Clio as an operating system. You’re going to be pushed to a lot of different software that costs a fortune more, and because none of us managing partners understand software, we’re going to assume higher cost equals higher value. 

But what they don’t tell you is that those programs are rigid. They are very specific and they’re difficult to work with—and they won’t allow for flexibility when you grow, when you scale, and when you change. You have a system in place already, so buying a software program that’s not an operating system, you’re going to have to adapt to them, while Clio adapts to you. It’s music to the ears of a large firm or mid-size firm that’s trying to have quality control. For us, we have 15 different locations, and I want each one of those attorneys to have the same processes in each place. Clio allows you to do that, and it allows you to do it in multiple practice areas and allows you to track that in a way that your brand-new attorney or your intern from college will immediately be able to grasp. Even your 60-year-old new employee who may have a little skepticism about Clio—if they can use Google, if they can use Microsoft products, they can use Clio.”

What was the transition + data migration to Clio like for your firm?

“We had a server-based system. It was terrible, and we constantly had to upgrade hardware and then software and then hardware and then software. We were playing a game we just couldn’t keep up with. I didn’t want to keep up with it, and I don’t think we could afford to keep up with it.

As a firm, you’re going to want to think about Clio, but you’re going to say, ‘It’s too hard, it’s too big of an issue.’ What we did was we made a decision and we got Clio in July, and I made an announcement to everybody that we’re going live on January 1st (of the next year). So we had a six-month timeframe that we put into it. I said, ‘Guess what: On January 2nd, your old files are not going to be available. You are going to have to use Clio. I don’t care if you are old, young, new, new to us, or have been here forever—this is what we’re going to do.’ So we set up a training program and we did it in groups. I’m not going to say that it was completely painless—I’m sure there were some issues—but I will tell you it was so smooth.

And once we jumped on it, I never once said, ‘Boy, I wish we were in the other program.’ Nobody ever said that. We went from having downtime every week, sometimes multiple times a day, to almost never with Clio. If they go down for 15 minutes, it will be one specific area, and it’s going to be for an upgrade and your system is going to work better the next day.

It has changed the way that we think. Yes, there were some pressure points during that shift, but it changed the way we thought, and now we couldn’t even imagine any other way.

A data migration was a huge part of our process. When we went to Clio in 2019, we had to take 40,000 files and all of the documents into Clio. It was an incredible amount of work. Clio was with us every step of the way. We had IT on staff to help work that out. We had 16 years of work that we brought over—I think it was something like 150,000 contacts. It was not small, it was a long time, and we did it in batches.

It took us a little while of wondering how we were going to make all that happen, and there were scary moments where names didn’t match up to addresses and I thought everything was lost and gone, because I don’t understand data—but Clio does, and they fixed it. Everything was there.

We truly have relationships with all of the people at Clio, and we love it.”

What was life like before Clio, and what is it like now?

“We had a server-based system. It was terrible, and we constantly had to upgrade hardware and then software and then hardware and then software. We were playing a game we just couldn’t keep up with. I didn’t want to keep up with it, and I don’t think we could afford to keep up with it.

Before Clio, it took us hours of time to be able to get the data that we needed to be able to run an effective law practice. Afterwards, it became instantaneous—that’s what Clio is for us; instantaneous management, instantaneous case work, and instantaneous client responsiveness.

Clio saves us an incredible amount of time. I would say our billing immediately jumped up 20%, just purely on the fact that Clio’s Time Tracking enabled us to enter time immediately … It goes straight to the time entry, right to the client, for a savings of time and a 20% increase in revenue.

Our firm bills every week—2,200 bills a week. We don’t do monthly billing. We do weekly billing every Thursday. In that, we will get a response from 1,800 of those today, just percentage wise. That’s how quickly it will be, it will be in the bank by tomorrow morning. I’ll be able to tell exactly where things are, and that’s every week.

Clio also allowed us to greatly reduce our hardware costs. I could change all of our computers tomorrow and we wouldn’t skip a beat with Clio.

Another thing that happened after we got Clio: We promoted seven of our attorneys into a junior partnership at one time. This was during COVID, and it was a tough time for everybody. I had just run some reports and I was thinking: ‘What are we going to do with our business if we go all the way down to 25% revenue?’ Because we had run 75%, 50%. ‘What if we were down to 25% revenue? How are we going to make it?’ I realized: We didn’t lose one person during COVID, and Clio had a lot to do with that because we’re able to work from home without a blink. It was a tough thing but I said, ‘You know what? I want to reward the people that are here, that are making the commitment. Because we’re going to do our best to stay open and we’re going to serve our clients, because our clients still need us—maybe need us more,’ So we raised up several attorneys into a junior partnership.”

What would you say to other firm partners who are considering new legal software?

“If you’re out there and you’re thinking about a change, there are a lot of different reasons. You may be frustrated or you may be looking for that change, and you’re probably trying to come up with solutions, because the old brick-and-mortar office solution is no longer there and the recruits that are coming in want to have something that they can practice law in their hands, on their phone, in their back pocket. 

Clio offers all of that for you, but it is also a group of people that are going to be backing you up. Instead of talking to salespeople, you’re going to be talking to people partners. You’re going to be talking to the very people that you’ll hopefully be able to see at the Clio Cloud Conference and maybe even at a law firm near you. But it’s a relationship that you want to build, because if you’re a lawyer in the 2020s, you’ve got to be thinking about what technology is going to be, what you’ll want your firm to look like in 10 years. You’ve got to make a decision of who you’re going to bet on.

I don’t have any doubt that Clio is going to look radically different from what it looks like now in 10 years—but I know I’m going to have it. I’ll have all the access to that and I’m going to grow with the programs and I’m going to understand what’s going on, and they understand what’s going on with us. I think that’s what I would say is more important than anything else. Whatever expenditure money it’s going to be, you’re not going to beat the pricing that Clio has, but to whatever extent you’re concerned about that pricing, you tell me: What other investment are you going to make for your firm that’s going to make the kind of difference that Clio is going to make for you?

Clio is like any other program in one way, though: It’s not going to help you unless you implement it. You can go take a look at it, you can go get a free trial and download it, but what you’re not going to see immediately when you’re looking at a screen or you’re just watching a video is the support that comes from behind Clio. If you get Clio and you implement Clio, they will be there with you to help you through that process. You will immediately net what you used to gross. That’s going to happen immediately. Clio turned us from a $4-million firm to an $8-million firm in two years.

You’re not going to lose time anymore, you’re not going to lose productivity, you’re not going to lose a client that you never thought was there. Clio immediately puts that pending list in your hands to be able to say, ‘Hey I can mine this out.’ The amount of money that you’re going to spend on that, you will instantly gain. I can say that confidently: Whether you’re a small firm or a large firm or you’re like us—somewhere in an in-between stage—you’re going to see that kind of difference.

You have to commit. You can’t say ‘Oh, well a few of the partners want to use Clio, but some of them still want to use pen and paper.’ You have to embrace it, and if you do embrace it, you will never find a program that makes it easier to be a manager of a law firm.”

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