Throughout 2020, lawyers have done inspirational work to ensure access to legal services, support for those entering the legal profession, and continue supporting their customers from afar. We were lucky enough to be joined by three of our exceptional Clio customers at this year’s Clio Cloud Conference for special sessions spotlighting their work and successes:
Each law firm was a winner or finalist in the 2020 Reisman awards. We’re so proud to share their stories here, in their own words.
We hope their stories inspire you and provide strategies for success to put to use in your own law firm in 2020 and beyond.
Roche Legal: Reisman Award Winner, Legal Innovation
Roche Legal is dedicated to giving a voice to the elderly and vulnerable while also demystifying the legal process and changing perceptions about the profession by utilising innovative technology led by Clio to make certain we are as user friendly as possible. Our ground-breaking initiatives are driven by our promise to go the extra mile to deliver a client service that revolves around a “real” authorised and regulated solicitor while also harnessing new technologies, creating convenience that caters for a modern lifestyle.
At Roche Legal we believe that the image of the legal profession needs a fundamental overhaul to eradicate some of the negative attitudes that still exist. Clio has been instrumental in us achieving this aim. Roche Legal’s flexible and adaptable approach allows us to react swiftly to the changing needs and expectations of our clients. The innovations we have put in place have significantly helped the day-to-day running of Roche Legal and our commitment to outstanding client service; each staff member is able to adopt the benefits of a completely paperless office. Quite simply, by using Clio, our firm has been able to embrace a modern, flexible, and proactive approach to changing the lives of our clients.
The driving force behind Roche Legal is our dedication to embrace new technology to ensure we offer unique client service innovations. Central to this commitment are a series of pocket-sized self-help booklets the highly motivated team at Roche Legal devised, created and published as part of an eight-book series which appeals to clients of all ages. Our latest book is Inheritance Disputes: A guide to your legal responsibilities and follows our books dealing with Caring for an Elderly Relative, What to do when someone dies and Challenging A Will.
The booklets are also available as eBooks online to cater for an ever-changing technical landscape and they are designed to offer specific information and provide answers to a wide range of relevant questions which previously would have required a call to the office. This is operational benefits not only for the Roche Legal team but, crucially, our clients, ensuring that everyone’s time is used more cost effectively. The booklets are given out by GPs and supplied to care homes where they have been particularly welcomed and are also downloaded from our website by fellow legal professionals. One of our clients was able to claim £4,000 in costs from his local authority having only become aware of the rights of his elderly parent and the legal protection she was afforded after receiving our booklet from the care home looking after his mother.
In addition to our main site, our sister website, offers clients an innovative online Will writing and Lasting Power of Attorney service. This took two years to develop and has just four sections for the client to complete, again embracing our willingness to be accessible to our entire client base. We believe it’s one of the most straight-forward online Will writing programs available and one of the first delivered online by a fully authorised and regulated sole practitioner firm here in the UK. Our remote Will writing system gives clients a prompt and efficient service wherever they are in the world without having to rely on a postal service. We recognise that some clients may not be able to come to our offices and besides traditional appointments we also routinely offer meetings via Skype, Zoom and Facetime.
Our firm has been very vocal and supportive of changes needed in the industry when it comes to how wills are made. Current laws around the signing of wills have been in place since 1837. More than 30 million people in the UK do not have a will and with the Law Society revealing a 30% increase in demand for legal services since COVID-19 changes need to happen.
The Law Society and the Ministry of Justice are urgently looking to change the rules for making a will which at present must be signed by the testator and two independent witnesses.They are also aiming to make the process quicker to register for lasting powers of attorney, which allows others to make decisions for you in specific circumstances.
We are also currently developing “Solicitor Check” an online programme that will be accessible to the public to help clarify what legal advice is on offer following the shakeup in regulation of the profession in the UK by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Our programme is designed to give the public a clear idea of who they choose to instruct for their legal matter, and is planned to be launched in to coincide with the release of a Law Society book our founder Rachel Roche is jointly writing as a practical guide for those wanting to go it alone in the profession by setting up their own firm.
This book, How to Start a Law Firm, has been commissioned by Law Society Publishing and is available now. Much is made in this book of the benefits of using technology and case management wisely in setting up and running what our founder considers is a new breed of law firm in the UK. Rachel speaks regularly to other lawyers, on the topic of setting up their own firms, and routinely provides one-to-one advice and guidance to lawyers on all manner of setting up and running legal practice, including but not limited to operations, implementing technology, compliance and accounts. Clio forms the backbone of this, from which any firm can grow and evolve.
Roche Legal would not look like the innovative award-winning legal practice it is today without the implementation of the Clio system five years ago. In fact, Roche Legal was one of the very first UK customers. Clio is an outstanding case management system and helps ensure we maximise our time with and on behalf of our clients. It has been a real game-changer and without Clio we would not be regarded as such a forward-thinking business.
Clio’s ethos is very much aligned with how we do things at Roche Legal where embracing new technology to ensure we offer a unique and innovative service is absolutely paramount. One of the key aspects of our use of new technology has been our ability to redesign how we provide quotes and estimates to make it as easy to use as possible for clients. The Clio quick bill feature is an amazing tool and we can produce invoices tailored to individual client needs and expectations.
We have recently created a new client concierge role at the firm, designed to guarantee prospective clients a unique user experience throughout the course of whatever matter we are dealing with for them. The concierge deals with both prospective and existing clients, sending out our electronic intake forms, ensuring accurate information gathering, preparation and client communication at any stage. Much like we work continually on the UX on our firm’s website, we are embracing this attitude throughout our firm. This distinctive role would not be possible without Clio, not least because of the way it allows communication and task assignment between team members with ease.
One of the key aspects of our use of new technology has been our ability to redesign how we provide quotes and estimates to make it as easy to use as possible for clients. The Clio quick bill feature is an amazing tool and we can produce invoices tailored to individual client needs, depending on work type and client’s expectations and needs. Our client feedback has been very positive both online and by post as we send out pre-stamped comment cards which even in this ever changing online world are still very popular. From the outset we ask clients how they would prefer to be contacted and tailor how we work to their preferences.
Clio is outstanding at listening to feedback and they help ensure we are working as effectively as possible for our clients. The system provides information immediately, including how the team is working together across all matters. We have used Clio since the very beginning of Roche Legal. It has been incredibly useful, not least for the reasons mentioned above but also because it helped capture accurately how much time was being spent on matters and so
pays for itself tenfold. Clio remains at the heart of what we are working to achieve as a firm and will continue to be central to this for years to come. We are driven by a desire to find new ways to service the needs of our clients and Clio is the perfect partner. Despite our small size, we act for clients both nationwide and abroad due to our flexible approach and our positive use of new systems built and tailored around Clio and our aspirations as a young firm.
SKB Law: Reisman Award Finalist, Community Champion
SKB Law is a boutique family law firm with offices in Yorkshire and London. Since becoming a sole practitioner, I’ve integrated social impact into the culture of SKB Law because I believe great client care means supporting our shared community. We’re on a mission to improve access to the law by designing more inclusive legal services for our clients and providing training to people entering, or returning to the legal profession. Clio has an important role to play in our work.
As a family law firm, clients seek our support at possibly one of the hardest moments in their life, the end of their marriage. It’s our job to guide them through the process with clarity, understanding and empathy. We’re discovering how much we can improve our client journey by balancing in-person advice with Clio’s digital services such as e-signatures, integrated client intake forms or billing. Clio’s online portal has provided our clients the privacy and flexibility to access their legal documents when and where they need them – particularly important for our overseas clients or those who need to view documents privately from their spouse. We’re excited about what more we can do to support our clients, including the addition of translation services and partnerships in the UK and overseas.
Alongside the firm’s legal services, our in-house SKB Law Academy supports people entering, or returning to, the legal profession. In the last two years, we’ve reached over 1000 students through our employability workshops, provided 30 students five-day structured work placements, launched an online interview series between legal students and professionals, created ten education and employment partnerships, and inspired a former staff member to start a law degree. The Academy supports:
- Students: we deliver employability workshops to students in the local area – bridging the gap between education and employment;
- Aspiring professionals: we offer structured five day legal work placements;
- Women: we host free legal clinics for women who need advice and guidance in relation to divorce, nikah, children, or finances.
For students, our two-day employability workshops offer an insight to the world of work, not just law. Students participate in sessions on recruitment techniques, CVs, elevator pitches and interview skills—one of the most powerful sessions for female students has been ‘the handshake.’ We also identify local businesses who can support us to host mock interviews. Feedback from schools describes the programme as “transformational,”and 100% of our participants felt the programme increased their confidence to create a professional CV, improved their communication skills in a professional environment, enhanced their confidence to prepare for an interview, and increased their knowledge of career pathways. We also provide structured five-day work placements at SKB Law. Students undertake a series of daily legal tasks maximising their learning experience, reducing any ‘what should I do now’ moments, and ensuring we continue to deliver great client care. Under this new system, we’ve been able to provide thirty students with five-day work placements in less than 24 months.
The Academy is key to our company culture, featuring in our logo and recruitment process. Everyone is involved … whether sharing their career journey with students at a school or mentoring students on work placement. It’s shown that small firms can make a massive impact in their community. As we start to digitise our community programmes, we hope we can achieve even more.
Clio has been a key part of our journey. It’s enabled me to support my clients, team and community. With a small team, I’m often pulled in different directions, and limited to what I can do. I have supported young people for over ten years through Mosaic, a Prince of Wales’ charity. I viewed my “community support” activities as something I did outside of the firm. But with Clio, I’ve been able to check-in with my team, book appointments, check finances—all whilst preparing to speak to 100 students about what it takes to be a solicitor! Discovering that the Clio team share our passion for innovation and embrace our questions has injected an exciting energy into the firm. It means that even in these uncertain times, I’m asking, “How can we better harness technology to support our clients, and community programmes?” And as the legal sector continues to change, we keep asking ourselves and our students, what type of legal community do we want to build? For us, it’s one which involves the whole community.
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The Daswani Law Company (The DLC): Reisman Award Finalist, Best New Law Firm
I am a dual-qualified legal professional (qualified in England & Wales and in India), and before setting up my own practice I had worked as a commercial lawyer in India and the UAE.
Helping my clients build success stories has always been important to me. However, a few years ago my pet dog Coco entered my life, a messenger I guess to help me realise that there was a lot more I could use my legal knowledge for. Before I knew it, alongside working on client matters, I started doing pro-bono work for animal rights organisations such as Mercy for Animals which I found extremely rewarding.
I knew that eventually I wanted to work towards a more ethical and sustainable future without having to let go of all the training that had gone into becoming a commercial lawyer. I knew I had to start something that would let me balance both–thus I started The DLC.
The DLC was born out of these very two aspirations:
- To be trusted legal advisors to our clients for their businesses; and
- To pro-actively provide legal support to ethical, cruelty-free and sustainable businesses.
With the above two principles as our cornerstones we opened our doors in 2019. We couldn’t be happier about the fact that even in this short span of time we have worked on and are continuing to work on projects that reflect our vision: ‘Legal Solutions for a Kinder and Compassionate Future’.
I started the DLC in January 2019 in London. However, being an overseas national, setting up a business in the UK meant getting the Entrepreneur’s visa which meant convincing the authorities that I had a vision and that my business plan was sustainable. Fortunately by the end of 2018 I was granted permission to start my practice in the UK.
Looking back at this past year some of the milestones that The DLC team cherish are:
- Got authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the regulatory body for solicitors in England and Wales
- Signed up with Clio, a game changer for any legal professional. Each day Clio helps our practice operate seamlessly. With Clio we can record time accurately, archive client communication securely and access files remotely.
- Progressed from the living room of my parents’ home to working from a shared office space in a converted Victorian house to finally moving into our own office suite in a prestigious corporate building in Mayfair.
- Grew from a sole practitioner to a team of three
- Selected as Pontaq’s legal advisors. Pontaq is the first UK-India innovation fund that seeks innovative start-ups in India and the UK. They have been acknowledged by the governments of both nations as contributing to the growth of their respective economies. Pontaq have now expanded to promote innovation in the USA and Canada.
- In line with our vision we provide ongoing and comprehensive legal support to ethical, sustainable and cruelty-free businesses. One of the projects we are proud of is, assisting a vegan fast food manufacturer collaborate with a leading chain of restaurants in London for the supply of products for their vegan menu.
- Adopted Mayhew, an animal welfare charity as our Charity of the Year helping them raise funds through contributions, coverage on our website and social media campaigns.
- Won the SME News Award in the categories Best Contracts and Commercial Law Firm 2020-London and Most Client Focused Law Firm 2020-London
Clio has helped start The DLC in every sense of the term. In the beginning, I decided to sign up for Clio because it is endorsed by the Law Society of England and Wales. However, it didn’t take me long to realise what a blessing Clio was and continues to be for my practice.
At the DLC we are thrilled and humbled that our work is contributing towards an ethical and sustainable future. Our legal and business support to ethical and sustainable businesses ensures that they can focus completely on their product or their vision, and Clio in turn helps us help them.
- To start with, Clio helps us operate as a paperless firm which is totally aligned with our vision.
- In addition, Clio eliminates the need to spend/invest in copious amounts of resources for admin-related work. This definitely helps reduce costs, which is a huge benefit for clients.
- The benefits that we appreciate the most are: (i) Clio helps us record time accurately and invoice efficiently; (ii) It also helps us integrate with other platforms like DocuSign and AML-check platforms thereby helping us create a master dashboard that we can access from anywhere and at any time. Clio therefore helps keep up the efficiency even when we are working remotely.
- The feature that our clients appreciate the most is that Clio offers a secure way of communication and storing confidential client information.
We now can’t imagine not using Clio.
We published this blog post in December 2020. Last updated: .