The legal environment in the UK has been dominated by large firm expansions and mergers—at the expense of small, more community-oriented firms. Rachel Roche, recipient of the Law Society Sole Practitioner of the Year 2018, decided to buck the trend by setting up a local practice with a focus on personal service. With the help of Clio legal practice management software Rachel has succeeded in establishing a modern, organised, and efficient practice that she can run from anywhere.
A Community-Oriented Law Practice in the Cloud
After ten successful years of practicing law Rachel was offered a partnership position in 2011, bringing her to a crossroads in her career. Despite being tempted, she decided that if she was going to be involved in running a practice, it would be on her own terms. Having developed her own ideas on how a modern law firm should be run, and following a year studying and working abroad to widen her skill set, Rachel set-up Roche Legal, which she runs with complete autonomy.
Roche Legal deals with wills, probate and estates, powers of attorney, and court of protection work. Rachel established her firm with a vision to modernise the way private client solicitors do business, focusing on offering more personable service with a modern edge. Starting on Her Own Rachel started her career as a sole practitioner by running her business from home with no support staff, relying on Dropbox for storing files, and Xero for accounting. But, as her business grew she realised she needed a system to better organise and allow for easier access to her cases, contacts, and files — while keeping better track of her billable time.
In her own words, she says, “I chose Clio primarily because it’s in the cloud and therefore accessible from anywhere and secure. I also particularly liked the look of the interface, it’s fresh and modern. It integrates with programs that I already use, such as Dropbox and Xero for accounting. Clio also seems to be continually working on improving their systems and integrations, unlike some more dated, locally hosted systems.”
Mobile, organised, efficient
Since she spends much of her time out of the office, and makes house calls regularly, it was essential that Rachel have a secure, cloud-based solution that she could access on any device. She says, “Long gone are the days when I had to lug a suitcase of files around! This means, if I am on the road and take a last minute appointment, I don’t have to worry about not having the file with me, as all of my files are always with me.” Rachel has Clio installed on her laptop, iPhone, and iPad, which lets her work from anywhere.
More cases mean more files, which makes organisation essential. Clio’s Dropbox integration allows her to easily store, manage, and share documents. “I’ve always lived by the mantra that ‘organisation is the key’ and Clio helps me with this,” says Rachel. Clio’s intuitive timekeeping lets Rachel track case time—on her phone, tablet, or computer. She can then generate bills in minutes, limiting the amount of time between work completion and payment. “Time recording and the Quick Bill feature is a dream. I noticed an increase in revenue from the time recording and bill features alone.”
As her firm has grown to take on more staff and more cases, the efficiencies created by Clio have allowed Rachel the time to provide the same attentive service to all her clients in Yorkshire, the UK, and internationally. The extra time in her day has even given Rachel the opportunity to publish her first book “What to do when someone dies: a guide to your legal responsibilities.
Next Steps and Beyond
As her firm has grown to take on more staff and more cases, the efficiencies created by Clio have allowed Rachel the time to provide the same attentive service to all her clients in Yorkshire, the UK, and internationally. The extra time in her day has even given Rachel the opportunity to publish her first book “What to do when someone dies: a guide to your legal responsibilities.” Rachel’s trailblazing efforts have not gone unnoticed with The Law Society naming her Sole Practitioner of the Year, 2018.