How Kim Cross and Vine Law use Clio’s practice management software
Started Using Clio
Vine Law, South Brink, Wisbech, UK
Wills & Probate
When Kim Cross and Melinda Smith started Vine Law, they knew they wanted their law firm to operate differently from other firms. That’s why they chose Clio for their practice management software needs.
How Vine Law are succeeding with Clio
When Kim Cross and Melinda Smith started Vine Law, they knew they wanted their law firm to operate differently from other firms. Founded during COVID, Vine Law needed the ability to provide legal services remotely. Additionally, the Vine Law team wanted to be very client-focused, ensuring they were approachable and accessible to the people they help.
Vine Law looked into cloud-based legal practice management software. They knew they wanted a central system, where they could manage time recording, billing, and document storage. After exploring their options, the team found that Clio was user-friendly and intuitive, ideal for their needs.
“The way that it was set out was so easy to use,” Kim says. “It was immediately obvious from when you first opened it, how you would use it.”
Because Vine Law was just starting out, the team wanted software that they can use as their firm grows, to keep everyone working efficiently from the same information with established workflows, trusting that systems are in place to support their work.
The ability to grow is vital to Vine Law, which currently has five lawyers but plans to expand in the next few years. Past experience, however, showed that even within law firms, not all lawyers use the same procedures, making it difficult to be consistent.
“My experience in my previous firm was that there was not much consistency between fee earners. We were not all singing from the same hymn sheet and didn’t have clear internal guidance on how to deal with any one particular type of matter. This leads to repetition of work that doesn’t need to happen.”
In Clio Manage, Vine Law found cloud-based legal practice management software that enables more effective training, allowing every lawyer to use the same processes and procedures.
“Having Clio–having that system there–will allow us to train better. In fact, it allows us to do a lot of things better: we are more efficient, more collaborative, and we can bill quicker which keeps the cash-flow going, something that is really important to all firms but small ones in particular.”
Legal software the firm could trust
It wasn’t just Clio’s functionality that drew Vine Law’s attention. It was also the company’s culture, starting with Karl, the salesperson who helped them, and exhibited throughout the entire Clio team. With many case management providers, clients are put through a hard-sell and locked in to products that may or may not work for them. Kim says Clio developed a trusting relationship with her firm from the start which was almost as important to them as Clio’s legal technology.
“With Clio, we felt a level of trust right from the beginning. It really felt like we were being welcomed into a team. It felt like people were interested in what we were doing. It wasn’t just about another sale or just another law firm signing up to a case management system. It felt like we both had something to gain from the relationship. We have in fact learned from this about the right way to do business and we replicate it ourselves with our own clients.”
A smooth onboarding process ensured Vine Law knew how to use Clio effectively, to better support their systems. Clio’s onboarding begins with an Onboarding Specialist, who helps clients like Vine Law determine the best learning path for them and highlights relevant Clio resources.
Following that, Vine Law was able to set up forms and documents to ensure a more streamlined law firm management process. Even after onboarding, Vine Law can reach out to Clio at any time for assistance or to ask questions about Clio’s software.
Saving valuable time and lowering costs
Vine Law doesn’t have support staff as yet and so they use Clio to assist where needed. As an example,Kim uses the Clio app to dictate notes into her phone straight after a call, or to access any documents she needs to see while out and about. She also uses Clio combined with Microsoft 365 to dictate attendance notes or letters straight onto a Word document, a setup Kim says works better than some dictation software she’s seen.
Clio also saves time on Vine Law’s billing, freeing up the team for client work. Previously, billing required hours of time and energy, not only to create the invoice but to make sure all time was properly recorded, often on a printed out file that recorded every email. Ensuring accuracy meant manually checking that all information was correct.
Using Clio, Vine Law can see all emails and records in one place and efficiently add them to the bill. Users record their time and activities so they can easily create and send customised bills from their system with only a few clicks of a button. Invoices can even be customised based on the practice area or client, and Vine Law can track the funds in their clients’ accounts.
Once [the bill] is ready to go, I just bill it and it’s gone. It hardly takes me any time at all.
The Document Automation feature enables law firms to create specific templates and pull information from other documents to be added into Clio, a vital feature for many law firms, especially those that routinely focus on document drafting. Commonly used forms such as Engagement Letters can be easily created, saving the time and effort of manually filling in key details and lessening the risk of error. Thanks to enhanced security, all documents are securely and safely stored.
The ability to work without paper saves time, money and energy, as well. With everything stored centrally and accessible, less administrative time is spent searching through files for information. Vine Law saves money not having to print files or use stationary–which also saves the environment. Further, e-signatures mean Vine Law and their clients don’t have to download, print or scan documents to sign.
“I don’t have paper files at all. The only printed material I use tends to be court bundles. That’s possible because everything is so easily accessible. Because you can save your documents centrally, we can store them in a way that is easy for any of us to navigate and find.That’s the key to working without paper files.”
Clio also integrates with many of the same apps that law firms rely on to manage their clients, including Google Drive, Microsoft Teams and Xero, enabling Vine Law and other firms to track all their vital information from one easy-to-use platform.
The ease of communicating with clients, storing and sorting through documents, time recording and billing saves Vine Law a great deal of administrative time. With bills being sent out and paid by clients more quickly, the firm’s cash flow has been positively affected.
It’s not just Vine Law that has benefitted from the use of Clio. The law firm’s clients have also noticed more efficient processes.
“Clients have said they love being able to upload documents into the portal from their phones. Generally it allows us to work quicker and more efficiently, which is one of the main things clients love.”
Clio’s features and functions
Kim says Vine Law uses as much of Clio as possible to make their working lives easier, but there’s still functionality for them to explore and learn more about.
Ultimately, given the benefits of using Clio, Kim says she’d recommend Clio’s legal technology to other law firms.
“Clio is so user-friendly and intuitive, and such a time saver for us, that I would recommend making the switch.”
Learn more about Kim’s journey
You can follow more of Kim Cross and Vine Law’s story, and how they went from start-up law firm to success, in The Making of a Law Firm Series. A year-long series following four start-up law firm founders in the UK, it’s available to view on demand below.