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Legal Innovators Clio Law Firm Management in the Cloud

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“The future of legal technology is going to be driven by the move to the cloud,” said Clio CEO and Cofounder Jack Newton. “Cloud technology helps lawyers deliver legal services in a more productive and cost-efficient way to consumers.”

Clio is the leading cloud-based legal practice management software. With Clio, lawyers can manage their firm from intake to invoice in one centralized, compliant platform. Firms of all sizes use Clio to eliminate tedious tasks, and to gain better insights into their work, practice, and clients from anywhere at any time. Clio’s customers include 150,000 legal professionals spanning 90 countries.

The Vancouver-based company is celebrating its 10th anniversary and has been recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies by Deloitte. To date, Clio has over 300 employees and continues to see that number grow.

Clio was the brainchild of Newton and Co-founder Rian Gauvreau, two friends who met in elementary school in Edmonton, Alberta. Starting in high school, they began dreaming of someday starting a business together.

“In 2007 I had caught the start-up bug, and Rian had started to see the challenges that many law firms, large and small, had with IT and software. That was the seed of the idea for Clio,” said Newton.

“Clio’s mission is to transform the practice of law, for good, and make justice more accessible for all,” said Newton. In 2008, Newton and Gauvreau launched Clio’s first-to-market cloud-based practice management software and have been leading the industry ever since.

An important moment for Clio and cloud-based practice management software was a 2010 North Carolina State Bar decision to issue a positive ethics opinion on the acceptability of cloud computing. The NC State Bar was the first state bar to do so. “It was prompted in 2009 by a Clio customer who requested guidance if using a system like Clio was ethically acceptable,” said Newton.

Benefits for Small and Mid-Size Firms

“Cloud-based software eliminates the cost of buying, storing, and maintaining on-premise servers. Cloud vendors invest aggressively in security measures and infrastructure that goes well beyond what the average small to mid-sized law firm could afford. The cost of expensive software updates is also removed, as cloud-based software is kept up-to-date automatically by the vendor,” said Newton.

“Right now, a client has to come into a lawyer’s office for a few hours to work on their will. In the digital age, consumers would rather find their lawyer online, have an initial conversation online, fill out a questionnaire online, then have a 15 or 20-minute video chat, and then put the will online, all without the client ever having to come into the lawyer’s office. This kind of technology is going to lower the cost of legal services for clients,” said Newton.

Cyber-Security in the Cloud

“Clio is monitored 24-7 by security experts and we employ geo-redundancies to protect firm information in the event of a natural disaster or another unforeseen event,” said Newton. “We also offer advanced security features such as two-factor authentication and complex password requirements to increase account security. Additionally, 256-bit encryption protects all information sent and received from our software.”

Planning for the Cloud

“Cloud computing is here now. It is a low-cost way to obtain software and storage. But, there are security-related issues that have implications for professional responsibility,” said Kevin Lee, chairman of the NCBA’s committee on the future of law.

“I think there are two components that need to be incorporated into every law degree: The first is basic training on how to run a business and be an entrepreneur,” said Newton. “Technology is the second big piece of the puzzle. Lawyers of the future and today will only thrive if they understand technology and how it can be leveraged to deliver legal services in a more effortless and convenient way to their clients.”

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