The following is a transcript of Episode 10 of Championing Justice. You can listen to the full episode here, or watch it on YouTube.

Darl: Thank you for tuning in to the latest episode of Championing Justice. My name is Darl Champion. I’m the owner of The Champion Firm in Georgia, and today we have somebody from Clio joining us, Josh Lennon, who is a Lawyer in Residence at Clio. Thank you for joining us, Joshua.

Joshua: It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Darl: Joshua, can you tell us what you do at Clio and how you started working there?

Joshua: That is a great question that honestly I get asked every day. So my title is Lawyer in Residence and surprisingly while I was the first, I’m not the only Lawyer in Residence out there.

What we’ve seen is legal technology companies, while great companies, oftentimes do need the input of lawyers on how their tool will really be used and the reason is a good chunk of the time law is all about the edge cases. Do we meet this test? And if not, what should we do instead? And a lot of technology companies don’t think in edge cases, they think in the broadest possible application in order to hit the most customers.

So I am a licensed attorney. I’m licensed in New York, and I actually was a Clio customer when I was starting out. And so I was running a little immigration firm and, a bit of personal background, I met a cute Canadian while I was in law school and I was working for the Missouri Attorney General and ended up leaving a job offer from the Missouri Attorney General and moving up to New York, which is where I sat for the bar and opening immigration law firm because I was immigrating to Canada.

And so yeah, and I needed software that enabled me to run my law firm both while I was in New York and when I was across the border in Canada. And I tried this little startup software company called Clio and it was a really good program at the time, but I had questions and they were gracious enough to have questions for me.

And together we realized that we could be helping improve the practice of law if we started working together. And so I came on board Clio in 2012.

So for the last decade, I’ve been helping Clio research the intersection of the practice of law and the use of technology. And there are a couple ways that I do that. It might be helping explain what a feature would really be used for by a law firm. So we have a core calendar rule tool that helps calculate deadlines based on the rules of civil procedure. If you turn to a software developer and talk about the rules of civil procedure, they have no idea what you’re talking about.

And then when you plunk a book down of it and show them how you have to flip back and forth to calculate your deadlines, their eyes just widen. “Really, this is what you do?” I’m like, “Yeah, this is what you do.” And it helps them understand: one, why it’s important that we get accuracy in those deadlines. What’s it really going to be when if I miss this deadline or if my opposing party misses a deadline. And then they see not just the importance but how much pain that their job is helping eliminate on behalf of customers.

And I think that also makes it really important for them. It really digs them into the work. And from there we can not just talk about how do we make a better software, but how do we make a better collaboration between lawyers and the technology providers that have them?

And so I’m able to answer questions on confidentiality and privacy that the organization might not know about if they didn’t have someone on staff like me. I can also be a bit of a roadblock, but in a good way, on behalf of lawyers.

An example was a while back we were issuing a new feature and I just noticed that it was missing a field that was critical, just critical. Not that every lawyer would need it every time, but the lawyers that did need it, you can’t go back and shoehorn it in. And so I was able to say, “Hey, kind of stop the presses, but we need to put this feature in before we release or else we’re going to set some law firms up for a difficult cleanup later.”

So having a Lawyer in Residence on board helps the company understand lawyers. It helps the company better understand how the features are going to impact law firms and clients and it gives them somebody to ask questions to rather than annoy our own customers about these types of things.

And so when we say, “Hey, how do you calculate a contingency fee in Florida?” And I go, “Well, let me tell you all the different breakdowns based on has the case been filed? If the case has been filed, has it gone to discovery? All the different types of rules that control that. Oh, and did you get a waiver? Right? And so that way you’re not impacted by tort reform considerations as a part of your client retainer agreement.”

That’s something that I can answer on behalf of our customers rather than us having to go and interrupt a customer’s day and find all this information out. So a Lawyer in Residence is somebody in the company advocating on behalf of lawyers and law firms and it touches every part of the company.

Darl: Well, that’s very interesting. So Clio is like the OG case management program.

Joshua: Kind of. We’re the OG cloud-based case management.

Darl: There we go. That’s what it was.

Joshua: We’ve been around since 2008, but prior to that, there were actually a lot of case management practice and practice management programs out there. They all ran on a dusty server in your closet. They required somebody who was trained in network administration to come in and set up for you, and if you needed to add or remove a user, it was less than ideal from a customer perspective.

So we came along in 2008 and tried to change all that. I think we’ve done a pretty good job.

Darl: No, definitely. I mean, I think when most people talk about case management programs—and I get a lot of people that ask me for feedback about the programs we use, about other programs out there—and Clio is almost always in the mix for what people are considering.

How many users does Clio have nationwide?

Joshua: Oh, that’s actually a great question.

Darl: Or I guess nationwide and/or worldwide?

Joshua: We’ve got hundreds of thousands of lawyers and law firms using us right now. Our primary user base is still in the United States, which is where we launched initially, but we actually have lawyers using us in over a hundred countries around the world.

And in addition to our US data centers, we have data centers in Canada, the EU, and just recently in Australia, as well. So we’re really starting to help law firms all the way around the world.

Darl: That’s great.

Now a quick disclaimer: So I’m not a Clio customer. I did use Clio for six or so years. Great program. I liked it a lot. At the time they didn’t have any personal injury add-ons, but now they do. And so that’s one of the things that we’ll talk about today is kind of how Clio can be utilized by firms in different practice areas, but in particular in personal injury.

Before we kind of dive into Clio and what it does and its capabilities and other case management considerations, I’m always amazed at how many people still don’t use case management programs.

I’ll talk to a lawyer and they’ll say, “Oh, we just keep everything on a spreadsheet or Word doc or whatever.” Why should lawyers use a case management program?

Joshua: That’s a great question and I want to go all the way back to some research that was done in 2014 by a research group called Blue Hill Research. And what they found is that lawyers and law firms that don’t have some type of cloud-based case management are actually holding themselves back.

They’re making it tough to find files, they’re making it tough to communicate with their clients, they’re making it tough for people to record time. You’re just spending your time trying to figure out where everything is and where everyone is.

And with case management, Blue Hill actually found that these firms were able to recover that time and convert it into potentially billable time. It was an order of something like 10 thousands of dollars per lawyer per month that could be earned if you just got organized.

And we took that research and we actually turned around to Clio’s own customer base and we asked them, how much time is Clio really saving you in a day? And the primary responses were over an hour and right around two hours of administrative time were being removed from Clio customers every day and enabling them to either refocus that time on billable activities or get a better work-life balance.

And so yeah, if you don’t have case management, what you’re doing is you’re practicing law with one arm tied behind your back.

Darl: And I think that’s a great point about efficiency because I always tell people this as a contingency fee practice, which all personal injury lawyers are on the plaintiff side, efficiency is rewarded. The more efficient we are—it isn’t like, for example, if you’re on the defense side and you’re billing by the hour and you’re like, “Hey, I have a finite amount of work and I just need to kind of milk this,”‘ not that any defense lawyers would ever over bill.

But on the plaintiff side, the quicker you can get things done, it benefits your client, it benefits you professionally and personally because if you can take something that might otherwise take five hours and cut it down to three, that’s two extra hours of free time.

Do you use that on working on a case or do you use it on family time or whatever? It’s extremely important, but I think what a lot of the pushback that I hear from people about case management, especially when they’re first starting their firm is the cost.

They’re pinching pennies and they’re worried about having fixed overhead and they sort of just start with whatever system works for them and they never make that transition.

How do you handle that kind of response when you’re talking to lawyers that are worried about the cost and so they just keep pushing it off?

Joshua: It’s actually a really tough conversation because if this were any other group of business people, you would say the term return on investment, which is how much money do you put in and how much money do you get back? And the math for practice management and case management is just startling in favor of using it. But with lawyers, and you’re right, it can be a little pennywise and pound foolish.

And so what we have to do is show them how case management actually helps them not just be a better lawyer but run a better law firm. And so there are certain things we know that clients are looking for.

And this is part of our ongoing research to a series of reports that we call the Legal Trends Report. It’s something we publish every year and we’re getting more and more targeted in the questions we’re asking and the data we’re researching.

But when we ask clients what do they want from a lawyer and how do they want to communicate with a law firm, what we see is there’s been this pretty big amazing shift from the old way of doing things, which is I have to spend an hour trying to figure out what your office hours are and when I can schedule an appointment and then I have to drive down there and visit you in your office just to tell you my story, much less I have to remember to bring my checkbook because that’s how I’m going to put down a retainer to pay for expenses and everything like that.

It just is this experience that doesn’t align with the modern consumer approach to problem-solving. And so when we ask clients what they want, is they want a lawyer that they can contact online, they want a lawyer that has the ability to do things like video conferencing with them so that they don’t have to take two hours out of their day for a 15-minute meeting. They want a lawyer who they can upload documents directly to their website rather than having to figure out what a fax machine is and where can they access one.

All of these things that are I think kind of the daily bread and butter for law firms are actually anathema to clients in hiring a lawyer. And so when you say “Case management can make you a better law firm,” a lot of the times what case management does is it makes it easier for the clients, and because of that it will then be easier for the lawyer.

And the example is clients can schedule their own appointments with you, for example, and even pay for a consultation without you or staff members having to take that time and do it. They can upload their documents directly into your case management system.

And so rather than you having to hunt them down or having to get that big envelope filled with a bunch of random papers and then having to scan them in yourselves, clients can actually use their mobile phone, take a picture of it, and Clio for Client’s mobile app will scan that picture, turn it into a document, and upload it into the case file for you.

And so all these little things that you make easier for clients actually then make it easier for you as a lawyer, and then when it comes time to communicate with them, you can do so securely.

When it comes time to submit any type of report for your fees, you’re able to do that because Clio just calculates that all automatically for you. And when you decide that you’re going to work, for example, from Disney World on vacation, you can actually take your law firm with you because it’s all in the cloud and you don’t have to carry a banker’s box to practice law anymore.

So the return on investment is startling. What we see is for law firms that are using practice management and really leveraging features like online client portals, online client intake, the ability to process payments online, they’re easily earning around $38,000 more per lawyer per year than firms that aren’t using those types of client-facing features.

But you also tell them that it’ll get them more clients. That’s when they start to shift and jump on board.

Darl: Yeah, I think a big thing is the customer experience and the client experience, and that’s something that I talk about.

I mean maybe it’s a little bit different if you’re a huge mega-firm with institutional clients and the way they communicate with them. But from a personal injury, criminal defense, family law, whatever, a consumer-based practice or even a small business focus, practice looking like you have your stuff together is incredibly important. And so are you the lawyer with the accordion file and the manila folder in it with papers kind of going everywhere? Or when you’re sitting down for a meeting, do you pull up the app on your phone and show them the documents and the case and everything? I think there’s a huge difference there.

I want to come back to one thing though, because you mentioned the original case management programs that were server-based and what’s happened with the cloud and there’s a lot cloud-based programs that have come about. What are the benefits of being cloud-based versus server-based?

Joshua: I think there are three main benefits of being cloud-based, the first of which is that it is actually a cheaper turnkey solution than you’re going to see from a lot of these legacy software.

What do I mean by that? I mean that you can just swing by a producer’s website like and sign up for a free trial like that as opposed to having to enter your contact information, wait for a salesperson to get back to you, having them work up a quote, and then you having to figure out do you have the hardware, the technology expertise, to do an installation just to get a free demo?

Whereas with a cloud-based solution, it’s swing by the website, sign up, get started right away. And the billing model tends to be different, and that’s why it’s that cheaper turnkey solution. Legacy systems require a very large upfront investment.

I’ve heard of firms spending $20,000 to $30,000 to get up and running on this legacy software.

Darl: I’ve heard that, too.

Joshua: Yeah, a cloud-based solution is like 60 to a hundred bucks a month per user and they can be flexible in their contract terms. So I actually recommend that if anybody tries Clio out that they start with a month-to-month subscription just like you would for Netflix to see if it’s the right fit, kick the tires, and that way if we aren’t the right fit, you can exit.

Which actually leads me to my second point on why cloud-based solutions are better and cloud-based solutions have to operate on a very agreed upon set of technology. The internet and legacy saw systems didn’t. So long as they worked on Windows, they could pretty much do whatever kind of ugly coding in the background they wanted to, but the internet means we all have to work together on a set of standard technology, and that means that you’re actually going to be leveraging the internet in your case practice in a way that didn’t exist in prior systems.

An example of that is something called an API, an application programmatic interface. And it’s basically code for letting two programs connect and talk to each other securely.

And so if you’re using Microsoft Outlook to do email and communicate with your clients, you can actually plug your Outlook into Clio and store the appropriate files and communications as a part of your case file in Clio from Outlook without ever having to leave it.

Same for Gmail, if you’re using that as well. Any attachments that get emailed to you can be directly integrated into your case management documents, folders for those matters. And so because the technology infrastructure is something that’s very advanced but also very standardized, it makes it very easy for you to use these programs together and shift between providers.

One of the things I also tell lawyers is your law firm is already 10 years out of date even if you’re using the most up-to-date software, and that’s because you have those record-keeping requirements well into the future. And so any document you’re producing today, any financial record you’re producing today, you’re going to need on average about seven years from now just as a part of your mandatory record keeping.

You need a provider that recognizes that and gives you the ability to carry those records with you if you ever leave. And cloud-based systems are much better for that.

The last reason that I recommend people take a look at cloud-based systems is because they are the most up-to-date if you’re with a reputable provider. An example I would want to give is there was this big risky problem with computers called the heart bleed risk. And basically what happens in the code community is if somebody finds something that’s a weakness, they’ll reach out to the people who really produce those things like Microsoft or Oracle for servers and things like that. They let them know in advance, and then Oracle and Microsoft and the people who find those risks will announce it, and then it’s up to the people who are using that technology to go out and update themselves.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when was the last time you really kept up to date on what was the most emerging code risk out there?

Darl: Yeah, never.

Joshua: Yeah, but at Clio we do, because that’s the focus of our organization, is to make sure our software is running securely and smoothly. And so we were able to take a look at this heart bleed risk, evaluate it against Clio’s own infrastructure that we’re maintaining on behalf of law firms, update anything that needed to be done appropriately, and from the announcement to us being able to say, “Oh, it’s not a problem,” was less than 24 hours.

And that same level of security and up-to-date performance also occurs with the features that we’re producing. So we’re constantly coming out with new features and new ways to improve your law firm and the practice of law, and that’s not something you get from these legacy providers.

So basically what you purchase for that $20,000 to $30,000, it’s what you’re stuck with for the next 10 years. And it might be insecure, it might not be as efficient as it could be. It might not even run on the computers that you’re going to buy five years from now.

Darl: It might not run on Macs. I mean, we run on all Apple programs. So I know some firms that have used the legacy programs that are server-based have to have—what is it called? Parallels or something?

Joshua: Oh, yeah, yeah. They have an emulator, right? To pretend that they’re a Windows machine.

Darl: Yeah, I mean it is so complicated. I mean, I’ll tell you, I’d never considered using a server-based program.

To me, just seems like a total no-brainer because it [the cloud] is so easy and it’s all there and you can easily access it and you don’t have to worry about, hey, if the server breaks, I don’t have access to it. If you’re remote, you don’t have to log in to the server in your office to do work or to work remotely. You just log into your program.

You talked a little bit about security and I think we all hear stories about people getting hacked. I know there was the huge data hack with United Healthcare that has kind of thrown the entire country into chaos on the healthcare standpoint, but the concern I had about servers too was getting it hacked and holding your data hostage.

Is that something that could happen as well in a cloud-based program? Is it a different kind of risk?

Joshua: Absolutely. It’s a different kind of risk, but it still can’t happen. The example I want to give is Dropbox. So everybody’s familiar with Dropbox, right? You can store your files local on your computer, but it also syncs up to the cloud. And if your local computer gets infected, that synced file can also be uploaded to Dropbox.

Now, it won’t affect Dropbox, but it means that your original uninfected version is not the most recent. For law firms, that’s a real problem. And Clio has a functionality that we call Clio Drive. It’s very similar to Dropbox. You have the local and the synced version. And when we released it in 2021, I looked at our team and I said, “Hey, according to the ABA, close to 30% of lawyers report having some type of security incident including malware happen in a year. Are we prepared for a law firm coming to us and saying, ‘Hey, we got hit with ransomware and now all my files are encrypted, what do we do?'”

And we took a look at that and we decided to make sure that we had the ability to roll back files to a previous state. And so I’m proud to say that unfortunately, some law firms up there have opened the email that they shouldn’t and clicked on the file that they shouldn’t and gotten ransomware.

But every time a Clio firm does that, they can call us and we can roll their files back. And it’s still a bit of an inconvenience, but it’s not “I’ve lost everything.” It’s that “Now I have to spend 24 hours rethinking my documents and then I’m back up and running.”

So the economy of scale for security that you get with these cloud-based services is so much more than you could ever afford on your own. An example I like to give is we have 24-hour on-call software engineers, and so when an emergency happens, it’s all hands on deck and that’s us being on deck. You guys don’t have to be, you give us a call at our 800 number, talk to us about it, and we start the process of getting you back up and running because that’s where you need to be and that’s where your clients need you to be.

Darl: What are the things or the features that a lawyer should be looking for when they’re looking at case management programs and what are the questions they need to be asking as they’re looking at these features?

Joshua: I think the features are going to be roughly the same across a lot of these producers now because, as you mentioned, we’re the OG. There’s a lot of copying going on, but there are, I think a couple of things that make a difference between the different software providers that are out there. And the first is transparency.

So you should be working with a provider that’s transparent on what they do and don’t do and how they’re set up. So are they telling you where the data’s being stored and processed? Are they telling you if they’re subcontracting out to other services? And some of that’s legal. They have to tell you that under certain privacy laws if they’re using subprocessors, right? And some of it’s just making sure so that you have the ability to answer your client’s questions about this.

The second thing that you should look for is how easy is it to onboard your own data? So I mentioned Microsoft Outlook before. One of the things that we built into Clio is the ability to upload your contacts from Microsoft Outlook into Clio. So it can be a part of your conflict check procedure now, and you don’t have to rely upon your email to do a conflict check. You can rely upon your practice management system to do that conflict check.

It can sync calendars. You should be looking for practice management that links your tools together rather than being something separate. And again, I mentioned the ability to sync your hard drive, the ability to sync email and calendars, the ability to work with different types of document publishing platforms that are out there like NetDocuments if you’re a larger firm. All of these things are integrations that you should be able to do as a modern case management and law practice system.

The transparency should also go to pricing. You should know what you’re going to pay and when. And then when I want to take a look at features that are particular to personal injury law firms, I actually do want to look at support for your website and client onboarding because the ability to book those clients quickly and early is what keeps your pipeline full.

Our own studies have shown that clients when they’re seeking a lawyer want a response within 24 hours and outside studies have shown that the first lawyer to answer is often the first lawyer they go with. And so we have a tool called Clio Grow. It’s a customer relationship management tool, CRM, and it helps you keep track of those leads. It helps you make sure that they’re going through your workflow cleanly, smoothly. It automates certain responses and it does the document collection on your behalf so that you’re working potential clients while you’re also serving your current clients.

And then when you move into helping clients, it’s all about keeping on top of deadlines. So one of the things that we’ve built into our case management tool is the local rules of civil procedure in every state. And what we’ve done is we’ve turned those into calendar reminders. And so if you are serving notice of a lawsuit on behalf of your client, the clock starts ticking. You can keep track of deadlines for yourself or for the opposing party and when they’re kind of missing their windows of opportunities and you can take advantage of that.

We also make it easy for you to again, collect those documents from your clients and we make it easy for you to then take that information and standardize it into document templates. And as part of our advanced drafting tool Clio Draft, we actually have the court form libraries for all 50 states built in.

And so you can be using the court forms with the data that your client entered when they booked their consultation with you, rather than you having to have somebody go back and find that data and cut and paste it in or type it themselves. You can just carry that labor that your clients have been doing from day one all the way into the stuff that you’re filing for your clients.

And then the last thing that I think you should be looking for is the ability to exit these programs. And again, I think lawyers need to think long-term, and so you should be able to know from day one, what does it take to get your data out of these tools and move it on to something that’s usable for you?

In Clio’s instance, we have all of our cancellation terms as a part of our terms of service, and this is important. We also have built-in backup features and export features that export your data in a usable format so your documents come back as documents. Your data is exportable as spreadsheets, and you can just take that wherever you need to go in the future. And so I think that transparency and flexibility of those tools are the things you should be looking for.

Darl: Yeah, one of the things I wanted to mention to you is migration, because I think a lot of lawyers get with a practice management program, maybe they’re unhappy, they want to try something else, and there’s a lot of resistance to change because they’re worried about migration.

Maybe it’s going to be time-consuming. Maybe they’re worried about something just disappearing in the cloud. And I know every program is different, but we can use Clio as an example. How does that process look? I mean, how is the data getting from Case Management Program A over here to Clio? Is it manually being input? Is there some sort of computer program that all the data goes into and it just poof, magically appears?

Joshua: So as much as possible, we want that poof, it just appears, experience for you guys, but we’re often limited by whatever tool you’re bringing the data from. And so we still have to deal with these legacy providers who use these proprietary data formats rather than the standard internet formats that I’ve been talking about.

So that could limit it, but as much as possible, we try to make onboarding quick and easy, but there’s always going to be change management. If anybody tells you it’s going to be instant and seamless, they’re just trying to sell you, but it can be easier than you think.

And so Clio has a data migrations team. They have been trained in hundreds, literally hundreds, of different types of conversions that are out there from all of these legacy providers and competitors. And every day they’re working with firms who are leaving software that just isn’t working for them and helping them transition, export and transition that data into Clio as quickly as possible.

And we even often run, and I don’t know if this might not be the right thing to say for a podcast where audience is listening later, but right now we have what we call our Break Free campaign, which is we know that a lot of our other competitors use these really long contract terms with their customers. And what we’ve done to help with that is to tell people who are thinking about migrating that will give complimentary access to Clio for that remainder of your contract in order to help mitigate the cost, help with the transfer of that information, and also make sure that when your contract is up with your old software that you’re ready to go on day one with your new software and that type of migration.

And just one-on-one support is actually so successful that when our competitor Thomson Reuters announced that they were canceling their case management system, Firm Central, they actually reached out to us and helped us build a migration tool from Firm Central to Clio and then went out and told all of their ex-customers, “This is where you should go.”

Darl: That’s awesome. Yeah, this might explain why that case management program is no longer in existence. I didn’t even know Thomson Reuters had a case management program.

Joshua: Yeah.

Darl: I didn’t. I really didn’t. But let me ask you about the personal injury add-on. I’ve seen some of this online and one of the things that’s unique to me about Clio versus other programs, there’s some in the personal injury space that are specific to personal injury. That’s all they do. That’s all their clientele bases. Clio has a variety of customers, so y’all are having to create a case management platform that works for your criminal defense lawyer, your business litigation, real estate, all this stuff, which I can imagine creates a ton of problems internally in terms of how do we kind of create this program that works with everyone? And so one of the things y’all have done is created these add-ons. And the one that I wanted to just have you talk about briefly is the personal injury add-on.

What is that and what does it do?

Joshua: Yeah, so the personal injury add-on is taking a look at the unique task of personal injury lawyers and making sure that we make them easy to support within Clio.

So you’re right, there are some things that are universal for lawyers. You need contacts, you need the ability to track your calendar, you need the ability to issue some type of billing statement. And most law firms actually should be using trust accounting much more than they do. Our own data shows a law firm that is using trust accounting is actually really increasing their bottom line in their revenue.

But when we get to personal injury, there are certain actions and activities that are just much more forward in the workflow than you’ll see in a lot of other practice areas. One of those is the reliance upon third parties to get the official record. And I’m thinking like medical records and having to manage different types of medical providers and their concerns about HIPAA and pulling all of those documents in.

And so part of the Clio personal injury add-on is helping you track medical records and the outreach to these medical providers. Have they submitted the information? Is that information also subject to a lien, which is not something that every practice area has to deal with.

And the other big feature within the Clio personal injury add-on is all about the negotiations as well. So we know that a lot of times there’s back and forth going on that needs to be tracked and it needs to be tracked for a variety of different points of interest. So what is the client going to receive, but also what is the law firm getting out of this negotiation? And there are going to be multiple offers going back and forth, then you’ll need to be able to weigh those against each other and give the client a really informed idea of what’s being offered and what the impact for them is going to be.

And so Clio has a negotiation and settlement tracking feature that does a lot of the calculations for you and the client. So, “This is the big number that they’re throwing out, but here’s how it breaks down and here’s how that compares to the last offer and here’s what we have put up.”

And it gives you the ability in just a single glance to know what is actually going to be the outcome of a case and discuss that within the firm and with your client directly. And so those features alone I think make it a lot easier for a personal injury lawyer to know where their case is and how it’s going to work on behalf of the client and the law firm in a way that Clio without that, which still supports contingency fees, does. And so it just puts your workflow front and center.

Darl: Yeah, no, that’s great. I mean, I’ll tell you, tracking medical records and getting medical records is such a huge part of what we do and it’s personal injury, so we got to show the injuries and the way you do that is with medical records and bills and people have a variety of ways of handling it.

Some of them request the records with their own internal staff, some use external third parties. There’s a number of vendors that will do requests for you.

Joshua: We integrate with some of them.

Darl: Oh, really? So how does that work? Let’s say you’re using a third party, and I don’t know if you have an example that you might want to use in talking about this, but how does that look for the user and how they’re requesting the records? Can they still do it within Clio?

Joshua: So it does depend upon how much of integration the provider has done. Clio actually has triggered actions where you can have your two software linked together and in Clio you can click a button or a dropdown and trigger an action.

But even without that, if you have these providers that have built integrations with us, when you create a file in Clio, it’ll create a file in their software and create those tasks or activities that they need to do, and then when they upload documents, they then appear within your case record in Clio.

And so you don’t have to go out and then like, okay, let’s scan these or drag and drop ’em or cut and paste them, whatever we have to do to get them into our dataset. And it’ll include notification, it’ll include expenses so you can be able to pay back the record provider as a part of your chain of expenses for this. And so that’s one way in which you can quickly and easily tie these tools together such that rather than it being two separate workflows and all the labor of connecting those later, we can just automate a lot of that process for you.

Darl: Well, that sounds very helpful. I think integrations are great if whatever case management program you’re on, if it integrates, and a lot of the standard stuff is like calendar integrations. I think pretty much everybody integrates with Google for things like that, but the more that your own tech stack of the tools you’re using that integrate with it, it can make your life and your staff’s life so much easier because then they’re not having to go and log into 20 different platforms.

And I’ll tell you, as the father of two children who are in elementary school, the number of programs I have to log into for their school with this assignment’s here, here, over here, and I can never remember my password and I’m constantly having to reset my password and do all this stuff, and my daughter’s finishing fifth grade this year.

Joshua: Yeah, congratulations.

Darl: Thank you. I still don’t know what some of these programs are, so I think the more that you can kind of wrangle that and have everything as much as possible under one hood, it’s good.

Now you mentioned intake. Is the Clio Grow intake platform, is that sort of within the Clio? Do you just log into Clio or is that a separate website that integrates with you?

Joshua: You just log into Clio. Yeah. But we do kind of segment the features by what you’re doing.

So if you’re doing business development, you’ll be looking at the Clio Grow interface. If you’re doing advanced document creation, you’ll look at Clio Draft, and then there’s Clio Manage, which is the case management that really ties it all together. And so just like the integrations enable you to plug and play what you need and the best in class software out there, so does Clio.

And we have these features that if you don’t need advanced drafting, just use Clio Manage, or if you need this type of rapid-fire client relationship and business development, grab Clio grow and have it work together and they sync between themselves such that the information is all there.

So I wanted to raise one other integration example that I think is probably important for personal injury and we integrate with process servers as well. So there’s a nationwide process server for an example called Proof, which enables you to take the case information from Clio, trigger a process server in Proof, they go out and provide all the different types of proof, no pun intended, that you need that a service, a process was effective, and then all of that comes back into your Clio account and it might be photos of the delivery, it might be the signature itself, it might be GPS and timestamps depending upon the jurisdiction and what they require.

But all of that can be done as a part of integrations. And so Clio actually has 280 different direct integrations right now with different legal technology providers in addition to integrations for things like Microsoft, Gmail, Dropbox, and other types of document management solutions. So you really can pick and choose what works for your law firm and then have it kind of orbit around Clio as your case management, organizing everything for you.

Darl: One of the things I wanted to get your advice on and your input is the concept of the case management program needs to be a tool that benefits you in your practice of law as opposed to being an end in and of itself. And so one of the fears that I’ve always had when I look at case management programs, it seems like the more bells and whistles they have, the more I’m a little nervous about it.

I always kind of equate it to buying a high-end sports car. It’s going to need more maintenance and I just want a Honda Accord or a Toyota Camry. That’s the kind of case management program I need. Steady, reliable, simple. It’s why we run on Macs. I think that they’re simpler than PCs.

What advice do you have for lawyers that are worried about their paralegals and legal assistants sort of becoming data entry specialists or how can that be prevented when you’re going to these programs?

Joshua: That’s a great question. You mentioned before that Clio actually services more than just personal injury law firms, and that’s required us to create a user experience that is flexible and so that you can turn off features if you’re not using them, or you can limit access to certain information to employees in your firms if they don’t need it, right?

If it’s a paralegal, they don’t need to see your trust account, they just need to know it exists, for example. And so that type of flexibility actually does help with that.

The other thing is, and one of the things that I think is an insight that not every practice management company has out there, but most of the work of being a lawyer in a law firm isn’t done in practice management. It’s done in Microsoft Word, it’s done in the face-to-face between you and your clients, or an appearance in a boardroom or a courtroom.

And so the tools should support the work being done outside of them rather than being the place where you go to work. And so there are lots of different examples on how Clio does that.

We have our mobile app, Clio for Lawyers, and so you can take Clio with you and set a timer running or have your calendar entries or take a note without having to lug your computer with you everywhere. We actually also know that not every courtroom is the friendliest for computers. And so we’ve done things like you can print out your calendar in a printable format so that way you can be making a scheduling appearance before the court. And if that judge who’s like “Put your cell phone away,” well you can slap the paper down and still have all your information with you.

And so the tool should be accommodating to the work that you actually are going to be doing. And that’s one of the things that we work hard to achieve in Clio. And our flexibility, because again, we support so many lawyers in so many countries and so many practice areas, requires us to make Clio easy to use. Well, as easy as it can be.

Darl: Sure. Yeah. I’ll tell you, I’m not going to name any names here. We looked at a few case management programs back in 2020 and one of the ones I looked at, I mean it had so many bells and whistles, and I’m looking at it, I’m like, not only do I not need this, but it would take forever to populate the data and I don’t need that.

And so that’s kind of where I think as lawyers, there’s so many fancy tech tools out there and we look at things, “Oh, you have this tool that can do this and this,” and it’s like, well, is this kind of a solution in search of a problem type thing? And I think sometimes case management programs can kind of do that, but I appreciate you saying that about Clio though because I think that’s very important to keep that in mind.

As we get towards the end here, I wanted to kind of cover a few things about the future with you. Clio’s big on being on the cutting edge of things. The Clio Trends report, y’all do that every year?

Joshua: Yeah, Legal Trends Report. We publish it every year.

Darl: That’s great. I mean, I see it every time it gets published. I see it on LinkedIn. I mean, it is become a big thing that people are looking forward to.

What are some trends that you see either starting or continuing over the next, let’s say, five years that lawyers should be aware of?

Joshua: Oh, that’s a really great question. And so, I hate to be buzzwordy, but artificial intelligence.

Darl: I was going to say…

Joshua: That is definitely going to be a part of it. And it’s one of those things where right now it’s really either at the top of its hype or it’s getting there because everybody’s talking about it. Everybody wants to put it in everything, but I think a lot of places are still trying to figure out how.

And for personal injury lawyers, I think there are probably three places where you’re going to need to start dealing with artificial intelligence in the future. The first of which is clients.

They’re going to be attempting to use these tools themselves and it’s going to create problems for you, and they’re going to be asked to write in their own words what happened and they’re going to let a GenAI do it, and is that actually credible and accurate is something you guys are going to have to start sorting through. Right?

Darl: Interesting. Yeah.

Joshua: Yeah. It’s also going to be from the opposing side, you’re going to have to start noticing is this type of document or statement something that you think has been put through a GenAI filter so that we know are we actually getting a contemporaneous and credible testimony, or is this an expert report spit out by GenAI and not an expert?

Then the second area where you guys are going to start to really leverage it, I think, is going to be in discovery. I think generative AI and large language learning models, which is kind of the software behind this generative AI, will help kind of find the needle in the haystack a lot quicker.

And you’re going to be able to point them at a big pile of documents, say, really, “Send me everything that’s these people talking about a defective product in an email,” right? Or “Tell me all the different addresses that we see pop up here and organize them chronologically.” It’s going to be able to hunt, find, and organize information for you in a way that is so much faster than ever before, and that’s going to speed up that efficiency that we’ve talked about before.

The last thing that we’re probably going to have to worry about when it comes to artificial intelligence is there’s going to be a push to move a lot of dispute resolution into online, I think, interactive forums, and I don’t think those are always the best places for the best outcomes.

And so there are ones that are doing it really well up here in British Columbia, Canada, which is where I am today. There’s the BC Civil Resolution Tribunal, which is an online court, for lack of a better term, that has special jurisdiction over certain types of cases, small claims, condo, which they call straddle law up here, which can get really expensive in Vancouver. We have really expensive real estate.

Certain types of vehicle accidents also have to go into this online dispute resolution tribunal first. Right? And to their credit, I think the team behind this has done a really great job, but I don’t think everybody will. And so we’re going to have to look at this shift in procedural workflow of how do we go before a “ChatGPT judge, “and I’m air quoting for the listeners, and figure out how to enter all the information to document the record and then be able to guide both our client and this utility to a usable outcome.

And whether that’s a decision in our client’s favor, whether that’s a record that we can then use to appeal to a regular court, these are all things that I think we’re going to see start to roll out in the future, and PI lawyers are going to be at the forefront of having to deal with it.

Darl: Sure. Yeah. I mean, I think one of the things I see is with the AI search experience and a lot of search engines that are trying to do that. And somebody’s just going to start going into Google and “tell me who the best lawyer and so-and-so is,” which they sort of do right now, not all the time, but that’s a search term or a search phrase.

Joshua: Oh yeah.

Darl: How is that going to affect how people find lawyers? Are people going to become more reliant on AI for that?

Joshua: Um-hmm.

Darl: I think the part about using AI to potentially craft evidence is one I had not thought of, and I could totally see especially large insurance companies who focus a lot on that as essentially having something spit out or whatever, an expert report on something or what’s supposedly an IME or taking something a doctor wrote and running it through it to maybe clean it up or polish it or whatever. So those are interesting things to look out for sure.

Well, Joshua, I think we’re out of time. I really appreciate you joining us and telling us all about case management programs, the things that lawyers should be thinking about when they’re choosing a program, why they need to choose one, and sharing some of your experience with Clio.

Thank you for joining us today, and to our listeners, thank you for listening. If you haven’t yet, please hit the subscribe button so that you can get the latest rollout of each podcast.

We try and get them out monthly. Sometimes they’re a little bit delayed, but we really appreciate you listening to us.

Joshua: Darl, thanks so much for having me, and I want to thank your audience for joining us today. If they’re looking for more information about Clio or our Legal Trends Report, you can swing by or—that’s C L I O—forward slash LTR, for the Legal Trends Report, and that includes great information like benchmark rate calculators, what are the key performance indicators of law firms, what’s the average billable hour per practice area per state? We put all that information up there in order to help improve the practice of law, and so we hope you and your audience find it helpful.

Darl: Thank you, Joshua, and thank you for everything Clio does for the legal industry as a whole. I think it is kind of at the forefront of a lot of the trends that are going on and kind of staying in tune with what’s going on.

It’s very important for everybody to consistently be reminded of what we should be doing because it’s so easy to get bogged down in the practice of law that you lose sight of the bigger picture and what’s going on in the real world and how people are interacting with lawyers and that sort of thing.

So I appreciate your time today and thanks for coming on.

Joshua: I look forward to chatting again. Thanks.


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