After nearly two years of sifting through cloud solutions for the law firm, I have finally settled into Clio. There have been many trials and even more errors, but at the end of the day, Clio provides the cleanest integration of office management and client interaction.
What has been a long, drawn out exploration into the limits of a “virtual office” and providing streamline legal services, has really become a manhunt for the best software. Recently, I realized that this was just simply the wrong approach. Allowing the software options be the guiding force in how to build the firm’s identity only relegated the strength of the firm as the leading tag line. I was so caught up in provided an “innovative solution” that stopped focusing on the meat and potatoes of a law firm, acquiring clients. What I have come to realize, perhaps in a major hole of naivety, is that a client that trusts you and believes in your work will adapt to your “software” or file management systems. The selling point is not, “look how shiny my shiny things are” but “look at what I can do for you, oh and by the way, ain’t this nifty.” Understanding this has been a great growing pain for the firm.
This is not at all to belittle Clio’s service. For a small firm looking for innovative solutions to office and client management, Clio is an incredibly useful tool. What is important to remember is that is just that, a tool. Since VLOTech was bought up last year, all the systems out on the market are pretty similar and nobody, besides a custom built backend, will provide the robust micro environment that the original VLOTech system had. So what is it that Clio provides? Simple office management, from billing to time management, to calendaring, and document sharing. The Client Connect system keeps getting better, allowing you to share documents, bills and calendars quickly and securely with clients. Do I wish it was more modular and easier to integrate into your website? Yes. Knowing what I know now, I might have gone with TotalAttorneys and their packages that build your webpage and your office management, but I like building my own website and again, if I have built a trust with my client, then they should feel secure that I have chosen a product that best meets their needs. So yeah it’s not a perfectly clean transition from my webpage to the Clio pages, but I don’t need the client coming to my page just to check in a bill. At the end of the day, Clio provides a solid service that I know I can rely on. The real advantage of Clio is the constant development, integration and support. Questions are answered quickly and comprehensively. This is for both the attorney and the client. There are tons of options for integration, so if you are a Google Docs/Dropbox user, you can make it work. If you like Box.net and use Paypal for credit card processing, it’s their for you to choose.
If you are on the perpetual search for SaaS for your office. I would recommend Clio as a good solid choice.