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Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Small town paralegal in the city. Once ran a law office, now being run by one. Med mal defense litigation. I think it's growing on me.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Clio: The Easy Practice Management Option

From time to time I am asked to write about various legal software, books, schools, etc. I am very particular when it comes to promoting these things, especially when I do not have firsthand knowledge of the product, and more often than not, I opt out. However, today is one of those rare instances when preference and firsthand knowledge meet. Not only did I get the chance to play with Clio for a month, I also really enjoyed it.

Clio is web-based practice management at its finest. Perhaps the greatest thing about it is that there are no downloads or uploads, no CDs, and no books. The only thing you need in order to access Clio is an Internet connection. This means that no matter where you are in the world, as long as you can find an Internet connection and can remember your password, you have access to your entire practice, from your calendar to documents and forms to your time slips to client accounts.

It is difficult to explain just how simple Clio is to use, how integrated and efficient it can make a practice. The best word I can think of is easy. Click on a client and/or matter, and you have immediate access to all of the information relating to that client/matter. If you are working on a document, simply hit the time icon next to it to enter your time. The time automatically transfers to time billed for that matter, no extra steps needed.

Of course, that is just one example of Clio's efficiency. Clio allows you to keep a task list, calendar, and agenda. As with many other programs, calendars can be shared among users or used individually. If you use Outlook, like so many of us do, Clio is easily linkable to Outlook for optimal task efficiency. However, Clio works perfectly alone on the task front. You can keep up with your ongoing task list in several different ways. View the task list in entirety, or view tasks under separate clients or matters. You have many options for choosing how best to streamline your work day. Clio will also send task reminders to your inbox everyday in order to help keep you up-to-date on your to-do list.

Under each client, there are buttons dedicated to client matters, notes on the client, communications, and transactions. The communications tab allows you to record phone call notes and times, as well as emails sent or received. If used correctly, the only source you need to check for a complete communication history with a particular client is Clio.

Small firms and solo practitioners will love how easy Clio makes bill generation and client account management. Because any time entered for a document, communication or task is directly linked to the client account, the generation of monthly, quarterly or yearly statements is as easy as the click of a button.

Your billing page will show all of your unbilled hours and the amounts due from clients. Statement generation is as easy as checking the statement you want to generate and making it happen. Once a statement has been generated, it will appear in your open statement section until it has been paid. After you have generated bills – get this – you can email the link to your clients, and they can pay online. Rather than dealing with bulk mail-outs and incoming checks every month, you can streamline the billing and payment process to the ultimate delight of your billing staff and your customers.

And speaking of connecting online with clients, Clio offers ClientConnect, which allows you to quickly share information or collaborate with clients online, all from one location. It does not get simpler than that.

Another thing I love about Clio is its extremely friendly interface. Who every said that practice management has to be dry and boring? The modules and tabs are presented in a fun, yet concise, appearance. With Clio, practice management seems interesting and fresh. All of the graphics, icons, and fonts look professional, yet somehow exciting.

Finally, I am not familiar with the standard pricing of practice management programs, but at $49/mo for attorney users and just $25/mo for support staff, Clio seems reasonably priced, especially for small and solo practice firms, when you take into account all that it provides.

There is much more to Clio than what is contained in these few paragraphs, but I could not possibly describe it all. If you are even the slightest bit interested, I suggest visiting the Clio website and signing up for the free 30-day trial. If you are like me, you will be amazed at how one program can streamline an entire practice.

**Other than a free 30-day trial period, which is offered to any and all interested, I did not receive any benefits, monetary or otherwise, for this review.**

1 comment:

  1. Hi Melissa,

    Thanks very much for the review. It's always a pleasure to read a review like this one!

    Best regards,
    Co-founder, Clio