As I have discussed elsewhere, I am a big fan of Clio practice management software for law firms. I have often wished that I had something analogous to manage non-professional household projects, though Evernote comes close. Especially since Clio made a major upgrade to its management of escrow accounts as few years ago (allowing exclusion of obsolete closed/zero files from escrow account reports), it’s been a pleasure to use.
Here’s my “wish list” for Clio next iterations.
- Quick access to all of a specific client’s bills within a matter record.
- A tickler function allowing one to cycle through all open matters gracefully; we should “check in” periodically on all files of course and a cycle/tickler function would facilitate, say, a monthly check in. Some firms might welcome for their associates a “hard lock” function requiring the attorney to put a status update comment in every open matter every month before it will let the attorney do anything else, unless waived by someone with admin-level privileges.
- Escrow account and operating account checkbook-style reconciliation tools, with reconciliation reports that track what we need to track to report the “iron” triple reconciliation requirement: Sum of client balances = House Balance = Bank Balance, with allowed adjustments for bank fee money and uncleared transfers. If Clio does this, I think they can reasonably charge an additional $10/month or more.
- A tool for joining matters for joint representation, or allowing data to be entered into multiple records at once, for instances where joint representation is the case (and, to my mentees, ethically approved with informed consent confirmed in writing.)
- Some add-on/plug-in allowing for back emails from, say, Gmail for search and forwarding into a matter’s record (e.g. all emails regarding Quartermaine to be forwarded into 00325-Quartermaine.)
- Tracking of non-client matters (example: Bar Association projects, key vendors, etc.) under a separate client numbering system.
- Changing the names of some labels. For example, one can enter “Activities” and also enter “Time”; both allow the entry of billable events, but you might get the idea that they are different things. Similarly the use of the misleading term “fees” for all debits from escrow are of concern; some debits from escrow better NOT be for fees. In short, a revamp of the labels for some items for User Interface optimization.
- The ability to enter in full contact info for a new matter immediately. Perhaps a minor point, but it’s a little inefficient to have to enter in a new client’s name when creating a new matter only to have to enter in the address and phone number in a second iteration.
- A field in the new matters interface for the identity of the referral source, ideally with a tickler item for a thank you note and/or ethically approved work-share/fee-share terms under Rule 1.5.
- An option for an auto-reminder from closed files say, one year after closure, for follow-up letters, greetings, renewal of corporate annual minutes. While other ways exist to handle this, this might be a helpful tool as an optional global setting.
Anything (within law, ethics and good prudence) that helps lawyers make more money, save more time and comply with ethical requirements more easily should be on the table. All of the foregoing aid the attorney on one of those three broad goals.
I am a pushy bastard of a customer; anything that affects my clients’ rights or trust money is a big deal with me. To its credit, Clio continues to innovate; this week it is launching a new billing platform and is marketing itself heavily on its ability to save attorneys time through its “what would you do with your #Clioday” [extra free day per week saved]”. Clio is clearly a company willing to innovate with its product and it’s been a pleasure watching over the last two years how the company has tightened and improved its platform. I don’t assume that any of these suggestions would be implemented at Clio, but if a couple of them made it into the platform over the next 2 years it would be great.