Far too many law firms and legal teams are still running their entire practice with some combination of these three methods:
- A massive collection of spreadsheets;
- Multiple software tools that each do one specific thing; or
- Piles and piles of manila folders in a storage room.
Each of these methods leads to clutter, disorganization, and increased stress for attorneys and their staff. Our virtual paralegals have helped many clients operate their firms more efficiently using practice management software like Clio Manage or Clio Grow. Practice management software promotes better communication and more efficient workflows for partners, associates, and staff, resulting in faster turnarounds on work and happier clients.
Here are some tips for making sure that you are using Clio to its highest potential.
- Keep Your Information Up-to-Date. If the information contained in Clio is outdated, your ability to use it to run your firm will be impaired. Keeping information up-to-date includes adding new cases and contacts (and gathering the information to input); scheduling all deadlines, court appearances, depositions, etc.; updating contact information (including opposing counsel, opposing legal staff, judges, JAs, and bailiffs, etc.); and closing out cases as they finish. This should be done regularly and frequently.
- Organization. Keeping your information current allows your firm to automatically be more organized. (It’s a lot harder to lose a digital file than it is to lose a paper folder.) Clio and other practice management software allow you to store your contacts, documents, calendars, billing, and more in one central location that is accessible to both your in-office and virtual staff.
- Create Automations/Workflows. Clio allows you to create automated workflows. Workflows are a virtual checklist of items that have been completed or still need to be completed. Workflows allow users to take actions on their matters and display their to-do list in chronological order. Items can be added to the workflow either as single items or as a template. Workflow templates are a pre-determined list of items that appear as a group. These “items” may include tasks, emails, appointments, forms, documents, workflow templates, and email campaigns.For example, with a newly retained personal injury client, a firm can automatically assign tasks to the attorney to welcome the client, and to the legal assistant to order ambulance and emergency room medical records. With regard to deadlines, you can create automated workflows that prompt your team to file an answer 20 days after service of a complaint or serve discovery responses 30 days after receipt of the requests.
- Templates and Document Automation. Clio allows you to create a document template with Merge Fields from your Contacts and Matters. These Merge Fields automatically pull information from a Matter in Clio and put them in your documents – saving you time on data entry and proofing while cutting down on typos and other clerical errors.
- Reports. Clio offers a vast list of reports for billing, matters, clients, productivity, tasks, revenue, and activities. One of our favorites is the “Matters by Responsible Attorney,” which provides each member of your firm with a list of the cases for which they are responsible and the status of the matter. Regularly reviewing this report allows attorneys to ensure that deadlines for key pleadings don’t pass unnoticed.
- Other Features We Like.
- Run Conflict Checks
- Time Entries and Billing
- Clio Scheduler
- Automated Bill Reminders
- Online Payments
- eSign Integration
- Other integrations
Investing in the Firm’s Future
Firms sometimes resist fully integrating software into their business operations because they think the transition will be complicated and burdensome. But the investment is worth it. Well-designed practice management tools, like Clio, provide substantial value to all stakeholders when used properly.