About a week ago, a handful of Logikcull employees headed down to New Orleans, where we second lined, Bourbon Streeted, tore our shirts and bellowed in the streets. Well, not really. We actually were there to attend the ninth annual Clio Cloud Conference, aka Clio Con.
“Who dat,” you ask? Dat is the annual conference of Clio users, mostly small-firm attorneys who come together to learn about Clio’s cloud-based practice management software, to network with other forward-thinking lawyers at what’s been called one of the best legal tech conferences out there, and to literally shut down traffic as they start dancing through the streets. It was fun, to say the least, but also educational. Here’s what we learned.
(Logikcull's Moneet Kohli and Naima Rahmaoui take over the cockpit on their way to New Orleans)
Legal Tech Expands Its Focus—And Clio Expands Its Offerings
This year’s Clio Cloud Conference was an excellent crystallization of changes impacting the legal profession.
One of the most apparent developments was the increasing embrace of technology across the industry—and the legal tech industry’s growing ability to meet the needs of firms of all types and sizes. In the past, many legal technology companies all chased the same targets, the white whales of AmLaw 100 firms and massive in-house legal departments. That exclusive focus on the biggest players often left smaller firms ignored or priced out.
And while there are certainly plenty of tools ready to serve the BigLaw firms, more and more companies are focusing on the “big blue ocean,” the tens of thousands of smaller firms that also need sophisticated technological tools to keep their practices competitive in the modern age. Clio was full of these forward-thinking companies. Over three days, we met dozens of ambitious innovators, offering solutions for everything from time tracking to data analytics to secure client portals.
(The author discussing AI and the law with Sagewise's Dat Nguyen)
And we met a growing population of attorneys who were eager to test out these solutions. These enterprising lawyers ran the gamut from solo practitioners to members of law firms with hundreds of attorneys. They were self-described “country lawyers” looking to make their practice more efficient and BigLaw exiles who’ve built lucrative boutique firms on their own, searching for tools that can surpass those they had at their white-shoe law firms.
Clio itself branched out this year as well. During the opening key note, Clio co-founder and CEO Jack Newton announced Clio’s acquisition of Lexicata, the law firm CRM and client intake tool. (For more on Lexicata, check out this webinar Logikcull hosted with Lexicata founder and CEO Michael Chasin.)
(Legal professionals leaning in to legal technology)
The acquisition demonstrates the breadth of Clio’s ambitions. By bringing Lexicata into the fold, Clio expanded beyond its core practice management services and into client acquisition and marketing. With a growing marketplace of integrations (including ours!), Clio is increasingly operating as the central hub for thousands of firms—one spot where most, if not all, of your work can be centralized. Now with a marketing CRM, coupled with the release of an in-house referral program, Clio is positioned to handle virtually the entire client lifecycle.
A Focus on Client Experience & Product-Market Fit
The Clio Cloud Conference also marked the release of Clio’s latest Legal Trends Report. Based on aggregated and anonymized data from Clio’s users, the Legal Trends Report offers unprecedented insight into the legal industry.
As in past years, the 2018 report shows that many lawyers are still bogged down with administrative tasks and lacking in billable hours. Indeed, only 2.4 hours of the day are used on billable tasks, and only 1.6 of those hours actually collected, similar to years past.
Those missing six hours of billable work don’t mean lawyers are taking it easy, however. The average attorney worked a 50-hour week, with 75 percent reporting working outside regular business hours and 39 percent saying that work negatively impacted their personal life.
The solution to low billables and long hours? It’s not necessarily more work. It’s more efficient work.
In Clio’s eyes, that means focusing on the client experience. That means making your services more readily available for the 57 percent of consumers who don’t use a lawyer when facing a legal issue.
“Howard Schultz [former CEO of Starbucks] doesn’t talk about an access-to-coffee gap. Lawyers don’t have an access-to-justice gap. They have a product-market fit problem.” – Clio CEO Jack Newton
Most consumers, however, want to use legal services. Nearly 60 percent of the general population say they would consider using the law—by hiring an attorney, going to court, or using legal forms—when faced with a legal problem. Yet perceived costs were the primary reason consumers went without legal aid.
This is, as Clio CEO Jack Newton phrased it, a problem of “product-market fit.” That is, lawyers, tied to traditional legal services offerings, haven’t successfully created a product that can satisfy the market’s demand. Billable hours, labor-intensive processes, slow matter resolution and more all keep legal professionals from fully taking advantage of the need for their services. If only there were a way to get things done a little more quickly, efficiently, and affordably.
The Missing Six Highlights Ways Lawyers Can Improve Client Offerings
Another highlight? The $100,000 at stake as part of Clio’s Launch//Code Conference. As part of its drive to spur legal innovation and grow its integrations, Clio kicked off, for the first time ever, the Launch//Code competition among integration designers. Six integrations faced off against each other; the winner walked away with $100k.(Logikcull's Alex Su presents during the Launch//Code competition)
One of those integrations was Logikcull’s Matter Mirroring feature, which seamlessly connects projects created in Logikcull with a user’s Clio account and vice versa.
As part of the competition, Logikcull’s Alex Su presented on “The Missing Six,” a reference to the six billable hours escaping lawyers every day. The key takeaway: technology, automation, and a killer integration with Clio can help attorneys recover those missing six.
Logikcull was up against four other innovative integrations:
- ClientSherpa, a client onboarding software whose integration ports client data into Clio, syncs custom fields across platforms, and allows for the secure transfer of client files.
- MyFirmData, a data reporting app for law firms, whose integration allows users to create custom, automated reports based of a firm’s Clio data.
- Tali, the voice-activated time-keeping app that works with Amazon Alexa so you can log your time without a single keystroke, and whose integration syncs those times to your data in Clio.
- Your Firm App, which provides customized mobile apps for law firms and whose integration connects messaging, document upload, and calendaring across the app and Clio.
When all was said and done, Tali walked away with the prize.
Great People Make for a Great Event
In the end, the biggest takeaway from the Clio Cloud Conference was how successful the Clio has been at gathering exciting, innovative, and engaged legal professionals together to discuss the present and future of legal practice. Clio Con has a palpable energy and excitement about it and that’s all due to the incredible group of people gathering together.
At Clio Con, we got to gather together with Logikcull friends, customers, and users old and new, people who constantly inspired us with their forward-thinking outlook and excitement at tackling some of the biggest hurdles facing the profession. If we didn’t see you this year, maybe we’ll see you next. Cheers!