Many lawyers are noticing a rapid shift in client expectations as the number of millennials seeking legal services expands. What options are there for law firms that embrace new technology and want to provide a more effortless customer experience?
In this episode of The Florida Bar Podcast, host Adriana Linares talks with Clio co-founder and CEO Jack Newton about his organization and the benefits that the cloud can bring to the practice of law. Jack opens the interview by giving a brief history of how Clio was founded. Using client feedback, Clio added software features aimed at helping lawyers increase their workflow and grow their firms. Jack reveals that Florida has their highest user density in the United States and explains how customer growth led to the company eventually providing advice (through e-books, white papers, and talks) to their clients on best practices and how attorneys can embrace the cloud. He also covers his top reasons legal professionals should use the cloud, including increasing the ease of managing a caseload and issuing bills to consumers that are payable online. Additionally, he addresses ethical concerns attorneys have regarding using these services to store confidential data and privileged client information.
Jack discusses the impetus behind the creation of the Clio Cloud Conference and their mission to provide the best of legal education and industry thought leaders who are improving the practice of law. He closes the interview with an analysis of law firm data security concerns and how cloud services solve those issues via protected client portals.
Jack Newton is the founder of Clio, one of the pioneers of cloud-based practice management. Jack has spearheaded efforts to educate the legal community on the security-, ethics- and privacy-related issues surrounding cloud computing, and has become a nationally recognized writer and speaker on these topics.
Jack has recently joined the board of the International Legal Technology Standards Organization (ILTSO), where he will help the organization craft standards for law office technology. He also co-founded and is acting president of the Legal Cloud Computing Association (LCCA), a consortium of leading cloud computing providers with a mandate to help accelerate the adoption of cloud computing in the legal industry.
The Florida Bar Podcast
Creating Effortless Services in the Cloud
Intro: Welcome to the official Florida Bar Podcast, where we cover Practice Management, Leadership, and what’s happening in Florida Law, brought to you by The Florida Bar Practice Resource Institute. You are listening to Legal Talk Network.
Adriana Linares: Hello and welcome to the official Florida Bar Podcast brought to you by the Practice Resource Institute on Legal Talk Network. The Practice Resource Institute is the Florida Bar’s online center for practice management information, dedicated to Florida attorneys.
I am Adriana Linares and I will be your host. I am a legal technology consultant and trainer. I have been working with The Florida Bar for several years and it’s one of the funniest things I do, along with being able to host this podcast.
Today our guest is Jack Newton. Jack Newton is the CEO of Clio. Clio is a Vancouver based practice management company that has a huge presence in the United States, and especially in Florida. Hey Jack!
Jack Newton: Hey! Thanks for having me Adriana.
Adriana Linares: Well, I am so glad we finally got you on. Let’s talk a little bit about — tell us a little bit about Clio, and of course Clio has a good relationship and has a strong relationship with the Bar, so why don’t you tell us a little bit just about the company in general and the mission of Clio.
Jack Newton: Yeah. So Clio for those of you that may not be familiar with it is a cloud-based practice management system, and in fact, was the very first cloud-based practice management system when we launched back in 2008, when we barely had the cloud as a metaphor to use when we were talking about the idea of your data residing on a third-party server, and your applications being delivered via a web browser or a smartphone. 2008 was the same year that the very first iPhone was unveiled, so that’s — I know that feels like a long time ago, and that’s how long Clio has been around.
Clio has been an incredible ride. It started out with my co-founder Rian Gauvreau and I starting the company in our garage and building out the software ourselves, providing originally all the sales and support and marketing functions for the company with just the two of us, and now the company has grown to an organization that’s over 200 people large. We have tens of thousands of customers on the platform that depend on Clio every single day to basically run their law practice.
And in the same way that a lot of companies use Salesforce as the tool that they run all of their day-to-day sales operations through, a lot of law offices use Clio as the tool they run their day-to-day law processes through. So whether that’s client intake or collaborating with the client electronically, invoicing a client electronically, tracking their time, keeping on top of their to-do list, literally everything that you can think of relating to running a law practice is something you can do with Clio.
We are also happy to say that we are a member benefit in Florida. We have got a huge number of customers in Florida; it’s one of the states that I think has been always forward-looking when it comes to technology.
Adriana Linares: We love hearing that.
Jack Newton: You probably agree with that, Adriana?
Adriana Linares: Oh yeah, and I think — I like other companies and leaders outside of Florida recognizing that, so on behalf of everyone who is doing that fine work here, thank you.
Jack Newton: Hey, I think it’s no small part because they have got somebody like you in their backyard as well helping spread the word and helping lawyers understand how they can better leverage technology. And I think the fact that the Florida Bar is even doing a podcast like this points to the kind of support the Bar is providing their members in terms of adopting new technologies and recognizing how technology can help transform the practice.
Yeah, so that’s a little bit about Clio, and Florida is one of our favorite and highest customer density in Florida out of all the states in the US.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, that’s really impressive. And tell them a little bit about the Clio Conference that you all put on last year, and of course this podcast is probably going to come out before the 2016 annual convention, but last year, and also this year you worked closely with the Bar to collaborate on a full day of CLE, bringing interesting speakers and new ideas to the annual convention. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that?
Jack Newton: Yeah, absolutely! So actually four years ago we launched the inaugural Clio Cloud Conference, and as I mentioned, Clio as a company has been around for eight years, and what we found over the course of our first four or five years of existence is that our relationship with our customers really evolved from the place it started, which was me and Rian developing a piece of software that we kind of threw over the fence to our early customers and said, we think this is a cool piece of software, can you make use of this in your law practice?
And hearing back from them, yeah, this is great, but I think it would be great if you did this, it would be great if you enabled this kind of a workflow, it would be great if you helped me grow my law practice by adding this kind of functionality. And so over the first few years we just listened intently to what was first one customer and then ten and then a 1,000 and then 10,000 and beyond, started building the software based on all this feedback.
But also we started providing advice back to our customers almost in the same way an organization like McKinsey Consulting, we are hearing from hundreds or thousands really of law firms around how they are running their law practices, what best practices are, what works for them, and we are able to synthesize all of this information into the product for one, but also into educational materials. We started publishing eBooks, we started publishing white papers, we started giving talks all over the United States on how to build a law practice, how to embrace the cloud, how lawyers could be better at embracing technology.
And our relationship with our customers really evolved to a point where we started being regarded as almost partners and running their law firm. They look to us for advice on what best practices are and how they best evolve their law practice.
Lawyers that were fresh out of law school would be coming to us saying, you know, I am not only going to subscribe to Clio, but I would like you guys to help me figure out how to start a law firm. And so we listened to that and responded to that by staring to provide a lot in the way of educational resources. And the Clio Cloud Conference is kind of the ultimate manifestation of that mindset, where we are putting on a conference now for four years, where we try to combine the best of legal education, the best thought leaders in the industry on how to build a law practice and how to succeed at building a great law practice, along with all of the kind of verve and excitement that you see in a top Silicon Valley conference.
At the end of the day we are a technology company, we want to bring the excitement of the technology sphere to the Clio Cloud Conference. I hate to toot my own horn, so Adriana, I know you have been to the Cloud Conference and told me, this is exciting, like this is — you are excited at this conference in a way that you are really not in your typical kind of CLE presentation.
Adriana Linares: No, it’s definitely not, and I hope that anyone who listens to this podcast before the annual meeting in June of 2016 and hasn’t plan to attend plans to attend or can attend, and I don’t know if you guys are sold out or what, but it really is —
Jack Newton: We are still selling tickets. We are more than halfway sold out though, so get your tickets while you still can, September 19 and 20.
Adriana Linares: Oh, that’s for Clio Cloud, yeah, that’s for Clio Cloud, right.
Jack Newton: Not the Clio Cloud Conference. And then the Clio Cloud Conference —
Adriana Linares: In Chicago, in September, right.
Jack Newton: Yeah. And so now segueing into the InSession in Florida Conference, and this was again something that happened thanks to you Adriana. You came to me after the second Clio Cloud Conference and said this is amazing. I want a slice of this in Florida. Let’s bring this to all the Florida lawyers that could benefit from a high energy, high impact, legal technology conference, and put this on in our backyards.
So last year we threw the first InSession powered by Clio and The Florida Bar Conference that was a full day event, immediately preceding the annual meeting that was out in Boca last year, and this year it’s going to be in Orlando. And we would love to see as many of the listeners as possible at that conference as well, and we are still selling tickets for the Florida edition of the conference as well.
So yeah, that’s something we are doing to help spread the word around, not just Clio, but legal technology, and in particular cloud-based technologies and how lawyers could be embracing these to grow their law practices.
Adriana Linares: Yeah. And it seems like at this point in the game, eight years later for Clio, but eight, nine, ten years later for the cloud as something that we are able to talk about, seems like at this point we can turn the corner on questions like, is it ethical for me to use the cloud, is it okay for me to use the cloud, can I keep my confidential data and my client’s privileged information in the cloud, I feel like at this point it has sort of been discussed to death, and the answers are, Jack?
Jack Newton: The answer is yes.
Adriana Linares: It’s all okay.
Jack Newton: It’s all okay.
Adriana Linares: Put your stuff in the cloud.
Jack Newton: It’s all okay. Not without a couple of asterisks of course, but over 20 Bar Associations have come out with formal ethics opinions on cloud computing and universally the answer is, yes, you can use cloud computing.
The ABA has updated their Model Rules of Professional Conduct to adopt the findings of the 2020 Ethics Commission, and although they didn’t add any language specific to the cloud in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, they added a couple of interesting items to the Model Rules, in particular language around lawyers needing to understand the benefits and risks of whichever technologies they choose to employ in their law practice, so that includes the cloud, as well as traditional on-premise systems.
So if you have got servers and take backups and everything else on-premise, although that’s the status quo, it’s not without its own set of risks.
Likewise, with the cloud, if you are choosing to embrace the cloud, as I said the ABA’s Guidelines really understand the relative benefits and risks of the technologies you are using, and the 20 Bar Associations that have issued ethics opinions have said, yes, it’s okay, but you need to understand the benefits and risks and undertake your own due diligence in selecting the cloud provider or cloud providers you are going to use to power your law practice.
And then finally for the states that have not issued formal ethics opinions, in many cases they have explicitly chosen not to issue a new ethics opinion, but instead say the expectations of you by way of the Rules of Professional Conduct have not changed. The expectations around reasonable expectation of privacy and so on are already enshrined in the Rules of Professional Conduct and that doesn’t change whether you are using on-premise or the cloud.
And from a personal perspective, I actually prefer that approach rather than lawyers feeling like there is this extra checklist that they need to evaluate when they are moving to the cloud; they should actually be framing their thinking around risk management and understanding that in many cases moving to the cloud is a lower risk proposition than the alternative, which is hosting your own servers and hosting your own on-premise security and being responsible for all of that security on your own.
So all of that is to say the cloud is okay, do your due diligence, use a checklist before selecting a cloud provider for your law practice, and by the way, the Legal Cloud Computing Association, of which I am the President actually, just issued a set of standards that there’s a lot of excitement around, the ABA is excited about these standards. Just later this week actually I am hosting a webcast with the ABA talking about these new standards.
So if you go to the HYPERLINK “http://www.legalcloudcomputingassociation.org” http://www.legalcloudcomputingassociation.org, you can find our standards and a checklist basically that you can look to when you are selecting a cloud-based provider for your law practice.
Adriana Linares: And I think that’s so helpful to sort of — that someone finally organized that and put it together, and I encourage all our listeners to make sure they go to that website and look at the standards. It’s not hard to understand. It’s not very long. It’s very succinct and helpful.
And also, I want to give two more little tips, and that is that the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Division, Legal Technology Resource Center keeps a live or an active map of cloud ethics opinions around the US. So if you just go to Google and simply put in the words cloud computing ethics opinion, you should get as a top hit this link to the LTRC, the Legal Technology Resource Center’s page, where it has all the states that have issued opinions, a quick little matrix of the yes’s and the no’s, and then a link to the full opinions.
And then two, in doing that you will probably get a hit for the ethics opinion on cloud computing from the Florida Bar, which there is a Florida news article back from August 15 of 2013 that says, “Board approves cloud computing ethics opinion. Lawyers can use “cloud computing” to store client records and other confidential information but must take reasonable steps to ensure that data remains private.”
So everything you just said, everything that’s been said, it’s all done. Okay, good.
So let’s say that conversation, check, that box checked, we have got some good standards to go look at questions to ask for lawyers who are still trying to figure this all out and get there.
But my question for you Jack is, because like a lot of us ready to move to the next level of conversation about the cloud, and that is, all right, so we have got it, we can use it, there are great products out there that help us use it, but what’s the next step? How do we go to Cloud9? What are you seeing as far as the next big thing or trend or just important, I don’t even know if it needs to be a trend, but is there anything that lawyers should start thinking about and looking at as the next level once they are comfortable with the cloud and using it efficiently?
Jack Newton: Yeah, absolutely. So I think there is all the table stakes type stuff around why people move to the cloud, and that’s maybe worth articulating briefly just so that all — what’s all the buzz about, if you are not already tuned into why you want to be using the cloud? The top reasons you want to be moving to cloud are it makes managing all the technology around your law practice easier. It makes storing your documents in a secure and accessible way really easy. It makes managing your caseload easy. It makes managing your time tracking and generating bills and issuing bills to your clients in a way that they can pay you online. All of these things are really easy to do.
Cloud software is easy to deploy. You can get up and running with cloud-based software in literally seconds. It’s affordable. Most cloud-based software costs on the order of tens of dollars per month. You can equip your whole law office with bleeding-edge legal technology for a couple of hundred dollars per month. It’s really, really affordable.
One thing I think a lot of lawyers struggle with sometimes is investing in software, but when you look at ROI, the investment in cloud is huge. If you save just one hour per month in your billable time by cutting out kind of administrative overhead and time you would spend searching for documents and just being less efficient than you could be, there’s one hour of billable time that pays for all of that software in one fell swoop.
And by the way, that’s a very conservative estimate. We did a survey of our customers last year asking them how much time on average they saved using Clio over their previous solution, which in many cases was on-premise software or even pen and paper, plus Excel, and they saved eight hours per week of time, which is pretty incredible.
Adriana Linares: It’s a whole day. It’s a day’s worth of work, right.
Jack Newton: Getting a whole day back per week in time, which is just mind-blowing. You know what, the majority of the listeners of this podcast are also solos and small firms, around 70% of the lawyers in Florida practice in firms of less than 10 or as solos, and the cloud also levels the playing field in a big way with big law.
There are big law lawyers often have an advantage when it comes to — or used to have an advantage when it comes to technology, because you had to invest a million dollars plus in a big iron data management, practice management, document management system, and now for, like I said, tens of dollars per month a solo or a small firm can get technology that in many cases is superior to what the big firms have.
And we have actually started to see big firms moving to the cloud now, because they look at the playing field, not only being leveled, but actually tilted in favor of the solos and small firms, where they have got this massive return on a relatively small technology investment. So I think those are some of the table stakes reasons you would move to the cloud and why the cloud is compelling.
But where I am excited about seeing the conversation evolve over the next couple of years is less about efficiency and some of the cost benefit rationale for moving to the cloud and instead how the cloud actually allows us to collaborate with our clients, collaborate with other lawyers in a more effective and impactful way.
Consumer expectations are shifting really rapidly, and if you haven’t noticed that it’s time to really dial in and pay very close attention to the shifting landscape and the fact that the next generation of your clients are going to be millennials and millennials want to interact with you way differently than the baby boomers do.
Adriana Linares: And they expect to. They don’t just want to; I mean they expect to interact differently.
Jack Newton: And they will select their lawyer based on who provides a more effortless experience.
So let me tell you a little bit more around my thinking here. There is this — when we look at some of the really disruptive technologies that have come out over the last few years, a lot of them have something in common, and I will talk about what that is.
Uber has exploded and single-handedly displaced in the industry taxi drivers that have been around for decades. It has created a company that’s worth now a $100 billion, which is incredible. And it’s all on the backs of providing an effortless experience, making it so that you can walk out of a building in downtown Manhattan, press one button and have a black car pick you up in seconds or minutes. It’s an incredible experience.
You walk out of the Uber and you don’t have to fumble around for a credit card or find cash to pay the driver.
Jack Newton: — you just step out and walk away and you’re automatically billed your travel amount and it’s a slick, easy experience. There is other companies like Airbnb that again have created a multibillion dollar company just by making vacation rentals in short-term, travel stays more convenient than they used to by moving out experience online and more importantly moving into mobile.
We can look at companies like Tesla that are disrupting the auto industry. Number one by making electric car is one thing, but also really disrupting the overall service model and sales model where there is no dealerships, you can buy your car off of a website, and more importantly you can get software updates for the car, so rather than having to take the car into your dealership you get over the air software updates where one morning you wake up, and wow, my car knows how to drive itself. Autopilot is literally an over the air update for —
Adriana Linares: No, it’s amazing.
Jack Newton: — for Tesla. So just incredible and what all these things have in common is that these companies are focusing on delivering experiences that make things easier and more convenient for their customers, and in the case of Uber and Airbnb and a lot of the other providers that are providing consumer-level services they’re moving those experiences to mobile and realizing that people are working off of their cell phones.
So the way lawyers should start thinking and the way that the cloud fits into this is my practice, my collaboration with my clients is not going to be happening in bricks and mortar buildings. I don’t need expensive downtown real estate for my law office. My current clients, and if not my current clients, my future clients are going to be demanding that I collaborate with them online. They want to be securely messaging me from their iPhone or their Android device.
Adriana Linares: And so, I want to stop you there and actually talk about that, because I think lawyers are hearing that a lot now. They are concerned about secure communications, they are concerned about how they are going to collaborate with their clients when they are working from a home office or a collab space and their client aren’t mobile. So, let’s stop for a second and give some examples of the reality of that based on the things that are available or maybe from you the things that you know your Clio customers, so your own customers, the lawyers that you develop for and work for and work with, what are they doing?
So one of my favorites things I like to talk to lawyers about these days, is figuring out how to use secure client portals, like what does that mean? You might even have a lot of users of web-based practice management program, so don’t even realize there is this thing called a Secure Client Portal that can be used, Clio has one.
So tell us a little bit about that. So what does it mean when my client isn’t going to necessarily be calling, texting or e-mailing me, how am I going to communicate with a client securely if I am not using or maybe use less email, phone calls and text messaging? Because I think that’s one of the things lawyers generally don’t love is getting text messages from their clients, but see that’s a perfect example of an expectation that’s come around. Certain clients, that’s how they want to communicate, that’s how they do it, right?
So again, it’s not that they expect they want to communicate with you that way, that’s how they expected. So how can a lawyer take the technologies that are built into a cloud-based program like Clio and the Client Portal and move those expectations and that new-ish form of communication to a model like that, so tell us a little bit about how that would work or does work?
Jack Newton: Sure, so there is a couple of different motivations for wanting to use something like a client portal for communicating with your clients and it ties in with this effortless experience thread that I have been talking about as well and part of it is for any of us who have been in on email threads where we are collaborating or negotiating on a big complex legal agreement, we’ve been party to the 45 long email thread with an attachment, let’s say something around – let’s say you’re incorporating your company, you have a shareholder agreement, so shareholder agreement version 45_JN edits —
Adriana Linares: Right, and you forgot the attachment. So, oh, I forgot the attachment. Here is the next email and then it’s version 45.
Jack Newton: And if you have the misfortune of jumping in halfway through on any of these email threads and trying to understand what’s the latest version of the document, have all the parties had their input, who’s this waiting on right now, you probably have wondered is there a better way? There is got to be a better way —
Adriana Linares: There is got to be a better way.
Jack Newton: — than e-mail. The second motivation that might have you positing around using email for your communications is the fact that email is woefully insecure, and that’s by design, this isn’t that email has been hacked or compromised but email is just by design not a secure protocol.
When you send emails over the Internet, they are transmitted via a protocol that is by default unencrypted. So this means that if you email opposing counsel a highly confidential document, even if your respective IT systems are highly secure, that email will be traveling over the Internet and highly susceptible to eavesdropping or wiretapping or as we know with the Snowden revelations, maybe NSA, large-scale surveillance, there is a bunch of reasons that email shouldn’t be regarded as secure if you are sending around highly sensitive information.
And client portals are a solution to both the usability side of things as well as the security side of things, where you can securely commute with clients, and by secure I mean, via encrypted communication, communicate with clients, and from the client’s perspective it’s more convenient because there is a centralized location that all of the documents are located, they are in a secure location, you can see all the activity on the document in a centralized location. There is built-in versioning on these client portals so you are not emailing around underscore version.
Adriana Linares: Right, final, final use this one, my favorite.
Jack Newton: Final, final use this one. You are getting and you are resolving all of these security concerns, and furthermore, when we talk about the client expectation shifting and shifting away from wanting to meet in person to wanting to be able to email you from the subway on their mobile device is also accommodating the way clients now want to work with their lawyers and that these client portals often also support mobile access. So your client can be accessing these documents on the go, securely, leaving you feedback on the documents or providing a turn of the documents or whatever the case might be.
These client portals also provide a secure messaging platform and this is a private messaging platform, which again is important for a few different reasons. Let me use one illustrative example. If you are a family lawyer, it’s the case that many husbands and wives share the same computer, they even share an email address and securely communicating with one of them can be really difficult, and there is more than one divorce that has gone especially sideways because one of the partners has gotten access to correspondence with a lawyer that should have been privileged but was not because that was in a shared Inbox.
These client portals let you work around that by providing a secure log-in which only your client has. They receive an email update indicating that there is activity on the client portal and a new message that’s waiting for them, but they need to go and log-in with their own secure credentials to actually view that message. So it helps you ensure that whether it’s the NSA or the spouse, nobody is —
Adriana Linares: The nosy spouse.
Jack Newton: — spying on that communication that shouldn’t be. So the client portals solve a bunch of different problems.
Adriana Linares: They do.
Jack Newton: And make your life as a lawyer way less troublesome, it really smoothes out a lot or wrinkles and lot of frustrations. One final comment about client portals, that’s a win on the lawyers’ side, is around eliminating the death by a thousand cuts that many lawyers have around, their clients phoning them months or years after they have completed some work for them looking for the work product whether it’s that divorce agreement or that will or those incorporation documents for the company, and you often produce those documents you need to dig around, trying to find those documents and often produce them at no charge, you don’t feel good about sending out a half-hour invoice for the work that you or your support staff had to put into finding that document.
The client portals, on the other hand, provide a centralized resource where all of your work product is stored for your client for as long as you want. So this is one of the perks you can tell the client as well is, look, anytime you need to retrieve that will or those incorporation documents or whatever the case might be, the client portal has those documents available to use. So just log-in with those same credentials at any time in the future and those documents are ready and waiting for you and they never need to interrupt you or bug you to get those documents back.
Adriana Linares: And I think it can be compared a lot to banking these days, right? So we all are used to going into walking into banks and making transfers and making deposits and getting money orders, but now we all hub on the bank and we can transfer money, we can be alerted that a bill is due, we can apply for a new loan, we can download important documents and statements.
And these client portals for lawyers, I think are so important because they are so easy to use as well as everything you just described.
So generally, if you are a Clio user, for example, and you want to give — create a portal for your client, again, like you were saying, this is a huge advantage for smaller firms because it doesn’t take anything other than clicking a button and sending a link to the client to create their account, which is part of what you the lawyer is already paying for, it doesn’t cost anything extra. You send them a link, they create a user ID and password, that hopefully nobody else knows and that’s it.
These bigger firms, I will tell you right now, they are often still struggling, trying to figure out how to create digital war rooms or client portals and they are using tools that are either patched together or their IT department is patching and throwing together or they are using a consumer-based product.
Jack Newton: You are absolutely right. This is one of the places where we have seen that — I talked about leveling the playing field, the client portals is one of the things where I have seen big firm partners look at what a small firm is able to do with Clio’s client portal and they say to me, I have been trying to get our IT department and our $5 million SharePoint installation to provide this kind of capability for five years, and these guys are able to do it for $50 a month.
Adriana Linares: Right, and not extra $50 a month, the $50 a month they are already paying.
Jack Newton: Yeah, it’s thrown in for free in every plan, and the other comment I’d have on these evolving expectations in around effortless experiences, is something really interesting. You talked about the banking example. Chase, one of the big US banks did a study recently and they found that when it comes to trying to build out their new branches they are investing in more ATMs and yet fewer physical teller locations and what they found — and it’s kind of heartbreaking but understandable. What they found is that people will actually line up to use an ATM even if human tellers are free because people don’t want to deal with other people if they don’t have to. Their expectations are shifting and they want to have a quick, convened interaction with an ATM. They don’t want to have to travel into a branch and sit down with their bank manager to find out what their bank balance is. They want to be able to do that online and we are just going to see that trend underscored with the millennials were, like I said going to be our next generation of clients and they are not going to want to have to travel downtown and sit down in an office to have a meeting. They are going to want to have a video chat over their phone and we need to start preparing ourselves for that eventuality as a profession.
Adriana Linares: It’s true.
Jack Newton: And not to say there is not a place for in-person, highly engaged meetings and not to say that there is not a role for the personal relationship in providing good legal services but on some of the transactional related side of the business, it’s got to be delivered electronically in a convenient way.
Adriana Linares: It’s true. A client does not want to wait until 9:15 in the morning to get a reply from your assistant reminding them what time they need to show up for a hearing. If they can log on to the secure client portal and look at the calendar of all the appointments that you have shared with them, that’s what they are going to start doing. I always think about family law is a really excellent place for these portals. I think there is a great use case for any area of law, but specifically when your client is having to send you screenshots of text messages or pictures that they’ve taken on their phone and they want to get that information off their phone or maybe they never want that information to really land in their phone anyway. If they have a place to put, upload themselves their own documents, their own images, their own screenshots, their own videos and put that in a safe place in one location, that’s what they are going to want. So I think aside from it just being secure easy in 24 hours there is a level of comfort that can be brought to an attorney-client relationship with tools like this.
So I really hope that all our listeners start learning more about and paying attention to what these portals do. I don’t have a ton of lawyers that I know that are using these, based on a massive amounts of lawyers that we have especially here in Florida. I guess the whole point of this conversation is, this is the next step and we are all starting to take it and I really want every lawyer to think about how helpful this can be to enhancing, not replacing, like you were just saying, Jack, there is always going to room and a need for that personal relationship but get rid of the administrative friction that can happen, emails and text and waiting and can you send me this, and can you resend me that.
I mean, like you said, eight hours a day can be saved, and these client portals can certainly be a part of that. It’s definitely for me one of my favorite things to talk about these days is encouraging lawyers to figure out how to use them.
Jack Newton: Eight hours a week, we haven’t figured how to save eight hours in a day yet.
Adriana Linares: Eight hours a week, sorry.
Jack Newton: We are working on it though. We are hard at work. We’ve got our best minds at work on how to save eight hours a day. One final comment on this discussion around the cloud I think — and client portals in particular is a great example of how we can start reshaping the client experience. This is a way for you to create a competitive advantage for yourself as a lawyer, as a firm, and we’ve got a number of or leading edge best firms actively marketing this client portal and this way of interacting with them as a reason to select them as a firm and as a benefit for working with them as a firm in that they get technology.
We have a number of firms that cater to technology clients, startups and the like, and they know that these startups want to be interacting with them in this way and really pitch themselves aggressively as getting the fact that they don’t want to have a conference call, they want to have an interaction via the Clio client portal.
A handful of our clients have gone so far as to charge extra for the client portal —
Adriana Linares: Yeah, that’s funny. I was just thinking about that.
Jack Newton: — as an add-on.
Adriana Linares: Right. I was just thinking, is there even an opportunity there, if you are — and especially for lawyers who are thinking about addressing the needs of may be a modest mean’s demographic where you are already lowering your rate, may be there is an opportunity there to charge a bit of a premium.
I mean, any attorney obviously could, but that would be an interesting addition to a sliding scale model of practicing law, the way you model your fees, so I think that’s very interesting, yeah.
Jack Newton: Absolutely, yeah. It’s a way of creating a competitive advantage for yourself without needing necessarily to try to compete on price or some other aspect of the service, and this means a lot to a lot of clients. It’s interesting when I talked about this, we had an all hands meeting at Clio recently, and I talked about this idea of effortless experience and making sure that our product management team and the whole company is thinking about how we can make this a reality for customers.
And one of our staff emailed me back and said, your talk really resonated with me and I was actually just thinking his comment was that he recently relocated to a new town or a new neighborhood and had to select a dentist and was selecting the dentist based on who would allow him to book appointments online. He didn’t want to have to make a phone call and wait on hold for his dentist appointment. He wanted to just book something online and that was the single biggest deciding factor in who would end up getting his businesses whatever dentist is thought ahead of the curve and invested in a way of their clients booking appointments with them in an effortless way. So that kind of thinking I think is becoming pervasive and is —
Adriana Linares: I agree.
Jack Newton: — the way that consumers are going to be making their choices around, who their service provider will be. So don’t underestimate this, this can sound superficial on first clients, but it’s a really deep concept, and like I said, there is $100 billion companies that have been created just on the backs of making something that was already there, more effortless, that’s how we need to be thinking about legal services.
Adriana Linares: And with that great point, Jack, let’s draw this to a close, because I think we have gone on and on, and I always enjoy talking to you and wish we had more time, but I am going to ask you to come back on one of these days and we will definitely talk some more. It’s great having you.
Before I let you go though, would you just let everyone know how they can find, friend or follow you and Clio on the Internet?
Jack Newton: Sure, so Clio is at HYPERLINK “http://www.clio.com” clio.com, [email protected], if you’d like to jot me a line or if you would like to follow me on twitter, I am @jack_newton.
Adriana Linares: Excellent, Well, thanks so much Jack, and for everyone who is listening this before June, mid-June, don’t forget that Clio is hosting a full day of CLEs, and I shouldn’t even say it’s CLE, because people may think, oh, that might be kind of boring. But Clio is going to be hosting an amazing, exciting and energetic full day of technology speakers and conversations that happens to include CLE at The Florida Bar Annual Convention. And of course, Clio has its own annual conference, Clio Con will be held in Chicago in September. Is that right, Jack?
Jack Newton: Yes, September 19th and 20th.
Adriana Linares: Of course. So make sure, if you are listening before those dates of 2016, go to the Internet and learn more about those things, and of course, if you would like more information about what you have heard today, make sure to visit the official Florida Bar Podcast and the PRI section of the Florida Bar website.
Don’t forget about HYPERLINK “http://www.legaltalknetwork.com” legaltalknetwork.com where you can subscribe to this podcast as well as any others that you find interesting out there via iTunes, RSS, and of course, Twitter and Facebook, they are on there as well.
That brings us to the end of our show. I am Adriana Linares. Thank you so much Jack Newton for being our guest today. Thank you everyone for listening, and make sure to join us next time for another great episode of the official Florida Bar Podcast.
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