User Review Spotlight: Brian Powers Reviews Clio

One of the comments we’ve often received is that while everyone enjoys reading magazine and blogger’s reviews of Clio, they’d like to see more reviews from our users’ perspective. Blogger and magazine reviews are often based on a necessarily time-limited trial of a given piece of software. While this can be enough time to determine whether a piece of software has any major failings, it’s rarely enough time to truly build a relationship with the software, to get a feel for how it works over the course of weeks and months. A review from a long-time user can provide insights and perspectives that a short, tactical review simply cannot.

Following up Jason Molder’s review of Clio, we today have a user review from Brian Powers of the Law Office of Brian V Powers. Brian is a business attorney who specializes in dealing with startups, with an emphasis on entrepreneurial legal services, startup law, mergers and acquisitions, and internet law / software licensing issues. Brian can provide useful insights into the challenges facing a startup, as prior to becoming an attorney he was an entrepreneur, founding and and operating two different internet start-up companies. Brian’s latest venture, IndianaStartup.com, is an excellent resource for entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses based in Indiana.

Brian’s review begins with an insight into why, as he was setting out to start his solo practice, he chose to move to “the cloud” and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Although Brian is technically proficient and more than capable of installing his own software and performing backups, etc., he viewed it as outside of his core expertise:

I have a good laptop, and a server that backs my laptop up every night, but I don’t want the lifeblood of my practice, my practice management system, running on my machines – which are completely dependent on me for technical support. SaaS was the only way to go.

Brian then moves onto what he decided gave Clio the edge over the other web-based contenders: our design and ease-of-use:

Then I found Clio – and it was perfect.  First of all (and this might be sad that I list this as the first reason I chose Clio) – the interface is very, very slick, easy to use, and intuitive.  It has all sorts of “ajax-y” menu and form systems.  Secondly, it has all the functionality I need – time tracking, task management, and most importantly, online invoicing and billing. Everything is streamlined.  My billing cycle varies from client to client, matter to matter – but with Clio I never have any problems keeping track and getting bills out the door.

While Brian feels his decision being based on Clio’s “slick” interface, which on the surface perhaps seems superficial, he’s touching on something important: design matters. While software reviews often focus on a feature matrix comparing Feature A to Feature B in Product X and Product Y, design and ease-of-use rarely come into consideration. This is partly because design is hard to quantify and is, to some degree, a subjective experience, we think it’s one of the most important considerations when choosing software for a simple reason: if software looks great and is a pleasure to use, you’re more likely to use it. Ugly and hard-to-use interfaces all too often become “shelfware”, bought with the best of intentions, but left collecting dust because they’re just not accessible.

Brian concludes his review by commenting on how instrumental Clio’s Clio Connect system has become for him in co-ordination information exchange and bill payments with clients:

The clincher for me, though, was the ever-evolving Clio Connect system – which allows for the creation of a password protected client area.  Clients can login, see and comment on documents, and see and pay invoices.

Brian, thanks for a great review – we’d encourage you to check out Brian’s full Clio review here. To learn more about Brian check out his website as well as his new IndianaStartup.com site.