September 20th, 2011 by Gwynne Monahan
Meet Paul “Woody” Scott, founder of The Scott Law Firm. Based in Louisiana, The Scott Law Firm focuses on immigration and criminal defense.
What prompted you to start your own law firm?
I always wanted to own a business, and always wanted to be a lawyer, so it was just naturally what I wanted to do. At the firm where I used to work, I saw how it wasn’t being operated efficiently, and there was a very big resistance to change even if for the better. I just thought I could do it better and make more money out on my own. And it’s worked out that way.
And how many people are in your firm?
Right now, just myself and three support staff. I’m looking to hire another attorney soon, though.
Did you incorporate?
Yes. I formed an LLC since it’s just the easiest incorporation to do. Don’t have to do much to keep it up. I pay an annual fee and file one report each year with the Sectretary of State. Basically, an LLC is the easiest route to go and still cover my business needs, and shielding against certain liabilities.
Ah. That makes sense. So, what did you use before Clio?
At the an old law firm, we used PCLaw, which is a practice management system but it’s not in the cloud. You have to install it, and buy a certain amount of licenses. I didn’t want to use it when I went out on my own. It just seemed clunky, and there were always issues with software or the computer. They’d fight each other. And I’m out of the office a lot so I liked the idea of being able to access anything. I can access all my client stuff in the cloud, with Clio, which is what I was looking for.
What made you decide on Clio? Did you try out any other solutions?
I looked into Rocket Matter, but was speaking with a friend of mine who was going to open an office and we were talking about both. She told me she sent Clio a question, and the president of Clio responded quickly, which made me look at them. I sent a few emails to Clio, and the responses were quick and they weren’t automated, which turned me onto Clio. I knew if there was an issue they’d be able to resolve it quickly. My friend saying it, me trying it, it worked well. The communications, the code you can put into the emails so it can go right into the client matter, huge time saver, too.
What problems did Clio help your firm solve?
Right now you called me and I’m not in the office, and the office passed you through. Happens often, so with Clio I can check files on the road. I can get work done outside the office, and I’m looking to open another office in another city, and because of Clio, doing so will be seamless. As long as we have access to Clio it won’t matter where we are.
I use Dropbox for all my digital client files, and Clio has all the client information so I don’t need to carry around folders. While talking to a client, I can look at the pleading we filed, and client information. Between Clio and Dropbox, I don’t need to carry around file folders. I do have paper files, too, though, but just to bring into court. Anything that comes into the office is scanned, and the main file is the digital file. The paper file is just a place holder.
What did you find to be Clio’s most valuable feature?
The cloud function for sure. The fact that, with PCLaw, when it outdates itself, you have to pay for upgrades. But with Clio, you just pay monthly, which includes upgrades when they come. Clio doesn’t tell me I have to pay $500 to upgrade to the next level or something. And the email code that sends it to the client matter saves us so much time of recording conversations and saving in a Communications folder. Clio just does it. The email code feature is my favorite thing.
What benefits have you realized from Clio that you didn’t anticipate?
None, really. It’s done what I expected it to do. Allows me to access what I need to access without having to be in the office. I can always virtually be in the office. And with opening another office in another city, because of Clio that’ll make the two offices the same. Will be really easy opening up the new office since I’m not starting from square one. Office we already have is going to be there, pretty much.
Have Clio & “the Cloud” changed the way you practice law? If so, how?
Absolutely. The other firm, the old firm, if they couldn’t find the physical client file, it was a near emergency. That kind of seems stupid now, for lack of a better word. If you just scan things in, you don’t have to be fumbling around or worrying about someone losing the file or always looking for it. Plus, you can back it up. The old firm spent tons of money on copiers. I don’t have one of those big copiers, just a scanner and a good printer. If the client needs a copy, I can print it. And with just one scan, we have the document forever. Makes things less chaotic, and from a business point of view, reduced overhead to practice law. Copiers are expensive, break a lot so you have to fix them. Digital and in the cloud functions save on overhead, and the less overhead you have, the more profit you can make.
How did you find the process of getting up and running with Clio?
It was pretty easy. Did the 30-day trial. My secretaries, who are not as computer savvy, find it easy and really like it. I’ve asked if they like Clio, or if should we look into something else and they say they like Clio. And they use it more than me since they input all the data into it, and I just see the information once it’s in there. If I can make their life easier, they make my life easier.
How has Clio improved your firm and the service you offer your clients?
Goes back to availability. If I’m at a conference and a client calls, I don’t have to tell them “have to wait for me to get back to the office to look at the file,” or if I’m calling the client, I don’t have to go to the office to get the number. Clio has opened up my general availability to clients.
Have you had any experiences with Clio’s support team?
Not really. I haven’t needed much support. I’ve gone into the Help section a few times, gone through the tutorials and those usually answer my questions.
Would you recommend Clio to your colleagues?
Absolutely. And I do. Practice of law is changing, and I just tell people it’s always better to start off doing something right than change mid-course. So if they can start with something the business is moving toward, like the cloud, it’ll save them the trouble having to convert systems later. I tell them I use Clio, haven’t had any issues and it’s worked well for us.
Law and business are moving digital. Digital files, digital filings. There’s no need to mail judgements to people or serve judgements to people. Today, when you file a suit in federal court, you don’t file it in paper, you type it up, PDF it and upload. Once other courts start catching onto that, before you know if there won’t be any paper, it’ll be digital. Just like federal court. The old firm was about making copies, saving the file, and the files get big. Then you end up spending money on more storage space and file cabinets. Made everything clunky and disorganized and more expensive to operate.
There is a front end cost to going digital. You have to get a scanner, a computer but it’s a one time cost. After initial investment, month-to-month operating costs will go down.
Mac or PC?
Mac. In my office, I have an iMac, Mac laptop, iPad, iPhone. Secretaries have PCs, though, I just prefer the Mac. Probably always keep a PC around since once in awhile something doesn’t work on a Mac, but Clio works seamlessly between Macs and PCs.