September 5th, 2012 by Gwynne Monahan
Meet Anthony Reeves, of the Reeves Law Firm.
Tell us a little about your firm.
I have a solo practice focused on social security disability, labor employment and workers compensation in Kissimmee, Florida, about 20 miles from Disney World.
Nice. I don’t understand how people in Florida get any work done though. It’s always so
People ask that, and the answer is: very easily.
Ha. Good answer. So, what did you use before Clio?
I used Amicus, and before that, Needles. The change was prompted by cost.
I spent the first six years working for a mid-sized law firm. Interestingly enough, they were one of the earlier firms to use Needles. Previously they had dummy terminals, not uncommon for older firms, and one of the founding partners wanted to switch to a vehicle that would give people the ability to access files wherever they went. Ultimately what they did was implement Needles, and files were maintained in one office in Louisiana but if you had Internet access, you could access them from any office.
When I got out of working for them, I wanted a similar setup, so I switched to Amicus because Needles is extremely expensive and I wanted to be able to have a case management system that mirrored Needles but a more affordable cost. It’s very important to kind of maneuver and have different functionality and different things since I go to and work from different places.
An IT friend of mine convinced me to switch from Amicus. He wasn’t a big fan. His concern was that it’s great if you have a stationary location, but the way they had it setup was really a pain. Amicus didn’t give you the ability to have one location as a hub. You had to have a virtual server and put Amicus on the virtual server. That was kind of annoying. It didn’t provide real time updates on occasion, and I had to unzip certain files, it was really weird.
So he came over and said “I want to help you be smarter not harder.” He got me away from the virtual server, which was also costing me money. There was the cost of the server. And licensing fees. So he was little more tech savvy than myself, and said “I need you to switch to SaaS” and I said, “Gesundeit! What are you talking about?”
He knew I needed the ability to operate mobily and operate on the go. I just did a hearing in Colorado, will be going to New Mexico. I like to go, and I like to be able to get my shake on. So his thing is bringing on new people, you need a system in place to bring in new people without drama and without paying for updating licenses.
All good points. How did you hear about Clio?
I stumbled onto Clio. My buddy says research…first off I’m a member of the Solosez listserv. I noticed messages of people talking about Clio. For some reason it kept catching my eye. My IT buddy advised me to look at functionality, what I do, what my current system has in place, what I can do without and what can I wait for.
I tried Clio, I love it.
What do you love about it?
It’s great for me because it gives me real time functionality. I love the nuances to it. Love the fact that I’m dealing with a system that is constantly evolving.
It’s also great for me because I just have to upload the documents into the system. I don’t have to log into my Dropbox account, or my Box account, or send myself an email attachment. I can sit there, in the airport say, break out my iPad, go into Clio, see yep there it is, open it up, Click. Boom there it is. All is right with the world.
You mention nuances of Clio. Like what?
Obvious is Clio Connect. And I like Maildrop. Works out really well, helps track email a little bit easier. To be very honest, biggest thing I like is that it’s easy to use. I like that I can drop documents and I’m scanning documents all the time. When Clio expanded from single to multiple docs you are my dog! That helped me out a lot.
I like that I can access Clio from my phone. I travel all over the place. Social Security courts won’t let you bring phones into the court, so it’s nice to open up phone, open Clio, take a look at a case and deal with it when I’m out of court.
Silly as it may seem, the customer service is what I really enjoy. The fact that Jack is readily accessible is huge. And the fact that he is in touch with our community so much and that he appreciates that. Strategic partnerships with Box and Dropbox. It’s all cool when I see it but I never appreciate the implications. My IT buddy basically communicated to me that a case management system that is focused on working out partnerships is 1) not allowing itself to be handcuffed, and 2) understands the value of partnerships, and I like that. Right when he mentioned Box/Dropbox was right when I started experimenting with it.
It’s nice to know that you don’t stay static. Clio has consistently provided something new and approved every month. I have ADD for real and get bored very easy. With Clio, it’s so easy to look for the next best thing. Nice for me to know that it changes. I’m goofy. I like that I open it up and the layouts changed! How can I use that? I have Clio Express, I don’t even use it but I have it. It’s cool.
What made you decide on Clio? Did you try out any other solutions?
Nope. Had no desire to. I had a slightly different mindset. I had experience with Needles, and knew exactly what I wanted. I’m one of those people…looked at Houdini, considered RocketMatter. One thing I liked about Clio, looking at the comments, they all complimented on its freshness, customer service takes care of your problem, fact that you’re constantly updating.
Now that I think about it, I did consider a couple of other ones. Crocodile and another one.
It’s a case management system specific for social security representatives. They were spectacular because they are so tailor-made to social security, the type of letters, releases, everything that I do. I had two problems: it left me no flexibility, and the cost. Sometimes I get cases every now and then that are outside the norm, so I need flexibility. And the cost. It was tipping between Amicus and Needles cost. I confirmed with my IT friend and he said “be mindful. Not going to tell you what to do, but I’ll tell you this: look at what they do, what you do now, and I also want you to look at what they’re charging you because if a high dollar amount, they have no other competitors so doing it because they can.” That really really caught my attention.
I called Crocodile, and got kind of a snotty response from them. I called Clio, asked them some things, and the young lady I spoke to was extremely helpful. One thing she kept saying struck me: if we don’t have it we will eventually. Let me tell you why: if you’ve asked for it, someone else has too. And that made my decision an easy one.
What problems did Clio help your firm solve?
One of the things I tell attorneys now, is that I like being able to tell people I have a virtual practice and I can come to you. It’s great when I’m sitting in a person’s home, breaking out an iPad or laptop, get them set up, forms available, boom all set.
My favorite thing was a situation where I went to a decent-sized plaintiffs firm. They referred me a client. I grabbed my laptop, had a couple forms for the client to sign, broke out my wifi card and had the case setup in seconds.
One of the attorney’s looks over my shoulder and asks “What the hell are you doing?” I’m setting him up. “How are you doing that?” They sat there and I showed them, it’s ideal.
The legal industry is moving more and more toward digital. I don’t want to be handcuffed. I want to be in a situation to setup real fast and work it out on the backend if I need to. I’ve had a few people give me the “Really. Ah. Lovely.” I’ve enjoyed the fact that I’ve been able to do that, and finding out more and more that a lot of the kind of people I represent are utilizing the Internet in some capacity, and Clio helps.
What do you find to be Clio’s most valuable feature?
One thing really really really sexy for me is Clio Connect. Most of my clients-, I represent people on social security disability-, are people who are basically unable to work because of their medical condition. I get the gambit. People living on their 401K hoping for the best, others living under the interstate. Several years ago, I realized even homeless people check the Internet.
Two things popped up. First, I had to meet a new client and he wanted to meet at the library. He sleep by the library. When looking for jobs, he goes inside. Why? Free Internet. Some of the homeless shelters have kiosks available to surf the Web. People at home, they’re surfing the TV and what are they doing? Surfing the Web.
My office manager does the initial screens: email address? Yes. Check it. We can mail it to you, or give you access to download stuff right now. Clio Connect gives our clients, really tech savvy clients, the ability to go in and pull stuff down. They like it. They feel like they’re part of their case.
My office manager had this one client, spoke to her maybe once. But she regularly communicated with my office manager via Clio Connect. The client said, after the fact, that she liked the constant communication with our firm. Nothing earth shattering for my office manager. She’s working on other things, and gets a notice. I’ve had other clients that have taken full advantage of Clio Connect and reach out to us.
Clio also enhances my virtual presence.
Really. How so?
I do a YouTube video called QA Social Security Disability Today. People send me questions and comments, I answer them online. A wife from Colorado Springs found me on YouTube, started working with my office manager, and through Clio Connect , they really liked that they could communicate back and forth.
The second thing is…Most often, when a decision is rendered in a case, I have the ability as a representative to download the electronic decision. I saw a decision has been rendered, called the client on the phone, and said, “Congrats! You won.” The decision was written this morning. You will get a copy in the mail in 5 days, but I don’t think you should wait 5 days. I saved it in Documents, shared it with him, and he got it within 2 minutes and he was running around.
Instead of having to wait 5 days to get good news, he only had to wait 5 minutes.
Another thing that’s great about Clio Connect, is that I can use it to call people on their BS. People will log into the system, go look for something, and I’ll call to talk to them about it. I’ll ask “Hey did you see it?” They’ll say “No”, but I can see that they did.
I don’t use it for that particular purpose, but sometimes it’s nice. People have selective memories, and I go back and look. It’s nice accountability.
What benefits have you realized from Clio that you didn’t anticipate?
Might sound really dumb, but the mobility I knew going in that it would allow me to be mobile. But seeing it in practice, when I used Amicus and Needles, I had to use a remote desktop for those services. But it’s something different to go someplace, type in www.goclio.com, boom, type in your user name and password and you’re there.
Just the ease of being able to get access to it. Oh, some of the invoices, letterhead, those little things really add an extra degree of professionalism to the organization. The presentation I like. A lot. And I do mean a lot.
How did you find the process of getting up and running with Clio?
It was a funky transition as my office manager is used to Amicus. I like it for a variety of reasons. I have a virtual paralegal so she has access to it from another state. It’s real time, stuff is backed up and new features are always coming out.
It wasn’t as traumatic as I thought it would be. At first I was a little worried about it. I’ll be honest. Attorneys are risk averse. But uploading Matters and the Contacts was a huge thing for me and Clio made life a lot easier. Actually, moving the documents over was a little pain for a little while, but not as traumatic as I thought it would be.
What Clio did is help me put a clear line in the sand. Old cases and new cases. Made it easier.
From a transitional standpoint, it wasn’t as traumatic for me. It was more traumatic for my office manager, who does a lot of document generating stuff, and she still uses Amicus for those particular purposes because we haven’t fully integrated. We’re still tweaking things.
In terms of transitioning from one to the other, not as traumatic. Amicus has itself set up so docs aren’t really attached.
Relationship Clio has with Amazon s3, love it. It has made my life easier. Files weren’t even saved in Amicus, they were saved on your desktop, or server or something like that. So it’s not crazy as I thought it would be. And I thought was going to be crazy.
Have you had any experiences with Clio’s support team?
No. Been very pleased I haven’t had any interactions.
Would you recommend Clio to your colleagues?
Yep. And I have. My office manager actually recommended I tell one of my colleagues that they need to switch to Clio. Reason why is so hilarious.
This colleague is doing really well, but they use a collective approach. Collection of different programs to kind of do everything so they don’t have one dedicated integrated case management program. Sometimes it becomes a little nightmarish. Literally, my office manager told me to tell them that if they’re going to continue to grow, they need to get Clio. So I sat down with them and explained why they need to use Clio. So many cases coming through, making that much money, it’ll be harder to roll out.
Needles was like that. Lots of grumbling and then it was….OK. Got used to it.
I take pride in the fact that I’ve actually sat there and, colleague next to me is emailing somebody, I don’t do that. I go, I open up Clio and sit there. When a message pops up, I address it. Boom. Done. No jumping there to open up this window. No jumping here to open up an attachment.
So yeah, I have shared.
Mac or PC?
PC but someone is trying to woo me into being Mac. Me and PC will be married for awhile, but haven’t totally decided if I want to jump over. Half way there. Use a Windows-based desktop but use an iPad.
I will tell you that, for what I’ve always wanted to do, which is local attorney practicing an area that’s nationwide, it’s nice to have a case management system that gives me the ability to expand my practice. I have an active blog and YouTube channel so for me, having a SaaS case management system actually adds to my brand of how I’m trying to present myself, and I like the fact that it does. It makes clients feel part of the process, and feel they are getting a high level of service. I’m always going to be appreciative.