July 16th, 2013 by Gwynne Monahan
Eric Johnson is the principal and founding attorney of Utah Family Law, a firm of four attorneys and two support staff focused on divorce and family law. Having started a law firm before, Johnson recognized the value of “everything has a place, and a place for everything.” Two things spurred his movement from paper tracking to Clio: difficulty in tracking time using spreadsheets and Word documents, and difficulty in generating reports in order to understand firm cash flow.
Using Clio for the past four years, Johnson and his firm have been able to easily track time, bill clients and generate reports to monitor firm cash flow. He says the analytics tools are “just enough. I like its simple and clean approach so you’re not spending your time on administrative tasks.”
His firm has also found Clio useful while in court. “Clio is also great when you go into court, realize you forgot something or need something extra, but can grab it off the cloud without skipping a beat.”
Johnson also said Clio Connect was an unexpected benefit. Not having to print invoices and pay for postage was both a time and cost-saver for his firm. The most unexpected benefit, however, is using Clio to respond instantly to client billing questions. “Clients sometimes come back and say the bill is incorrect. They might demand invoices for the past six months. I used to have to go find the invoices, print them out and look at them and then forward them to the client. Back then, it was just easier to give them a discount if they demanded it (right or wrong). Now, with Clio, we can just send invoices again, right to their inbox. We can send them a comprehensive bill.”
Now Johnson and his firm send all of their bills to their clients by email. Four years ago, before others sent invoices by email, his clients thought “I was some kind of super lawyer because of the things I could do, and Clio made that happen.”
Read the complete interview.
Tell us a little about your firm, location, practice area, etc?
I practice divorce and family law. I’ve opened several firms, and the current iteration opened in March 2009. We have four attorneys and two support staff, and are located in Salt Lake City, Utah.
What did you use before Clio?
Nothing in my own practice, but when I was an associate elsewhere, I used Time Matters.
What made you decide on Clio? Did you try out any other solutions?
There was a time when I opened a firm with a partner. We were poor and starting out so we didn’t use anything. We kept track of billing in QuickBooks, we used the QuickBooks timer and entered into QuickBooks directly. We realized it was difficult tracking everything on a spreadsheet and Word files, and we also knew it would be easier to generate reports and understand our cash flow if we had practice management software.
There’s that old adage a place for everything, and everything in its place. Practice management software has a place. We’d be able to crunch numbers, export to something else and we also wanted to be able to access it online. It became a question of what’s the cheapest. At the time I only knew about Clio and RocketMatter. I’ve since looked at MyCase but don’t remember much about it, and it didn’t look like anything to write home about. So of the ones we thought were affordable, we liked Clio the best. Clio is leaps and bounds ahead.
I’ve now been using Clio for four years. From the time I started, I was very happy with it.
What problems did Clio help your firm solve?
I love Clio for invoicing. It’s way easier than doing invoicing through QuickBooks. My bookkeeper loves Clio for invoicing, too. We love sending invoices by email. Four years ago Clio was leading the pack in that. My clients thought I was some kind of super lawyer because of the things I could do, and Clio made that happen.
What did you find to be Clio’s most valuable feature?
I like the fact that Clio is accessible online, that it’s easy to use and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I like that I can look up the client’s address.
I also like the analytics tools. They’re just enough. As Seth Godin says, “A person who has faster and greater access to news and information is no better off than the person who has just enough.” Clio takes a better path by saying “we’re not the most robust in our analytics, but we make it easy for you, give you a limited number of choices so you’re not bogged down in analytics.” I just like Clio’s approach to that. I like that stripped down and clean approach so you’re not spending your time on administrative tasks.
What benefits have you realized from Clio that you didn’t anticipate?
Clio Connect is a great thing. We didn’t have to set that up ourselves. Invoicing is wonderful. We don’t have to print invoices and pay for postage.
We didn’t expect to also use Clio to respond instantly to client billing questions. Clients sometimes come back and say the bill is too high or they’re being ripped off. They might demand invoices for the past six months. I used to have to go find the invoices, print them out and look at them. it was just easier to give them a discount if they demanded it (right or wrong). Now, with Clio, we can just send invoices again, right to their inbox. We can send them a comprehensive bill and they can see we didn’t get it wrong.
Have Clio & “the Cloud” changed the way you practice law? If so, how?
It has. There’s peace of mind now when I’m not in the office physically, knowing in an emergency I can get connected and be in control. Blessing and a curse: it’s also hard to take a vacation and totally unplug. Clio does give me freedom overall, though. It’s nice to know I can go on a three day weekend trip with the family. I can still be there for my family, and while the kids hang out at the pool I can do some work, if I need to.
Clio is also great when you go into court, realize you forgot something or need something extra, but can grab it off the cloud without skipping a beat. That’s happened to me more than once.
How did you find the process of getting up and running with Clio?
It was transcendently easy to do. We loved how easy it was, and I was shocked at how easy it was to setup Clio. I expected all kinds of glitches, things to timeout and login fails. I was expecting upsells, too.
There wasn’t any of that. Clio respects its customer. Clio says “We know what you’re about, know what you need and don’t ask anymore from you.”
Have you had any experiences with Clio’s support team?
Clio is professionally run, and it deals with me in a professional manner with any technical question. We’re really really grateful to get a response, and we’ve always gotten the answer we want and the help we need. The impression I get from the Clio support staff is: “We want to understand the problem so we can solve the problem quickly and completely.”
Would you recommend Clio to your colleagues?
Mac or PC?
PC and an Android-based phone.