Chuck McLaughlin is a private investigator based in Andover, Massachusetts. A private investigator using Clio might sound unusual, but McLaughlin handles many litigation cases and believes that “since many of our clients are lawyers, it makes sense to handle cases in a similar way as they do. We’re here to service lawyers, so it’s important to make their lives easier so they continue to hire us.”
Handling cases “in a similar way” used to mean using Timeslips for billing, and Time Matters for case management. Then he switch to Clio. When asked why he switched to Clio, McLaughlin emphasized “flexibility, scalability and cost-effectiveness.” Both Timeslips and Time Matters forced him to be tied to a server, and “were very, very expensive and became limiting as technology and the cloud grew.” Private investigations, “like any business, has ebbs and flows.” Some cases require a number of investigators; others didn’t require any. “Being able to scale at a moments notice was appealing to me. It’s just as simple to scale backwards as forwards with Clio.”
Another key to his practice is flexibility. Since Clio is cloud-based, McLaughlin “can access my files anywhere in the world. I do a lot of international investigations, and being able to have my laptop in a hotel room in Hong Kong and work like I’m in my office in Andover is fantastic. Clio works exactly the same overseas as in my office, if you have a good Internet connection. You wouldn’t know the difference.” McLaughlin travels often, and does a fair amount of work both overseas and for overseas clients. This international work often requires dealing with things “late at night or early in the morning to make up the time differences.” Since switching to Clio, he can “do that from the comfort of my home instead of the office, which is great. When I do travel, it allows me to run my practice like I’m at my office and people don’t need to know I’m on the road.”
When asked if there were any unexpected benefits, McLaughlin said how freeing it was to “get away from the server and being tied to my office. I could always dial into my office computer but it was cumbersome. I knew the cloud would allow me to be freer, but I didn’t realize how important that would be to me until I was actually experiencing it.“ The benefits of Clio don’t stop at lifestyle, either.
With Timeslips and Time Matters, McLaughlin had to hire an independent consultant “any time I had to buy a new computer. Everything had be reprogrammed and all the kinks had to get worked out. That’d cost me $500-$1000 for a consultant to come in for the day, and reprogram everything. Time Matters implemented a mandatory service contract too, and it was just so clunky, heavy and expensive I was so happy to get away from it.”
When asked about computer preference, McLaughlin claimed to be “a PC person who wants to become a “cool” Mac person.” Asked to elaborate, he said that “one of the things I was looking for is to get away from PCs and go to the Mac platform. I have some MacBook laptops that I use, naturally the integration is perfect with Clio.” He pointed out that he has accumulated equipment over the years that he still uses, so switching isn’t a simple task, but his “goal is to become is to become one of the cool kids someday.”
Read the rest of the interview interview. (more…)