Clio announces major upgrades to platform

Legal Technology

Clio logo./Twitter.

Clio has announced over 220 improvements and features to their practice management platform.

CEO Jack Newton made the announcement during the opening keynote of the Clio Cloud Conference in New Orleans to an announced crowd of 1,200.

Dubbed Project Apollo, the culmination of these changes is a holistic redesign and rebuild of the platform. Changes include updating the user interface, improving platform speeds by five times, rebuilding the search function, building new workflows–especially around bulk billing–and an integration with Outlook and Office 365.

In an interview with the ABA Journal after the keynote, Newton was upbeat. However, with new functions and more than 70 software integrations from other companies, Newton struck a cautious note regarding these changes and expanding with “discipline.”

“One of the core struggles is expanding the feature set that meets the customer needs,” says Newton.

Newton recalls a “feature race” that the previous generation of legal management software underwent. He says the mindless feature expansion was a “death knell” to many of those companies and that he is “painfully aware” of this trap. Newton hopes the changes pushed out Monday are ones that balance needs of the client and the complexity of their practice.

For example, the Outlook integration will allow users to track time for billing and push email attachments directly into client files in Clio.

Looking to the future, Newton made public Project Hermes, which will be a mobile-first series of features and functionality added to Clio. To Netwon, mobile is something he has been thinking about for years.

“Five years ago, it was clear that mobile was going to ‘eat the world,’” says Newton. At the time, he recalls, thinking that mobile would “surpass” the cloud in regard to impact and opportunity in the legal space. However, he and Clio made the choice to focus on cloud computing first and bring the legal industry up to speed before taking the leap into mobile.

“Five years ago, the space wasn’t ready for that transformation,” he says.

Now, it seems, this slower “iterative, but relentless,” approach to change is coming to fruition. Hermes is currently in beta for customer testing. Newton says it plans to roll out the features publicly in the first quarter of 2018.

Started as a two-person operation, Clio now boasts five offices in Canada, the U.S. and Ireland with 240 employees–nearly half of whom have joined the company in the past few years. Despite the growth, Newton says he remains somewhat nostalgic of Clio’s early days. With a larger organization, he no longer has the ability to talk with a client and immediately push a feature to meet their needs. Now, he focuses on how the client management team communicates with his product developers.

“As you scale up, communication gets hard, knowing what going on gets harder, keeping close to the costumer gets harder,” says Newton. “There’s nothing quite like the early days of a two-person shop.”

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