Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud practice management software with new tools for automating client trust account replenishment and tracking marketing activities (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a virtual desktop service with two-factor authentication, an ebook law library, case analysis cloud software for litigators, an add-on for document management systems, legal project management software, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.
Many law firms require a retainer upfront during the client intake process but these funds often fail to cover the entire cost of a matter. During the twists and turns of a thorny litigation or a complex deal, clients may need to replenish their trust account several times. This process should become more automated to reduce the inherent friction of asking for money.
Clio … in One Sentence
Clio is a popular cloud practice management application that recently beefed up its trust accounting features and added tools for tracking marketing activities.
The Killer Feature
Clio's new Trust Requests feature enables you to ask clients to fund one or more of their matters or their account generally. You can specify a different amount per matter. During the approval process, you can add a note and edit any of the trust requests. Clients receive trust requests the same way they receive invoices — via the Clio Connect portal, email, or postal mail depending on your firm's preferences.
The Bills Dashboard lists all trust requests and their payment status. Clio tracks information for each payment that most jurisdictions require, including check number or wire transfer details. When you apply trust funds to a bill, Clio restricts you to funds available for that matter to prevent accounting errors. You can move funds marked for an inactive matter to a different matter upon receiving client approval. Using Clio's role-based permissions, you can restrict who has authority to move and apply trust funds.
Other Notable Features
Clio's Trust Ledger and Trust Listing reports facilitate compliance with monthly and annual trust accounting reconciliation requirements, including all activity related to trust requests. The Trust Ledger report displays trust information by practice area, clients, matters, etc. You can sort by date range and omit funds held in escrow. The Trust Listing report offers a simpler view by practice area. The reports are interactive, enabling you to drill down to individual transactions. You can export the reports in PDF or CSV formats.
Clio has partnered with LawPay for integrated credit card processing. This eliminates the $20 per month subscription LawPay charges for its highest level of service (you can transfer your existing LawPay account to Clio). When you send bills and trust requests electronically, clients can pay securely using a web browser. Clio also has a virtual terminal for processing credit card payments manually. "Clio users that accept credit cards receive same-day payment 30% of the time," Clio's lawyer-in-residence Joshua Lenon told me. "This improves cash flow and reduces time spent on collections."
Also new in Clio is the Campaigns feature for tracking your marketing efforts. You can generate trackable phone numbers that forward to your firm's number. When you use one of these phone numbers in an advertisement, you can precisely track the number of leads and clients it generates. Similarly, Clio can track the number of leads from landing pages on your website.
What Else Should You Know?
Clio runs in all desktop and mobile web browsers, and in native apps for Android and iOS. You can choose from three plans — Starter ($39 per user per month), Boutique ($59 per user per month), or Elite ($99 per user per month). Trust Requests and integrated credit card billing require the Boutique or Elite plan. Learn more about Clio.
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