Clio Legal Trend Report 2020

Clio Legal Trend Report 2020


According to the Clio Legal Trend Report 2020, firms with deep technology adoption are projected to collect nearly $40,000 more annually per lawyer. This indicates a powerful advantage of cloud-based and client-centered technologies.

This article will cover what you need to know about the 2020 Clio Legal Trend Report.

Today, Clio, the leader in cloud-based legal technology, released its 2020 Legal Trends Report, revealing an unprecedented rate of technology adoption in the legal industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings show that firms embracing cloud-based and client-centered legal technologies are projected to collect nearly $40,000 more this year, per lawyer, than those slow to adopt the technology.

“The technological transformation of the legal industry that we expected to take place over the next five to ten years is now being compressed into weeks and months due to the pandemic,” said Jack Newton, CEO, and Co-founder of Clio. “More than ever, lawyers realize that technology is a powerful differentiator in building a better normal going forward and legal professionals who had hesitated to adopt technology in the past were suddenly forced to rapidly adapt to this new reality.”


How To Grow Your Law Practice


Included in the report was an analysis of data from tens of thousands of legal professionals comparing revenue earnings of firms using multiple cloud-based, client-centered solutions that are part of the Clio platform. The analysis showed that firms using electronic payments, client portals, and client intake and CRM solutions collected nearly $20,000 more per lawyer in 2019. In 2020, firms using these solutions are projected to collect nearly $40,000 more, indicating that these technologies have significantly mitigated the impact of the pandemic on these firms and is accelerating their recovery.

The future of brick-and-mortar legal services remains uncertain among lawyers. Included in this year’s report was a MaxDiff analysis designed to better understand what’s most important to legal professionals and their clients. Operating out of commercial office space ranked the least important to both legal professionals and their clients while using technology to organize their firm was determined to be one of the most important success indicators by lawyers.

Survey data also showed that physical, in-person legal services are far from the default for law firms with 79% of law firms relying on cloud technology to store firm data, and 83% meeting with clients virtually.


Clio Legal Trend Report 2020


The shift to virtual, cloud-based legal services may already be well underway. Seven percent of legal professionals said that they had let go of their commercial office space after the start of the pandemic, and 12% are unsure if they will keep their commercial office space in the future.

The majority of consumers also favor a lawyer who offers technology solutions with 69% of consumers preferring to share documents electronically, 65% preferring to pay through electronic payments, and 56% preferring video conferencing over a phone call. Moreover, both lawyers and consumers see the benefit of the permanent implementation of technology. Ninety-six percent of legal professionals plan to continue using cloud technology beyond the pandemic to store firm data, while 37% of consumers said that in the future, most if not all lawyers should run their practice virtually.

“The future of the legal industry will be cloud-based and client-centered,” said Newton. “The advantages of better service, increased efficiency, and a more flexible business environment will only continue to benefit both lawyers and their clients.”

How To Grow Your Law Practice

Client Satisfaction For Law Firms


Client satisfaction—and the resulting reviews and referrals—were the most important factors to firm success, which creates a strong impetus for tailoring legal services to client needs. Consumers also indicated that issues related to the affordability of legal services, as well as transparency into overall costs and payment flexibility, were key in determining the heritability of a lawyer. As many lawyers turn to technology to streamline firm operations, often beyond the walls of commercial office space, we may be seeing an opportunity for lawyers to redefine their pricing and payment strategies through payment plans, flat fee services, unbundled legal services, and subscription to help open up their services to underserved legal markets that would be otherwise unable to afford legal services.

Now in its fifth year, the 2020 report includes Clio’s real-time analysis on the impacts of COVID-19 on the legal industry from March to August encapsulating: anonymized and aggregated responses from 150,000 legal professionals using Clio over the last two years, as well as, survey responses from 1,000 legal professionals and 1,000 general consumers in the U.S on what they deem most important to them today and in a post-COVID world.


Clio Is Cloud-Based and Client-Centered 


In light of recent findings, Clio transforms its product roadmap to help the legal industry create a better normal. At the eighth annual Clio Cloud Conference, Jack Newton, CEO and Co-founder of Clio, unveiled findings confirming a rapid and compressed transformation of the legal industry brought on by the pandemic. To better support these permanent changes, Clio is expanding its mission to transform the practice of law, for good, to include how society engages with, delivers, and experiences legal services.

“The notion of returning back to normal is altogether shortsighted,” said Jack Newton, CEO, and Co-founder, Clio. “Instead, we should be thinking about how we can build a better normal. With this, we are looking beyond merely making the practice of law easier for lawyers. We are looking at redesigning our product roadmap to better serve the legal profession, and ultimately, the clients that depend on them.”

At the outset of the pandemic, Clio undertook in-depth research to understand the challenges US legal professionals face due to the global pandemic. Clio discovered that firms using a variety of cloud-based and client-centered technologies such as practice management software, online payments, client portals, and client intake and legal CRM software were able to better adapt to the new environment brought about by COVID-19, serve more individuals while seeing better revenue than firms conducting the same amount of work without these tools.


The Future Of Legal


The Future Of Legal | Clio Legal Trend Report 2020


“The future of legal is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet,” said Newton. “Firms that move to hybrid or cloud-first practices and reexamine the packaging and delivery of their services will be the ones who succeed and will be in a position to serve a wider clientele. Our role is to ensure they have the tools to do that successfully.”

In his keynote, Jack revealed a number of new solutions and integrations that take the place of fixed and outdated models. These virtual by design releases focus on key stages of the client the journey from discoverability to retention, and close the gap between what drives law firm success and hireability.


Connecting clients with lawyers online


The findings from the 2020 Legal Trends Report show that the need for physical law firms is becoming irrelevant in the wake of affordable and technology-based solutions. Both legal professionals and their potential clients agree that a physical office space ranks at the very bottom as a driver of a firm’s success and hireability. Additionally, when looking for legal services, 57% of consumers search on their own, with Google owning more than 90% of the global search market share.


Google My Business integration

To ensure lawyers are marketing and engaging with potential clients where they are searching for legal help, Clio announced an integration with Google My Business. With a free Google Business Profile, prospective clients can review, email, and call a firm directly within their initial Google search. Clio customers will be able to manage how their business appears on Google Search and Maps and create, publish, and manage their Google Business Profile directly from Clio. With this development, Clio is ensuring businesses are showing up to prospective clients in the right way.


Google My Business integration


Paid consultations | Clio Legal Trend Report


Although Clio has offered Clio Payments, an e-payment solution powered by LawPay, for years, the organization recently launched an easy and flexible a way for clients to schedule paid consultations with Clio lawyers online, reducing client intake costs, and no shows.

The majority of consumers (69%) prefer working with a lawyer that can share documents electronically through a web page, app, or online portal.


Clio for Clients | Legal Trend Report


To ensure clients can stay connected with their lawyer, get updates from anywhere, and expedited case documentation, Clio announced a brand new app designed for legal clients specifically called Clio for Clients. This is their first foray in legal client technology and was met with resounding excitement at the conference. With Clio for Clients, clients of Clio lawyers can receive updates, documents, and communicate with their lawyer via one singular secure app designed for them.

E-signatures: Clio Manage users can now save time by preparing, sending, and electronically signing documents directly from Clio Manage. Reviewed and signed documents are saved automatically in Clio. This removes the hassle of downloading, printing, or scanning documents to get them signed.


Collaborating and communicating remotely


84% of legal professionals say they could serve their clients even better if more parts of their practice were automated with technology. Additionally, a significant minority of consumers (37%) prefer to meet virtually with a lawyer for a consultation or first meeting, and 50% would rather conduct any further meetings through video conference.

Microsoft Teams integration: While some law firms have transitioned back to the office, the need to collaborate remotely remains permanent. With Clio for Microsoft Teams, Clio customers can automatically create new teams when they create a new matter in Clio and access them at any time from the Matter Dashboard.

Zoom integration: In one click, Clio customers can add a unique Zoom link to their Clio Manage calendar invites. Any meeting can be made a Zoom meeting, and event invites include all the details needed to join the video call, including a password.

Dialpad: Clio Manage’s integration with Dialpad enables firms to take advantage of having a dedicated business phone line, without having to be tied down to a fixed landline. With Dialpad, customers can work remotely and rapidly scale the communication needs of their practice, capture billable and non-billable hours spent with clients, streamline, and keep logs of their communications.


Clio Legal Trend Report 2020

Automating and improving collections | Clio Legal Trend Report 2020

In June, 71% of legal professionals were concerned about their clients’ ability to pay legal fees than before the pandemic. However, as uncovered in this year’s Legal Trends Report, firms that adopt more than one technology, such as online payments and billing, see a compounding positive effect in business performance, including revenue collection.

Automatic bill reminders: New to Clio Manage, customers will have the ability to automatically send out gentle reminders to their clients about their account balances. This feature eliminates time-consuming administrative tasks and allows customers to spend their efforts on doing billable work, procuring clients, and spending time growing their firm.


Building the operating system for legal

76% of legal professionals believe that legal services can be streamlined when conducted virtually, while 68% say technology has helped their firms deliver better client experiences during the pandemic.

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Secure legal identity | Clio Legal Trend Report 2020


Clio is doubling down on creating a singular operating system for legal by streamlining the process of logging in to all the key solutions legal professionals have come to rely on. Launching with Fastcase, Legalboards, and myFirmData, Clio customers will now be able to login using the same credentials they use for Clio Manage and Clio Grow. By eliminating the need to create separate emails and passwords for each integration partner, Clio is creating more secure and streamlined workflows for its customers and plans to launch a single sign-on with its over 200 integrations.

During the initial impact of the pandemic, 83% of legal professionals viewed cloud technology as necessary to the survival of their law firms, and as many as 82% said that technology had become more relevant. Now, the vast majority (85%) of law firms are using digital technologies to manage their practice. With no end in sight of the need for better cloud-based and client-centered solutions, Clio will continue to roll out client-centered and cloud-based solutions that better meet the needs of all involved in the legal system.

Let us know what you thought of the Clio Legal Trend Report 2020.


2020 Reisman Award Winners


Five outstanding law firms have been awarded a Reisman Award. Clio has recognized the law firms for their innovative approaches to delivering legal services. Clio, the leader in cloud-based legal technology, announced the winners of the fourth annual Reisman Awards. Recipients included Clio customers who have demonstrated law firm excellence and innovation over the last year.

“We were absolutely blown away by the amazing ways Clio customers leverage our platform to better the lives of their clients, employees, and communities,” said Jack Newton.

“This year has been one of immense and rapid change, presenting a variety of new challenges. We’re proud to recognize legal professionals who are making a profound impact on the world through their work.”


Best New Law Firm: Schneck Immigration Law


The best new law firm award honors a newcomer. They have weathered the trials of entrepreneurship and come out on top. After working at a large firm, Kristen Schneck broke out on her own. She created a law firm that focused on creating a culture of career growth for women. She also created a more diverse and inclusive workplace. The firm could better serve the needs of the Pennsylvania community. She is now considered a leading voice in Pennsylvania. This is on the topic of Immigration Law. Schneck has seen great success and has added three additional staff. Also, the firm is currently adding a second partner immigration attorney.


2020 Reisman Award Winners


Best Growth Story: Jodi Ann Donato | Clio Legal Trend Report 2020


The best growth story honors a firm that has experienced exceptional gains. After suffering an office fire in December 2017, Donato Law moved into a temporary office in New York. Then they experienced a second setback when a pipe burst due to the cold. Thankfully, Jodi Ann Donato stored the vast majority of her work in Clio. Therefore, Jodi was able to recover over time. This happened without any downtime. Fast forward to 2019, and Donato Law took in 21% more cases than they did the previous year. The firm almost doubling between October 1, 2019, and December 31, 2019. This was compared to the same period from 2018. On top of this, Donata Law’s accounts receivable is the lowest it has ever been in their 27 years of practice. They didn’t have to institute collections actions against any clients in 2019.


Clio Legal Trend Report 2020 | Community Champion: Osborn Gambale Beckley


Community champion honors firms that prioritize giving back to their communities. This is whether it be through pro bono work, donations, volunteering, mentorship, or another altruistic activity. Counsel Carolina is an equal access law firm committed to closing the justice gap in North Carolina. The state sees almost 80% of the civil legal needs of regular people not being met every year. To make justice more accessible and affordable for all, Justin Osborn and his team travel around the state. They host free legal advice events in their custom 33ft RV. They also provide advice on site with community partners. Since they opened in April 2019, they hosted 59 events in 13 cities. They also volunteered 1308 hours of pro bono service and helped over 799 people in their community.


Clio Legal Trend Report 2020 | Legal Innovation: Roche Legal


Legal innovation honors a practice that has successfully challenged industry norms. This is either through technology, delivery of legal services, or meeting the needs of a non-traditional market. Based in the UK, Roche Legal is dedicated to giving a voice to the elderly and vulnerable. They also demystify the legal process and changing perceptions about the profession. The driving force behind Roche Legal is its dedication to embracing new technology.

This ensures they offer unique client service innovations. They meet clients virtually and create eBooks clients can use to navigate the legal process. Roche Law also offers clients an innovative online Will writing and Lasting Power of Attorney service. This took two years to develop and has just four sections for the client to complete. Their remote Will writing system gives clients a prompt and efficient service. This is wherever they are in the world without having to rely on postal service.


Excellence in Client Service: Ceiba Forté Law Firm


Excellence in client service honors a practice that has successfully implemented a client-centered approach to running their firm. It must be better for their clients and their business. Ceiba Forte Law Firm focuses on serving the Minnesota Hispanic community with their civil, business, and employment matters.

To ensure that the experience they provide clients is approachable they inject a little fun in the consultation process. They offer story cards to better capture the way a client feels about their case and use visual charts to ensure they know why the client is asking the questions they are. To ensure legal services are affordable they offer alternative fee arrangements like flat fees, contingency, and hybrids. A core belief at Ceiba Forte Law is adapting to the needs of every client, especially for hard-working Hispanics, foreigners, and immigrants, and communicating in a clear way to ensure all their clients understand the legal process and are at ease.

The Reisman Awards celebrate the legal industry’s game changers, groundbreakers, and pioneers. “By recognizing firms of different sizes and at different levels of success, we’re highlighting the most enterprising and ambitious of our community,” said Newton. “Our customers are on the leading edge of this industry, and we’re proud to honor their hard work.”

Did you find the Clio Legal Trend Report 2020 interesting?

Learn more about the Reisman Awards.