Clio’s Virtual Conference – The New Normal?

By Pegeen Turner

This year has had few bright spots, but the virtual Clio Cloud conference was one of them. Clio, the world’s largest cloud-based legal practice management system, has created a community of legal professionals that is pushing the envelope of legal and legal tech. I have been a Clio consultant since the early days and have attended all the Clio conferences, beginning in 2013, when there were only 250 of us, to this last virtual conference with more than 4,500 attendees.

Clio’s 2020 conference, aka ClioCon, did not start off as a virtual conference, but as 2020 shifted, so did Clio. In March, as the pandemic began, Clio‘s plans were upended for their popular in-person conference in October. Jack Newton, the CEO of Clio, had said that he would not consider a virtual Clio conference because all of the virtual conferences he had attended had been less than lackluster.

Jack — the Clio conference was the highlight for many of us in this crazy year.

Clio’s first-time virtual conference, which ended last week, did not go off without a few hiccups. The first day was challenging for their brand-new virtual conference platform; however, the technology issues quickly resolved and allowed the attendees to focus on the tech and the substance of the Clio conference.

Clio, like the rest of us, had to shift gears not only in their conference but also in their technology offerings as highlighted at the conference. At the beginning of the pandemic, Clio’s team quickly pushed out integrations with Microsoft Teams and videoconferencing giant, Zoom, to enhance the collaboration features available within Clio. They added HelloSign as an electronic signature option within Clio earlier in the year and enhanced and updated their billing interface to make billing and payments easier.

During the conference, Clio announced numerous enhancements to their platform including:

  • A partnership with Google and Google My Business integration directly within Clio Manage.
  • A new Clio Client app to allow better collaboration between attorney and client using a client-facing app.
  • A Scheduling with Payments integration within Clio Grow.
  • Restructuring and enhancing document features, including versioning.
  • Automated bill reminders and billing email templates.
  • Single sign on between Clio Manage and Clio Grow with a single login and password.
  • Extended single sign on to external applications, like LegalBoards and myFirmdata, that will allow easy access directly through the Clio platform modeling Apple’s and Quickbook’s App Store.

But Clio‘s conference is not always about the new bells and whistles on the platform, but also allowing attendees to dive deeper into their product. Countless sessions and roundtables encouraged collaboration and chatting among the attendees, the first of its kind in a virtual conference. This was the meat of this conference. Clio wanted their attendees to do more than learn from a talking screen. They wanted engagement between attendees.

Clio‘s goal with this conference was to create a community of experts and novices in one place. Any person in the conference could spin up a round table or a virtual session to attract like-minded Clio users who had the same question or interest. This was a powerful and well received piece of the conference that helped create and foster community. From getting their questions answered in the Clio Product Lab to taking a deep dive into questions of workflow, billing and efficiencies, Clio brought their users closer together to answer questions and collaborate amongst their peers. This is tough to do in a virtual conference, and Clio succeeded in creating a community of followers that can enhance their practice using tools already vetted by their colleagues.

Clio has never shied away from controversial topics for speakers, and this year’s conference lineup was no exception, from inspirational speeches from world-renowned marketing guru Seth Godin, to Angela Duckworth, author of Grit, to the more controversial Ben Crump, attorney for George Floyd. Clio’s speakers have always inspired attendees and have often held the legal profession accountable, but this year really pushed the envelope for content.

Clio has always been known for their after-hours parties, and I assumed that this would be lost in a virtual conference. Not a chance! In typical Clio style, they extended their reach to include after-hours entertainment, including singers and songwriters like Nathaniel Rateliff, Ben Harper, and DJ Questlove, as well as a cook-along session with my favorite world-renowned chef, Stephanie Izard.

For many years, Clio included their mission statement as a core focus of their conference to “Make Law Better — For Good.” This year, they added an interesting piece to their mission statement during the conference to “Make Law Better — For Good. Together.” In 2020, we need more of that togetherness even in a virtual world.

Note: The NCBA is also pushing us forward in technology by hosting an Automation Workshop on December 8 with NCBA’s Director of the Center for Practice Management, Catherine Sanders Reach. This automation conference is geared to help guide you through solutions that may be right in front of you in Word, Office 365, Macs, Intake, Chatbots and more! My session will be focused on Clio and many of the automations covered from the most recent Clio conference. All these tools can help you automate your practice and make you more efficient in using technology. I encourage you to join us for this investment to bring your practice up to 2020 and beyond. Check back at the CPM Events page for more details.