Clio is easy-to-use cloud-based law practice management software, consisting of a relational database with a focus on Contacts and Matters. The main program tabs include Practice, Calendar, Task, Matters, Contact, Activities, Billing Accounts, Documents and Reports.
Under contacts there are sub-tabs for Matters, Related Matters, Transactions, Notes, Communications, and Clio Connect (shared resources). Under Matters there are sub-tabs for Info, Client, Transactions, Contacts (Relationships), Tasks, Calendar, Notes, Time, Expenses, Documents, Communications and Clio Connect. This gives you access to lots of information about each matter and contact, providing a comprehensive management of your client/matter information and relationships.
Clio offers a variety of storage options for documents including local, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and NetDocuments. These choices give flexibility in meeting the needs of different firms.
You can setup assigned tasks and create groups of tasks that can be easily pulled onto a given matter. Tasks can be dependent on other tasks. This can be helpful for consistent workflows and expedite the adding of tasks to the calendar. For firms where Statute of Limitation dates are important they can be setup with reminders via E-Mail or Clio pop-up. This helps to minimize the risk of missing an SOL date - important for your malpractice insurance.
Clio Connect gives you a way to share information - "a secure client portal". It includes a dashboard, calendar, tasks, matters, activities, bills and messages for the relevant contact/matter. You can send secure messages to anyone you have setup as a Clio Connect user.
One of my long-time objections to Clio has been how emails were connected. Each matter had a unique email address. To link an email you had to forward it to the unique email address for the matter. This always seemed awkward to me. Now Clio has introduced the ability to link emails in directly from Outlook and Gmail. I haven't tried it, but the information I read indicates that this method of linking emails is more in line with my expectations and the way other programs link emails.
Clio offers time and expense tracking and billing. Rates can be setup in a variety of ways and you can bill flat rates. When billing you choose the level of detail. This means that if you have clients needing different levels of detail you have to run the bills separately. If you are in a state that needs to charge tax, be aware that you have to choose the sales tax when you bill. While Clio does manage client trust accounts there is no ability to auto pay from trust. Not a big deal for most, but important to be aware of. Payments can be accepted via PayPal, LawPay or LawCharge.
Clio offers export to QuickBooks desktop and links to QBO and Xero. The QuickBooks desktop link is an IIF file. IIF is no longer officially supported by Intuit and has downsides that have been discussed elsewhere. When you export you select the transaction date (what did I export last time?) and then send invoices and import. Next you send over payments and import those. You have to manually match the payments to the invoices. Remember that if there are partial payments QuickBooks allocates the payment proportionately across the line items. If you have fees and costs on an invoice this can be a concern. Note that if you don't match the payments to the invoices and you run cash basis reports in QuickBooks the information may be incorrect. Finally you can import trust transactions.
For QBO and Xero there is a link. Once you set it up contacts, bills and payments are sent from Clio automatically. Note that trust transactions are not sent over. If you want those in QBO or Xero - and you may not need them there - they have to be entered manually.
For small to medium size law firms that want a cloud based system, Clio offers a lot. Support is available through email, phone and twitter. You can try it for free at GoClio.com to see if it's right.