Jack Newton OAM is an Australian former professional golfer.
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My short bio: I founded Clio (
EDIT: Hey everyone, headed back to the conference to do conference things, but I'd like to thank everyone taking the time to submit questions here. I'll keep checking back and answering questions throughout the day!
Obviously you see the legal field as a great place for technological innovation. Do you think we're going to be able to fully replace lawyers with technology one day? Contracts and other rigidly structured documents seem like something that could be negotiated between two computers once things are a little more standardized.
Yes, /u/orangejulius, I want to replace you with a bot.
Geoff Hinton made a point that we're very close to realizing the algorithmic potential of current machine learning capabilities. When it comes to negotiating contracts, there's a level of nuance required that machines just can't provide.
We'll get to a point where we'll have easily automated tasks being done by computers, and the leading edge of consumer machine learning capabilities will get pulled into the practice of law, but you'll never be able to fully remove lawyers from the legal process.
I'm a lawyer who daydreams of going solo at some point. I've used Clio before in a law school clinic. I've also used Pika and I think Clio is better than at least that. However:
First of all, congratulations on taking the plunge—Clio has been a huge part of many successful attorneys taking the leap and striking out on their own, and we'd love to support your success.
There are a few things that differentiate us from our competitors. Clio is helping chart the future of the practice of law and investing heavily in a legal technology ecosystem via our $1m developer fund and 70+ integrations. We're helping offer new insights into the practice of law via our Legal Trends Report. We're advancing the product itself at an incredible rate and introducing valuable new features all the time.
If you're looking for a feature-for-feature comparison, we have a page here: http://clio.com/compare
What was your absolute lowest point throughout your Clio career?
Great question! Trying to raise our first fundraising round was incredibly difficult and very disheartening. We launched in 2009 in the midst of the financial crisis and despite having what I was convinced was a great business, and receiving great feedback from investors there was no one writing cheques.
We got a cold email from a German investor named Christoph Janz who had heard about our product on a blog and expressing interest in being an angel investor—but the email was caught by our spam filter and sat there for two weeks (inadvertently slow-playing him.) Through what I can only describe as an act of God, Rian, my Co-founder, randomly checked the spam folder and saw the email, leading to a $1m Series A.
Moral of the story: always check the spam folder!
What was the strangest insight you gained from the legal trends report?
When we launched the Legal Trends Report, I went into it hoping to show that self-reported utilization rate data for lawyers was inaccurate, but I had no idea by how much.
Even in the second year of the report, the incredibly low utilization rate data continues to floor me. (If you're curious, check out the Executive Summary of the 2017 report here: https://files.clio.com/marketo/ebooks/2017-Legal-Trends-Report-Executive-Summary.pdf)
Based on this ongoing trend, we're focused on finding new and impactful ways to support our customers (and lawyers in general) and help them reclaim that lost time.
Is Clio planning on adding more sidebar items, such as assigning tasks for taking random notes? I would love to be able to just click a button and add things to my Matters without having to navigate to the client page. It would be even better if the note and task feature could have the time entry-style popup so you can quickly review what is coming up as due/assign tasks, along with reviewing all the notes you took that day at a glance.
We use Clio for our firm and if ever there were a reason we would jump ship, it would be because of how cumbersome it is to add and review notes and tasks as you move through your day. Would love to see some help here.
Your question is well-timed :-)
We're releasing a complete redesign of Clio (previously code-named Apollo, now branded "the new Clio experience") to all customers over the course of October.
With the new Clio experience we've added a Quick Create button to the top navigation that will allow you to quickly add notes, assign tasks, etc. with just a few clicks.
I think you'll love it.
(And thanks for being a customer!)
What's been the highlight of your time with Clio?
Undoubtedly the customer conference we hold every year. Getting to spend face time with our customers, witness the change that's taking place in the legal industry firsthand, and help to make industry connections that drive innovation is incredibly rewarding.
What's been the most surprising thing about growing your company to the scale it's at now?
Frankly, the most surprising thing is that we've been able to grow and that the company IS the scale it is now. When we started the company nine years ago, I don't think we had any idea how big the market was or how much demand there would be for a product like Clio. We hoped to build a company that would provide a salary for myself and my Co-founder. The fact that we're over 240 employees and 150,000 customers still blows me away every day.
I love Clio, and I also really appreciate that you guys are constantly adding new features. I'm one of those users that is constantly contacting your support people and suggesting ideas that would make my life a lot easier, and I understand you have an internal "voting" system that helps to determine what new features will take the highest priority for development and implementation.
Have you considered making a short list of features (say, top 5) publicly visible? I'd love to have a sense of what I can expect next.
Also, please give me something to do e-signing. Please.
Thanks for your ongoing support, we always love hearing from our customers!
With the new Clio experience, we're trying to get away from one-off feature votes and trying to understand our customers' problems and workflows in a more holistic way—a feature-oriented view is a bit myopic.
If you'd be interested in getting on a customer interview with our product managers, let our support team know or shoot me a PM here and I'll be happy to put you in touch.
In terms of e-signing, stay tuned :)
Years ago you gave a talk in Denver. I got an email from CLIO inviting Colorado users for a beer. About 8-10 users showed up. Just wanted to say thanks for the beer.
Guess I need a question.
How's it going, eh?
I remember that meetup! I think it was about five years ago? Thanks for coming out, and no problem, eh. If you ever make it to a Clio conference, I'll buy you another one. :)
Hi Jack, is there anything you regret in the early days of crunching to deliver the first few iterations of Clio. Additionally, anything you remember super fondly from those days?
My wife, Tonia, gave birth to our first child, Ian, the same year we launched Clio. I remember taking a customer call in the hospital shortly after Tonia gave birth to Ian, and realized that Clio was going to be so all-consuming that it would be a real struggle to balance being a present, engaged father to Ian while building a startup from the ground up.
I look back at that first year and it's all just one huge blur - I feel like someone hit "fast-forward" on my life, and it hasn't let up over the last nine years (and we've added two additional kids to the mix in the meantime!)
I know I missed out on some important moments of Ian's first year while working to get Clio out the door. I think this is a sacrifice a lot of entrepreneurs need to make, but I also hope that the lessons I've learned building Clio, and the positive role model I hope to become to Ian, will ultimate make me a better father to Ian than I would be had I chosen a different path.
What was your oh-shit-what-am-I-doing part of your career?
The first year of Clio's existence was one perpetual 'oh-shit' moment. I left my high-paying job at the same time I had my first child and a brand new mortgage to pay for while trying to get a new company off the ground. There were a lot of sleepless nights. Without the support of my patient and eternally understanding wife, Tonia, I don't think we'd be the company we are today.
Young lawyer here in small firm (12 attys) who is having difficulty convincing my older, tech-adverse partners to move from Tabs and no practice management software to Clio. How do I convince them?
I think the biggest thing is to get them excited about what's possible. Even getting one person at the firm to experience the advantages of the cloud can be powerful. Show them the mobile app. Show them how easy tracking time on it is. How easy generating a bill is. Building excitement is the most important part of building buy-in.
There is also a lot of perceived friction around the data migration process. We have now migrated thousands of legal practitioners to Clio. We can make the data transition seamless for the firm free of charge. We also make it easy to transition away from Clio if you decide it's not the right fit. Our main goal is to support legal professionals in maximizing their time and being successful.
You're legal trend reports are amazing and contain a lot of market data that no one else really has been able to collect. (i.e. from actual practitioners via their practice management program) Will clio ever let researchers access the raw data itself?
We treat our customer privacy with the utmost respect. As expressed in our Terms of Service, we would never share access with a third party. With that being said, if researchers ever wanted to see something that wasn't included by default in the Legal Trends Report, we'd be happy to have a discussion around that.
How did you get Preet Bhrara as a speaker?
Perhaps more easily that you'd expect: we invited him to speak, and he accepted!
I think Preet is really excited to share a message that will inspire a huge audience of innovative lawyers. We're super-excited to have him.
Follow up: Can I get a pair of those socks?
PM me a mailing address!
Hi, Jack! Thanks for doing this! Some firms might avoid using cloud-based software for what they believe to be security reasons, preferring to keep all files on a local server, or worse, on individuals' computers. What would you say to them?
I'd say the following: your data is significantly more at risk n on-premise local servers that it is with a cloud-based solution.
If you look at the significant data breaches at law firms over the last decade, the vast majority have been the result of improperly secured on-premise servers. Breaches like the Mossack Fonseca case were just the tip of the iceberg.
In most cases, law firms simply can't afford the vast investment that's required to build truly secure computing environments. At large-scale cloud computing companies like Clio, however, we're able invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into security, and amortize this investment across our entire customer base. This is one of the biggest economies of scale that cloud computing can deliver.
Keep in mind that all cloud-based vendors are not created equal. Before choosing a cloud-based vendor, be sure to conduct an appropriate level of due diligence in your selection process. For a great start, look at the Legal Cloud Computing Association and their security checklist: http://www.legalcloudcomputingassociation.org/
I also would like a pair of socks.
Hi. Is Clio working to integrate court systems (e-file) and other software for particular practices?
Hi Andrew! Short answer: we'd love to, but we have to see some standardization in court e-filing systems first; with so many disparate systems for each individual court/county, trying to integrate them all into Clio would be extremely difficult.
What is the best case for why I should wear Clio socks?
Do you enjoy warm feet? Do you love Canadian-based legal practice management software? Clio socks find a way to combine both!