Bob Simon brings on the tech titans of the legal industry — Jack Newton (Clio), Pratik Shah (EsquireTek), Seth Price (BluShark Digital) and Tucker Cottingham (Lawyaw) — to address where law is headed in the not too distant future and how your law firm can evolve right along with it. Keep from getting left in the dust by letting these brilliant visionaries be your guides.
From Case Management to intake, all law firms, from employment law, family law, personal injury law and many more can benefit from modernizing their law firm.
Jack Newton, Clio
Pratik Shah, EsquireTek
Seth Price, BluShark Digital
Tucker Cottingham, Lawyaw
Bob Simon (00:00:07):
All right, everybody, loyal listeners and viewers, welcome to this episode of The Justice Team Podcast. We have some very, very distinguished guests that are just behemoths in the industry. And we’re going to tell all of you how not to be left behind in a cloud of dust and actually make money being a lawyer. And it all starts with a lot of automation, learning how to out outsource, being efficient with your time being in a niche industry.
Bob Simon (00:00:30):
And first, we’re going to welcome Jack Newton. If you don’t know Jack, you probably should Google him. He actually comes up with his own name search. It’s pretty cool, but he’s the founder CEO of Clio, which is the biggest, has 150,000 I believe, firms that are on the platform. It’s case management platform, a lot of cloud computing, but it is the biggest, the best. And I think it has a B with a B valuation into what I’ve seen. Jack that is just fucking crazy and congrats, but it’s a client-centered law firm is the book that he wrote.
Bob Simon (00:01:02):
He also has a podcast called Daily Matters where they talk about the future of law. You could probably co-host this thing with me, Jack, but we’re also going to talk a little Clio Con, which is a really cool conference. I’m a big comic book nerd, so Comic-Con’s close to my heart. We’ll get into it. Jack, thanks for coming on, buddy.
Jack Newton (00:01:17):
Thanks for having me.
Bob Simon (00:01:19):
Yeah. Next we have Pratik Shah. And if you don’t know Pratik,, he went to a law school. That’s pretty much unaccredited now at Thomas Jefferson.
Pratik Shah (00:01:25):
Bob Simon (00:01:26):
Along with one of my brothers and a lot of fun, but Pratik had his own firm in Southern California and now works at Panish, Shea, Boyle, and Ravipudi. He’s co-founder of EsquireTek and he founded that company with Slim. How do you say his last name? We never remember Souissi?
Pratik Shah (00:01:40):
Souissi. Yeah, that’s probably wrong too, by the way. Just that’s just the way I say it.
Bob Simon (00:01:46):
So Slim, if you don’t know him, he also created the MiFi, which I carry around in my car and that’s where I kind of much run my firm from. So he started that company October of 2020 and grew many multiple Xs since then. And now he’s got an insurer on his platform, which makes you a real turncoat, Pratik, having an insurer on your platform.
Pratik Shah (00:02:05):
Hey, we go where the money is.
Bob Simon (00:02:08):
Thanks for coming on. And also we have on Seth Price. Seth is also a lawyer. He’s the partner founder of Price Benowitz, which is in Washington DC. And he took his firm from two lawyers to 40 thereabouts, 36. He’s a master of scaling a law firm, which a lot of lawyers don’t know how the heck to do. He also was in the ground up from uslaw.com.
Bob Simon (00:02:30):
More importantly, he’s also the founder of BlueShark Digital, blue with U and no E but it is digital marketing that helps lawyers get cases, things that they’re bad at so that they could do things that they’re good at. He’s also part of the Forbes agency council, and he’s also a fellow bourbon lover. And that’s why doing the podcast in my whiskey room for you, Seth for you.
Seth Price (00:02:51):
Bob Simon (00:02:51):
Seth Price (00:02:52):
Bob Simon (00:02:54):
We also have tuck Tucker Cunningham on who is the general manager at Clio and also is the founder CEO of Lawyaw, which we’re going to talk a lot about because I love AI and integrations. I mean Pratik talks a lot of AI and some zeros and ones binary code shit, but I love it. We’re going to talk about it. but I also want to talk, we’re going to get into it, you being a board member of the ABA Legal Tech Resource Center, kind of the innovations, because you’re also in California in the Bay Area because your platform integrates a lot with the judicial council firms.
Bob Simon (00:03:26):
You also had a company called Ben Law Group, which is like an outside general council. And you lasted just a year, Gerard and Gibbs being a real lawyer until you finally figured out there’s more fun stuff to do in life. So first question, we’re going to go with, everybody here is a visionary in their space, in my opinion, right. I want to hear from Jack first. Jack, what do you believe to be the future of law and how does it look for those small and solo firms in the next three years?
Jack Newton (00:03:55):
Well, that’s a big question. I’ll try not to use up all of our time answering it, but at a really high level, what I believe the future of law looks like is formed around two key pillars and that’s the idea that number one, law needs to become more cloud based. We’re going to see the law, the legal industry finally transformed in a really profound way by the internet. We’ve seen COVID-19, be a huge tailwind in helping drive that acceleration of that change and legal needs to make the shift and is making the shift from a bricks and mortar industry to an internet-based industry. And in the same way we saw Amazon move so much of commerce from bricks and mortar stores to the internet, we’re going to see legal and the lawyers that thrive over the next decade make the shift from bricks and mortar law offices to internet based-law offices.
Jack Newton (00:04:50):
And we’re seeing of course more and more of the demand for legal services move online as well. In the future, a hundred percent or near a hundred percent of consumer demand for legal services will start with a Google search and the lawyers who are on the other end of that search ready to capture that demand will be the lawyers that thrive. So that’s pillar one that we’re going to see.
Jack Newton (00:05:10):
Pillar two, I believe will be key to unlocking what I describe as the latent legal market. The 77% of legal demand that is currently unaddressed by lawyers because legal services are too hard to understand, too hard to access, too expensive, unaffordable, et cetera, and the legal industry becoming more client centered in its approach. And I feel so passionately about this. I wrote a whole book about it as you pointed out, becoming more client centered. And I think that’s a transformation that can couple really nicely with the transition to being cloud-based is the second major shift that we’re going to see over the next three years. So cloud-based, client-centered lawyers are going to be the lawyers that win over the next decade.
Bob Simon (00:05:55):
I think lawyers that specialize in their space and we’ll talk to Seth about this too, because also, I founded a company called Justice HQ, which we have specialized space of lawyers that want to do the law, that we have an exchange where people can go back and forth, bid on the cases, these types of things, but whole digital platform. And they get their workspace as well. So a guy like Seth who’s mastered that how to scale his law firm, but importantly also how to do the digital marketing. So Seth, how do you see the digital marketing? Talk, educate our listeners about what’s it like to do in DC that’s different and Arizona that’s different as opposed to California using the sandbox for non-lawyers owning law firms and how a digital marketing company like yours can really, really take over.
Seth Price (00:06:41):
There’s a lot to unpack with that and love Jack’s pillars. But I would say to a certain extent it is the future. We have seen the non-owner lawyer ownership really only affect the mass torch space to date in a meaningful way from where I sit. And what we’re seeing, because DC, while it allows it, it’s a complicated process with significant expense to enter. And with it, it’s still clunky with significant ethics issues. So to see what’s going on right now in Arizona, Utah, that’s the area where the question is in a number of years at worst case scenario, you’re asking what is the future of law. The scary answer would be we are Uber drivers where there’s a technology and money coming in feeding cases down to lawyers. That is the one end.
Bob Simon (00:07:33):
But it’s real. We’ve started to see, I’ve seen it at a microcosm. I’ve seen platforms that are already gearing up to do this and that’s why they approach me because they’re like, “Hey, you have a network of lawyer specialists. Can we just plug in a shit ton of cases into this specialized group?” And that’s how you as a lawyer understand that there’s a double-edged sword here, right?
Seth Price (00:07:51):
Well, absolutely. Look, I’ll see an area where I don’t think it’s done well, which is like, let’s say education. Take the for-profit education where the guidance counselor is now essentially a sales rep selling for a stock price what your classes will be, how much you’re going to spend. It just flips all the incentives on their head. So that said, it’s coming.
Seth Price (00:08:16):
The analogy that I like best, Andrew Finkelstein, who’s been sort of fighting the non-lawyer ownership piece from New York, almost like a guy on the horse with going at the windmills for a long time, until what we’ve seen recently, there’s a question is there going to be a Papa Johns and Dominoes where hedge funds are pumping money in with networks or doing it themselves over time versus is there still going to be the neighborhood where he sees the neighborhood pizza joint, which you love and you go for great Italian food with your family. So there’s going to be a demand. There’s going to be a large share of the market that goes to the Papa Johns and Dominoes, but there are gazillions of families that have those individual, very successful businesses. And that’s sort of too early to tell, but there’s no doubt that if Arizona and Utah continue down the road they’re going and there’s doesn’t appear to be anything stopping them, that the landscapes can be very different in a few years.
Bob Simon (00:09:13):
All said, what’s stopping you from having your digital marketing law firm to go in, do a market share advertising, get the cases, use artificial intelligence to sort those cases, send them directly to another lawyer, get a percentage of the fee, have everything stored and run on Clio and then have Tucker’s product be able to use AI to have those lawyers be super efficient without overhead, have Pratik handled the discovery stuff? I mean why won’t you just do that?
Seth Price (00:09:37):
Look, like many things, there’s the concept and there’s the reality. While there are pieces of it that I see happening, the question is how long before that worked. We talk about AI and there are many things with AI that work great and there are many things that are sort of like we want to see and there’re coming. And I have no doubt that they are coming faster than people realize, but there’s a lot of stuff that’s not quite there yet. And that I’m sure Tucker will bridge that gap and close it, but it’s not like this is a turnkey solution at the moment, but we’re definitely heading in that world.
Bob Simon (00:10:11):
And can we all agree here that law is pretty archaic, the industry right now, all on tap and archaic. Everybody’s shaking their head.
Pratik Shah (00:10:18):
Yeah. I mean just to touch on what Jack mentioned earlier and what Seth is talking about, that tailwind of COVID-19 really pushed law, I mean 10, 15 years ahead, without the pandemic happening.
Bob Simon (00:10:30):
Pratik, I saw a meme on Instagram and it had a picture of Scooby-Doo and Fred from Scooby-Doo unmasking who was behind COVID-19 and it was fucking Jack. I saw it.
Pratik Shah (00:10:40):
You know what? I wouldn’t be surprised. I wouldn’t be surprised. That just helped his book sales, but for another day. No, but touching on what-
Bob Simon (00:10:49):
Pratik Shah (00:10:49):
Touching on what Seth and Jack said, I think they’re both right. They’re both absolutely right. Yes, there can be these huge conglomerates. There’s going to be space. And the SMBs, the small medium business owners are going to be able to compete with these huge conglomerates that theoretically are going to come in the future are going to be the ones that Jack is talking about. The ones that can be internet based, the ones that can be client centered.
Pratik Shah (00:11:11):
So it’s better to turn on that now and attack that head on. As uncomfortable as it is for law firms to shift, it’s shifting the Titanic into a different direction, as uncomfortable as it is and Seth can talk a lot about this on when it comes to scaling a law firm. As you scale, everything breaks and you have to keep putting in new systems and try something new. And one of these new things that need to start happening as you’re growing your firm is that you need to become more internet based. You need to think of yourself as an internet business first and then move into the law area.
Bob Simon (00:11:46):
It’s so hard for lawyers to grasp that. I mean all of us here talk about it. We preach it. I tell lawyers. I coach law and I say, “Hey, you want to learn how to practice law in your underwear in the Maldives. If you can pull that off and you should be able to, if that’s what you want to do, why aren’t you doing that? And Tucker, you practiced early on and then you made this switch to doing this client centric focused stuff. And you’ve probably seen it better than everybody on here. How much do we consumers have to pay over the bad overhead mistakes of these law firms and how does AI solve that?
Tucker Cottingham (00:12:17):
Yeah. And to kind back up, first thing I want to say is I’m from Kentucky, Bob, so we can talk about bourbon at some point, but that is dear to my heart.
Bob Simon (00:12:27):
Did you know just a few weeks ago, we came back from… I have a thing called Bourbon of Proof. Thank you. That name is great, but we had a Bourbon of Proof tour in Kentucky in Louisville. We had 200 lawyers there and we did the whole trail and it was awesome. Pratik was there. He doesn’t remember it.
Pratik Shah (00:12:44):
I was good time.
Tucker Cottingham (00:12:45):
Yeah. I’m from Louisville. Great, great city.
Pratik Shah (00:12:47):
Tucker Cottingham (00:12:48):
That’s great you guys are going there.
Bob Simon (00:12:49):
Well, you’re coming next year.
Tucker Cottingham (00:12:50):
Next time. Next time, let me know. Yeah, exactly. But yeah, in my experience, I mean think that the way that I think about the future of law and the role of technology is that it’s easy to kind jump over this middle section where we go to this conglomerate and it starts to look a lot like Legal Zoom, which Legal Zoom has been around for 20 years and they’ve stayed concentrated 90 something percent of revenue in one practice area. And so the reason is because to have the domain expertise across all different practice areas and all the different jurisdictions still requires a lot of human intervention. And because a lot of the clients themselves, what they’re looking for in my experience was not the actual end result, the set of documents. Certainly in some cases, if you want to name change or something, there are certain legal projects where you just want the documents, but more often than not, they want the relationship and the feeling of trust with somebody that they know.
Tucker Cottingham (00:13:46):
So I think about it not so much as a faceless Uber or sort a giant Legal Zoom conglomerate. I think of it more like some of the technology advances we’ve seen in the barber shop industry, where you have your neighborhood barber, that’s still, you’ve been going to forever, except now they use a really convenient digital platform. So you can pay them with Apple Pay and you can book it in advance and they text you a reminder and they can order all their supplies with a bunch of other barber shops so they get a discount on those things, right. There’s a lot of efficiencies that can be made on the law firm side that will help strengthen those relationships, but I don’t see the future of laws existing without that personal relationship. I just think you’re going to see smaller firms be able to compete much more capably with what we’ve seen only bigger firms be able to provide.
Bob Simon (00:14:43):
And that’s what I saw when I saw on your resume and things like this when you headed Ben Law Group, which I think a lot of firms, a lot of people come to me like, “Hey, I want to start my own firm. I’m going to leave my firm. I want to go solo. How do I do that?” So a lot of firms missed the one part that you were passionate about, which Jack wrote in his book about, which Seth does at his firm, which get your business formation, everything done to have an efficient process right now because things are evolving, right.
Bob Simon (00:15:09):
I tell lawyers you have to go on a case management platform right away. You have to. And then you have to figure out which things integrate with it well. Like Clio, I tell every lawyer that comes to Justice HQ, if you do anything building related, you have to use Clio because there’s nothing like it for the product. Everything’s new. How do you keep up? Everybody here, lawyers are listening, because things evolve. Clio has a partnership deal with so and so. How do they find out about that stuff through you, Jack? If you have a new integration coming on, are your clients getting an email, an SMS? How can they find out about these new things, how they’re tying on and how to optimize not paying for overhead and using AI like Pratik and Tucker’s companies do to really win?
Jack Newton (00:15:53):
Yeah. There’s one of the challenges we have, frankly, is the size of our integration ecosystem is over 200 integration partners today. So we certainly don’t want to be text messaging our customers every time we have a new integration. There’s one launching practically on a weekly basis at this point, but we have made our marketplace more discoverable and we’ve found ways to help guide people to the right integration for their practice area, for their particular pain point.
Jack Newton (00:16:28):
So for anyone that’s interested in doing that, just Google Clio app directory, and you’ll find the app directory and you’ll be able to navigate that and discover some of these amazing integrations. And then what we’ve been doing over the course of the last few years, we’ve made three acquisitions in the last few years to really double down on our app ecosystem is we’re bringing some of the highest impact integrations that most of our customers can benefit from directly into the platform.
Jack Newton (00:16:59):
That started with bringing Lexicata on board a few years ago. And that transformed into Clio Grow, which is the most widely used legal CRM in the marketplace today. And most recently, brought Tucker and his incredible team on board to help accelerate the development of Lawyaw to help extend their reach because philosophically, we just believe, again, the cloud-based law firm of the future and the client-centered law firm of the future, document automation, electronic client questionnaires, automation of things like court forms are all going to be essential elements and just table stakes to being competitive in the future.
Jack Newton (00:17:40):
So we look at the core Clio platform should be solving for the 80% case of what a law firm needs to run really efficiently. And then that 200 plus app integration ecosystem is how you make Clio into a tailor fit suit for your law firm. If you’re an IP firm, you can go integrate with Alt Legal, for example, and automate all of your USPTO related interactions, for example, as one great example of what that tailoring can look like thanks to that ecosystem.
Bob Simon (00:18:13):
Yeah. And so you talk about the Clio app ecosystem when Jack mentions CRM, it’s a client resource management spot. Some people use basic ones like HubSpot, but the law stuff is again archaic with this where I see on Seth’s website, he has a chat bot. Maybe it’s using AI. Maybe that’s syncing back to something like Clio that integrates the CRM. If it all goes back to the same hub, just crazy. Jack, do you ever talk to your board about these things and people think you’re just too crazy out there with your vision?
Jack Newton (00:18:42):
No, I think and Tucker would agree with this as well. I think the main duty of a CEO is to be able to see a few years into the future and then convey that vision and convince people that you’re not crazy. So that’s kind of my day job and that ability to just see five years in the future and just see as inevitable, what will be five years in the future, and convincing people that the trajectory we’re on is that inevitable path.
Bob Simon (00:19:16):
I run one of my companies with my siblings and they always say, “You got to slow down, Bob. You’re too fucking crazy.” But years ago and you guys probably said the same thing, why do lawyers have these big fixed office spaces? I was like it all be digital. People called me insane and then COVID happened. And I was like, “I told you. I fucking told you guys.” Right? So COVID was great for everybody here, but going over to Seth, you brought in a guy named Peter Shankman into your company and are you sure you’re not messing with me? It’s not Peter Bankman because that guy sounds like a Ghost Buster.
Seth Price (00:19:44):
No, it’s Shankman. I don’t know if he spoke at Avo and Pub Con and a bunch of other places, old friend from the first dot com world. You mentioned US Law at the beginning. So I was part of one of those groups that was fighting for that first generation Prairie Law and Fine Law and all these other groups before the bubble burst. And while Fine Law made it, US Law was one of the ones that didn’t, but Shankman was off there, basically started this company ahead of the curve, bringing reporters together to ask their questions to a centralized place that would then send it out to the world. What’s now Harrow, sort of the bigger names in PR.
Seth Price (00:20:24):
And to me, what Jack was saying, look, I saw Jack when this was a little company. It had four or five competitors and now you look at it and in his space, there really isn’t a meaningful next guy. It’s a multiple X up and stuff you mentioned at the top of the show or in the pre-show, we were talking stuff with crypto and things with digital contracts and all these pieces, having somebody whose sole focus is what is next and what will we need for people. Jack may be able to do both jobs himself. But for me, I love the idea that I can focus on just a little bit ahead and have somebody else focused on what’s 10 years ahead.
Bob Simon (00:21:05):
It’s funny. While I’ve been sitting, I got a text message from a guy that I’m in my YPO group with and he says, “Hey, Justice HQ needs to take a little spot in my meta law plaza.” This is what’s happening in real time. And I didn’t know if we were going to get into the medicine. We were just talking about it in passing. And I noticed this on one of your talks too, Jack, about law going completely digital, going into the meta. What’s that going to look like? And I’m very altruistic view of it is really does help people that have disabilities to get in access to lawyers. You can decentral law. I always wanted to decentralize the court system and be able to have disputes, simple disputes resolved through the metaverse. You can come into your avatar. By the way, I mean Tucker, I’m man crushing on your beard. I see you with your Yeti, your beard. I mean kindred spirits.
Tucker Cottingham (00:21:53):
Good luck, yeah.
Seth Price (00:21:53):
Bob, I’ll throw something out at you. There’s a funny life moment I had earlier today. Two of my favorite PI shops, these are PI shops more than 50 PI lawyers each. One, which is a cutting edge firm says, “You know what? No more in-office signups. Everything will be digital.” Whereas an older school one, very successful, possibly one of the best run firms in the country is like, “That’s crazy.” And the idea is where will suss out, but it just shows you that as this develops, whether it’s actually with a VR headset on or whether this is… Because a lot of this relates to those years when I met Peter in the late ’90s in New York where everything was possible.
Seth Price (00:22:37):
And you know what? Now, cosmo.com, that seemed like a joke then and blew through money and you get stuff within an hour to your door is happening 25 years later. A lot of the stuff we’re laying out here, it may not be that we’re really the digital piece that you’re going to put in somebody else’s virtual world. Yeah, it’s a nice play piece. In 25 years, it may be how we’re doing business. And this is just the first step in.
Bob Simon (00:23:01):
Pratik Shah (00:23:02):
Just to jump in on a couple of things that Jack talked about and Seth touched on. Some of the stuff that Jack was talking about with the integrations, before we even get into the metaverse stuff, just that went over the heads of probably 80% of people that are listening. And what Jack so pointedly pointed out is that it’s table stakes now. Right?
Pratik Shah (00:23:24):
If you want to compete, if you’re starting a firm or you started a firm in the last five to 10 years and you want to compete, you need to set aside time. So to give actionable advice to the listeners, the young lawyers and the what nots that are listening, set aside an hour, two hours a week to do some research on what platforms are out there that can help you, what things you can automate that are killing your time.
Pratik Shah (00:23:47):
What we used to do at my firm is we would meet with our staff once a quarter. And I would say, because oftentimes you don’t know what the staff is working on every day. They’re just kind getting things done and it seems like magic to the lawyer. And I would just ask them, “What are the top five things that are slowing you down this quarter, this past quarter? What slowed you down? Give us the top five things.” And they would say discovery. They would say medical records.
Pratik Shah (00:24:08):
They would give us some task that’s taking up too much time. Okay. So then my job as the partner at the firm is to find software that can either automate it or find a way to get somebody else to do it or find a service that can do it. And all those integrations that Jack’s talking about and all the stuff Seth’s doing and Tucker is basically a robot assistant to help you with your legal work and your paralegals with their legal work. So taking those things off their plate.
Bob Simon (00:24:36):
EsquireTek our firm uses a lot. I mean we answer discovery in like minutes where used to take days, right? It’s really helped into the much lower cost point to it. So talking about these integrations and we know how the Clio app ecosystem. Jack and Tucker, if we go into the ecosystem right now, can we find Lawyaw on that app ecosystem? And then how does it integrate with Clio? Because we’re just trying to give our listeners like that vertically integrated thing where it’s easy for them to go into the hub and have these integrations.
Tucker Cottingham (00:25:06):
Yeah. So to make it super tactical, lawyers end up entering the same information or their staff into a lot of different places, right? You’re sending out a client letter. You’re gathering information. You’re entering billing entries. You’re filling out multiple documents for anything from deposition notices, to judicial counsel forms, to marital settlement agreements. Doesn’t matter what it is and a lot of that information gets repeated. And it’s oftentimes throughout the process of creating a legal document, you’ve got all these broken steps.
Tucker Cottingham (00:25:37):
And so the way that Lawyaw and Clio kind of come together to provide more value to somebody than separately is that you don’t have to reenter all that information across that whole kind of cycle. So you can gather the information from your client. You can have the matter already set up in Clio. All that can go directly into your documents. Your Microsoft word documents can be your own law firm’s documents with conditional logic rules. And if you’re doing stuff in Spanish, you can change subject verb pronouns, all kinds of different things can kind adjust in the document automatically. And then that can go to somebody to review that task. That can automatically record time and then you can send it out for signature.
Tucker Cottingham (00:26:14):
So it’s kind of just a way to really streamline a lot of the duplicative data entry, a lot of the opportunity for human errors and just have it feel like one experience. And so that’s kind the way that those integrate is through the information sharing and allowing you to use the information from Clio in the Lawyaw documents and then to be able to automatically bill time back to Clio and keep it all in one place.
Bob Simon (00:26:40):
And I assume everything’s in the same hub through Clio that it has more data and your AI keeps learning so that you then… I mean the idea should be you guys should be able to automate motion. I mean I saw once one thing called Clear Brief, which I think Clio had. I met with their people and they’re kind of new, but I was looking. I was like, “This shit’s going to work.” Looking at those things and I saw Jack bot that start to talk, but this is where I think this could go because if Clio has a massive amount of learning into it, I mean shit, our outsource law in motion writing could be just AI.
Jack Newton (00:27:14):
Yeah. Well clear, brief. I’ll just comment on quickly. I’m an angel investor in the company and Jacqueline Schaeffer is an incredible CEO doing really visionary things on AI and ways that can help the brief writing process. So incredible company, encourage everyone to check out Clear Brief. And it’s another example of in integration with Clio that just helps streamline document production and help eliminate duplicate data entry.
Jack Newton (00:27:50):
And as Tucker was talking about, this duplicate data entry is a huge drag on the efficiency of most firms. You’re going from this system, to that system, to the other system, to some online portal and manually retyping the same information, which is not only inefficient, but a common source of error every time you need to re-enter that data. The way we think about Clio from a conceptual standpoint is as the operating system for legal.
Jack Newton (00:28:18):
And if we create this foundational layer where you have one place to put your documents, you have one place to put your contacts. You have one place to put your calendar and every other of that data primitive that exists in a law firm, you’d no longer need to enter that in again. It’s in that operating system and in the same way, the analogy would be thinking about iOS on your iPhone. You enter a contact in once in your iPhone and you’re able to send a text message to it, or you’re able to send an email to it, or you can send a photo to it from the photo app and you don’t need to reenter all that information in each app. It’s pulling from a common data store that spans every app in the ecosystem.
Jack Newton (00:29:06):
So Bob, you’re talking about how can we make this kind of practical and help people attach to what might sound like pretty theoretical and heady topics. If you just think about what device do you use most through the day and that’s your Android phone or your Apple phone, the idea is that with Clio, we’re building that same kind of operating system, except instead of as a general purpose operating system, something that is specifically made for the needs of a law firm, specifically meets the very specific data security requirements that a law firm has and data permissions around building ethical walls within a law firm and so on and build an operating system that can deliver on all of those capabilities.
Jack Newton (00:29:48):
And Lawyaw’s a great story in that it started off as a Clio app integration partner before they became part of Clio. And Tucker and I decided we could get more done faster by locking arms and going after this opportunity together. But what that enabled Lawyaw to do was to focus on what their real differentiator in the marketplace is. They could focus on document automation and court forms and all these amazing AI technologies and not reinvent the wheel that Clio has built around the foundational parts of a law firm that every law firm needs to have in their legal operating system. And that’s now what over 200 companies have realized. Hey, we can really extend our reach and we can really extend our development timelines by building on top of this Clio ecosystem.
Bob Simon (00:30:43):
Yeah. And I see it in legal industry right now. It’s almost like an arms race where there’s a lot of people that realized, oh my God, look how much untapped everything there is in legal, right? There’s money being wasted. There’s firms that are so fat and overhead. It’s like you could eliminate all the stuff, the consumer can win. And Clio’s the one that is, it seems to be, and I’ve seen some other ones that are the other case management platforms that are trying to do that adjacent to you. But the integrations there are just… Pratik, you guys I think integrate with, I believe, Filevine. Is there any other ones that you guys-
Jack Newton (00:31:13):
We’ve been in talks with Litify and Filevine in getting some integrations done. So that, I leave that to the smart people, which is the engineers. I’m just the pretty face. That’s just what I do. Yeah.
Bob Simon (00:31:26):
That’s why we have you on radio.
Jack Newton (00:31:27):
That’s right. That’s right.
Seth Price (00:31:28):
But Bob, I got a question because look, we have somebody here with Panish firm, arguably one of the nation’s juggernaut firms, and we hear about Tucker and the AI that’s out there. Is the AI benefit, are people going to a Panish shop because they’re going to get that individual, some really smart lawyer while they may leverage some of this technology… Something, Bob, you said at the beginning of the show was this entire untapped piece of I’ll call non monetizable/consumers that don’t have any access to the justice system or the civil justice system that will this AI even more quickly sort of solve that problem because is that where the real, or is it both?
Bob Simon (00:32:20):
We have twenty-ish lawyers in my firm now, since it started with just me and we try a lot of cases, a lot of cases. And that’s what I used to do trial, to trial, to trial. With AI and all this stuff that’s happening, god bless COVID, but I was able to not be in trial every month to be able to learn these systems. And if me a trial guide, that’s all I would do, learned how to just pick up my phone and be able to click a few buttons and access every single file that we have and do things smartly.
Bob Simon (00:32:43):
I can send a client a retainer to have it signed, right? These instant integrations, clients want that. At least I found that. I don’t know if it’s me particularly. We represent a lot of working class individuals that have some tech, but they don’t have time. They don’t have the money to travel to a lawyer’s office to meet all day and do X, Y, Z. So I think, look honest to god, if you’re not competing in this space, I think you’re five years away from being out as a dinosaur, because clients are going to want and expect it. And Pratik, I’d be interested to hear because their firm’s a generation above ours as to when it started, so I’m interested to see what it’s like at PSBR.
Pratik Shah (00:33:13):
Two things. One, what was been touched on throughout this is being internet first, but the other thing is also being mobile first. We want to get to the client’s cell phones. That’s how people communicate. Just like Bob, you were just talking about right now, being able to run your firm through your phone. All of us here, when we go home at night, when we communicate with our family or we communicate with our friends, we do it through mobile. We don’t email them. We don’t call them. We don’t send a letter, but a lot of law firms still believe that text messaging is inappropriate communication with the client for some reason, some hang up that for some reason exists in their head and they need to get over that and they need to move on.
Pratik Shah (00:33:47):
And speak at the Panish firm, yeah, I think that what it does to touch on what Seth’s question is about is that why clients come there because they’re so far ahead in innovation. No, I think they come there because of the reputation and the brand and all that. But what these tools do is get their cases closed faster. And that’s what it does is it helps. The way we talk about it is that it delivers justice quicker. The civil justice system, as we all know, is slow. It got to even slower during COVID with everything shutting down.
Pratik Shah (00:34:16):
And so these tools, if you give me a hammer, I’m not going to be able to do anything with it. I don’t how to do anything with a hammer, but you give it to the right person, the right person that knows how to use that tool, they’re going to be able to build mountains. They’re going to be able to build amazing buildings with it. And it’s kind of the same thing, right? The tools can’t make you a better lawyer. You have to be a good lawyer, but if you’re a good lawyer and then you get the tools, you become that much more efficient, that much faster, and deliver for your clients in such a better way.
Bob Simon (00:34:48):
So what is the one hire? Again these solos and small firms that are starting, they always come to me with the question is, “I need to scale. I need to hire. I want to be up on the AI stuff. I want to be up on the integration zone and make sure that we’re on a case management platform that works. I’m busy being a lawyer. What should I hire?” I get this question all the time. So Tyler, I’m going to ask you first, because you were in that space at the beginning. What is the missing piece? You have a solo, maybe a couple lawyer firm and a paralegal. What is their missing piece that they can hire in house to take the next step?
Tucker Cottingham (00:35:19):
Bob Simon (00:35:20):
Tucker Cottingham (00:35:22):
I would say somebody that knows both the law and the systems. I think to Pratik’s point, having a knowledge of the technology without understanding the domain specifics, understanding what people need to do with it or what will actually improve the client experience is not super valuable. And I think that’s a lot of the friction that lawyers find with technology companies, frankly, is talking to somebody who doesn’t really understand how they need to use it. They might understand the technology.
Tucker Cottingham (00:35:49):
So what we’ve found is a tech savvy paralegal can be an incredibly impactful person or a tech savvy office administrator, if there’s somebody that really is orchestrating all of the tech, if they’re administrating all of the systems across the office. But I think having that legal experience is really critical and understanding what the power of the technology is as it relates to the client.
Tucker Cottingham (00:36:13):
And maybe just one little thing I want to mention is when we’re talking about all these trends, like whether law firm’s going to be in the metaverse and what technology’s going to do for people, it’s going to be online first. The thing that we talk a lot about is that people want convenient and affordable legal services. That’s what they want and that doesn’t seem to be controversial.
Tucker Cottingham (00:36:34):
And what Jack’s talking about with the operating system for legal, by tying all those pieces together, then that really gives you the ability to put services in front of people where they are, when they need it. And so we talk about closing the access gap by meeting people where they are, when they need it most. And a lot of times to your point, that could be that they’re on their phone, filling out a visa application. That could be that they’re on their computer trying to invest in a crowdfunding real estate platform. And that’s when they need to create the LLC, right? So they’re going to be in different places as the world changes, but having a suite of tools that can meet people where they are when they need it is going to be, I think, how you get ahead. And having a hire who understand where people are and what they actually are looking for is going to be able to match the technology to your client.
Bob Simon (00:37:22):
Yeah and I think I’ll hear Jack on this too, but we hired a CTO in our firm and that person’s not a lawyer, but it’s like, I almost think every firm has to have a real operations person or a real technology type officer in house because what Tucker just talked about. If you want to compete in the market, if you want to compete right now and keep your overhead low, you can use these systems. You need less employees. You could probably outsource a little bit more, be more lean and mean, and really win in your industry and make more mailbox money so you can be in your underwear, in the Maldives, right Jack? I know you like it.
Jack Newton (00:37:53):
I wish I was there, but I think just building off of what Tucker talked about too, something I see as a real problem with a lot of law firms when they think about technology is they think about leapfrogging over all the kind of unsexy, but high impact work they could do and try to jump to this sexy stuff that’s actually probably relatively low impact. So I’ll give you examples of what I mean.
Jack Newton (00:38:21):
When we talk about AI or even the metaverse, I think there are things we should be thinking about, but you look at the state of most law firms currently and they don’t have an online intake form. They’re sending people to an 800 number on their website. They don’t have the ability to do a video chat securely over a client’s mobile phone to lawyers in their office. They’re not text messaging their lawyers.
Jack Newton (00:38:45):
So what consumers are asking for, like what the mass market is asking for today is text message me, have online intake. Let me schedule with you electronically in a [inaudible 00:38:57] like system, which Clio has built in by the way now. Let me do all these things that eliminate friction for me and that’s what is super high impact.
Jack Newton (00:39:07):
If you’re just investing in getting your data out of paper files into a system of truth, into an operating system for your law firm, that’s a huge leap forward. And if you’re investing in the tools and technologies that are low friction for the consumers of today, not of tomorrow, and that’s where the gap is for most law firms, that’s going to be super high impact for your law firm.
Jack Newton (00:39:30):
And then in the back of your mind, have the next transition in mind. But the truth is that being a high performing metaverse-based law firm or being a top tier AI user in the industry is all built on the foundation of having good data, which most law firms do not have and having a good client experience, which most law offers don’t have.
Bob Simon (00:39:56):
So I didn’t know this and I think it’s important for our listeners to know what things that Clio can do because things that are music in my ears, like having a CRM, most of the lawyers like are Just HQ and the people that I mentor don’t have the money yet to invest in big digital marketing plans, right.
Jack Newton (00:40:15):
Even were basic than that. Bob, most of the small to medium sized law firms I speak to, the first thing I’m educating them on is what is a lead? What is a lead versus a client? How do you nurture a lead into a client? And again, we did quantitative data analysis on this at Clio and secret shopped the industry in our 2018 legal trends report, which is free to download. And we found that half the law firms we phoned never called us back if we left a voicemail. We found that half the law firms we emailed didn’t respond to us at all. Another half that did respond, responded with completely inappropriate responses like, “Can you please phone us?”
Jack Newton (00:40:56):
And again, this channel switching that the industry is causing, the lack of responsiveness, the bar to be better than average in terms of responding to leads, converting leads to clients, and delivering a client experience that resonates with the modern consumer, that bar is so, so low. You do not need to figure out how to be in the metaverse. You need to figure out how do I respond in less than four days to somebody that sent me an email saying they have a case that is a perfect fit for my practice.
Bob Simon (00:41:27):
Jack, with Clio, does it integrate? I saw on Seth’s website, we have it too, an AI chat bot that it can ping everything in the background. Because I always thought if you could store it in one hub like that, then you can market those, even their leads. You could run SMS campaigns to all those people, again, building your free network, people that have reached out to you. Why not capitalize on it? So, I mean just want just for our listeners to know some of the things that Clio integrates with, because I mean this is just interesting for me and I know a lot of our listeners are looking at the same exact space. And Seth, I wanted to hear from you first and then we’ll go to Jack.
Seth Price (00:41:59):
Yeah, well look. And one of the things, and I’d say that Clio does as well as anybody in the industry which is a compliment there, but what most lawyers do worst is you buy a piece of technology. You have your monthly subscription and the good news is you’re now in the cloud. Great. But there is so much to fully take advantage. You’re talking about 200 different. Which ones are, right? Which ones do you need? Which ones will your people use?
Seth Price (00:42:22):
And that there’s an entire piece where you can go to Clio Con, which is an amazing thing. And I encourage everybody to go. And I remember being in new Orleans with a marching band leading Jack in the room. It’s awesome. But when you go back to the office, the question is you talked about having a CTO. It’s if there’s not somebody that helps you say, “Okay, you have this.” Here are people who are not technology first using it, making sure they understand new staff is trained procedures are there, otherwise you’re just buying a very expensive piece of software with nothing. To get this to work takes more than just the sale, but rather the actual reality of using it fully.
Bob Simon (00:43:00):
Is there a lead in it all? Can somebody have an outsource, like a COO type role where they could teach people how to use for instance, Clio effectively? And I see Pratik starting to talk about this, but I always thought it would that be very interesting for somebody to say, “You, Joe solo, you can’t afford something yet. Look at this outsource thing and they can teach you and keep you up and then mentor you in this operations space.”
Pratik Shah (00:43:22):
Yeah, so just to jump in, there are fractional CTOs and fractional CMOs and CEOs that exist out there for small and medium firms that you can pay a fee to and have access to for a couple of hours. But I think something to note, like you just said, most of our audience is small, medium business owners, law firm owners, they’re not going to go out and hire a CTO and a full-time person that’s just going to be integrating. But what you did at your firm, Bob, is you and Seth at your firm is that from the top down, you guys were internet forward. You guys were tech forward because even if some law firm partner out there is not going to embrace the technology and they think, “Oh, well I listen to Bob’s podcast. He told me to hire somebody. I hired somebody, but this isn’t working. I don’t like it,” then it’s not going to go anywhere.
Pratik Shah (00:44:08):
What Seth just said is true is you just paid for something, a lot of money that you’re never going to actually use. And so for law firm owners and the partners have to have that mindset of, “No, no, no. I need to learn this.” And the reason everybody hesitates to learn something new is because it’s always hard in the beginning. It sucks. We’re not good at it. Right? Like I’ve always wanted to learn the guitar. I’ve never picked up a guitar because it’s hard because you’re going to suck at the beginning. And that’s true here too. These law firm owners have to learn how to become business owners and how to think like a customer instead of thinking like a lawyer and say, “What does my customer want?”
Bob Simon (00:44:46):
Look, whatever people ask me like I was with a client yesterday and I was able to send a bunch of documents from my phone, right. Most trial lawyers, they cannot do that. It’s a simple learn. It’s not like it’s fucking complicated, right. I mean you just find the link-
Pratik Shah (00:44:57):
I agree with you but you got to have people that are motivated to want to learn that.
Jack Newton (00:45:00):
Yeah, Bob, I’ve heard about our clients’ winning cases because they’ve got their entire document repository on their iPad at their fingertips and they don’t need to go back to their office and dig through file cabinets. And it’s a huge differentiator. And again, when you think about how do you differentiate yourself in the legal industry and give yourself that edge, it’s through this technology that you can really define a really huge competitive advantage. And the last thing I’ll say about the kind of the CTO discussion is when we founded Clio back in 2018, our vision was-
Bob Simon (00:45:37):
Wait, you founded Clio just 2018?
Jack Newton (00:45:40):
2008, sorry. When we founded Clio in 2008-
Bob Simon (00:45:43):
I was going to say, holy shit, man.
Pratik Shah (00:45:46):
Wow. Jack, more impressive than I thought.
Jack Newton (00:45:48):
No, no. It’s been a overnight success, 14 years in the making. But when we founded Clio in 2008, thank you, we saw the average solo and small firm just structurally unable to support, nevermind in a CTO, but even a full time IT person. And even a consultant that came in a couple days a week, that was your second cousin third removed that was good with computers was at a reach for most law firms.
Jack Newton (00:46:17):
So we really thought about Clio as the bar needed to be that it was intuitive. We realized that a lot of solos and small firms, they would be signing up for Clio, not on Monday morning with their CTO by their side, but on Friday night with a glass of wine in hand, feeling beaten down by the last week, realizing I need to do things differently. And we had this avatar in mind of that Friday night lawyer needing to just sign up for Clio on their own and with zero intervention from us, with zero training from us, without a CTO or an IT, person be by the time Monday morning rolled around completely proficient at Clio and ready to onboard the rest of their law firm.
Jack Newton (00:46:58):
And what I’d encourage a lot of law firms to do is whether it’s Clio or Lawyaw or some other piece of technology you’re looking to adopt, sign up for it and send a login to all of your staff and just say, “We’re going to figure this out together.” And if you just jump in both feet and say, “We’re not going to cheat. We’re not going to use email where we should be using the Clio messaging,” or, “We’re not going to use word where we should be using Lawyaw to automate this workflow.” If you make that leap and you make that commitment, it’s almost like going into immersion in a language school.
Jack Newton (00:47:30):
You’re going to learn it remarkably fast and it does not need to be a 12 deployment timeline with a Gantt chart that fills up someone’s wall. You can do it and it’s something that most law firms can do with less pain than they think. If they just leave room for learning, build a little bit of extra time into your week, maybe you do this in a quiet period for your practice and drive that adoption, create a learning environment, and make failing okay. And you’d be surprised how much you can get accomplished in a pretty short period of time.
Bob Simon (00:48:05):
And I think all of our listeners would be shocked to learn how low cost all these things are for value add, especially when we’re talking with Tucker and Pratik use a lot of AI. I mean, once you start having that algorithm spin, the price point can go down.
Jack Newton (00:48:21):
Bob Simon (00:48:23):
We were [inaudible 00:48:24] the trial lawyers having it at your fingertips. When I saw Clear Brief and I was able to see the fact checking, because sometimes you’re going to be on the fly with the judge and somebody cites a case that you know is not right. But with something like using their AI, you could put the case and almost shepardize and fact check them and say how it’s wrong. I mean that just one example of where it can go. But again, you have to be like, I purposely put myself in the room. Pratik and I talk once a week about what’s going new and stuff like that, but we’re forcing ourselves to be in it. But how do we force these lawyers to do it? Tell them they’re going to go extinct if they don’t. I mean, how can we make them take-
Pratik Shah (00:48:58):
It’s like anything else, right. In the beginning, no lawyers wanted a website because they thought, “Oh, that internet stuff’s a fad.” They didn’t want an email. They didn’t want any of these stuff. At some point, they’re going to have no choice and it’s better to be ahead. And you know what? For those of us that are still lawyers, if they don’t want to do it, that’s okay.
Bob Simon (00:49:18):
It’s like that old if your lawyer has an AOL account @aol.com, you’re going to jail.
Pratik Shah (00:49:22):
Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. And it’s like getting that person to get on AOL, it was already like 10 years too late when that person got on AOL. So there’s going to be 10% of lawyers that are going to be tech forward and they’re going to see the ROI on these things as ridiculous as like you and Seth, et cetera, et cetera. And then there’s going to be 10% of lawyers that are always going to bring up the rear and they’re always going to be 10, 15 years behind thinking that they’ve got a way to do it. For the 80% of lawyers that are in the middle and can move the needle themselves, they really need to get on it. And it’s no longer an option of, “Hey, I want to be a cool tech forward lawyer.” This is just being a lawyer now.
Bob Simon (00:50:03):
Well, I mean let’s use specific examples here. Jack, I mean you can have a new lawyer get out of the box subscription with Clio. It’s under a 200 bucks a month, right? I mean if they do it right.
Jack Newton (00:50:14):
Oh yeah. It’s under a hundred bucks a month for most of our… We have plans ranging from 40 bucks a month per user, up to about $120 per month. And those give you different capabilities and different, more sophisticated features on the higher end of that pricing plan. But I mean to the point you made around ROI, our lawyers tell us that they save on average eight hours a week using Clio relative to what their previous system was, which was often pen and paper and post-it notes.
Jack Newton (00:50:47):
So you think about that ROI proposition, again, your average lawyer charges $250 an hour. You’re ROI positive in 15 minutes of using Clio. It’s really, really high ROI. And by the way, just as a benchmark, most products in the legal space tend to fall in that 50 to $150 per user, per month kind of price range. And so if that’s unlocking any material value for you and your firm and helping you save time or with Clear Brief, helping you make a better argument, helping you make an error free argument, that’s almost priceless. And then some of these offer more direct ROI proposition that is just a no brainer. If we’re helping you.
Bob Simon (00:51:34):
It’s like Lawyaw. It’s perfect. It would be my paralegal’s best friend because you’re able to these judicial council forums, which take forever, you could just type and go and use the AI. But value add like listeners talking about it. Everybody thinks these are thousands of dollars a month. It’s not. Think about how much you save just having say $120 super subscription at Clio that acts as your CRM. That alone is going to be more than what you’re paying for others. Now you have all the tie-ins, the data entry one time. You also have the ability clients can sign documents, goes back into it, all these types of things through one hub.
Jack Newton (00:52:06):
Your probably spending more on coffee in a month.
Bob Simon (00:52:09):
Pratik Shah (00:52:10):
Tucker Cottingham (00:52:12):
And lawyers, we end up writing off a bunch of time too, right. So when you are inefficient, for some reason, people end up not billing for that. And so there’s a ton of wasted time that’s uncollected. And so if you can be more efficient and actually use that towards billable work, that was what made a big impact at our law firm.
Bob Simon (00:52:27):
Well, I know guys like Seth, Pratik, and I, we don’t get paid per hour. We get paid perhaps. We’re all on contingency, so we have to be efficient.
Tucker Cottingham (00:52:33):
Bob Simon (00:52:34):
Right? Because we have to be. We went a little longer than we usually do, but I’m going to go around the table. We could probably do an individual one of these many times over, but Seth, I’m going to start with you. Let’s gives some tips because you scale your law firm from two to 40 in less than 10 years. How are you able to do that? What are some very, very good tips for solos or small firms to be able to compete?
Seth Price (00:52:57):
Look, I mean, I was digital first, so my marketing and what my spun our in-house marketing, the BluShark, that was sort of the driving force of the cases. And I agree with what Jack said that Clio is an out of the box solution. I would argue with scale and we’ve touched on a little of this, each of the speakers, that there are more complicated issues and that not that you need a full time CTO, but that if you don’t have somebody focused on how to leverage this, because Tucker does amazing stuff, but if it’s sitting there not out of the box and it’s just sitting in the app factory at Clio, it’s not going to do any good. So to me, it’s not just putting the firm there and buying technology, but making sure. And if you’re not the person, there is somebody at some form, smart paralegal, your kid ,or a fractional CTO, but somebody to bring this together, otherwise you’re just leaving more money on the table that could be made with all those efficiencies that you’ve paid for but aren’t using.
Bob Simon (00:53:55):
And that doesn’t have to be a lawyer partner of yours that is that person. It can be like Tucker said a tech savvy paralegal. It could be like Seth said your kids or kids your age that also know social media and maybe they could do both at the same time and tie it all together. Tucker, swinging to you. Can you give us some practical advice for us dumb ass lawyers out there?
Tucker Cottingham (00:54:17):
Yeah, I think just start with one project. So start with something very specific that you have in mind that you want to fix and have that be something that will be impactful if you fix it. And think more about how to do that than about the type of law firm you want to be in three years, that you want to use AI. It can get kind broad pretty quickly. And if you zoom into the I don’t want to fill out seven judicial council forms individually, or I don’t want to go through and look for cut and paste language every time I do an MSA or something, if you can have it be really specific and then solve that problem first, I think then that kind of opens the door to looking at technology as a very practical tool in your firm and not an aspirational sort of identity change for your law firm. I find that people are a lot more successful when they’re oriented to concrete, specific things that they can solve that will be valuable. So I would encourage people to think about it like that in their own firm.
Bob Simon (00:55:20):
And Tucker, whenever you have these conversations with law firms that have reached out to you, do you ever start the conversation, within a few minutes just realize this just ain’t ever going to work for these people?
Tucker Cottingham (00:55:29):
Yeah. Or at least that it’s far away. And really, the big difference is when people call me and they say, “Hey, we’re doing this intake process and it’s really clunky,” or, “We’re doing eight divorces a month,” or, “We’re doing X many depot notices and I want a solution.” Versus, “I want to start a whole new giant vision, five years in the future.” Those things are really exciting, but sometimes they’re less actionable.
Bob Simon (00:55:57):
Yeah. All right, Pratik. You’re up, buddy. How can we give lawyers a lot of whom you know-
Jack Newton (00:56:02):
Yeah. I mean I want to really touch on what Tucker said too is I strongly believe that the conversation starts with the boots on the ground, being the paralegals and the legal assistants and the legal secretaries that are doing that hardcore paperwork stuff for you. That’s really slowing down your practice and slowing down you being able to deliver those end results for your clients. That conversation has to happen where you’re asking them, “Hey, what is it that’s a very clunky process for you? What is it that you are doing in your day to day?” Because every firm’s different, right. If you’re not a firm that does litigation, then you don’t care about discovery. You don’t do litigation. So instead of saying, “Oh, hey, everybody told me EsquireTek’s the way to go.” Well, if you don’t do discovery, it’s not going to be useful to you.
Jack Newton (00:56:42):
So ask your staff and your team members, what are they doing on a day to day basis that’s really slow and dragging them down. And then identify that specific thing and do exactly what Tucker said is, “Okay, I’m trying to solve for this issue. And the next quarter, we’re going to try to solve for the next issue.” This doesn’t have to happen in 24 hours. This is you’re going to be a lawyer for 30, 40, 50 years, probably most likely and so solve these one issue at a time and then you can go from there. So I think it starts with identifying what the problem is in your firm, where the log jam is and then fixing that and going from there.
Bob Simon (00:57:17):
And when you brought a good point earlier about being mobile and being used to being mobile and teaching how to be mobile. I mean, we have 70 employees at our firm, plus, completely virtual, all mobile. And people are like, “How the F does that happen? How are you able to operate like that?” But you got to take that step. And I think step probably has to start with getting antiquated or with case management platforms. I don’t care if you’re starting, pre-list, you’re doing divorce, bankruptcy, if you’re not into that, you got to go. Jack, I’m going to give you last word on this. And I also want you to talk about Clio Con because I saw some of the videos and it looks awesome and inspiring. So take it away, Jack Newton.
Jack Newton (00:57:51):
Well, maybe I’ll start with the Clio Con. We asked this question multiple times over the podcast, which is how do you get started? How do you understand what the app ecosystem landscape looks like? How do you get a feel for what the right tools are and what the forward looking approach is that a modern law firm is taking and building a law firm? And Clio Con is an incredible place to get all of those things. And I know Seth and Tucker have been on the ground to more than one Clio Con, spoken to Clio Cons.
Jack Newton (00:58:21):
This is, I think other people have said it and I’ll say it, the best legal conference full stop. It’s two days this year. We’re back in person in Nashville, which is going to be incredible on October 10th and 11th. So this is going to be high energy. We try to bring Silicon Valley tech company energy to legal and the average legal conference is not that great. And we make truly great conference with amazing keynote speakers.
Jack Newton (00:58:52):
We’ve had Seth Goden speak. We’ve had Gary Vaynerchuk speak. We’ve had Haben Girma speak. Just a roster I could go on and on of incredible speakers. You can learn Clio. We have dozens of exhibitors that are almost exclusively members of the Clio integration app ecosystem. So rather than spending a day going through our directory, you can just wander the floor and talk to a bunch of amazing companies building the kind of amazing technology like what Tucker has built with Lawyaw. So that’s a great way to immerse yourself in a deep learning environment for two days and enjoy some kickass parties on top of that as well.
Jack Newton (00:59:34):
So we do a legal conference right at Clio. And then in terms of my practical advice, I would say get a system, number one. Like table stakes for any law firm anywhere full stop is a practice management system. So go sign up for Clio. Go sign up for My Case or Filevine or Practice Panther or Rocket Matter. There’s six or seven high quality products in the cloud. And if you’re old school, there’s still a bunch of on-prem solutions you could go sign up for as well, but just get something. It doesn’t matter what it is. But I would say this day and age, you need a really good reason for it not to be cloud based. I would give a very strong preference on that.
Jack Newton (01:00:23):
And then tackle some of the low hanging fruit like activate electronic payments. Let your clients pay you by credit card. Open up a client portal where your clients can interact with you through a secure portal rather than phoning you or emailing you. Try something like Clio for clients out, which allows you to do all of your client interactions over a mobile app and that’s included. Most of this stuff is included with that core subscription offer.
Bob Simon (01:00:49):
Jack, does that all automatically save all the correspondence of you’re SMS or email with your clients? It all saves within Clio.
Jack Newton (01:00:55):
So you’re interacting securely, sending secure push notifications, like text messages, but secure to your client’s phone, right from your Clio app or right from your Clio desktop experience. My second tip, I’ll plug my book, but read this. This is The Client-Centered Law Firm. This is the book I wrote that really encapsulates my decade plus of learnings and what the best run law firms are doing in terms of delivering a cloud-based and client-centered experience.
Jack Newton (01:01:31):
And lastly, I’ll recommend another book called Atomic Habits by James Clear where he talks about how you build new habits. And one of the concepts he talks about is this idea of the aggregation of marginal gains. And I think a lot of law firms, I think lawyers, their way of thinking about the world tends to be how do I go build the whole thing? How do I go build the water tight IT system in the same way you go build the water tight case?
Jack Newton (01:01:58):
And the key to embracing technology, I think is a much more iterative and progressive journey where you think about getting 1% better every day. And what James Clear talks about is this aggregation of marginal gains, where if you just get 1% better every day, in a year, you’ll be 37 times better at that thing. So Pratik, you talked about learning the guitar. You want to be perfect at the guitar day one, which prevents you from being at the guitar on day zero. And the idea here is if you just practice a little bit every day, those gains compound, and you will be 37 times better at something just doing that 1% improvement every day. So I think when you think about embracing technology at a law firm, don’t try to boil the ocean. Embrace one new thing every day, dip your toe deeper and deeper into that lake, and all of a sudden you’ll be swimming proficiently, but don’t let yourself be overwhelmed.
Bob Simon (01:02:57):
Yeah. And for all our listeners out there, put yourself, make yourself, force yourself into the rooms where you are the least smart person, just like we are here. I feel bad for Pratik being the least smart person.
Pratik Shah (01:03:10):
Don’t feel bad. It’s where I’m supposed to be. This is where I’m supposed to be.
Bob Simon (01:03:14):
But this is why it’s important to go to conferences and as much as we can through podcasts and things that we’re all doing. But I met Seth at Law-Di-Gras last year. Had a great time. I was wearing my dungeon and dragons t-shirt, right. We’re just having bourbon, talking. These are experiences that you will not get anywhere else.
Bob Simon (01:03:30):
Go to Clio Con October 10 and 11 coming up in person. We were doing Law-Di-Gras this year in San Diego. We’re going out do Nelly and Flow Rider. Last it’s going to be good talking the same thing, tech integration by helping lawyers practice law and medicine. So these are the things, everybody. Get out there, meet folks, slide into people’s DMs. Speaking of that, everybody, Seth, start with you, best way for people to get ahold of you for people that are listening.
Seth Price (01:03:53):
Look email through the firm, but I’m on Facebook messenger for most of the people out here in our ecosystem, but any which way. They all get to me.
Bob Simon (01:04:03):
You sure you don’t want to do your MySpace handle? You good?
Seth Price (01:04:06):
Nah, I’m kind of old school. I found, you know what’s crazy, that within the legal ecosystem, that Facebook has enough of an adoption. There are people like Jack that I can’t get through email, but if I send a Facebook messenger piece, he’s like, “Oh, a friend is hitting me,” and I actually get a response. So that’s been my secret sauce.
Bob Simon (01:04:26):
Same. I don’t check emails, not a lot of texts, but if you go into any of my DMs, it’s the same thing. So I feel you, bro. Tucker, how do we get ahold of you?
Tucker Cottingham (01:04:35):
I’m going to say email. I don’t use Facebook that much, but yeah the shortest demo would be email@example.com but yeah, I’m on Twitter as well.
Bob Simon (01:04:47):
Jack, how about you, bro?
Jack Newton (01:04:48):
I am firstname.lastname@example.org if anybody wants to shoot me an email. I’m Jack_Newton on Twitter and yeah, feel free to slide in my DMs there. Newtonian on Instagram and I am less frequently on Facebook, but you can still track me down on there if you want to. And maybe one last thing I’ll mention, we’ll set up a promo code for your listeners, Bob. And maybe we could throw that in the show notes and give everyone that’s listening a discount to Clio Con if they want to attend.
Bob Simon (01:05:27):
I mean I would love that. And also if we could work with, for all of our Justice HQ members as we scale, because again, we’re encouraging lawyers out of the box to start their systems the right way. If there was a way for Clio to come in, even if it was an office hours thing where somebody could train multiples of lawyers at the same time, how to get in. I mean I think that’s how you win. I think that’s how people lawyers. Awesome. Pratik, how do we get a hold of you?
Pratik Shah (01:05:50):
Bob Simon (01:05:50):
Pratik Shah (01:05:51):
Pshah@esquiretek.com or @EsquireTek on all social media. All of those work.
Bob Simon (01:05:59):
And Pratik. I’m sure I’ll see you at the PetCo box sometime soon as the season opens up in San Diego. Find me at @planet funbob. Slide into my DMS. Thank you for listening to this episode of The Justice Team Podcast. Stay safe, stay dry, drink some bourbon, have fun, and get used to the new lawyer way of life. Thank you everybody.