At the Clio Cloud Conference in September, as you may have heard, there were some exciting announcements. One struck me as particularly important- the new app for Android phones. I know that most lawyers are iPhone users, but there are some of us who really enjoy the Android platform. Understandably, I was beginning to feel left out. Thankfully, Clio dropped the new app just in time for the conference, and I can finally explore Clio in a fully mobile environment. After about an hour of setting up test events, tracking time, adding matters and clients, here’s what I found.
Adding, viewing, and editing matters is simple. For every matter, you’re able to see basic info including the client name, a description, if the matter is billable, the open status, and the open date. Another tab allows you to see the timeline of the matter, which will include the open-date, any time entries created, and close-date. However, it does not appear to include calendared events. There is also a “More” tab where you can view client details, contacts associated with the matter, tasks, the calendar, notes, time entries, and expenses.
The biggest missing piece is an invoice. I’d like to be able to see all the outstanding invoices my clients need to pay, all their paid invoices, and a recap of any time I have yet to bill my client. At the very least, I’d like a summary of the time I’ve spent on this matter in the past month. I’ve sent this request to Clio, and they have already sent my input to their development team. As always, Clio customer service was great.
Adding a Contact
Again, this is an easy tab to navigate. Adding a new client in the system, or adding an existing client to a matter is a no brainer. There are only a few fields to complete to add a contact to your system. Once you’ve added a person, clicking the “More” tab gives you the options of adding that person to a matter, adding them to related matters, or adding notes. You can also see matters to which your contacts have already been assigned at any point after you’ve added them.
Time tracking was, my biggest frustration in the Clio app, but Clio’s exemplary customer service helped. I wanted to describe what I was doing for my client using the “Description” field. I should have used the “Notes” field. The description field allows you to select from a dropdown menu of descriptions you create on the Clio website. You can create up to 200 descriptions. The notes field allows you to add additional notes to your time entry.
There was one issue I encountered that continues to cause me frustration- the “Duration” tab. Instead of asking me for the amount of time I spent working, the app asked me to set an actual time. For example, if I want to bill one hour, I have to set my clock to 1:00AM. No, it’s not that confusing, but it could be better.
Managing the Calendar
The calendar was another easy, intuitive feature. As always, Clio connects to my Outlook calendar at work, and shows me what I’ve added to the native Clio calendar. Adding new entries was very easy, regardless of where I started. You can add a calendar entry from the Matters tab, or the Calendar tab. Calendar entries have a title, a calendar selection option, attendees, start and end times, a matter field, a description, location, and a reminders field.
Regardless what you’ve used in the past to create calendar appointments in a mobile environment, Clio will be a strong competitor for managing your day. As in the web-based program, you can see what other folks in your firm are doing, so scheduling in-office meetings is a breeze. Really, it’s a great calendar solution, and the fact that it connects to your matters and your firm, make it an exceptionally useful tool.
After spending time with Clio’s Android app, I highly recommend it for anyone who already uses Clio. If you’ve been on the fence about which practice management solution to purchase, and you’re an Android user, I encourage you to take a close look at this program. For my money, Clio continues to be an excellent option for solo and small firms looking for cloud based and mobile solutions for managing their practice. While there are still a couple features I wish Clio would improve or change, my overall assessment is that this is a great app, and that it’s reflective of very good practice management software.