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Cloud computing on the coast: Clio a success with lawyers

You’re a lawyer. You have a meeting at 3pm (or was it 4pm?) and you’ve lost hours figuring out which…

By Emily Jackson , in Vancouver Gets Down to eBusiness , on March 17, 2010 Tags: , , , , ,

You’re a lawyer. You have a meeting at 3pm (or was it 4pm?) and you’ve lost hours figuring out which clients to bill. You need to organize these details, but you can’t afford the software programs the big firms use.

This cloud has a silver lining.

Vancouverites Rian Gauvreau and Jack Newton can solve your problem.

The UBC grads and longtime friends created a web-based software called Clio that lets lawyers track time, automate billing, monitor schedules and access documents online.

The Law Society of B.C. discovered that small firms were bogged down with managing logistical information, but couldn’t afford the fix.

(It’s a misconception that lawyers have receptionists to manage these details, according to Gauvreau. At the small firms that make up about 80% of the B.C. market, lawyers handle their own logistics.)

In our era of information-overload, managing data can be the bane of one’s existence. The Economist’s (ironically long) special report Data, data everywhere highlights the problems of being swamped with information.

Clio helps lawyers diminish this problem.

The old way to manage this information was to use expensive software. You know the drill: buy the CD, install it onto your computer and wait for confusion to strike.

Because Clio is available online, it not only lets lawyers access their information from anywhere with an Internet connection, but it also removes the need to purchase expensive storage space. Using online power is called cloud computing. It works kind of like electricity bills – you pay for the space you use.

Don’t get the cloud concept? This video can help you out.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdBd14rjcs0&feature=related[/youtube]

Smart phone? No problem.

Clio is compatible with both BlackBerries and iPhones. This lets mobile addicts stay hooked to their smart phones while getting work done.

Gauvreau and Newton jumped on the web-based software curve at the right time. The entire law industry is shifting towards “the virtual firm,” according to Canadian legal blog, Slaw.ca.

Young professionals use mobile communication almost as frequently as email, according to an Accenture report. Because Clio caters to this trend, it will likely be a hit with recent law school graduates. Gauvreau and Newton even made sure Clio works with the hyped-up iPad, as they discuss in this TabletLegal interview.

Clio changed the game of selling software to law firms. Gauvreau said cloud computing lets his company “play in the big leagues.”

And play it does.

In its two years of operation, Clio has expanded all the way from Vancouver to Europe. Not bad for a West Coast start-up.