The big, extravagant Clio legal tech Conference kicked off today in Nashville. ClioCon is one of the most attended and well respected legal tech conferences. It’s famous for its well known keynote speakers from all walks of life, its training sessions and tracts, workshops, and of course, parties. This year’s Conference is the first in-person Conference since 2019. It’s been missed.
Clio reports that there are some 2000 in-person attendees this year. In an atypical approach, Clio also offers a complete virtual track with 1000 participants. Other conferences worry that offering a virtual tract will result in reduced in-person attendance. That the virtual track will cannibalize actual and more lucrative in-person tract. Perhaps only Clio, with its immensely popular Conference, has the intestinal fortitude to try to pull this off. Clio believes that if you build it, they will come.
I have to ask why ClioCon is so popular. This question is particularly relevant to me since I am chair of the ABA section that puts on TechShow every year in March.
In the opening Keynote, Jack Newton Clio CEO, talked about what law firms must do to thrive in trying times. Identify three factors: connection, creativity, and technology.
In particular, Newton spoke about the need for law firms to build a connection for its team to a greater purpose. A purpose beyond just increased revenue and metrics. The commitment of Clio employees to this greater purpose is palpable at the Conference. I think it’s this kind of commitment that enables Clio to carve out such a space in the legal tech community.
ClioCon always starts the same way: all the in-person Clio employees charge up to the main stage in a display of energy and commitment. The energy is catching and engaging. It makes you glad to be here and be a part of it. A part of something more than a marketing convention.
The commitment is also evident in other ways. Clio personnel are also visible and present to answer logistical and no logistic questions. Not only are they available, they invariable know the answers! They are affable and engaged. I don’t think you can create this without empowering your staff with a belief in the company and its mission.
It is evident in the investment Clio makes in the Conference. It’s evident in the quality of the keynotes. It’s evident in the sessions that address issues and concerns of lawyers. Issues and concerns that often have nothing to do with Clio’s products. As one of my co-journalists said, anything can wish for in a Conference or hospitality, Clio has already thought of and has a solution.
It’s often said, well, Clio has the money to have things like well known keynote speakers. To have good food. To have memorable parties. To do things in a first class way. Yes, Clio is a for profit business and presumably can afford to spend what it does.
But what’s impressive is that Clio understands that it’s about the customer experience. It’s willing to invest the time and energy to make the attendee experience memorable. Like Starbucks understood, it’s not all about the coffee but the experience. (At least it used to).
So while Clio has the resources to do what it does, it’s not just that. It’s the commitment Clio makes to the experience of a Conference. To the attendee experience. Clio cares about things like this.
Why does it do this? Clio could probably sell its products and maybe even make close to the same profit without putting on such a big Conference. I think Clio does this for a greater purpose. To show its commitment to its customers. It does this to show it cares about its customers. That it’s committed to a greater purpose: its customers. That commitment is evident, undoubtable, and not often replicated.
I have little doubt that even if Clio, God forbid, had to downsize, it would still find ways to make the experience for its customers/attendees the best.
As Newton put it in his Keynote, “Connection to greater purpose is so important. In something bigger than self. Something bigger than metrics and revenue.”
Yes, the purpose of the Conference is to market Clio’s products. But Clio sees the Conference as something a lot more. It’s a chance to demonstrate its commitment to a greater purpose. To show its commitment to its customers.
I’m not a Clio customer. I just write about legal tech. I can’t tell you how well the Clio software performs. But I am confident that if I were a customer and had a problem, Clio would move heaven and earth to be responsive to my concerns. And if I were in the market for software, this would be heavy on my mind.
This is why ClioCon is so successful. It’s why Level Legal is successful, as I recently discussed. It is why companies like LexBlog, NetDocs, MyCase and LitSoftware, among others, succeed where others fail.
Want to establish a successful legal tech business? Care about your customer. Be committed to them in every single thing you do. In all things big. And small.