In the ever-evolving legal technology landscape, innovation has become synonymous with progress. Clio, a leading provider of cloud-based legal technology, has taken a significant step forward for one market segment by recognizing the specialized needs of personal injury law firms and lawyers. The product is called Case Management Software for Personal Injury Firms. The product is an add-on to Clio’s cloud-based legal practice management software, Clio Manage.
Clio is now offering plaintiffs’ lawyers features that it hopes will maximize settlements, streamline medical record management, and accelerate recovery proceeds and disbursements.
According to Joshua Lenon, Clio’s Lawyer in Residence, whom I recently talked with at ClioCon, Clio carefully studied the personal injury legal market. It then tried to identify the unique pain points faced by personal injury lawyers. These pain points include dealing with costs and various liens, determining recovery amounts, keeping track of time, expenses and case status and dealing with medical providers in the contingency fee business model context. As a result, Clio has a new platform within its ecosystem that caters specifically to the personal injury niche.
Understanding the Challenge
Personal injury lawyers operate under different rules and business models than their counterparts in other legal practices. For example, they don’t use the conventional billable hour model. Instead, their earnings are primarily contingent upon winning or settling cases. Lenon noted that keeping track of the time invested in a case for contingency recovery purposes is a little different than how billable hour lawyers deal with time. Moreover, Lenon told me that some states (and judges) demand specific data before approving contingency fees. Florida, for example, requires that contingency fee lawyers show the time spent on a matter compared to recovery.
Personal injury clients are primarily individuals, not businesses or in-house counsel. Often, these clients have not had much contact with the legal system or with lawyers. This means that lawyers need to be more diligent and thorough with communications, settlement offers, negotiation status, and the like. And their communications with clients need to be consistently free of legal jargon.
Moreover, while the lawyer fees come out of the recovery, the client is often responsible for costs, which can be significant. Keeping track of these costs, making sure the client is aware of them, and not getting behind are all important. In addition, there may be medical providers who, instead of demanding immediate payment, will attach a lien based on recovery which needs to be taken into account. And personal injury lawyers must obtain, review, and keep track of substantial medical records, all within the confines of HIPPA requirements. All of this requires a different and more robust record keeping than that needed by lawyers and law firms doing other types of work.
Managing a steady influx of clients and overseeing multiple long-term cases at various litigation stages demands specific and different case management workflows
Finally, managing a steady influx of clients and overseeing multiple long-term cases at various litigation stages demands specific and different case management workflows. As Lenon puts it, there is a “need for more visibility and reportability of the workflows and time invested.”
Until now, these firms had to try to make do with generic legal solutions, often leading to complex processes and inefficiencies. Lenon says that Clio has taken its set of practice management tools and “tweaked’ them to meet contingency lawyers’ needs.
A Tailored Solution
Clio’s new Personal Injury Software is a clear effort to understand the intricacies of its customers’ needs. The solution is built on the widely used cloud-based legal practice management software, Clio Manage. It attempts to address the distinct workflows, procedures, and requirements intrinsic to personal injury law.
The product offers various features to get at the pain points identified above. For example, it tracks the negotiations over time so the lawyer and the client can better see where the settlement talks may be going, says Lenon. It can help provide the calculations needed to meet state tor reform requirements like that of Florida. Says Lenon, the product “can show how the contingency fee can compare with a fee calculated by using billable hours.
Lenon told me that Clio went so far as to review court records in various jurisdictions. Lenon said the goal here was to see how judges treat contingency fees to give lawyers a better road map. In addition, this data can help lawyers tailor their time and cost tracking to these court requirements. Lenon believes the new Clio product will make it easier to report to courts relevant fee information where required and make the reports more comprehensive. By doing so, it increases the likelihood of recovering the fees.
The Clio tool also tracks the workflow along with the expenses incurred to help with client communications. This ability, in turn, enables the lawyer to better manage the costs and time to recovery. The tools quickly show who might receive what out of any recovery at any point in time.
The product also helps with tracking medical records. It automatically documents HIPPA permission needs and can be used to determine if medical records have been received and reviewed.
Personal injury law firms can also now benefit from being able to visualize workflows centered around medical record tracking and disbursements. This approach not only simplifies work but also optimizes operations. It automates many of these tasks and frees up lawyers to focus on what they do best.
It’s also worth noting that Clio’s efforts in supporting personal injury lawyers go beyond software features. The integration of Google’s Local Services Ads for Clio, for example, is designed to empower lawyers to better and more effectively market their firms, capture leads, and manage advertising spend. All of this can be done directly within Clio’s practice management software.
Additionally, Clio’s recent investment in EvenUp, a legal tech company leveraging technology and AI to level the playing field in personal injury cases, demonstrates its further efforts to serve this area of the legal market.
Clio’s strength has always been its focus on understanding customer needs
Clio’s Great Strength
All too often, legal tech vendors focus on tools designed to help lawyers who bill by the hour while ignoring those law firms who make their livings off contingency fee cases. Kudos to Clio for trying to create a harmonious platform that helps these law firms as well as lawyers who do contingency in multi-practice law firms. Clio has provided personal injury lawyers with tools that enhance their efficiency and profitability.
Clio’s strength has always been its focus on understanding customer needs. And then based on this understanding, it consistently creates practical products to address those needs.
Clio’s Personal Injury product recognizes that within the legal ecosystems, there are vastly different needs and business models. In a world where one size does not fit all, Clio’s Personal Injury Add-On is a further testament to Clio’s commitment to its customers in all segments of the diverse legal market. As the legal landscape continues to evolve, Clio’s commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction will continue to pave the way for a future where legal technology better serves the needs of every legal professional and client.