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Document Sharing & Automation

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Great Case and Client Management Tools


Let’s face it—managing a law firm is challenging, with or without the right CRM. 

But, choosing the wrong CRM can lead to mismanaged clients and missed opportunities, sending your practice into a spiral.

I’m AJ, and over the last decade, I scaled a digital agency to a seven-figure exit, while helping dozens of boutique law firms along the way. 

My mission with SBB is to empower business owners to succeed while avoiding all the pitfalls along the way.

So, let’s look at a platform I’ve recommended to dozens of law firms that I’ve managed at my agency over the years—Clio.

Let’s dive in!

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What is Clio?

Clio is a cloud-based law practice management system (LPMS) designed specifically to help law practices manage the following:


The overall Clio suite is divided into two categories—Clio Manage and Clio Grow. The two platforms integrate seamlessly to provide a fantastic experience for—you guessed it, managing and growing your law firm.

For this review, we’ll talk about Clio as an overall suite to keep things simple. 

Clio offers a ton of features that can help you streamline your practice from intake to invoicing.

These include the following:

Client managementCase management software (matters)Clio for Clients (client portal)Document storagePayment managementTask managementCalendar view and sync

Clio is perfect for small and midsize law practices looking to take their firm to the next level.

It’s incredibly easy to use and has an amazing customer support team via live chat (which we love at SBB).

The SBB team and I tested Clio (over the course of three months), and I’ve personally used it for years with my clients.

I’ve tested countless tools over the years, and Clio continues to be one of my all-time favorites to recommend to law firms.

Pros and Cons of the Clio

Let’s take a balanced look at Clio’s strengths and weaknesses to provide the most in-depth review possible.

Clio Pros

Clio Cons

Who is Clio Best Suited For?

Clio is a fantastic LPMS we’d love to recommend to just about every practice, but let’s narrow it down a little.

Here’s who we think Clio is best suited for:

Small law practices – Let’s face it. If you’re running a small law firm, you’re not just an attorney—you’re also an entrepreneur, a manager, and sometimes even an IT specialist. You need tools that are not just powerful but also easy to use (and affordable). This is where Clio shines. With its intuitive user interface, even the least tech-savvy members of your team can get the hang of it in no time.Midsize law practices – Clio isn’t just for small firms; it’s also a great fit for midsize practices. Midsize firms need robust, scalable solutions to deal with a larger volume of clients and cases. This is where Clio particularly stands out. Its advanced features, like bulk billing, detailed reporting, and firm dashboard, enable larger teams to manage their operations efficiently.

Who is Clio Not Suited For?

At Small Business Bonfire, we love Clio. However, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.

Here are some examples where Clio is not necessarily the best fit:

Startups – Every penny counts when you’re just starting out with your law firm. You’re likely searching for cost-effective solutions, and free plans become particularly attractive. Unfortunately, Clio does not offer a free plan. While they do have a comprehensive set of features that deliver great value for your investment, startups that are pinching pennies may find it hard to justify the cost.Larger Law Firms – While Clio offers robust features, it may not be the best choice for larger law practices with many users. This is because the pricing model of Clio can become increasingly expensive as the number of users grows. For example, let’s say your firm has 100 lawyers. At $129/month per user, you’re looking at over $150,000 per year just to use the platform.

Clio Software Pricing

Clio offers four pricing plans.

These include the following (billed annually):

EasyStart – $39/month per userEssentials – $69/month per userAdvanced – $99/month per userComplete – $129/month per user

How Does Clio Pricing Compare?

Let’s see how Clio stacks up against the competition regarding pricing and features.

We’ll compare the basic plans of each and pick a winner based on overall value for money.

Clio – $39/month per user

No free planAdvanced client managementFantastic dashboard reportingCustom fieldsPayment automation & remindersAdvanced document management & automation

PracticePanther – $49/month per user

No free planAdvanced client managementBasic dashboard reportingNo custom fields with the basic planNo payment automation & reminders with the basic planAdvanced document management & automation

Law Ruler – $169/month for 3 users

No free planAdvanced client managementBasic dashboard reportingCustom fieldsPayment automation & remindersAdvanced document management & automation

Neos – $89/month per user

No free planAdvanced client managementAdvanced dashboard reportingCustom fieldsPayment automation & remindersBasic document management

As you can see, when it comes to pricing, the clear winner is Clio at just $39/month per user.

Compared to Law Ruler at $169/month for 3 users or Neos at $89/month per user, Clio is practically a steal!

When it comes to features, we think Clio comes out on top for providing everything a law firm needs to scale and manage its business (without breaking the bank).

That’s why we declare Clio as the overall winner when it comes to value for money.

Clio Pricing Tips

Annual Plans Save
If you’re considering Clio, it’s worth noting that you can save up to 15% when you opt for their annual plans. This is a significant saving that can really benefit your firm’s bottom line in the long run. Besides, paying for an annual plan upfront simplifies your budgeting process. You pay once, know exactly what your costs are for the year, and don’t have to worry about monthly payments. So, not only does it make financial sense, but it’s also less of a hassle. It’s a win-win situation!

Free Trial
Before committing to a paid plan, you can take Clio for a test drive with their 7-day free trial. This is a great opportunity to explore the platform, test its features, and see if it aligns with your law firm’s operations and needs. There’s no need to provide any credit card information during the trial, so there’s zero risk involved. Take advantage of this period to familiarize yourself with the interface, set up a few mock cases, and even contact customer service with any queries. At the end of the trial, you can decide whether Clio is the right fit for your firm.

Clio Core Features

Case Management (Matters)

I’ve recommended Clio to a ton of law firms at my digital agency, and I’ve seen firsthand how it can supercharge their operations.

The case management feature, in particular, has received rave reviews from my clients, some of whom have expanded their practices exponentially since implementing it.

Here’s what a few of them had to say:

“With Clio, we’ve been able to manage our cases with significantly less effort, giving us more time to focus on our clients.””Clio takes the administrative burden off our shoulders, allowing us to concentrate on our work.”

One of my personal injury law clients has been particularly thrilled about their wins using Clio’s case management feature.

Here’s a snapshot of their experience using this feature:

Improved organization: The ability to centrally track each case’s status and associated documents resulted in less time spent on administration and more time on actual case work.Enhanced communication: The client praised Clio’s communication features that made collaborating with colleagues and clients easier.Outcome: They’ve been able to take on more cases while maintaining their high service standards, effectively scaling their practice without overextending their resources.

Check out how easy it was for them to create a matter (in minutes) using Clio.


As you can see, they were able to easily add and customize the following:

Client reference numberResponsible attorneyPractice areaMatter statusRelated contactsNotifications

From there, our client could view each matter with just a click.

Here’s an example of how a matter (case) card looked from their perspective.

Our takeaway: Clio’s case management is powerful, easy to use, and designed specifically for lawyers, making it a top-notch choice for law firms looking to scale.

Clio Payments

Clio truly shines with its built-in payment feature, Clio Payments, which makes the payment process a breeze for law firms and their clients.

Clio Payments is designed to streamline the billing and payment process, saving valuable time and leaving less room for error.

Here’s a quick spotlight on this feature:

Easy online payments: With Clio Payments, you can easily bill clients, all from within the platform. This feature lets you send professional, detailed invoices directly to your clients’ inboxes. Clients can then conveniently pay online, making the process more streamlined and efficient.Secured transactions: Clio Payments ensures that all transactions are secure, adding an extra layer of trust and credibility to your firm.All-in-one management: This feature is a game-changer for law firms looking to scale. Why? Because it allows you to manage all your payment information from one place. No more juggling between different payment processors or ledger books. Everything is right at your fingertips, which means less wasted time and more focus on your clients.Automatic payment updates: When a client makes a payment, the status is automatically updated in your Clio account. This means no more manual tracking or updating of payment statuses.

At my digital agency, I managed several law clients using Clio with great success.

The payment capabilities were instrumental in their growth, and I can confidently recommend Clio Payments to any law firm looking for an all-in-one payment solution.

Here’s a quick bill that my client (a personal injury law firm) was able to create in just minutes.

My client especially liked how easy it was to utilize Clio’s time tracker to automatically create the bill from time entries.

This left no room for error when it came time to send bills off to customers.

Ultimately, Clio makes sending and receiving payments easy (while providing the security and trust law firms need).

Document Storage

Clio helps you keep your documents stored and organized in a practical and efficient manner.

Here’s how this feature has proven beneficial to clients that I worked with at my digital agency:

Simplified document search: One of my clients, a family law practice, had a tough time locating specific documents amid their vast sea of files. With Clio, they could quickly locate any document using the powerful search tool, thus saving valuable time.Easy document sharing: A corporate law client praised Clio for enabling them to share crucial documents directly with their clients via the client portal. This eliminated the need for lengthy email threads and ensured secure and swift document exchange.Improved organization: Several clients appreciated Clio’s custom categories and subcategories. They could quickly store and retrieve documents in an organized fashion, enhancing their daily productivity.Reduced physical storage: Several clients, especially smaller practices, found the digital storage solution to be a game-changer. It reduced their dependence on physical storage, providing more workspace and reducing overhead costs.Enhanced security: Clients dealing with sensitive legal data valued Clio’s robust security measures. They felt assured knowing their documents were stored in a secure, cloud-based system.Document automation: Automation has become a mainstay in the legal industry, and Clio is ahead of the curve. My clients loved the ability to automatically generate document templates based on their specific needs.

Client Management

Client management is the heart and soul of any law firm.

It’s all about nurturing relationships, understanding client needs, and effectively managing communications.

Great client management can lead to a thriving law practice when executed correctly.

Luckily, Clio has fantastic client information management capabilities designed to help law firms do just that.

For example, let’s look at a family law client I had at my agency (who was able to scale her practice using Clio).

Initially, her practice was struggling with client outreach and management.

Some issues she faced before Clio included:

Difficulty tracking client communicationsLack of visibility into matters, contacts, and documentsInefficient billing process

Clio provided a solution for all of these issues (and more).

Here’s a sneak peek at the “new contact” page that my client was able to easily navigate.

Within each contact card, she could manage the following with ease:

Client nameContact informationAssociated websiteCustom fieldsBilling preferences

One reason that I’ve recommended Clio to so many clients is that it’s extremely customizable.

Within each card, you can easily create custom fields to track any information related to your practice.

This makes Clio perfect for niche law firms that require a lot of detailed information for each client.

We also like how clear and easy to read the dashboard is. Just look at our client’s view once her firm’s clients were added.

All in all, regarding client management, Clio is both powerful and easy to use. Based on our experience testing hundreds of other programs, that’s a pretty rare combo.

Client Portal

Effective and secure communication is paramount in the legal profession, and this is where Clio’s customer portal, Clio for Clients, shines!

Clio for Clients allows attorneys to communicate with their clients directly and securely by simply entering their email (shown below).

Gone are the days of jumbled email threads or lost communication.

With Clio for Clients, both attorneys and clients can have peace of mind knowing that their conversations are organized and easily accessible.

This portal also lets attorneys share important documents and billing information with clients.

It’s like having a law office right in your pocket! Simply upload your documents or bills to the portal, and your clients can view or download them at their convenience.

This feature has helped many of my clients streamline their workflows, leading to increased efficiency and productivity.

So, whether it’s a bill, a contract, or a case update, Clio For Clients makes sharing easy and secure.

It’s perfect for any law firm looking to streamline their communication and document-sharing process.

Firm Dashboard

Clio’s Firm Dashboard is a powerful tool that provides an insightful overview of your law firm’s performance.

It’s like having a bird’s eye view of your operations, enabling you to swiftly identify areas that require attention.

The dashboard displays key metrics such as billable targets, productivity rates, and revenue figures, which are critical to understanding your firm’s financial health.

The visual representation of data through charts and graphs makes it easy to comprehend the progress made toward set targets.

Moreover, the dashboard can be customized to highlight the metrics that matter most to your firm.

This means you can keep tabs on specific areas of your practice and make data-driven decisions.

One client I worked with, a criminal defense attorney, found the dashboard extremely useful for tracking billable hours.

They could quickly identify underperforming areas and take corrective actions promptly, ensuring they remained profitable.

In conclusion, Clio’s Firm Dashboard is an excellent tool for law firms seeking to optimize their operations and improve their bottom line.

It’s intuitive, customizable, and a great aid in strategic decision-making.

Calendar Sync & View

Clio’s calendar view and sync functionalities are truly noteworthy.

The platform offers an intuitive calendar view that’s easy to navigate and sync seamlessly with other calendar apps to keep you organized and on top of your schedule.

Here are some key aspects that we think are awesome:

Agenda view: This view gives a detailed rundown of your day, listing all your appointments, tasks, and deadlines chronologically. You won’t miss an important meeting or deadline with this feature.Day view: With Clio’s day view, you can easily see your entire day’s schedule at a glance. This is perfect for those busy days when you need to manage your time effectively.Week view: If you like to plan your work week in advance, the week view is for you. It provides an overview of your entire week, letting you plan and allocate your tasks efficiently.Month view: For long-term planning, the month view is invaluable. It allows you to see all your appointments, tasks, and deadlines for the entire month, helping you stay ahead and prepared.Sync capabilities: One of Clio’s biggest strengths is its ability to sync with popular calendar apps like Google Calendar and Outlook. This means you can manage all your appointments and deadlines from one platform, saving time and reducing the risk of double-booking.

I managed a personal injury law practice at my digital agency that was struggling to keep up with a constantly changing schedule.

I recommended Clio and watched their scheduling nightmare turn into a well-oiled machine as they got things under control.

They especially loved how easy it was to create a new event (shown below).

With just a few clicks and filling out a few fields, they were able to add each new event to their calendar (in seconds).

Clio makes it easy to add the following to each event:

Start and end timeLocationMatterRemindersEvent typeAssociated contacts

Here’s how their monthly calendar view looked, with some of their appointments and events synced up.

Our takeaway: when it comes to managing your calendar, Clio offers a fantastic solution that rivals anything on the market.

Task Management

Managing the day-to-day tasks of a law firm is absolutely crucial to ensuring operations run smoothly (without getting overwhelmed).

The good news is that Clio steps up to the plate with fantastic task management capabilities.

The team at Small Business Bonfire got a chance to put this feature through its paces (over three months), focusing particularly on tasks related to onboarding—a process that’s vital but can sometimes feel like a juggling act.

Let’s delve into our experience with Clio’s task management.

Creating a new task was a breeze.

We were able to quickly accomplish the following:

Input tasksSet deadlinesDetermine task priorityAssign them to specific team members or matters

This allowed us to keep tabs on each aspect of the onboarding process, ensuring nothing fell through the cracks.

Here’s a screenshot of how creating a task looked during our testing.

The breakdown: While Clio’s task management may not be the best in the biz, it is easy to use and gets the job done.

Reporting and Analytics

Clio offers comprehensive reporting capabilities that can provide critical insights into a law firm’s operations.

The tool allows firms to easily generate reports on a variety of parameters, which can be invaluable in understanding trends, identifying bottlenecks, and making data-driven decisions.

Here’s what you can do:

Billing: Generate detailed reports on billed hours, unpaid invoices, and payments received. This ensures a firm’s billing process remains transparent and efficient.Client Matter: Track productivity and efficiency on a client-by-client basis. This can help identify which clients are most profitable and where more resources may be needed.Productivity: Assess attorney and staff productivity with real-time reports. It helps to pinpoint areas of improvement and recognize high-performers.Revenue: Keep tabs on the firm’s financial health with revenue reports. Understand which areas are driving profits and which ones may need a rethink.Matter Analytics: Dive into detailed insights for each matter and spot trends at a glance. This can help identify which types of cases are the most time-consuming or profitable.

The reporting and analytics feature has proven immensely useful for our clients.

By providing an avenue to learn from their data, Clio has empowered them to make smarter, more informed decisions about their practice.

This feature has often been the catalyst for streamlining workflows, improving client relationships, and driving revenue growth.

No wonder so many law firms choose Clio for their operational needs.

What are the Limitations of Clio?

No LPMS is perfect, and that includes the Clio platform. Let’s go over a few of the limitations of Clio software.

No free plan – Let’s be real; the absence of a free plan can represent a barrier to entry for budding law firms or those operating on a shoestring budget. However, it’s essential to consider the comprehensive features and unparalleled support this platform offers, which often outweigh the initial cost concerns. The reasons for switching to Clio may vary, but many of my clients have found that the investment in Clio’s robust functionality ultimately pays off in improved efficiency, productivity, and client satisfaction.Limited native integrations – Unfortunately, Clio does not have the same number of native integrations as other CRMs on the market. That said, it’s important to note that many third-party options offer a high degree of compatibility with Clio, so you can still access the features and benefits of integration even if they don’t come out of the box.

Clio Integrations

One of Clio’s strong suits is its ability to integrate with a host of other useful tools.

Let’s talk about some of these integrations:

Google Calendar: Clio seamlessly integrates with Google Calendar. This feature allows law practices to keep track of all important dates and appointments right within the CRM. Any changes made in the app are automatically updated in Clio, ensuring that all information is synchronized and up-to-date.Microsoft Outlook: For firms that prefer Microsoft’s suite of tools, Clio’s integration with Outlook is a game-changer. You can easily manage your emails, schedule appointments, and organize your tasks within Clio, making your workflow more efficient.Dropbox: The Clio-Dropbox integration makes document storage and sharing a breeze. You can easily store confidential documents and share them with your team or clients securely. This eliminates the need to use multiple platforms for document management.QuickBooks Online: Clio’s integration with QuickBooks Online simplifies the billing and invoicing process. You can automatically sync your financial data between the two platforms, reducing the chances of errors and saving you valuable time.Zapier: With the power of Zapier, Clio can integrate with thousands of other apps. This allows you to automate workflows, making your practice more efficient.

These are just some of the many integrations that Clio offers, proving its versatility and commitment to making life easier for law firms.

Here’s how the Clio App Directory looks (to give you some context).

Overall, when it comes to integrations, Clio is a powerhouse! If you’re looking to seamlessly transition all your favorite apps to one platform, Clio is your go-to.

How to Get Started with Clio

Getting started with Clio was a great experience.

We’ll walk you through how it went for the Small Business Bonfire team.

First, we navigated to the homepage (shown below), where we were greeted with a call-to-action (CTA) to start a free trial.

From there, we filled out the following information:

NameEmailPhone numberFirm sizeReason for using Clio

Here’s how it looked (to give you a better idea).

Finally, we activated our small business bonfire account by going to our email and clicking the link.

And that was it! From there, we were able to manage cases, add in clients, and really start testing out the software so that we could recommend it to clients.

Overall, onboarding with Clio was extremely easy! If we had to give it a number, we’d say 10/10.

Is Clio Easy to Use?

Clio has an excellent reputation for its user-friendliness.

In our experience, clients to whom we recommended Clio have had nothing but praise for how easy it is to navigate and use.

Below are some of the key points they have mentioned:

Intuitive interface: Clio’s interface is straightforward and easy to navigate. Even those with minimal technical skills can easily find what they are looking for.Helpful tutorials: Clio offers a number of tutorials and guides that break down how to use each feature. These resources can quickly bring new users up to speed.Excellent customer support: Clio has a responsive customer support team that is always ready to help. They are patient and knowledgeable, and they can explain complex topics in simple terms.Efficient workflow: Clients have appreciated how Clio streamlines their workflows, making it easier to manage their practices. Everything is organized in one place, which reduces the time spent switching between different tools and platforms.

Overall, Clio is incredibly easy to use! It’s designed to make law practice management as efficient and hassle-free as possible.

Clio Customer Service Review

Let’s break down all the features Clio provides when it comes to customer service.

They’ve really pulled out all the stops to make sure users can find the help they need when they need it.

Live chat: Clio offers a live chat feature, which is a great way to get quick answers to your questions. This tool lets you communicate in real time with a Clio expert who can provide immediate assistance and guide you through any issues you might be experiencing.Knowledge base: Clio’s comprehensive knowledge base is a treasure trove of articles, guides, and FAQs. If you’re the type who prefers to independently search for solutions, this feature is for you. The knowledge base covers everything from basic setup to advanced features, ensuring you have all the information to maximize your use of Clio.Helpful videos: Lastly, the platform offers a series of helpful videos. These range from quick how-to guides to deep dives into more complex features. These videos are an excellent learning resource, particularly for visual learners who benefit from seeing the platform’s functions in action.

In order to test the response time of the Clio support team, we reached out via live chat with a question about native Slack integration.

To our surprise, the Clio team responded incredibly fast with a helpful answer! We’re talking less than 30 seconds.

Here’s how the chat went.

Does Clio Have a Mobile App?

These days, mobile apps are essential for a successful law firm. Fortunately, Clio does have an app that is available on both Android and iOS devices.

The app allows attorneys to quickly access the following on the go:

NotesTasksImportant documentsInformation related to their cases while they are out of the office

It also includes features such as time tracking and secure file sharing so your team can stay productive no matter where they are.

I’ve had multiple clients who have used the Clio mobile app, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

One of my clients, a criminal defense attorney, shared his appreciation for the mobile app.

He particularly valued the secure file-sharing feature, which allowed him to share sensitive documents with his team from anywhere, ensuring a seamless process and maintaining client confidentiality.

During our three months of testing, the Small Business Bonfire team and I also downloaded the app on iOS.

Our overall impression was that the app was intuitive and easy to use, with many of the same features as the web version.

Here’s how it looked from our perspective.

Clio Alternative Comparison

Clio is great, but it’s not the only option out there. Here are a few of our favorite alternatives.

Is Clio Worth it for Small Business Owners?

Clio is absolutely worth it for small to midsize firms.

The comprehensive set of features, intuitive interface, and vast array of integrations make it a robust law firm CRM.

It’s designed to streamline your workflows, making case and practice management easy, efficient, and seamless.

If you’re looking to elevate your practice, investing in Clio might be the right move for you. Don’t wait; sign up for a free 7-day trial today and experience the difference!

Frequently Asked Questions about Clio

Clio is definitely a legitimate company. It’s a reputable law practice management software provider that has been serving law firms for over a decade.

Importantly, Clio is also HIPAA certified, ensuring that it meets the stringent standards set for data privacy and security in the healthcare industry.

This certification guarantees Clio’s commitment to safeguarding sensitive client information, making it a trustworthy choice for law firms.

Absolutely, Clio is a fantastic choice for personal injury attorneys.

The software’s robust features and tools can be specifically advantageous for managing personal injury cases.

From tracking billable hours to organizing case files to maintaining clear and comprehensive client communication, Clio has you covered.

The best way to share files with clients in Clio is via the secure client portal. This feature lets you securely share documents, invoices, and other case-related information directly with your clients.

Once you’ve uploaded the file to the portal, your client will receive an email notification, after which they can log in to view or download the file.

This method ensures that all shared information is kept confidential, maintaining the integrity and privacy of sensitive case information.

The post Clio Review 2023: Law Firm CRM? appeared first on Small Business Bonfire.

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