Clio Grow Review: Client Intake and CRM for Lawyers

clio grow review smallClio acquired Lexicata and turned it into Clio Grow in 2018. Since then, the popular intake and CRM software for lawyers has gone from strength to strength.

Clio Grow has been up and running for a few years and has been tried and tested by many law firms in North America and beyond. So, it’s time for a progress report.

How’s Clio Grow doing, and more importantly, what can it do for your firm?

Let’s face it, the number of legal CRM software packages out there has grown in recent years. Is Clio Grow now the best option?

What is Clio Grow?

Clio is one of the most established names in the legal software space.

Based in Burnaby, British Columbia, the Clio team has built a solid name since 2007 by providing cloud-based practice management software to handle tasks such as client intake, contact management, case management, calendaring, document management, timekeeping, billing with Clio Payments, and more.

In addition to software, Clio has some great offerings, including its Legal Trends Report and Clio Cloud Conference.

Over the years, Clio software has attracted some pretty impressive user reviews and maintained consistently high ratings, suggesting that it gets a lot right with its offerings.

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Its two main offerings are Clio Manage and Clio Grow.

Clio Grow is its client intake and customer relationship management application, dedicated to helping law firms successfully navigate the first mile of your client’s journey with your firm.

This cloud-based application helps you achieve three main things:

  1. Automate and organize your intake process by using shareable, online intake forms, e-signatures, and document automation.
  2. Schedule consultations and accept payments online using Clio’s Scheduler, which integrates with Clio Manage’s Payments to accept payment before you meet with clients.
  3. Automate day-to-day tasks, emails, and workflows to free up more time for legal work in your practice.

This all translates to managing leads more effectively and nurturing them through the sales pipeline, from new inquiries and consultations to retained, paying clients.

In truth, most firms need some help with this. Without the benefits of an organized and automated client intake system, it takes far too much time to organize, and too many potential clients fall through the cracks.

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Clio Grow ultimately helps you present a new “front-line” in the customer experience provided by your firm.

Think of it as a type of “pre-practice management software” helping you bring in new clients and onboard them before you switch to your main law practice management software (Clio Manage).

But what are Clio Grow’s strengths and weaknesses? Let’s get into a little more detail in this Clio Grow review so you can see how it can help your firm grow, what it costs, and what else you can expect.

Law firm client intake process

The intake process covers the period after potential clients initially contact you until they become paying clients.

During this process, legal assistants or other law firm staff have traditionally interviewed clients either in person or via phone or email to get the information required to take the next steps. You need to gather the relevant personal, financial, and case-specific information to detail how you can assist each client.

This can be a very time-consuming process when done in person or over the phone. Some prospective clients are made to wait — and may never come back.

When you move client intake to the cloud with Clio Grow, you save a lot of time and improve the chances that every potential client you connect with ends up as a paying client.

You can gather the information you need via customizable, public-facing online intake forms that clients can complete in their own time.

This eliminates data entry, the need to go back and forth by phone or email, and other time-consuming, non-billable tasks.

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With Clio Grow, you can:

  • Create questionnaires for potential clients to fill in at their convenience
  • Build custom forms tailored to your practice so you get the precise information you need
  • Let Clio build your forms for you if you prefer
  • Create “conditional logic” forms with follow-up questions (i.e., the next question changes according to whether the client answers “Yes” or “No”)
  • Share forms by email or SMS or embed them on your website (so potential clients can complete forms on fully branded web pages)

If team members occasionally have to fill out the intakes, they can do this in Clio Grow. With the Quick Intake feature, you can manually input the information and create new potential clients and matters.

You can also organize your clients better with Clio Grow, viewing potential clients in one centralized location using the Matter Pipeline.

Clio Grow also syncs with your website, virtual receptionist, and other law firm marketing channels (potential clients automatically show up in your lead inbox).

You can track leads and revenue with Clio Grow’s reporting metrics, highlighting how potential clients find you and which referrals generate the most revenue.

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Law firm CRM

A CRM is not just for sales teams in big corporations. Almost all law firms should use one.

Ultimately, the best customer relationship management software helps you manage the client journey from the first contact point until they become a retained client.

It helps nurture the relationship and automates many of the time-consuming tasks, ensuring that nothing gets forgotten or drops through the cracks. It removes the burden from busy lawyers and legal assistants by automating much of the scheduling, communication, and signing up of new clients.

With a CRM, more potential clients will convert into retained clients because it looks after much of your follow-up.

So, how does Clio Grow help you do this?

First, with the CRM, you will need to create a Matter Pipeline. While there are stages set as default, you can customize the steps of the client journey however you want.

Some example stages could look like this:

  • New lead
  • Contacted
  • Consult scheduled
  • Send retainer agreement
  • Retainer out
  • Signed

The Matter Pipeline in Clio Grow looks like a Kanban-style board, where each potential matter sits in a column. Each column denotes a particular status. You can move each matter to a new status along the pipeline by a simple drag-and-drop.

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A matter can be marked as either won or lost with the simple click of a button.

Law firm e-signatures and legal document automation

Preparing and securely signing documents has traditionally been time-consuming for law firms.

It’s no exaggeration to say that cloud software has revolutionized this process for many organizations, including ours.

Previously, we required clients to print out our agreement, sign it, and email or fax it back. This meant unnecessary work for our clients and was a barrier to conversions. We lost some business opportunities. By converting to a system of e-signatures, we solved this issue. It was a game-changer, noticeably improving our conversion rate.

It’s no different for most law firms.

To be able to sign documents from anywhere securely saves printing and countless to-ing and fro-ing of documents by mail, fax, or in-person meetings.

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Clio Grow assists this process significantly, allowing you to create and send electronic retainer agreements that automatically fill with the client’s information.

They automatically integrate with the e-sign software HelloSign so the client can e-sign the document from their device and return it.

It’s a simple process that’s a huge time saver for getting agreements signed and eliminates human error. Making the process smoother for clients removes potential obstacles and reduces the likelihood of clients backing out of deals at the last minute.

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In addition to signing legal documents and agreements, Clio Grow allows you to draft and review these documents at any time.

Email, workflow automation, and templates

With Clio Grow, it’s easy to organize and nurture potential new clients, existing clients, and professional contacts from one platform (it syncs seamlessly with Clio Manage).

You can automate many tasks, enabling you to “set and forget” essential aspects of client retention and communication. As well as client intake, you can automate appointment reminders and personalized email follow-ups.

Clio Grow’s templates and automation allow you to keep in contact with clients who are not ready to sign a retainer agreement with you yet, even after an initial consultation. Often, in these situations, the follow-up process from firms without CRM software is practically non-existent.

Clio Grow makes this process easy and moves clients through the sales pipeline to complete their journey — even hesitant or delaying clients are more likely to convert into retained clients.

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You don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time. Instead, you can use and reuse the templates for your workflows.

As an example, once a client schedules a consult, you can assign them a new consult template with accompanying appointments and tasks for you to complete, with automated emails and documents sent out to the client.

Beyond that, you can send customized documents to clients (e.g., retainer agreements) already filled out with information you’ve received in their Clio Grow account. No more cut-and-paste or asking the clients to fill out everything from scratch.

You can also search, tag, and filter your contact lists for quick and easy access as required.

Referrals with Clio Grow

Clio Grow also allows you to easily refer cases — and receive referrals — using the Clio Referral Network.

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With all the law firm marketing channels available now, you may put less time into referrals than before — but they are still an important part of many firms’ client acquisition strategy.

With access to the Clio Referral Network, you can tap into a community of legal professionals who use the platform and refer cases to each other. You can pass on cases that are beyond your practice area capabilities, or you can’t take on for another reason — right from Clio Grow.

Client support with Clio Grow

It’s not just the features and pricing that make or break a software package.

At some point, you’re likely to need help with your software. Even though Clio Grow is cloud-based and simple to use, it’s highly sophisticated.

Reaching out to support teams can be frustrating unless they have the capacity and capability to solve your problem or query as soon as possible — especially if it’s a mission-critical problem.

With Clio Grow, you have access to Clio’s well-renowned support team. Support is 24/5 from 12 am Monday to midnight on Friday, which covers the requirements of the vast majority of law firms.

In addition to the live help, Clio has a chatbot and a help center with tons of help videos and articles to walk you through the platform.

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While testing out Clio Grow, I chatted with support on a Friday morning just to see what the wait was like and connected with someone in under a minute.

I waited less than 30 seconds for phone support before connecting with a human being. It was fast, and I was very happy with how quickly they answered my questions.

Clio Grow review: Pricing

Before we look at pricing, remember that Clio Grow works best alongside Clio Manage for a seamless experience between the CRM and the practice management software.

So, let’s first take a look at Clio pricing for its practice management software (based on paying annually).

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As you can see, there are several options. With the Essentials or Advanced plans, Clio Grow can be purchased as an add-on with a one-time set-up fee of $399. This includes an onboarding package covering live training, custom intake and document templates, etc.

The monthly fee is $49/user/month if billed annually and $59/user/month if billed monthly.

The app is not available as an add-on for the EasyStart plan. With the Complete plan for $129/user/month, Clio Grow is included in the price and the setup fee is waived.

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How to get started with Clio Grow

Clio offers a free seven-day trial of its Clio Manage/Grow platform, so you can try it before committing.

But what happens once you’re ready to get started with the software?

Clio Grow is easy to use and cloud-based. So, you can log in from anywhere on any device at any time. Software updates are automatically handled, making it light on the technical requirements — which suits most law firms.

After logging in, you’ll see an onboarding checklist. You can either methodically tick these off or ignore them if you already know what you’re doing. Most firms hould start here as an introduction to the software so that you don’t miss any of the main features.

There are also introductory videos (and webinars) to watch on the following key topics:

  • How to intake a new lead
  • Overview of the Matter Pipeline
  • How to set up your custom fields
  • How to build an intake form
  • How to set up a workflow template
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Clio’s walkthrough of the software is pretty simple, and it’s hard to get lost.

Helpful pop-ups take you through all the main points, from customizing matters types depending on the types of cases you usually handle to quick intake, which shows how you can complete intakes with the minimum of effort and send intake forms to new clients.

The tutorials help you stay focused on learning the main features and becoming acquainted with the platform rather than getting lost down “rabbit holes,” which can happen when you first start with new software.

After the walkthrough, you can start the process of customizing Clio Grow more for the precise needs of your law firm.

This will likely include doing some or all of the following:

  • Integrating with your Clio Manage account
  • Creating different matter types
  • Adding custom fields for contacts
  • Customizing the pipeline statuses
  • Integrating with payments
  • Syncing email/calendar
  • Creating email templates
  • Creating email campaign templates
  • Creating workflow templates
  • Creating intake forms in the form builder
  • Importing contacts

From when you start, Clio Grow has all the tools you need and tons of customization ability to make it work smoothly for your firm.

One word of advice: If Clio Grow is the first CRM and intake system you’ve ever had in your practice, now would probably be a good time to set up internal policies and procedures for managing intakes and making Clio Grow part of that process.

What’s missing from Clio Grow?

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Clio Grow will do everything you need with a CRM. It certainly has all the main features required to manage a potential client pipeline.

If we’re being ultra picky, the following features would take it to the next level:

  • Zapier integration would allow users to integrate Clio Grow with more of the other apps they use daily.
  • You can view Clio Grow data from a mobile web browser but there is no mobile app (though there is a Clio mobile app). An app would further optimize the multi-device experience with the software.
  • More advanced features like email BCC to Clio (allowing direct email correspondence between the client and the Clio Grow user) and more goals/forecasting features.

The Clio team is still considering adding these features, and, as we know, things change quickly in the legal software space. Stay tuned!

Want to try Clio Grow for free?

As Clio says, “There’s a lot that goes on between the first call and the final invoice.”

Clio Grow should be a no-brainer if you’re using Clio Manage already. It’s an efficient and cost-effective way to free up your time for more casework and provide a better customer experience with your firm.

Having the right processes and software helps lawyers retain more potential clients, and it usually pays for itself many times over in the revenue it adds.

So, if your firm is looking to better manage the intake process, Clio Grow’s CRM, intake form tools, and matter pipeline management are for you.

If you want to see it in action for yourself, you can check Clio Grow out here.