Ride the Lightning

Cybersecurity and Future of Law Practice Blog
by Sharon D. Nelson Esq., President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

Clio’s 2021 Legal Trends Report: Interesting Changes in the Practice of Law

October 28, 2021

I always enjoy the annual Clio Cloud Conference, which will continue through this Friday. Thanks to the good folks at Clio for their hard work on the conference. It certainly shows.

If you want to know about all the new and exciting developments at Clio itself, you have only to visit my friend Bob Ambrogi’s Lawsites blog post from October 26.

I, on the hand, have been avidly reading Clio’s 2021 Legal Trends Report to see where the practice of law is heading. The report itself is 73 pages long, so I can only include here some of the snippets that most interested me.

In the 2018 Clio report, only 23% of clients were open to working with a lawyer remotely. In 2021, 79% want working remotely options.

How do they want to reach out to a lawyer? Obviously from the numbers, folks could check multiple boxes, but 71% want to reach a lawyer by phone, 71% in person, 59% through email and 53% via text message. That last one is the stunning rise.

How do clients want to have their first meeting? 76% in person, 70% by phone, and 58% by video conference. Virtually conferencing is the stat that has risen markedly.

How do clients want to communication during the course of the representation? 73% by phone, 68% in person, 60% via video conference, 66% via email and 61% via a secure client portal. Again, the steep rises were via video conference and via a secure client portal.

We are becoming more client driven as payment options have really changed. Here’s how clients want to make payments (again, they could choose multiple methods):  66% online, 61% automated payment, 61% mobile app, 59% in person, 47% by mail and 46% by phone. It is noteworthy that clients basically want to pay electronically – and fewer and fewer clients want to pay by mail. No wonder electronic payments have escalated throughout the legal industry in the past year.

Clio looked at firms that were growing, firms remaining stable and firms that were shrinking over the past year.

Here were some of the stats for growing firms:

Growing firms are 37% more likely to use online payments.

Growing firms are 41% more likely to use client portals.

Growing firms are 46% more likely to use client intake and client management (CRM) software.

Growing firms are twice as likely to use firm reporting tools to offer insights into revenue generation, bill collection and productivity.

And how much does the average law firm collect of what it bills?  89%

Most strikingly, what is the average lawyer’s billable each day? 2.5 hours.

The last one is striking but I’ve heard that number, especially with solo/small firm lawyers) before. Some part of it may be due to an absence of work, but an awful lot appears to go toward non-billable hours, hours the lawyer chooses not to bills the client, firm management duties, marketing and other non-billable tasks.

Thanks, Clio for fascinating numbers that chart our path forward. They give us a lot to mull over.

Sharon D. Nelson, Esq., President, Sensei Enterprises, Inc.
3975 University Drive, Suite 225, Fairfax, VA 22030
Email: Phone: 703-359-0700
Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology