Recap: 2019 Clio Cloud Conference

Seven years ago, about 225 people gathered at the Hotel Sax in Chicago for the very first Clio Cloud Conference. This year over 2,000 people came to the 2019 Clio Cloud Conference in San Diego. For comparison, that’s getting close to the attendance at ABA TECHSHOW.

Similarly, Clio itself is growing. This year CEO Jack Newton reported that Clio has over 150,000 users in over 100 countries, and the company itself has around 500 employees, 100 more than it did at last year’s conference. And, of course, Clio just raised $250 million—more than any other legal tech company (or any other Canadian company), ever.

Disclaimer: Lawyerist is a “media partner” for the 2019 Clio Cloud Conference. That means we agreed to cover the conference on our various channels, including this blog post. In exchange, Clio covered the airfare and hotel for two of our team members, and tickets for all three of us who attended. We did not promise favorable coverage or agree to give Clio any editorial input.

What Makes Clio and Its Conference so Popular?

I can’t speak for every attendee and I’m sure motivations vary, but I think Clio brings two especially important things to its conference: a focus on its users and the Clio team itself.

Clio takes user-centric design very seriously. Clio invites user feedback, watches lawyers use Clio (probably in ways the developers never anticipated), and adjusts its product roadmap accordingly. While that feedback loop is always in effect, the Clio Cloud Conference is like a concentrated user feedback energy drink for Clio’s design and development teams. Clio designers, developers, and support staff are on hand to help lawyers work through their problems face to face, and learn what Clio needs to do in order to help them get work done. The feeling that Clio cares about its users is palpable at ClioCon.

The Clio team is also one of the company’s best assets. One of the best parts about going to ClioCon is hanging out with all the upbeat, friendly Clions. Clio brought 140 Clions to the Clio Cloud Conference this year, which meant someone in a Clio shirt was always close by to lend a helping hand. Just like Clio as a software developer cares about its users, Clio as event planner obviously cares about its attendees. As a result, Clio Cloud Conference feels a bit like a celebration of lawyers and lawyering, even though there is plenty to learn, too.

Takeaways from the 2019 Clio Cloud Conference

My schedule didn’t allow me to attend the breakout sessions this year, but the keynote speakers provided plenty of food for thought. Here are my key takeaways.

Answer Your Phone Calls and Emails!

At Lawyerist we work with lawyers to build future-oriented firms. We talk a lot about things like innovation, business strategy, and leveraging technology. And while those are the keys to success, many firms aren’t even answering the phone or responding to email.

As part of its 2019 Legal Trends Report, Newton said Clio hired an independent research firm to pose as a client and contact about 1,000 law firms. Over 60% of those firms did not respond to an email inquiry. Most (71%) of the email inquiries that were returned resulted in an “inadequate” response like the sure-to-frustrate “Thank you for your email. Please call.”

Of the 500 phone calls, 39% went to voicemail, and of those, 57% were not returned in 3 days.

People. Come on.

If you don’t answer your phone calls and emails, you can’t get hired. In a world where virtual receptionists exist at reasonable prices and email management strategies like Inbox Zero have been around for over a decade, it’s hard for me to get my head around how this is still a problem.

When to Do Things

Dan Pink gave the closing keynote on the subject of his latest book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. We all joke about how unproductive we are after lunch, but Pink wants us to stop joking and start taking the daily cycle of changing mood and performance levels into account because it’s much more significant than we realize. Pink even suggests that maybe you should work for a lower hourly rate if you work on a brief in the afternoon. You just aren’t as good at that kind of work in the afternoon as you are in the morning.

Here’s a rough guide to your day:

  • At the peak of your day (morning for most; later for night owls), you are vigilant and better able to battle distractions. Your mood and performance are as high as they will get. Do work that requires your focus and analytical skills.
  • In the trough of your day (afternoon for most), your mood and performance are down. It’s a good time to do administrative tasks like processing your inboxes. But it’s not a good time to respond to those emails since you’re not in the best mood.
  • In your recovery (evening), your mood will recover, but not your vigilance. It’s a good time for divergent (non-logical) thinking and insight. It’s a good time for brainstorming and strategy work.

As much as you can, clear out your mornings for tasks that require your vigilance. Don’t waste your most valuable hours answering email!

ClioCon 2020

Plus, the keynote speakers are always well-known, provocative speakers. This year Glenn Greenwald talked about privacy and security, and Shaka Senghor and Deanna Van Buren talked about rethinking our concept of second chances in the criminal justice system.

Want to attend next year? If you’re a Clio user, it’s a no-brainer. Even if you aren’t a Clio user, I don’t think you’ll be sorry if you attend (and you might just become a convert to Clio in the process).

Next year’s Clio Cloud Conference will be in San Diego again, on October 15th & 16th, and Clio offers discounts to early birds. I hope to see you there!

Sam Glover
Sam Glover is the founder & CTO of He is the co-author of the bestselling book The Small Firm Roadmap and is the host of the weekly Lawyerist Podcast.