Clio just announced its Apollo update—what it calls a bet-the-company update to its software and company. Here’s a closer look at what you can expect from Apollo.
The New Interface
From the user’s perspective, the updates should feel evolutionary. When you get the Apollo update, Clio will look and feel fresh, but familiar. At the same time, it is effectively a completely new app, and Clio says there are over 220 enhancements.
The first thing you will notice is a slightly different look and feel. Some menus and features have moved. Search is more prominent (and does more). Clio also learned from its testing that lawyers want to see lots of information. So instead of simplifying the user interface, lists and tables in Clio now make it easier to see more information about your cases, choose which information you want to see, sort information, and act on it.
Oh, and no big deal but there’s now an Outlook plugin. Okay, that’s a big deal. Lawyers love Outlook, and the new plugin makes it easy to associate emails with matters right from Outlook.
Here’s a peek at the new look and feel:
But the most noticeable change will probably be speed. The web app is now a single-page web app. That means Clio doesn’t need to reload the page every time you click a button or link. Other under-the-hood changes mean faster sync with third-party accounting software, faster search, and faster … everything. As a result, Clio should feel much more responsive.
Along with the speed upgrade, Clio has updated lots of features to make users more efficient. (Clio does extensive user testing.) Payment, the timer, the calendar, search, should all feel easier to access and more intuitive to use.
A Full, Open API and the Launch//Code Fund
With Apollo, Clio is now built on a full, open API (application programming interface). What this means is that anything the Clio apps can do, anyone else can do. If you wanted to, you could build your own web app to take the place of Clio.com. That’s not particularly useful for most lawyers, who to be quite honest aren’t interested in writing software. But it does mean Clio could become the platform of choice for software developers building niche products.
For example, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the next personal-injury practice management software built on top of Clio. (In fact, Clio started a $1 million Launch//Code fund and a $100,000 prize with just that sort of thing in mind.)
Clio’s App Directory of integration partners has been one of its major differentiators since the App Directory launched. (And Clio just added 12 new partners to the App Directory.) No other practice management software comes close to the number of integrations Clio has added. Between the new, open API and the Launch//Code fund, Clio is apparently hoping to become something like the Salesforce Platform, but for legal software.
The most significant changes are under the hood, however. Clio calls the Apollo update a re-platforming, which essentially means starting over in a new programming language that can support Clio’s product development roadmap in years to come. On the one hand, Clio has the benefit of 10 years of law practice management software development, but on the other hand, Clio was somewhat limited by decisions it made 10 years ago. Re-platforming a 10-year-old app is a huge undertaking. It’s a bit like jacking up your house and pouring a new foundation while refinishing the interior of the house itself. But it lets Clio start over with the benefit of everything it has learned over the last 10 years, and prepare for what it anticipates it will need to do over the next 10 years.
Coming Soon: Hermes
More changes are coming. In 2018 the Hermes update will bring a secure client messaging portal inspired by WhatsApp that will let you securely exchange messages, files, bills, and more with clients in a friendly, familiar-feeling messaging app. Lawyers need secure messaging, and the best solution is the easiest—secure messaging that’s built into your practice management software.
“Transform the Practice of Law, for Good”
Clio wants to “transform the practice of law, for good.” That’s its new mission statement. What it means is that Clio wants to think bigger than productivity software and build tools to help lawyers who are building the law practices of the future. Step one is Apollo, a new start for the software.
Look for more details in the Clio pages in our law practice management software portal soon!