#LegalTechLives with Jack Newton, CEO and Co-Founder of Clio

Jack Newton is the CEO and co-founder of the cloud-based practice management platform Clio. He has spearheaded efforts to educate the legal community on the security­, ethics,­ and privacy­ issues surrounding cloud computing, and is a nationally recognized writer and speaker on these topics. Jack also co-­founded and is President of the Legal Cloud Computing Association (LCCA), a consortium of leading cloud computing providers with a mandate to accelerate the adoption of cloud computing in the legal industry.

Ava Chisling: Tell me a bit about a typical busy lawyer’s week without Clio — and one with it?

Jack Newton: A typical busy lawyer’s week without Clio would involve a painful process of chasing down paperwork, double-entering information, and spending far too long on administrative work. Lawyers who use Clio save 8 hours a week on these types of tasks. We understand the needs of legal professionals when it comes to compliance, security, and ease of use; that’s why Clio is a complete solution designed specifically for lawyers.

With Clio, you have access to all of your information, when you need it — everything related to a matter is one click away. Take billing for example: Clio lets you easily create professional, accurate invoices, and get paid 35% faster by offering online credit card payment options. That ease of access lets lawyers focus on practicing law without that administrative chaos.

AC: In your experience, on a scale of 1 to 10, how quick are professionals as a whole to embrace new technology? Is the US different than elsewhere?

JN: Professionals are a diverse group; not every industry is embracing technology at the same rate. Accountants, for example, have been far quicker to adopt new technology than lawyers have. In my experience, the U.S. has been the quickest to embrace technology, with Canadians and Europeans trailing the Americans by a few years. Canadians are slightly ahead of Europe in terms of adoption rates.

There’s a level of conservatism in Canada and Europe that I think slows this adoption. Regulatory and privacy environments can create a lot of unnecessary angst, especially around cloud-based technologies. That’s why part of our challenge is to inform and guide the conversation around how cloud-based technology is a secure and ethical option for legal professionals.

“Take AI, for example — Canada has established itself as a global leader with a potent mix of academic leadership (like Geoff Hinton at the University of Toronto) and a thriving entrepreneurial community…”

AC: You started Clio on the west coast of Canada. What do you think it is about Canadians and technology that produces such successful companies — and talent?

JN: Canada has always punched above its weight when it comes to tech. The impact we’ve had on a per capita basis is remarkable. Canada has all of the right ingredients for success: an entrepreneurial culture and a great education system. Take AI, for example — Canada has established itself as a global leader with a potent mix of academic leadership (like Geoff Hinton at the University of Toronto) and a thriving entrepreneurial community that is taking these nascent technologies to market.

AC: Clio has won a fair share of awards. Which one makes you the most proud and why?

JN: While we’re honored by all of the awards we win, the ones I am most proud of are the Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures of 2016 and ‘Employer of the Year’ in the Techvibes Canadian Startup Awards. Building a strong culture is one of the most difficult things to do as a company, and the hardest for a competitor to replicate. These awards are huge validation that we’re succeeding at that, and I strongly believe Clio’s culture will be our long-term advantage.

AC: If you could win an award completely unrelated to your work, what would it be and why?

JN: I enjoy photography; especially landscape photography. It would be great to be recognized for a hobby I am passionate about.

AC: Your blog talks quite a bit about lawyers and their relationship to social media. What are your top three tips to keep lawyers online but out of trouble?

Social media is a powerful tool for lawyers, as long as they understand the limitations placed on them by their professional responsibilities. If I were to pick three tips, they would be: know the rules for your jurisdiction, don’t post anything false or misleading, and don’t solicit clients directly. Not every social media site will work for every law firm or practice area, but you can reap the rewards without putting your firm at risk as long as you are informed.

AC: You are based in Vancouver and we here at ROSS are connected to Quebec, Ontario, the Maritimes, Saskatchewan and BC. So the key question is: what hockey team do you support? You’re bound to anger at least four of us.

JN: I have to go with my hometown team, the Edmonton Oilers.

AC: And finally, what is the one robot you’d like to have as your friend and why? I know which one I wouldn’t choose: Wall-E. Way too many squeaks.

JN: K-2SO from Rogue One had a great sense of humor. I think he’d be fun to have around.

Thank you for your time, Jack, and for helping push the legal profession and others forward. We here at ROSS are proud to do the same.

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