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Software company Clio has announced a set of new features and updates to its centralized platform as it targets more action in the legal tech sector.

Founded in Vancouver, Canada, Clio employs over 500 staff across five global offices. Its name is a reference to Clio (Kleio), which in Greek mythology is one of the nine Muses, and patron of history. The tech company certainly has history as it was founded in 2008. It also has notable stats to share: According to Clio, it has the approval of over 65 bar associations and law societies around the world, and a global customer base of 150,000.

Clio is looking to make history with the expanded platform. Some of the features recently added include Clio Grow websites, a centralized payment system, a text messaging communication tool, self-service customer support and an expanded embedded apps ecosystem.

What is the new Clio platform?

To explain in detail what some of these features would bring to the legal tech industry, the challenges facing the sector and what the future holds, Jack Newton, Clio’s CEO, spoke exclusively to TechRepublic.

“Lawyers graduate from school without being equipped to deal with the business side of the law practice and every law firm is a business,” Newton said. “As a law firm in a box, we provide lawyers with an all-in-one solution that allows lawyers to effectively run the business side of the law practice.”

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Speaking to us about the Clio Grow websites feature, Newton explained that “this makes it easy to launch easy-to-use and very powerful websites; something any lawyer can do in less than ten minutes and what’s more impressive about Clio Grow Websites is that we allow you to integrate leading-edge apps with one click.” He further explained that this feature will allow small and medium-sized firms to compete with larger organizations.

Clio also added a text messaging functionality to allow users to communicate through text messaging without giving out their phone numbers.

“As we see consumer expectations shift in terms of how they interact and collaborate with their lawyers, text messaging is a really big key to this, and it’s something that we believe will help set up Clio’s customers to be more responsive with their clients,” Newton said.

All communications are secured with security protocols and that clients do not need to disclose their phone numbers or save their clients.

Another new feature Newton touched on during the session was Clio’s expanded embedded apps ecosystem.

“This allows our clients to leverage our 200 existing integrations and give them opportunities to enhance their integrations so that they have directly embedded experience in Clio rather than two separate experiences,” he said.

Through this development, the company intends to connect more product suites to its platform in a quest to become the industry’s first legal operating system.

Future trends and challenges facing the legal tech market

A Statista report reveals that in 2021, the legal tech market generated revenues of $27.6 billion worldwide, with the market predicted to hit $35.6 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of over 4% for the period under review.

Following these statistics, Newton spoke about the future trends and challenges that will likely shape the legal tech industry.

“I see a few macro-level trends playing out over the next decade,” Newton said. “Law firms are going through a profound shift from being basically law-firm-centered in the way they design and deliver legal services to becoming client-centered. The second change is technology-driven and, more importantly, changes in how lawyers work…. About two years ago, the average law firm used to be very in-person. However, this has continued to shift as law firms have seen that their lawyers can work from home with the aid of technology.”

Despite the tech firm attaining unicorn status in 2021, it still faces challenges in selling technology to legal professionals. Although more lawyers are beginning to trust the process of leaving their documents with third-party firms, Newton said it’s been difficult convincing many about the safety of cloud-based technologies.

With new changes coming into the legal market, further adoption of cloud-based technologies in the industry and a further expansion of this tech market may be likely.