Jack Newton, co-founder and CEO of Clio
Credit: Clio. Jack Newton, co-founder and CEO of Clio

The local tech firm is arming legal experts with cloud-based software to help displaced people

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine grinds on, refugees and asylum seekers need all the help they can get. To streamline access to justice, legaltech firm Clio is offering its practice management software free for three months to anyone in the law profession supporting people impacted by the conflict. 

During the 2017 U.S. immigration ban by Donald Trump, when lawyers worked out of airports to help those affected, Burnaby-based Clio also donated its services. The war in Ukraine, which has seen more than four million people flee their country, is creating huge demand for legal aid.

“We need to find ways of enabling the worldwide, global legal supply and every lawyer who is capable of practising in that jurisdiction to address that enormous humanitarian crisis,” Clio co-founder and CEO Jack Newton says. “The internet is the right medium to be creating that scale—that’s really what we’re focused on doing at Clio.”

Lawyers typically practise in a brick-and-mortar environment, Newton adds. “We think the future of legal needs to be cloud-based and client-centred, and our mission to transform the legal experience for all will be realized through technology and a mindset shift in the legal profession in terms of how services are delivered.”  

This technology helps legal professionals to work more effectively, Newton argues. “If there’s travel required, if there’s situations like we saw with the immigration ban in 2017 where lawyers needed to manage their caseload on the go, they need a system to manage their client intake, the cases they’re processing, and so on,” he explains, “this functionality that Clio and other practice management softwares provide helps you to stay on top of your data, your clients, critical deadlines and so on. Especially when you’re dealing with the volume of cases we’re talking about here, this is where systems like Clio move from becoming a nice-to-have to a must-have.” 

READ MORE: 8 ways to help the people of Ukraine right now

With Ukraine in such turmoil, given that people are more likely to have access to the internet than to legal services, it could be inefficient to depend on lawyers on the ground to meet growing demand for aid.

Newton agrees: “What we need to see is lawyers able to address more demand than they’ve ever seen for their legal services, he says. “And I think we’ve all learned this lesson over the course of COVID-19: you do not need to be in-person to benefit from a lawyer’s services.” 

Lawyers and law firms can access Clio’s software using this assistance application.