Clio was inspired by co-founders’ Jack Newton and Rian Gauvreau simple desire to build a tool that improved someone’s life.
A decade ago, following conversations with the Law Society of British Columbia, the pair discovered the legal industry lacked the innovative and affordable software to manage case files. They had their business idea, and after an intensive period of development, they had a solution: a cloud-based software that would help lawyers cut down on administrative overhead while boosting their productivity.
Clio launched in October 2008 with the first-to-market cloud-based legal case and practice management platform—saving lawyers highly prized billable hours. The software integrates with dozens of popular desktop and mobile applications, helping law firms with key tasks to smoothly run their practice.
Today, Newton holds the CEO title and Gauvreau is the company’s Chief People Officer. Headquartered in the Vancouver suburb Burnaby, the co-founders lead a 200 person company that includes offices in Toronto and Dublin. Clio’s clients, however are truly global, with customers in over 80 countries. The company offers their software to law students for free at more than 150 institutions in the U.S.–including 13 of the country’s top 20 law schools. Since launch, Clio has worked with over 50 bar associations and has even reached exclusive agreements with state bar associations in New York, Texas and Illinois.
Clio moved to their bright Burnaby office in 2012. The colorful custom wallpaper catches attention with a design that reflects B.C.’s beautiful outdoors and the city’s west coast lifestyle. Both office floors have wrap around windows that offer a 360 view of the city’s skylines and nearby mountains.
SSDG Interior Designers worked with Clio to create the open-concept workspace. The office design won the firm the Interior Design Institute of BC’s Award of Merit.
The Burnaby team includes product development, business operations, product management, people operations, sales, customer experience, marketing, and production engineering. Monitors throughout the office showcase Clio data, metric dashboards and social notices, so that everyone shares common company goals.
The office features a range of workstations that champion ergonomics. Clio wanted the open space to foster cross-team communication, so the office has designated “huddle zones” to encourage brief, collaborative stand up meetings. There’s not a single private office.
“We wanted an office space that reflected our culture. Our teams work in open concepts with their leadership by their side. We also made sure to have a variety of collaborative spaces for everyone to make use of.” — Jack Newton, CEO and co-founder of Clio
Meeting rooms on the upper level are named after B.C.’s famous mountains like Whistler and Blackcomb, while the lower level spaces bear the names of provincial lakes.
The design of the space reflects Clio’s founding value: No Doors, Only Windows.” As such, there are no walled off rooms and the meeting rooms are clear glass.
Each floor has its own lounge complete with a large kitchen. One was designed for community building and communication, where as the other embodies a cozy living room with big comfy couches and chairs.
Clio employees—dubbed Clions—have their pick of an array of breakfast foods every day of the week and are treated to a catered lunch each Friday. The company also offers opt-in lunches, subsidized by Clio at a small fee. Stocked snacks meet all tastes and palates, including energy bars, fruit and vegetables, roasted chickpeas and candy. In warmer months, employees migrate to the building’s outdoor deck equipped with a BBQ.
When the Clio team has to buckle down to meet company goals, dinners are ordered to keep the team fuelled. After successfully buckling down, wine and beer are also on tap to help Clions unwind.
Supplying quality coffee was especially important for the founders. Clio sources coffee from local 49th Parallel, brewed on both floors at barista stations what whip up your morning fuel in any style you may want
Clio has values-based small groups dubbed “Ministries” that are dedicated to solving organization growing pains, including streamlining inter-departmental communications. Each Friday, Clio has an all hands meeting to review ongoing business and state of affairs.
“Collaboration is at the core of everything we do at Clio. We are a very transparent company and meet weekly to discuss business developments. At the root of it, we are Team Clio; we work hard and have a lot of fun in the process.” — Jack Newton, CEO and co-founder of Clio
Clions can make use of free gym memberships, weekly in-house yoga classes, and instructor-led boot camp classes to stay fit and healthy. Naturopaths, massage therapists and acupuncturists are also brought into the office every month for some blissful relaxation.
Employees also can tap into traditional benefits including RRSP-matching, parental leave options for both moms and dads, and generous time off.
A bus shuttles Clions directly to work from the Skytrain station, taking away some of the stress of a morning commute. If employees choose to ride on two wheels to the office, the building provides end of trip facilities including bike lockers and showers.
The company also hosts an Annual Team Day at the Burnaby office where employees from global locations travel to B.C. for a few days to discuss all things Clio as well as team-building activities. The trip wraps up with the company’s holiday party.
Clio values personal and professional employee development. The company sponsors educational courses and provides staff with materials to support their learning.
Top Clio performers are honoured by being chosen to participate in the annual Clio Cloud Conference, the top legal technology conference in North America.
Lunch and learns are regularly hosted at the office’s communal spaces, and an employee-initiated Speaker Club provides a forum for staff to improve their presentation skills. Clio also runs lightning talks where employees can share their skills, specialties and insider knowledge with the whole team.
The internal performance coach is currently working with Clio’s people leaders to accelerate their development, but soon anyone will be able to book an appointment to privately discuss anything from development goals or obstacles they wish to overcome.
Anyone can join employee-led groups, from an after-work dinner club to “dawn patrol,” a group of early morning climbers who tackle the infamous Grouse Mountain. Clio also has a community softball team and battles their building neighbours on the volleyball courts in the summer.
Clions have also become known for pulling pranks, including gift wrapping the co-founders’ furniture and also replacing their furniture with children-sized replicas.
In the dog-friendly office, employees can have some midday fun with video games, board games, table tennis and foosball.
Photos by Matt Odynski
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