Clio takes SaaS practice management fight into Australia and hires new APAC general manager

Clio has announced plans to expand into Australia, putting it in direct competition with the likes of incumbent SaaS legal practice management systems such as LEAP, Smokeball and ActionStep, as well as established Australian PMS vendors such as PracticeEvolve. To spearhead the launch, Clio has hired Sympli’s general manager for practitioner services, Denise Farmer, as its new APAC general manager.
Clio says that it will rapidly grow its Australian team to support and expand product development, sales, partnerships, and customer success. The new Australian team will serve as an extension of the companyʼs 900 employees in North America and EMEA regions.

Commenting on the launch, Andrea Foot, director of Leaf Logic, who has is based in Australia and has held senior roles at practice management vendors including Tikit (now part of Advanced), said: “They are bringing the fight to LEAP’s home ground, which is really interesting. That sets up and keeps vendors on their toes: it’s always good to have choices.” However, she adds: “The Australian market has seen vendors coming in from overseas and then go. The trust piece is hard to get over but it’s doable and PracticeEvolve and ActionStep have managed to achieve it, although it took PracticeEvolve 10 years.”

One of the company’s that withdrew from Australia was Thomson Reuters, when it end-of-lifed Envision, which had been heavily marketed to the Australian mid-tier.

Most PMS vendors in Australia target sub-25 users but have ambitions to service mid-tier law firms, which need the features of large PMS systems without the large price tag.

“The legal technology landscape is changing rapidly,” said Jack Newton, CEO and founder of Clio. “And so are the ways in which legal professionals need to service their customers. Yet running a law firm with outdated software is still a reality for many around the world. As market leaders with a breadth of experience servicing different law firm needs and bringing new products to market, we are excited to bring forward innovative solutions to Australia, serving such a vibrant legal community.”

Before Sympli, Farmer spent over 15 years at LexisNexis Pacific. She will lead Clio’s overall regional business strategy, driving market expansion, engaging with the local ecosystem to create new opportunities to advance the legal profession, and strengthening existing customer and partner relationships.

Farmer said: “Clio is at the forefront of legal technology, and I look forward to helping the company continue to innovate and deliver exceptional products and services to legal professionals globally. Australia has a very active legaltech market of predominantly small and mid-tier firms and a progressive attitude to technology innovation and adoption. Many of us have hoped that Clio would come to this region, so itʼs very exciting to see Clio finally here.”

Clio’s legal operating system centralizes cloud-based and client-centered technologies across legal practice management, client intake, customer relationship management, and accounting.

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