Clio’s new legal aid feature streamlines the matter management, billing, and claim process for legal aid professionals and increases access to legal services for vulnerable populations.
Clio, the world’s leading provider of cloud-based legal technology, has joined the call for the protection of legal aid in England and Wales as part of its continued investment and commitment to increasing access to justice in the UK and globally. The call comes as the company launches its new legal aid feature designed to streamline legal aid matters and expedite claims to the Legal Aid Agency.
Available as part of all Clio’s plans, the new legal aid feature makes it easier to manage legal aid cases and drastically reduces the time required to process end-of-month claims to the Legal Aid Agency. Initially offered to legal aid providers in England and Wales servicing civil certificated, civil controlled, and criminal controlled legal aid work, Clio plans to expand its legal aid feature to even more providers and legal aid case types in 2022.
“In common with so many others operating in the UK legal space, Clio has been monitoring the growing crisis in legal aid in England and Wales with increasing concern,” said Colin Bohanna, Clio’s General Manager for the UK and Ireland. “With the launch of our new legal aid feature, we aim to streamline the claim process for legal professionals and increase access to legal services for vulnerable populations experiencing legal aid ‘deserts’ across the country.”
As documented in the Law Society of England and Wales’ 2021 review of civil legal aid provision, 40% of the population of England and Wales does not have a housing legal aid provider in their local authority area. That rises to 63% for immigration and asylum legal aid providers; 67% for community care legal aid providers; and 79% for welfare legal aid providers.
The situation is also having a profoundly negative effect on legal aid law firms, who are often struggling to keep up with growing demand and limited resources.
“We’re hearing regularly from legal aid providers across England and Wales who report difficulty in keeping on top of unbelievably heavy workloads, which have worsened as a result of court backlogs, delays in processes before and during COVID-19, and complex reporting requirements that carry massive penalties for errors. With so much to juggle, it’s becoming more common to hear of well-trained barristers and solicitors who are making less than minimum wage. We want to do our part to help relieve some of that pressure,” said Mr. Bohanna.
In the company’s efforts to support the legal aid community at a deeper level, Clio is also working to connect with legal aid advocacy organisations in the UK and welcomes input and contact from those organisations.
“Our driving force is our mission—to transform the legal experience for all—and widening access to legal services is integral to that effort,” Colin Bohanna said. “That is never more essential than when it comes to a trusted and vital public service like legal aid, which is facing more challenges than ever before. Clio is proud to support lawyers by developing innovative tools to streamline legal aid services.”
To find out more about Clio’s new legal aid feature, visit clio.com/uk/legalaid.
Or, to ask for your free demonstration of Clio, including its legal aid feature, schedule a demo here.