Text Messaging in Clio Manage

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With text messaging in Clio Manage, you and your clients have a convenient way to answer questions and share updates, all without having to give out your personal phone number. You can send SMS text messages using a toll-free number that is assigned to your firm, receive SMS and MMS texts from contacts, view saved conversations, add time entries, follow or unfollow text conversations, export conversations in PDF format, and send text notifications and automatic reminders for calendar events.

Note: Text messaging is only available for US and Canadian numbers (+1 country code) on the US and Canadian servers.

Text messaging vs Clio for Clients

Not sure when to use text messaging and when to use Clio's secure online portal Clio for Clients?

Text messaging:

  • Fast and effective way to communicate with clients in a way that they are familiar with.
  • Client does not have an email address.
  • Urgent messages where clients may respond quicker via text.
  • Information being sent or received is non-sensitive. Conversations stored in Clio are encrypted; however, texts in transit, like all regular texting, are not.
  • Whole firm access—all users at the firm have access to the shared firm number and can view all texts exchanged in the Communications tab.


Clio for Clients:

  • Ideal for securely communicating and sharing items in a shared portal between firm and client.
  • Client does not have a phone number with text messaging enabled.
  • Information being sent or received is private or sensitive.
  • PDF or Word documents are being shared.
  • Firm users need to send documents to clients.
  • Read receipts—if you need to see whether your client has received or opened a message or document.


Set up text messaging

Note: Only administrators can enable text messaging for the firm account.

When setting up text messaging, your firm will be assigned a toll-free number. You will use this number to send and receive texts. Before a toll-free number is assigned, you are required to enter your business details as part of a business verification process. This is a regulatory requirement for all businesses that use toll-free numbers for text messaging to reduce spam. The verification process takes approximately one week, but can take longer in some cases.

You will not be able to use text messaging until your business has been verified. Clio will notify you via email as soon as your business is verified and you can begin using text messaging in Clio. If your business verification is rejected, you can resubmit your verification form in your text messaging settings. Common reasons for rejection include:

  • Issues with the provided website URL, such as: 
    • Your website is not secure (i.e. it is HTTP instead of HTTPS). To resolve this, contact the individual or organization that manages your website.
    • Information on your website does not match the business details provided.
    • The website URL provided was not working when your application was processed. 
  • Business details provided are incomplete or inconsistent with what is on your website.

Important: You can only receive texts from contacts. We do not recommend publishing the toll-free number on a website or distributing it to non-contacts.

Follow these steps to enable text messaging for your firm:

  1. Go to Settings > Text Messaging.
  2. Click Get started with text messaging.
  3. Complete your firm details and contact information. Scroll down to add an alternative email address or phone number for clients to contact your firm. This number will appear in the text notification template that your client receives when you create, update, cancel, or send an automated reminder for a calendar event.
  4. Click Next step.
  5. Review the form information and then click Submit.
    • Once your toll-free number becomes available, you will receive an email notification that you can begin sending and receiving text messages.


Send texts and add time entries

Text messaging is available from the Clio Manage desktop app and the mobile app. In the desktop app, you can send your clients SMS texts from the main Communications tab, the matter or contact's Communications subtabs, the matter's Dashboard, and the contact's Dashboard. In the mobile app, you can send SMS texts from the Inbox. You cannot send your clients MMS messages.

Once you initiate the conversation, your firm can then receive texts from the contact. Contacts can text you SMS and MMS texts, including photos, videos, GIFs, audio files, and basic .txt documents. Received documents will be saved in the Documents folder for each of the contact's matters.

Note: Outbound texts have a maximum character limit of 2,048 characters. Inbound texts have a maximum character limit of 8,192 characters. If texts exceed these limits, they will fail to send. 

Important: Clients cannot text PDF or Word files. Learn more about which file types clients can send here

Communications Matter Contact Mobile app
  1. Go to the main Communications tab or the Communications subtab for a contact or matter.
  2. Click the New dropdown and select Text message.
  3. Select a contact. Once a contact is selected, any previous text correspondence will automatically appear.
  4. Type your text and click Send.
  5. To add a time entry, click the Actions dropdown and select Add time.

Note: If your client tries calling the toll-free number used to send the text, they will hear an automated message that the call failed.

Tip: If your client opted out of receiving text messages, they can opt back in by texting "unstop" in the text thread.


View and respond to saved texts

Text messages are assigned at the contact-level, not the matter-level. This means that stored text messages are saved in the Communications subtabs of the contact and all the contact's matters. If a matter has a related contact, texts are also saved in that related contact's record.

Unread texts will be marked with a badge showing the number of new messages. When you open a text message conversation, the message will be marked as read.

Note: When you receive new texts, a badge icon will appear on the Communications tab. You can enable or disable this feature in Settings > Notifications. Scroll down to Text messages.

  1. Go to the main Communications tab or the Communications subtab for a contact or matter.
  2. From the table subheadings, select Text messages.
  3. Optional: Click Filters to filter the text conversations by matter, contact, or firm user, and then click Apply filters.
  4. Click the text message you want to read or click View. Each line item in the table is a new text message thread.
  5. To respond, type in a new text and click Send.


Follow or unfollow text conversations

If you initiate a text conversation or reply to a text in a conversation, you will automatically follow that conversation. Other firm users can choose to follow any text conversation to receive notifications. When you follow a conversation, you will see a red badge on the Communications tab and the Text messages subtab when a new message is received. All users can also unfollow any text conversation.

Tip: Enable push notifications on your mobile device and the Clio mobile app to receive push notifications of new texts. Learn more here.

  1. Go to the main Communications tab or the Communications subtab for a contact or matter.
  2. From the table subheadings, select Text messages.
  3. Click All text messages to view all firm text conversations, or click Following to view only text conversations that you are following.
  4. Select a text conversation and click Follow to follow the conversation. The Follow button will now say Following. If you want to unfollow the conversation, click Following.


Send calendar text notifications and reminders

When creating Calendar events, you have the option to send event invitations to your clients by text. With this feature, your clients will receive automated text notifications when the event is created, updated, cancelled, and for event reminders.

Text notification template Send Calendar invite by text

You can view text message templates and enable event reminders in your Settings. You can also change the alternative contact information for text notifications. When your contact receives a text notification, your firm contact information will appear in the template, which allows contacts to respond to your firm.

  1. Go to Settings > Text Messaging.
  2. Under Event reminders, select the number of days before an event an automatic text notification should be sent.
  3. Under Text message templates, view the templates for when events are created, updated, cancelled, or when reminders are sent.
  4. Under Your details, select Edit next to your phone number or email address to update your firm contact information.


Text payment links

With text messaging in Clio Manage, you can send bill payment and trust account deposit links to your clients from the Billing and Online payments tabs. When you send a bill payment link, your client will see the balance that is due. When you send a payment link from the Online payments tab, there will be no specified amount due since the link is not connected to a generated bill.

Billing payment link Payment link from Online payments
  1. Go to an existing bill for your client or generate a new bill.
  2. Click the down arrow next to Send and select Copy link to pay client balance.
  3. Select the bank account where the money will be deposited and click Copy link to send.
  4. Send this link in a text message. Your client will be able to see the amount due and pay the bill from their mobile device.


Failed text messages

If a text message fails to send, the reason for failure can be any one of the following:

  • Unreachable number: There is an error with the contact's phone number. Verify that the phone number selected as the contact's texting number is a correctly formatted US or Canadian number.
  • Rejected by carrier: The contact's carrier rejected the text message. A possible reason for this is that the phone number is unable to receive text messages. Verify the phone number entered for the contact and ensure that it is a correctly formatted US or Canadian number.
  • Temporary error: The text message was not delivered because of an unusual error. Please try again.
  • Unknown error: An unexpected and unknown error occurred when we tried to deliver the text message. Please try again.
  • Carrier error: The text message was not delivered because an error occurred on the contact's carrier side. Please try again.
  • Blocked messages: The text message was blocked by the service provider because your toll-free number has not been verified yet. Learn more here.
  • Exceeded maximum character limit: The text message was not delivered because it exceeded the maximum character limit. Outbound texts have a limit of 2,048 characters. Inbound texts have a limit of 8,192 characters.

Note: Freedom and Shaw customers cannot send MMS messages at this time. If your client is using a Freedom or Shaw mobile device and they try to send you a multimedia (MMS) message, the client will receive an error message on their device informing them that the message was not delivered.


Export and print text conversations

If you need to export a text conversation to a printable PDF format for your records, for sharing with others, or for submitting to the court, you can do so directly from the text thread. 

  1. Go to the main Communications tab or the Communications subtab for a contact or matter.
  2. From the table subheadings, select Text messages.
  3. Optional: Click Filters to filter the text conversations by matter, contact, or firm user, and then click Apply filters.
  4. Click the text message you want to read or click View. 
  5. Click the Actions dropdown and select Export as PDF.


Turn off text messaging

Follow these steps to turn off text messaging and event notifications and reminders:

  1. Go to Settings > Text messaging.
  2. Click Turn off text messaging.
  3. Select Turn off text messaging.


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