A distinguishing feature of the practice management platform Clio is its ecosystem of more than 200 third-party applications that integrate to provide added functionality.

But on Monday, Clio terminated a popular app, Faster Suite, over concerns that it could expose Clio customer data to a privacy or security breach.

Then, early this morning, Clio posted an update on its support site stating that it is working with Faster Law, Faster Suite’s developer, to resolve the errors in its software and reinstate the application.

Meanwhile, Faster Law’s founder and developer, Tony Valenti, posted an update on his company’s website yesterday saying that he is tired of the stress of dealing with Clio’s engineers and offering to give Faster Law to Clio at no cost, provided Clio agrees to “take good care” of the product and its customers.

This series of events started Monday when Clio CEO Jack Newton sent Valenti a letter terminating Faster Law’s API license with Clio.

Faster Law’s app, Faster Suite, is a suite of apps developed specifically for Clio that add a variety of features to enhance Clio’s functionality, such as desktop document management, passive time tracking, email management, a conflicts checker, and more.

It is said to be one of the most popular Clio integrations.

But Newton’s letter said that Clio was terminating Faster Law over security concerns. “Clio has taken the step to terminate because we have reason to believe that Fasterlaw’s actions may expose Clio customer data to a privacy or security breach,” he wrote.

Clio also sent a notice Monday night to customers who used Faster Suite notifying them of the move, and removed the app from its App Directory.

Valenti responded with a post on the front page of the Faster Law website in which he took issue with Newton’s letter, stating that customer data is secure in Faster Suite.

At the same time, he expressed frustration over what he described as a strained relationship with Clio’s engineering leadership.

“Clio’s engineers are disrespectful and demeaning. They demand I make immediate changes to Faster Suite in unreasonable timeframes – and then berate me when their demands have side effects they did not consider. They scrutinize Faster Suite far more than any other app in Clio’s ecosystem and place demands on me and Faster Suite that no other app in their ecosystem has to deal with.”

Valenti further revealed that his frustration led him to “create the illusion” that he had sold Faster Law and was no longer involved in the company. “I put buffers in place between myself and Clio’s engineers and instructed coworkers to indicate I was no longer actively involved.”

He now regrets having done that, he wrote. “But the deception was wrong. I am a born-again Christian (obviously not a very good one) and this was against my values and my faith.”

Yet he still expressed the desire to move on from the company. To accomplish that, he proposed in his letter that he turn the company over to Clio, for no cost.

“For $0 (totally free), I will sell Faster Suite, Faster Suite’s source code and all software / tools / data / intellectual property related to Faster Suite to Clio. I will enter into a non-compete with Clio and will not work for Clio nor any other legal technology provider for at least 3 years.

“In exchange, I want to move on, completely, and I want Clio to take good care of Faster Suite and Faster Suite’s customers.”

Whether Clio will accept that offer remains to be seen. But an update this morning from Clio provides further details of the security concerns and indicates that Clio is working with Faster Law to bring Faster  Suite back online.

Clio’s update said that it launched an investigation this week into Faster Suite after detecting suspicious activity.

“In the course of this investigation, we discovered the Faster Law service was accessing account information of Clio customers in a way that was beyond the scope of what was necessary to deliver the functionality required by Faster Law integrations.”

To protect the security of customer data, the update said, Clio made the decision to shut down the Faster Law integration until a complete investigation could be concluded.

Subsequently, Faster Law notified Clio that it had “identified errors that led to its servers inappropriately accessing and storing information relating to Clio customer accounts.”

Clio said Faster Law has corrected these errors and has agreed to a full audit of its software.

“Faster Law informed us that they have corrected the errors that triggered this incident, and has attested to the deletion of any customer data that may have been inadvertently accessed and stored. While this incident represents a serious misstep by an integration partner, it does not represent a data breach. Faster Law has also agreed to a full audit of its software and tools by Clio.”

As of this morning, Clio indicated that it is working with Faster Law to have an updated version of Faster Suite available as soon as possible.

To be clear, nothing here indicates that there was, in fact, any sort of breach of Clio customer data. Rather, it appears that Clio’s system monitoring detected suspicious activity and that the company acted to address and investigate it.

That said, chatter on Reddit suggests that Faster Suite has many customers who like the functionality it adds, some of whom were scrambling yesterday to find a replacement.

This morning’s update is good news for them, in that it appears Faster Suite will soon be back.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.