A MyCase Practice: Patrick John McGinley | Florida Workers’ Compensation & Appellate Attorney

When Patrick McGinley was a child, his job aspirations were similar to those of most little boys. He wanted to do something exciting like be a race car driver or a fireman, but, as he explains it, “I also wanted to be a lawyer and somewhere between a race car driver and a fireman, my interest in being a lawyer just didn’t go away. Underneath it all, I suppose I fancied myself a businessman and starting a law firm seemed like a great way to do that.”

His practice is his passion

Now, years later, he owns his own firm, the Law Office of Patrick John McKinley, P.A., located in Orlando, Florida where he handles primarily workers’ compensation matters and appeals referred to him by other attorneys. For Patrick, the best part about practicing law is making a difference in his clients’ lives: “I love to get a good result for a client who thinks that one doesn’t exist. Sometimes I feel like a cancer doctor and hold their hand as they go down. Other times I pull out the miracle result–that’s my favorite part.”

Outsourcing makes his solo practice profitable

Patrick is a solo practitioner–by choice. He started out as a solo attorney, but then his law firm grew and, at one point, had as many as nine attorneys. But in 2001 he made a conscious decision to scale back. According to Patrick, he shifted his focus from increasing the size of his firm to increasing revenues: “It used to be that my goal was to expand the size of my firm. But now I see things differently. Instead of increasing the number of employees, my goal is to increase my client base and my firm’s revenues. One of the primary ways that I achieve this is by outsourcing.”

Outsourcing is one of the secrets to his firm’s success. His firm reduces costs and overhead by outsourcing secretarial, administrative and even legal tasks to those outside the firm: “We’ve embraced outsourcing. Much of my staff is in Singapore. Things I used to hire staff for I now outsource, such as dictation. But it’s not just limited to back office tasks. I also outsource legal work for less important matters. For example, I use mymotioncalendar.com and place an order for a local attorney to appear in court on a motion. And, I use Timesvr.com to coordinate calls with opposing counsel.”

By outsourcing and making use of 21st century tools, Patrick is able to focus on what’s truly important: his clients and their legal needs.

MyCase simplifies his practice

For his firm, outsourcing IT functions to MyCase was a no-brainer. As he explains, not only is MyCase affordable; it’s practical: “Outsourcing IT just makes sense, especially because MyCase charges so little for its services. It’s like gardening. Once upon a time, if you wanted a tomato, you fenced it in, bought fertilizer and seeds, watered the plant, plowed the plot, kept critters out, tilled and weeded it, and then, finally, ate the tomato. Now we just go to the store and buy one.  And it’s a bigger, better cheaper tomato than you could’ve grown yourself.”

It wasn’t always this way, though. It used to be that not only did Patrick worry about delegating and supervising administrative tasks–he also had to oversee the firm’s IT functions, which took up valuable, billable time that could have been better spent practicing law: “When I made the move to MyCase, I stopped being the tech guy. My clients don’t hire me because I’m a great tech guy–they hire me because I’m a great lawyer.  I used to have to come home from vacation to fix our servers. And when the servers were down, my staff was down. Now, I don’t have to think about it anymore. In fact, a few weeks ago, our servers went down, and no one realized it until 36 hours later! Now that we use MyCase, server problems don’t matter anymore.”

The MyCase difference–it’s all about the interface

When Patrick made the decision to move his firm to the cloud, he researched all of his options. After thoroughly vetting the competition, he settled on MyCase. Why? Because as he explains, it simply works the way law practice management software should: “I might have tried them all. I purchased and used Practice Master, Tabs 3, Amicus Attorney and Time Matters. And, I tested all the other cloud options, too, but they didn’t keep track of communications or allow me to communicate with clients. And, they were so frustrating. You had to pay others to show you how to use them. With MyCase I didn’t even have to show my staff how it worked–they just used it. It’s that intuitive. The interface and programming is simple and it just works. MyCase didn’t try to put lipstick on a pig. They didn’t take an ugly database and try to put some pretty graphics on top. The intuitive, clean design was built from the ground up–just the way it should be.”

MyCase increases efficiency and client communication 

Patrick’s favorite aspect of MyCase? Its ability to facilitate and track communication, whether with his clients or outsourced help: “Everyone’s busy. I’m busy, my clients are busy–and so are the lawyers that forward me their appeals. So you can either take calls during business hours and tell them what’s going on or give them access to MyCase and they can get information whenever they want–in the early morning, at midnight, anytime day or night. My clients are sophisticated and they appreciate that.”

 Lessons learned, but no regrets

When asked what he would have done differently, Patrick admitted that he would have started out with partner or two instead of opening up a solo practice, since it wasn’t easy create a law practice from scratch as a newly admitted attorney. He offers this advice for young lawyers: “If you’re not going to start with a partner, at least work hard to create a network of lawyers in your areas of practice so that you’ll have people you can bounce ideas off of.  So, be a social creature–pound the pavement. Join your local bar association and chamber of commerce.”

And, the last thing he would have done differently? “I would have embraced technology faster and sooner.  I would have gotten a lot more done if I hadn’t kept re-inventing the wheel. Effective use of technology helps me focus on what I enjoy the most: being the best lawyer I can for my clients.”

-Niki Black

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About Nicole Black

Nicole Black is the Director of Business Development and Community Relations at MyCase. She is the author of "Cloud Computing for Lawyers" (2012) and co-authors "Social Media: The Next Frontier" (2010), both published by the American Bar Association. She also co-authors "Criminal Law in New York," a Thomson West treatise. She often speaks at conferences about the intersection of law, mobile computing and Internet-based technology. She can be reached at niki@mycase.com.