Although her family law practice is a busy one, Samantha Thomas wouldn’t have it any other way. For her, the practice of law is both rewarding and stimulating, which makes all of her hard work worthwhile.
A fulfilling, stimulating law practice
One of the most enjoyable aspects of her Fayetteville, North Carolina-based law practice is that her primary area of focus–family law–ensures that there’s never a dull moment: “Family law is never stagnant and I love that about it. But, it requires a lot of work. I am constantly drafting documents, meeting with clients, and conducting trials. In fact, I generally have trials 15 days out of each month.”
For Samantha, the thought process required to piece together the facts of a case in preparation for trial is a big part of what makes her day-to-day practice so fulfilling. As Samantha explains, the intellectual stimulation is what drives her, “Practicing law is a lot like solving a puzzle.You have to figure out which pieces you can use and which ones you can’t. I particularly enjoy doing research and locating answers–especially when no one else is able to find the solution.”
The path to a small town family law practice
Like many lawyers, where Samantha ended up wasn’t necessarily where she envisioned she’d be when she first started legal career as an Assistant District Attorney. But after a few years of prosecuting criminal cases, she left the DA’s office in search of a different career path–one that would incorporate trial work but would result in more just outcomes.
As she explains, a solo practice with a family law focus was right up her alley: “I got into family law because, although I enjoyed being a DA, I didn’t think that the system was entirely fair. So I decided to do something else. I knew that I didn’t want to do business law, but I wanted to continue with trial work. I wanted a practice that would involve writing, appearing in court, putting together cases, and solving puzzles. And, strangely enough, I actually like to do paperwork. So, family law seemed like a perfect fit.”
Staying organized and keeping in touch with clients using MyCase
When Samantha first started looking at cloud-based law practice management systems, one of her primary goals was to increase efficiency, especially for her staff. She explains that streamlining client communication was extremely important: “I have a very busy practice. The #1 reason that I moved to the Cloud was that I wanted to make sure my staff had time to work on the things they really needed to get done versus constantly fielding phone calls and emails. I wanted to put everything in one place so it would be easily accessible for our clients and free up time for my staff.”
Maximizing client communication and access to information was important to her not only because doing so increases efficiency, but because it is the key to happy clients. According to Samantha, the #1 issues legal consumers have about their lawyers is lack of communication: “One of the biggest complaints I hear when new clients hire me in place of their former legal counsel is that ‘I didn’t know what was going on, I never could get copies of documents. I had no idea what was going on with my case.’ I didn’t want to be that lawyer; I wanted to be that firm that stood out for its client communication and access.”
After reviewing the different options, Samantha chose MyCase for her practice: “Mycase has solved the communications problem. My clients don’t have to call–they can look up information on their own or send us a message via MyCase. MyCase has saved us time and money. It’s cut down on our calls significantly and we save on postage and IT costs. In fact, the savings have increased every year since we started using MyCase.”
MyCase has her back
24/7, instant access to her firm’s files is another feature offered by MyCase that has proven to be tremendously helpful for Samantha. As she explains, she now relies on MyCase to help her stand out from her opponents: “No matter where I am, I can log onto MyCase and access my files. So if I’m at court and a judge tells me an Order isn’t in their file, I pull out my iPad, log into MyCase, and show the judge the time-stamped order. The judges love this. Other lawyers will tell judges that they’ll get back to them, but because of MyCase, I can instantly provide the information requested. This is key, because my integrity is so important to me. It’s nice to know that I have MyCase to back me up.”
Her advice to new or aspiring solo practitioners? Be selective: “It’s ok to say no. If you get a feeling up front that it’s going to be a difficult case, you shouldn’t feel obligated to take it. You’re not obligated to assist everyone who walks in the door and some cases aren’t worth the money. You’ve got to let them go. Had I known this when I first started, it would have saved me a lot of craziness during my first few years.”