A MyCase Practice:
Nicole White, A Maryland Reproductive & Estate Law Attorney

nicole white

Not every lawyer’s path to a law degree is a straight one–and Nicole White’s was more circuitous than most. She began her career in graduate school, but changed course after completing her PhD: “I began my post-graduate education in graduate school at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, focusing on molecular biology and genetics. At one point I attended a career fair on alternative careers for PhDs and one of the options was patent law.  That appealed to me. So later I applied to law school.”

Deciding to go solo

While in law school, Nicole worked for law firms. But she found that it wasn’t as fulfilling as she’d hoped it would be. “When I was working in the law firms I didn’t feel like I was helping people in the way I wanted to,” she says. “It might sounds overused but I always wanted to help people. So I decided to start my own law firm in 2006 so I could focus on practice areas that allowed me to do just that.”

After experimenting with a few different areas of law, she eventually settled on two that gave her the satisfaction and fulfillment that she was seeking: reproductive law and estate planning. “I am a mom by gestational surrogacy myself and the journey we had in having our daughter was so wonderful. I had a great experience with our surrogate so that’s why I decided to incorporate reproductive law into my practice; I wanted to assist others struggling with their fertility and help them with their family planning,” she explains.

“Estate planning is important to me since I had an uncle who was in a persistent vegetative state for a few months and then he passed away. He had no estate plan and this caused a lot of hardship within the family. His siblings had to pay an attorney for a guardianship proceeding while he was in the vegetative state and then had to pay for an attorney to probate his estate and I’ve seen that happen to families many times. So with estate planning, I help my clients ensure that those who are left behind don’t have to deal with chaos and problems and help prepare their families for life without them. I also help my clients prepare for situations where they are left incapacitated.”

Choosing the right technology for her solo practice

At first, Nicole used traditional premise-based software to manage her law practice. It was the difficulties she frequently encountered that convinced her to move her law practice to the cloud: “I used to use PC Law but became frustrated by its limitations. For example once a client emailed me with a question when I was at my home, but I wasn’t able to access my law firm’s files so I couldn’t provide an answer until I got back to the office. I don’t have that problem anymore, since I can log onto a computer no matter where I am using MyCase’s web-based interface and immediately answer my clients’ questions, upload documents, access my firm’s calendar, and more. This really helps with customer service and with organizing my cases.”

She didn’t take the decision to switch to a different law practice software program lightly. Nicole thoroughly researched her options. According to Nicole, all of her research led her to the obvious choice: MyCase: “I looked at different products and signed up for many trials. MyCase was the easiest to use. It’s very intuitive and it’s easy for me to navigate through the site. I rarely have to go the knowledge center and if I can’t find the answer there, customer support is always great.”

Two of her favorite features? The built-in client portal and Workflow. “The client portal is great and my clients love it. They used to call and ask questions but now they can go to the portal. Then they can either get the answer there or leave me a message there. Because of the portal I’ve been able to expand my cases throughout all of Maryland, rather than just locally, and now I can work with my clients through the client portal no matter where they’re located,” she says. “Also important is the Workflow feature. It was a selling point and is critical for me and the way I run my practice. I use it to establish systems for how I handle different types of clients. So for estate planning I have workflows that I use prior to the client engaging to the firm. Then once the client engages the firm, I have one for gathering information to get the case going. It helps to keep me on schedule so nothing falls through the cracks or is unnecessarily delayed. I have about 7 or 8 different workflows that I use. These workflows help keep everything consistent. That’s just one reason of many that MyCase is essential to my practice.”

Parting advice

When I asked Nicole if she had any advice for young lawyers or those lawyers who were considering hanging a shingle, she replied: “I cannot stress enough the importance of seeking out a mentor. This is especially true if you’re going to go into solo practice; it’s critical to have someone to help with cases or to bounce ideas off of—particularly if you’re going solo right out of law school.”

–Nicole Black

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