Sometimes in life, you end up in a place that you never really expected. But even so, once you get there, you realize that it’s exactly where you’re supposed to be. Such was the case for Melissa Brown, a Charleston, South Carolina attorney whose law practice focuses on matrimonial and family law and who is also a Fellow in the American and International Academies of Matrimonial Law.
Embracing the path that unfolds
According to Melissa, she’d wanted to be a lawyer since she was a small child, so the fact that she’s now a practicing lawyer with her own law firm isn’t surprising. Rather, it’s the focus of her solo law practice that’s unexpected: “”I’ve always been an extremely goal oriented person–I’ve always had a plan. So, it’s surprising that I ended up handling matrimonial and family law matters when my goal had always been to litigate civil matters before juries.”
From the very beginning, Melissa knew she wanted to be a litigator. She began her law career as a judicial law clerk. Then, she moved on to the prosecutor’s office. When she and her husband decided to start a family and their first child was soon due, she accepted a job offer from a local lawyer who had a very successful matrimonial and family law practice.
As Melissa explains, accepting the offer was a no-brainer: “She offered me a part-time job where I would make more money than I had as a prosecutor. The position appealed to me because it allowed me to spend time with my family while continuing to litigate. The only problem was that I knew nothing about family law.”
The path to a solo practice
For someone who had always carefully planned each step of her career, diving into family law practice feet first was an uncharacteristic, and yet serendipitous, move for Melissa: “I jumped into family law blindly, unlike most things in my life. But once I did, I was hooked. The legal issues I encountered were intellectually stimulating and my clients’ lives were fascinating.”
From there, it was only a short path to her own law practice. The firm she was with eventually merged with a large South Carolina law firm. When her original mentor left that firm, Melissa decided to start her own family law practice not long thereafter. “While the thought of opening up my own practice terrified me, it was also very exciting. Nov 30th of this year will mark 13 years having my own firm—and, I’ve never had any regrets.”
The path to MyCase
In 2011, after years of frustration using PCs, Melissa made the switch to Macs. The next step was to make the switch to a Mac-compatible law practice management system.
After conducting some initial research into the different law practice management options, she decided that a cloud-based platform was the best choice: “It became clear that the future of the practice of law is in the cloud so I had to find the best cloud-based program that was compatible with Macs.”
The next step was choosing the best platform for her firm’s needs. Although she appears far more tech savvy than many of her peers, Melissa hired a technology consultant to help wade through the different law practice management systems.
The decision to use MyCase followed shortly thereafter: “My consultant and I tested a number of cloud-based programs. I narrowed it down to three and chose MyCase. I liked its intuitive interface, and I really like how receptive the company was to my questions, suggestions and ideas. Right from the start, they took my firm and me seriously. It was obvious they valued our business, and it was refreshing that they not only listened to my ideas and suggestions but they also implemented several of them. MyCase continues to listen and they have already implemented additional new features I’ve suggested.”
One of Melissa’s favorite features is the MyCase iPhone app. It gives her the ability to bill time on the go. She explains that this feature makes a difference to her bottom line: “The billing app sold me right away. Now that I’m able to bill on my iPhone, I capture billable time I would have forgotten otherwise. Before, I often lost time because I ran out the door before entering my time in my desktop application.”
For Melissa, the best part about MyCase is its high level of customer service. That is what truly sold her: “Unlike some of its competitors, MyCase cares about my firm–not just about making money. That’s how I represent my clients and that’s what was so compelling about MyCase. Right from the start, the fact that they wanted to provide value to my firm sold me on their products.”
Choosing the right path made all the difference
Another benefit of using MyCase is that it allows Melissa and her staff to focus on representing clients rather than managing the firm. After all, that’s what the practice of law is all about: serving clients, solving their problems, and helping to make their lives better.
According to Melissa, her clients value the compassion and service provided by her firm. “Our clients love my team because we truly care about them and their children. We want the best for their future and we recognize our job is to help insure they can move forward with their lives knowing they were treated fairly in court. Everyone on our team enjoys helping clients through what is often the most difficult time in our clients’ lives.We often get thank you notes–and they’re usually addressed to everyone in my firm. It’s a testament to my staff. As I always say–if you hire good people, it lifts you up.”
For Melissa, compassion and excellence are the foundation of all that she does and for that reason, she is motivated by Proverbs 15:1:
A gentle answer turns away wrath.
She explains: “My Christian faith is very important to me. For that reason, I want to be remembered as someone whose faith governed my actions, and that my words and actions mirrored each other. This is certainly the goal that I strive for, yet I readily admit I often fall far short—-but I’ll keep working to improve every day.”