These days, the career paths of lawyers are often circuitous, with many lawyers ultimately having practices that they’d never envisioned upon law school graduation.
Alexia Pittas is one of those lawyers. Her career path has run the gamut, from trial lawyer to stay-at-home-mom to her current position as a busy litigation consultant.
A traditional start
Alexia began her legal career in Charleston, South Carolina as a trial attorney handling government defense, domestic litigation, and civil trial work. She excelled at litigating and after a few years, her hard work was rewarded when she made partner at Stuckey Law Offices.
However, as her career progressed and her family grew, her priorities changed. As she explains, although she truly enjoyed practicing law, the demands of her family life won out in the end and she took a temporary hiatus from the law to care for her children: “I was a trial lawyer in Charleston for years and loved it, but I ultimately decided to retire from active practice to raise my family. However, after my husband died, I decided to go back to work.”
Her unique path to career satisfaction
When Alexia made the decision to return to legal work, one of her top priorities as a newly single mother was to maintain control over her workload while maximizing the usefulness of her expertise, experience and skills from her years as a litigation attorney. For her, becoming a “lawyer’s secret weapon” was a perfect fit: “I decided to become a litigation consultant so that I could control my schedule. I consult primarily with lawyers in the Southeast and, among other things, assist them with research and writing. I also write CLE materials, conference speeches and political speeches for busy lawyers.”
For Alexia, this type of legal work is intellectually stimulating and allows her to fully utilize her litigation background and expertise without having to sacrifice control of her schedule. This set up benefits both her and her clients: “I like to say that I allow my clients to rent my brain. Essentially I function as an advisor in an of counsel position without the solo or small firm incurring the expenses expenses associated with hiring another attorney. My clients get my high level of experience at a discounted rate. They don’t have to hire me full time but benefit from collaborating with me on a case by case basis.”
Cloud computing makes it possible
Without cloud computing, Alexia would be unable to provide her clients with seamless assistance that makes her services so valuable to them: “It used to be that we had to scan documents and then email different versions of documents back and forth, a process that was cumbersome and inefficient. The cloud makes it much easier to provide an efficient delivery of my work product, which is a huge advantage given how competitive the market is now. It makes both me and my clients more competitive.”
Cloud computing also makes her services much more affordable: “My practice is truly outside the box in terms of traditional outsourcing. I don’t get hired in an hourly basis. Instead, I work by the project and remotely, something accomplished most effectively through technology. Everything I do is in the cloud–case management, billing and email. Using the cloud allows me to provide very efficient and economical services in real time without burdening my clients with the expense of having to bring me on site to work.”
MyCase makes outsourcing easy
MyCase is Alexia’s preferred cloud platform when performing work for her clients. According to Alexia, compared to the leading cloud-based law practice management platforms, MyCase is the only one that is ideally suited for outsourcing legal research and writing services, since the client and contact portal allows allows law firms to set permissions so that those logging into the portal can access only the cases and files that are relevant to them: “Two of my major clients were considering moving from desktop-based law practice management programs to the cloud. Because I did so much work for them they wanted my input. We test drove the 3 most prominent systems, but I immediately loved MyCase. Unlike the others, MyCase allows firms the flexibility to designate who can can access a particular case. With MyCase, because I don’t have access to the firm’s entire caseload and only have access to the cases I’m hired to handle, both conflict issues and client confidentiality issues are simultaneously addressed without the firms having to spend additional IT money trying to figure out how to ‘screen me’ from their other cases.”
MyCase offers the perfect platform for sharing and collaborating on documents that Alexia has drafted for a client. As she explains, gone are the days of exchanging multiple red-lined document versions and comments via email–instead, “I draft document, upload it into MyCase. My clients can then review it and make revisions and comments about it. I am also able to view all of the file documents within the program without my clients having to scan and email them to me and without having to use external file programs. The MyCase platform is extremely efficient and for that reason, I actually encourage my other clients to use MyCase. In fact, I’m at the point in my career where I can pick and choose my clients and I prefer those who use MyCase because it makes it so much easier for me to deliver a quality product to them.”
Change is good-even for the legal field
Although technology is integral to Alexia’s position as a litigation consultant, she wasn’t always convinced of its value to the legal profession. But time–and experience–has changed her perspective: “I was one of those lawyers who didn’t believe that ‘fancy’ technology would change the way we practiced law. It turns out I was wrong. Because of technology like MyCase, we’re able to get things done more efficiently and more affordably. For that reason, one thing I wish I’d I wish I’d appreciated sooner is the value of flexibility. I wish I had understood from the beginning is that ‘innovation’ isn’t a bad word.”