New York attorney Gerry Oginski is the son of a physician and comes from a family of medical practitioners, so it’s not surprising that when he entered college, his goal was to follow the pre-med track and eventually attend medical school. But something happened that caused him to change the course of his career path.
“I became an attorney because I was 14 when my father died and my mom later brought a medical malpractice lawsuit for wrongful death on my family’s behalf. My dad was a doctor, so when I started college I had plans to go to medical school,” he explains. “But everything changed when the medical malpractice case finally went to trial when I was in college. Ultimately we lost, which was a turning point for me. And that’s what drove me to want to do medical malpractice work.”
A practice with a purpose
So instead of becoming a doctor, Gerry became a lawyer. And not just a lawyer–a lawyer with a purpose. According to Gerry, he’s highly motivated to help people who are victims of medical malpractice and he truly enjoys litigation, so it’s a good fit all around:
“I love helping injured victims get the compensation they rightfully deserve. And I enjoy the process, too. One of the best parts about what I do is questioning a defendant physician and going toe to toe with them. It’s a great feeling when they eventually realize I have a highly specialized knowledge of their area of expertise. It’s so rewarding when my level of expertise in a unique area pays off in a way that allows me to help my clients achieve their goals.”
Gerry began his legal career by working for a large insurance defense law firm. He then moved on to a medical malpractice plaintiff’s law firm in Brooklyn.
And then, in 2002, he hung his shingle and hasn’t looked back. He explains that going solo was one of the best decisions he’s made: “I’ve been practicing law for more than 25 years, I’m a solo practitioner by choice, and I have no regrets. I love it, although it took me some time to find my footing in a competitive market.”
At first, it was an uphill battle to find clients. In large part the difficulties he faced occurred because he’d received no training in law school that prepared him for the practicalities of hanging a shingle and marketing his law practice. “I wish I’d learned how to market my law firm in law school. The problem is, no one tells you how,” he laments. “If only I knew then what I know now. Learning how to market your practice effectively is a key component to a successful law practice. Of course the technical practice of law is important, but at the end of the day you need to bring clients in the door or you won’t have a practice.”
Technology as the foundation of a successful practice
From the start, Gerry knew that technology was the key to a successful solo practice. And, a few years after hanging his shingle, he realized that utilizing the power of the Internet was the quickest and best way to reach potential clients. Video was his medium of choice.
“It was 2006 and this new site came online that accepted user generated content– it was called YouTube. Maybe you’ve heard of it,” he laughs. “But the only law-related content I could find on YouTube were lawyer commercials, which were pointless. They weren’t teaching anyone anything. So I decided to create a video that taught potential clients something they didn’t know. My first video was awful. It was 6 minutes long, grainy and dark, and explained how to hire a New York medical malpractice attorney. Remarkably, despite the poor video quality, I received lots of calls from people who’d viewed it.”
He quickly realized he’d hit upon a successful marketing formula–providing legal consumers with much-needed information about the litigation process–that worked well for his practice. So well that, according to Gerry, he’s now made over 1000 videos: “Now fast forward 8 years and I have over 1100 videos to market my solo practice. These videos have directly accounted for 8.5 million dollars of settlements. In fact, it was such a successful endeavor for my firm that I started a business to help other lawyers learn how to make video marketing work for their practice.”
Using web-based tools to market his practice–and streamline it
Gerry already understood the power of the Internet and web-based publishing platforms. And he eventually realized that web-based tools would also translate well to the management of his law firm. Although he started out using premise-based law practice management software, he soon realized it was time to move to a web-based solution.
His current system just wasn’t flexible enough: “With cloud services, you’re not locked into a physical location. You can access your case files no matter where you are. If you’re in court you can pull up a document instead of frantically calling your secretary back at the office.”
For Gerry, mobility and flexibility were key since he travels often for both business and pleasure. A web-based platform was the perfect choice for his firm. “It’s important for my clients to know that I’m always accessible,” he explains. “And I need to know what’s going on with their cases no matter where I am. MyCase makes it possible for me to log on and get up to date information on their cases.”
MyCase–the only choice
When Gerry decided to move his practice to the cloud, he did his research. He carefully considered all of his options, but in the end, MyCase was the only choice for his firm: “I looked at all the others, including Clio. I tried all of them, but MyCase was the most intuitive. Hands down it was the easiest to use and that was a huge selling point.”
But it wasn’t just the intuitive interface that caught his eye. “One feature that really leapt out at me was the client portal,” he says. “It allows me to share documents with clients and they can log in and see what’s going on with their case. No one else offered that. Now I can access my case files from anywhere as long as I have an internet connection. MyCase is perfect for my firm.”
When I asked Gerry if he had any advice for young attorneys he immediately replied: “Take action every day. You always want to move one step closer to your goals.”
Not surprising, coming from a lawyer like Gerry. He’s not the kind of person who sits idly, letting life pass him by. Instead, he’s busy following his own advice: seizing opportunities and innovating at every turn. He’s found his passions, he pursues them, and it shows.