While in law school, Jennifer Lewis Kannegieter envisioned starting her own solo or small firm practice at some point down the road. Like many other aspiring lawyers, she always assumed she’d go that route after working for another firm.
But life throws you curveballs and Jennifer learned that all too well when she graduated from law school in 2007 in the midst of a recession. She explains: “I graduated in 2007 and there weren’t a lot of legal jobs available so I figured why not just go for it? So I started my solo practice in a small community right out of law school with a focus on estate law and family law.”
Running her law firm on her terms
Her law firm, Lewis Kannegeiter Law, Ltd., is located in Monticello, Minnesota, where she handles estate planning and family law matters for her clients. According to Jennifer, one of the best parts about owning your own law firm is that you’re the boss. You can organize your practice–and your schedule–however you’d like. And that’s exactly what Jennifer has done.
21st century technologies and possibilities make it possible for her to run her solo practice on her terms. “I’ve been maintaining a part-time practice for the last three and a half years–ever since my oldest son was born,” she explains. “I’m in the office a few days each week and at home a couple days each week. The reason I’m able to do this is because of technology. I’m able to work remotely and efficiently by making the best use of my time as I possibly can.”
The cloud makes it possible
Jennifer relied on cloud computing from the very start. She knew that the only way to have the truly mobile law practice that she envisioned was to take advantage of the many benefits that cloud computing offers today’s busy attorneys.
So for her, using cloud computing software was the only option. “I have always been cloud-based. When I first started I didn’t have a physical office and worked from home, meeting clients at other locations,” she says. “I always liked having the ability to work from anywhere. Even though I now have an office outside of my home, I prefer to have some variety and work from a number of different locations. Without the cloud it wouldn’t be possible for me to work from the office one day and from home or a coffee shop the next. I like the flexibility that having a practice in the cloud provides me.”
MyCase is the perfect fit for her practice
Jennifer did her research when choosing the law practice management software that she would use to run her firm. And she tested out many different solutions before finding the one that works best for law practice: MyCase.
She explains that she knew from the outset how important it was to find the right technology for her firm. “When I first started my practice, my goal was to find ways to use affordable technology to make things run more smoothly. I tried different solutions that weren’t law practice specific and then moved onto one of the other leading web-based case management platforms. ” She continues, “I used it for a while and it was ok at first, but had some issues. Things weren’t as easy as I thought they should be so I started looking at other options. Then I found MyCase.”
After using MyCase for just a few days, she knew it was the right software for her needs: “MyCase was really easy to use. My virtual assistant really liked it because it was so easy to use. She signed on and right away she knew exactly what to do with it.”
The MyCase client portal: the key to streamlined communication
One of Jennifer’s favorite parts of MyCase is the online client portal since it offers so many benefits to her firm: “The client portal is one of the best parts of MyCase. It really helps free up my time and cut down on back and forth of email or playing phone tag with my clients. And they love it since they can easily communicate with me and access documents and information about their case,” she explains. “It’s also been really easy to do the billing and get paid quickly by accepting credit cards. I also like being able to add notes in the files, since that helps both me and my virtual assistant to track what’s going on with the case. Finally, I can track work being done on a matter by adding and tracking tasks assigned to her.”
Choose your path and follow it
When I asked Jennifer if she had any parting advice for other lawyers thinking of hanging a shingle, she didn’t hesitate and replied: “The advice I always give new lawyers or those thinking of starting their own firm is to start by creating the firm you want to have. For example, it would have saved me a lot of time and energy if I’d started using MyCase sooner in my practice instead of switching from a different system. So focus on creating the practice you’ve always wanted.”
So given her advice, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that one of Jennifer’s favorite quotes is: “Love what you do or do something else.” – Conway Twitty.