A MyCase Practice:
Brandon Osterbind, Virginia Civil Litigation Attorney

Some people decide early on that practicing law is their career of choice. Others take a more circuitous path to law school. Brandon Osterbind is one of the former. Although he didn’t come from a family of lawyers, he knew it was what he wanted to do. But first, he had to figure out what it meant to be a lawyer.

The path to a legal career

Because Brandon had no point of reference, he decided he wanted to see firsthand what lawyers do on a day-to-day basis. And what better way to do that than get a job at a law firm? According to Brandon, that’s exactly what he did. “During my senior year I canvassed the law firms in town and sent a cover letter and resume to 30-40 different local firms. I heard back from one of them, and began working part-time as a receptionist in a small law firm with 5 lawyers. I learned about different aspects of practicing, interacted with a lot of clients, and also did some of the billing.”

After working at that firm, he knew that he wanted to pursue a career in law. He attended college and then law school, graduating in 2008. Next, he clerked for a Court of Appeals judge, and after 2 years he moved onto his current position at Overbey, Hawkins, and Wright, a civil litigation firm in Virginia.

A 21st century civil litigation practice

Brandon is a partner at the firm and lawyers at Overbey handle a wide variety of legal matters, including real estate, business transaction cases, and local government and school board matters. But its primary focus is civil litigation: “The vast majority of work done by our six attorneys is civil litigation and personal injury. We have two offices: one in Rustburg and one in Lynchburg. I split time between both offices.”

Civil litigation is a document intensive practice. Cases often take years to reach their conclusion and the files quickly grow in size as the case progresses. Managing documents and deadlines can often be an arduous task. In Central Virginia, many litigators still run their law firms as if it were 1995. Brandon explains that “for many firms, the practice of law is still very paper oriented. But our firm is different. We have a very strong focus on scanning all paper so that we have digital files.”

A mobile, flexible, secure law practice with MyCase

When he worked as a law firm receptionist in high school, he had his first experience with legal software. The firm used a clunky, premise-based legal practice management system, so all work had to be done from the office. That’s when he learned the value of law practice management software — and of mobility. “I was largely responsible for inputting data for new cases and set up billing info,” he explains. “It was my first experience in a law firm and with case management software.”

Years later, after starting at Overbey, he was tasked with choosing law practice management software for the firm. Brandon explains that after his experience with premise-based legal software, “it was important to have our files available in electronic format so that they were easily accessible; that way we could access our data no matter where we were, from smartphones, tablets and computers.”

He tried out a number of different platforms, ultimately choosing MyCase: “I tried Clio and Rocket Matter, but we chose MyCase because it’s just so much easier. Everything is laid out better and it’s much more intuitive. I tell clients if you can use Facebook, then you can use MyCase,” he says. “Nearly all of my conversations with clients occur electronically in MyCase. I do this because email isn’t secure, especially work email. So I always tell my clients to send me a message in MyCase instead. The secure messaging is a must-have.”

For Brandon, mobility is key and MyCase is his secret weapon. “With MyCase, I can access anything, anywhere. Personal injury files are large so it’s too cumbersome to move paper and files back and forth, and it’s not secure to have physical file in front seat of my car if I stop somewhere on the way home. It’s a lot more secure to have my firm’s data stored electronically since I can remotely wipe my iPad if I need to. I couldn’t do that without MyCase.”

Managing a personal injury practice with MyCase

Civil litigation attorneys face unique challenges since their practice area is so document intensive and litigators frequently face so many different deadlines. Fortunately, as Brandon describes, MyCase eases the pressures of litigation and streamlines his personal injury practice. “One thing I struggle with as a personal injury attorney is making sure that my cases are progressing. I have a lot of them to keep track of and MyCase’s Workflows feature helps me do that. So for example in Virginia we have a uniform pretrial scheduling order the all judges use and it’s always the same,” he explains. “With Workflows, instead of manually adding those dates to my calendar and adding them to my task list, I can automatically add all of them at once at the start of the case and don’t have to manually calculate the deadlines. I rely on this feature in MyCase the most since it forces me to drive cases faster.”

MyCase also helps Brandon stay organized and on top of his cases, even when he’s not in the office. “One of the most stressful parts of being a lawyer is always thinking of things you need to do but hardly ever being in a position to do them. It’s a problem David Allen identifies in his book, ‘Getting Things Done.’ With MyCase I can take out my phone or iPad no matter where I am and add a to-do to my task list.” He continues, “That way it gets it out of my head and into MyCase so I can focus on being present in the moment where I am. That’s huge.”

Parting words of wisdom

One thing Brandon wishes he had known when he first started practicing law is the importance of creating systems. “It would have been extremely helpful when first started out if I’d known to implement a system as a whole so that I could capture everything that comes in and then created a process to get that work done. If I’d had a system like David Allen’s ‘GTD’ when I first started out, I would’ve been more productive, made more money, and been less stressed.”





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