Some people are drawn to the idea of practicing law for one reason, but end up enjoying it for an entirely different reason. Adam VanHo is one of those lawyers. He decided to attend law school because of his experiences on the debate team in high school and because his grandfather was a lawyer. He figured that since he liked arguing, he’d probably excel at being a lawyer, just as his grandfather did.
A litigator at heart
Once in law school, he participated in moot court and really enjoyed the experience. For that reason he was drawn to litigation and sought out opportunities in law school that would get him into the courtroom. Not surprisingly, he was drawn to the courtroom after graduating from law school and obtained a job with the Montgomery County prosecutor’s office in Dayton, Ohio.
A few years later he moved on to the Summit County Prosecutor’s office in Akron, and then later worked as an Assistant Attorney General in Ohio. Next he worked in a private law firm, then started a firm with another attorney, and finally hung his own shingle at the beginning of 2017: “I opened up a law practice with another attorney in January of 2016, but then there was a fire in our office in December of that year. Soon after we went our separate ways and I started my solo practice, where I now handle criminal, appellate, family, and small business entrepreneurship law.”
A small firm with a purpose
When Adam started his solo firm, he was able to create the firm he wanted – one that reflects his unique goals and ideals. According to Adam, his focus is on providing the best possible experience for his clients: “The firm consists of me and my paralegal. Over the past year, I’ve tried to increase our use of technology, with the end goal being to make sure our clients get the best service. Because of technology we can take on bigger firms and deliver good results for our clients. Of course my goal is to grow and expand, but I don’t want to lose the human touch with our clients in the process. That’s where MyCase comes in.”
The move to the cloud
For Adam, building a law firm from the ground up using legal software in the cloud simply made sense. Cloud-based law practice management software gave him the flexibility, mobility, and security that he needed.
“Most criminal lawyers are stuck in 1954. Many don’t even have websites and still list their firms in the phone book. My goal was to be online and to incorporate new technology into my practice,” he explains. “Online backup and security was particularly important to me. I learned after the fire at my old firm how important it is to have your case files backed up, since we lost access to some of the files that were destroyed. So it’s important for me to have that security blanket in case there’s another fire or the building floods.”
The MyCase difference
After researching his options and speaking to colleagues about the software their firms used, Adam chose MyCase. According to Adam, MyCase provides a host of benefits that make it possible for him to practice law the way he’d like to: “I can access my documents from anywhere, which is very helpful since I travel a lot. Sometimes I go right to court rather than to the office and it’s often in a different county. As long as I have MyCase and a data connection I can access my client files on my phone, no matter where I am.”
He also appreciates MyCase’s intuitive interface and time-saving features. “The time-tracking feature is great and helps you capture time you might have missed.” He continues, “MyCase is intuitive and user-friendly for both me and my paralegal. I looked at other law practice management software programs, but they were too complicated and I was concerned that I’d have to spend more time figuring out the software than working on my cases.”
Better client service with MyCase
Because Adam’s firm is client-focused, he appreciates the many features that allow him to keep his clients in the loop. And, according to Adam, his clients really appreciate the convenience and flexibility that MyCase’s client portal gives them. “I’ve had people located in other countries hire me to represent their child who’s in trouble here in Ohio. With the MyCase client portal, they feel like they’re connected to their kid’s case and are able to pay invoices from overseas using a credit card,” he explains.
The MyCase client portal also greatly improves client communication, making it easy for Adam to keep his clients informed about the status of their cases. And, the portal inspires confidence as well. “They see a higher level of professionalism with it. And, my clients appreciate being able to access information. They an check the status of their case, they get email reminders about court notices, and are able to see the documents we’re filing,” he says. “Another thing we’re doing is providing opposing counsel with login information so we can exchange discovery that way. I tried that with a divorce case and opposing counsel was so impressed that she’s considering signing up for MyCase herself!”
Parting words of advice
When I asked Adam if he had any advice for aspiring trial lawyers, he replied, “Don’t take yourself too seriously. A lot of attorneys – especially newer ones – tend to be a little pompous and arrogant when they first start out. It’s important to realize that practicing law is about your clients, not you. This is particularly relevant when you’re dealing with vulnerable populations. You need to put yourself in their shoes so that you understand their perspective; if you do this you’ll better lawyer.”