For Joe Field, practicing law is about people – people of all stripes and walks of life. That’s why, more than anything else, it’s the people – his clients – who make the practice of law worthwhile.
“When I was in college I worked at 3M for five summers as a clinical lab technician. I discovered that although it paid well, I didn’t like being surrounded by four white walls and a lab coat. I wanted to talk to people,” he explains. “I like meeting people. That’s why my favorite part about being a lawyer is talking to my clients during that first meeting and educating them on how things work.”
A small law firm from the very start
In fact, his interest in interacting with people is part of why he started his own firm. As an estate planning and elder law attorney, he has plenty of client contact. He hung a shingle and started his own firm 26 years ago, and at one point his firm had four employees and handled family law and matrimonial matters. However, over the years, he’s shifted focus and downsized his firm to meet his needs and interests.
Currently he’s a solo practitioner with a virtual law practice in Minnesota and handles estate planning and probate, including wills, trust, and powers of attorney. “I have a very unique practice model. I gave up my brick and mortar office two years ago and my legal assistant and I have home offices. I lease space from lawyers in four different cities. I pay the law firms on a per use basis when I meet my clients in their offices.” He continues, “This became possible in part because of MyCase, which played a huge part in making this transition.”
MyCase is the key to his virtual law firm
According to Joe, MyCase made all the different in his move to a virtual law practice: “MyCase was hugely instrumental and allowed me to transition to this virtual model. The client login was key. It was an easy sale because I already had envisioned this concept when I decided to open a virtual law firm.”
Joe had past experience with law practice management software, so he knew exactly what features he needed in order to launch a successful virtual law firm. “I used Amicus software for about 13-14 years starting in 1999. Amicus was ok but they had huge renewal fees, along with technical support fees. These added up quickly and were quite costly. And, they were due all at once each year. The monthly subscription fee at MyCase makes more sense and makes MyCase more affordable for small law firms.”
The move to the cloud
Because Joe planned to launch a virtual law firm, a cloud-based law practice was essential. So he throughly researched his cloud-based legal practice management software options. After many software trials, he chose MyCase.
“I didn’t like Amicus’ cloud system – it was too hard to use and had no client portal. I tried Clio and didn’t like their software. I even tried Thomson Reuter’s software. I’ve used 3-4 different systems and MyCase was the easiest to navigate while still being comprehensive,” he says. “I really like the clean look of MyCase. The UI isn’t too busy and the colors were easy to work with. The others looked too serious, which makes a difference when you login each morning and start your day. The other thing I really like about MyCase is the ease of use. It doesn’t take long to learn how to use it – it’s the perfect software for an attorney in a small practice. And with MyCase, all the management of all areas of your practice are in one place, including client messaging, document storage, invoicing, time records, contact information, and email storage. And because MyCase is stored and encrypted on Amazon servers, I don’t have to worry about security.”
Legal clients love MyCase
Joe isn’t the only person who loves using MyCase. His legal clients do, too. For Joe, the communication tools in MyCase are a popular feature with his clients. “With MyCase, the client is informed as you work on a file, once you upload a document and share it with them. And the messaging features keep a trail of every discussion. I sell that idea to my clients when I first meet with them and it impresses them,” he explains. “Another benefit of these features is they reduce phone calls. Clients realized that when you call your lawyer, the long calls increase attorney fees. So when they use MyCase and look at their documents in the cloud, they’re reducing their legal fees.”
According to Joe, his clients also appreciate the convenience and flexibility of using MyCase to review documents, communicate with him, or even pay their bills. “They’re doing all of this on their own time. This makes them happier because they know what’s being worked on and they’re up to date on their cases.” He continues, “I use MyCase’s billing and invoicing features quite a bit. They make it easy to record time and invoice clients. I’ve had clients from New York, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas retain me, and when I invoice them and they can instantly pay with their credit card using MyCase Payments. It’s great because I send an invoice and then soon after get a message from MyCase that it’s been paid.”
MyCase customer service is top notch
Joe was won over by more than just the software – MyCase customer service has made all the difference. According to Joe, the MyCase team is receptive and listens to his feedback: “Another thing I like about MyCase is that I’ve made four or five different suggestions as to how to improve the software. And in just about every case MyCase has followed through and incorporated the suggested changes.”
He’s also a fan of the MyCase websites team, which helped him build an affordable and effective website for his firm. “I’m very pleased with my MyCase website. I’ve had so many companies contact me offering to revamp my website and they say they’ll do it for thousands of dollars and I say why do that when I have an affordable, attractive website and am getting traffic?” he asks. “I really like the website and importantly, it has a client login built in, making it easy for clients to access the client portal, which is critical to my practice.”
I asked Joe, a longtime small firm lawyer, if he had any tips for other attorneys who were thinking of hanging a shingle for the first time. His advice? Prioritize learning about the business of law. “When you graduate from law school there’s a presumption that you know your trade and your business. The fact is you know neither,” he says. “You need to have the right tools on the business side of lawyering if you want to succeed – tools like MyCase. I wish MyCase had been around 26 years ago when I started my first law firm. Small law firms should use MyCase for the business end of their practices. It saves time and money, and makes things so much easier.”