A MyCase Practice:
Nate Cade, Milwaukee Litigation Attorney

nate cadeFor some lawyers who come from a long familial line of attorneys, the path to law school seems self evident. Nate Cade is one of those lawyers. He’s the fourth generation of lawyers in his family to attend Michigan.

“My great grandfather graduated from Michigan in 1902. I grew up with everyone discussing cases around the dinner table. I even have an identical twin brother who’s also lawyer,” he laughs. “It wasn’t a question of whether I’d go to law school, it was a question of when!”

 The path to a solo litigation practice

Nate began his career working for the third largest law firm in Wisconsin. After 15 years with that firm, he made a lateral move into a smaller Milwaukee law firm, where he was a partner and served as general counsel for the firm. Then, a few years ago, he decided to start his own solo practice: “As of last week it’s been two years since I went solo. I made the decision to go out on my own for a number of different reasons. And I haven’t once regretted it.”

Being a solo practitioner with a litigation focus is the perfect fit for Nate. The combination of the two allow him the freedom to practice the type of law that he loves–on his own terms: “I became a litigator because I enjoy the theatrics and the thrill of arguing your client’s case. It’s a lot like debate—there’s not much room for error and you have to think on your feet. It’s the ideal type of practice for me since I couldn’t imagine sitting at my desk and reading contracts all day.”

A solo practice grounded in technology

According to Nate, he’s always been tech-savvy, so choosing the right technology for his law practice was a priority from the very start. “I’m very big into technology and that was the first thing I considered when I decided to go out on my own. I looked for what I call ‘the best in breed,’ so I carefully researched all of my technology choices before committing to anything.”

It’s his use of technology that allows him to compete with the larger firms and provide the best service possible to his clients. “One of the things that sets my firm part is that I’m very accessible because of the technology I use. My clients appreciate that. They want to know they can get ahold of me and access their case documents. And, by using the best technology, I avoid passing along costs like copy fees and fax charges–something clients appreciate,” he says.  “The barriers are being dropped and I’m shocked that larger firms aren’t embracing technology. I think there’s a fear but a lot of that has to do with not being able to make quick decisions. Everything a large firm does is generally through committee, and by the time they actually make a technology decision it’s based on stale information. And clients notice that and appreciate that I have the same experience but charge less than the big firms.”

MyCase: the perfect fit for his practice

The technology that’s at the center of his client-focused practice? MyCase. According to Nate, he chose MyCase after much research and leg work: “I conducted a number of free trials of different software solutions and put in dummy data over a month’s time. I tested iPhone apps, and would log in and then have friends and a former assistant log in and test out what they liked and didn’t like. Ultimately, I chose MyCase because it was the most intuitive and required the least amount of training.”

The client portal is one of the features that made MyCase stand out from the rest. “I really liked the client portal and have quite a number of clients who use the system. They can access their case information and have the ability to communicate with me at their convenience,” he explains. “I can post something to a calendar if a hearing date changes and MyCase automatically sends an updated email to the client, so I don’t have to pick up the phone to let them know. My clients also can pay their bills online–something we both appreciate. In addition, since my trust account is integrated with Quickbooks, whenever I write a check, after just a couple clicks it’s reflected there and I don’t have to worry about reconciling the trust account. That goes a long way.”

For Nate, MyCase is the best law practice management software for his law firm and it makes all the difference: “MyCase makes my life easier and for what I pay every month it’s more than worth it. And customer service is great! Anytime I’ve ever had an issue I call MyCase and they have just been phenomenal.  And last but not least, I’m impressed with all of the updates. For example, I requested a Folders update a while ago and they said they were working on it, and now they have it!”

The benefits–and security–of the cloud

The fact that MyCase is a web-based service is at the heart of why it is so essential to Nate’s practice. Not only does it provide him with mobility and flexibility–it also provides his firm with secure storage for his client’s confidential files. “With the cloud you have secure access to your law firm’s data anywhere, whereas with a server you have to dial-in. Another benefit is that your costs are lower and you’re not tethered to your desk. You can meet clients at any location and have immediate access to your files, no matter where you are.”

The security of MyCase’s web-based software is one of the biggest selling points for Nate: “I do a fair amount of ethics work . I have been on an ABA ethics committee and a state bar ethics committee, and I have helped write the ethics rules and opinions. I also represent lawyers charged with ethics violations. For some lawyers, there’s a fear because they don’t physically control the data. But I always tell them that if the NSA can spy on anyone, your firm isn’t necessarily secure just because it has its own server. And, what if the server goes down? If there’s no backup you’re out of luck. I’ve had hard drive crashes and I have a desktop backup as well as double redundant backup to the cloud. With the cloud you have built-in redundancy. It’s like the old Ronco machine from the late night infomercials: you set it and forget it. With servers you’re only as good as your tech skills.”

Parting advice

I asked Nate what his advice for young lawyers would be. He replied: “Try to soak up as much knowledge as you can. The downside of being in a large firm is you get so wedded to the billable hour that you forget to learn. There’s value in watching other lawyers argue cases or sitting in on a deposition even if you can’t bill your time. Also, don’t be a jerk. I used to be a stickler for deadlines with opposing counsel when I was younger, before I had kids. Looking back it was the wrong tack. I routinely give extensions now and what goes around comes around. Word gets around. So be kind and be respectful. Life is short. It doesn’t pay to be a jerk.”

–Nicole Black


« »

Practice Management Tips You’ll Actually Use

Proven strategies from legal experts, delivered straight to your inbox

No thanks, not right now

Get the Latest Firm Management & Growth Strategies

Best practices from REAL legal experts

How-to guides and articles

Webinars with thought leaders