FOIA Firm Increases Caseload 5x Using MyCase
We spoke with Kim Leval, Business Manager at Sorenson Law Office, about how MyCase has helped them speed up client intake, serve more clients, and get paid faster.
Sorenson Law Office
How a Semi-Retirement Hobby Transformed Into a Successful Practice
When C. Peter “Pete” Sorenson pivoted his longtime practice to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) law in 2016, he imagined it would become his semi-retirement hobby. After all, he’d had a successful career as an Oregon State Senator, adjunct professor of law at the University of Oregon, and four-term Lane County Commissioner. He was still fulfilling his duty as Chair of the Board of Commissioners.
But Sorenson’s retirement plans changed as he gained a reputation for winning cases and providing excellent client service. Soon, more potential clients started contacting the firm. Sorenson and his wife, Business Manager and Senior Legal Assistant Kim Leval, realized that to meet the demand, they needed to grow Sorenson Law Office—but they would require scalable tools and processes.
Read on to discover how MyCase helped them grow from 12 clients to more than 60 (and don’t forget to dive into the Q&A section below).
Preparing for Growth
“When Pete was helping four or five clients, he could do everything manually,” shares Leval. “This included calendaring deadlines, tracking the client trust accounts and our operating account, creating and sending invoices, and cashing physical checks. But as the case count increased, we knew we needed help. Plus, we wanted to offer clients more flexibility, such as the option to pay online.”
After the Oregon State Bar and several attorneys recommended MyCase, Leval did her research.
“I was pleasantly surprised by MyCase’s intuitiveness—it was very easy to learn and teach,” she opines. “I also liked that MyCase included features that matched our needs as a small, fast-growing firm. Other legal practice management software offered a basic product, and then you had to cobble together a bunch of add-ons, which cost more and meant that we’d have to spend time designing the software ourselves.”
Streamlining Invoicing and Payments With MyCase
Sorenson and Leval decided to implement MyCase at their firm in 2017, starting with time tracking and billing and payments. Since then, Sorenson Law Office has logged more than 11,500 time entries and sent hundreds of invoices. According to Leval, MyCase has been invaluable in helping their growing team stay organized and comply with court regulations.
“Everyone is responsible for tracking their hours, so our staff love the MyCase timers that allow them to switch back and forth between cases in real-time. And because we have so many different bill rates and fee types, being able to set these rates in MyCase (or write them in the case notes) helps ensure bill accuracy.
These features are also key for our firm because certain types of cases require us to prove to the court that time was tracked as it happened, and that our fees are reasonable. We have to show months or even years of time entries and break the data down by team member. MyCase allows us to do that.”
Tracking time in MyCase also enabled Sorenson Law Office to streamline billing and payments. The team can quickly generate invoices based on time entries, send them off, and empower domestic and international clients to pay via their preferred method.
“Billing now takes longer than when we were doing it manually—but only because we have many more clients,” laughs Leval. “I can’t imagine how long it would take me to bill if we didn’t have MyCase. And after sending out invoices, sometimes we receive online payments within seconds or minutes. In fact, most clients pay within the day. We definitely get paid faster due to MyCase.”
Delivering on Their Commitment to Client Service
As the Sorenson Law Office has grown, many things have changed. But one thing has remained the same: the firm’s commitment to client service. As their website says, “We handle your case with our signature personal touch.” Part of that personal touch involves the MyCase Client Portal, which the team uses to engage clients around the world consistently.
“We view the MyCase Client Portal as a great opportunity for service,” explains Leval. “Our clients can securely view their documents, such as fee agreements and FOIA documents. They can also look at their trust summary, pay invoices, and message us whenever it works for them. For example, one of our clients is in Australia, and we don’t have to worry about the time difference. He can just jump into his portal whenever he wants to receive updates.”
The Client Portal isn’t the only technological tool that’s increased their efficiency and client service. The firm also started using MyCase eSignature during the pandemic, revolutionizing their client intake process.
“We used to have to mail our fee agreements, which was slow,” Leval claims. “Now, our clients can sign fee agreements in minutes. With MyCase, we cut client intake time in half—maybe more. We can do a lot more in an hour now than we could ever do before MyCase.”
The Sky’s the Limit
Since implementing MyCase, the Sorenson Law Office has served more than 130 clients. They grew from helping a few clients at a time to tracking more than 60 clients in MyCase. And as the firm’s caseload has grown, so has the team. According to Leval, they’re continuing to reach new heights together.
“Gross income has steadily grown since using MyCase—monthly billings have increased from a few thousand dollars per month to upwards of $26,000 per month, and we’re back in growth mode again. Our firm has accepted so many new cases even in just the past few weeks. Fortunately, we’re implementing and streamlining more processes using MyCase features, like putting all of our deadlines into MyCase calendaring software.
I’ve been really impressed with MyCase’s ability to predict what law firms like ours would need down the road and then jump on new features. They’re always there when we need them.”
With MyCase behind them, the sky’s the limit for the Sorenson Law Office.
Try MyCase free for 10 days. There’s no credit card required.
Q&A with Kim Leval
“As a former executive director of a non-profit, I have a lot of experience with databases and tools. After my research and the demo with the MyCase sales rep, I was impressed. The system was really intuitive to use, which isn’t the case with a lot of tools.
Also, we needed something well-matched for a small firm in growth mode. Other legal practice management software offered a basic product, and then you had to cobble together a bunch of add-ons, which cost more and meant that we’d have to spend time designing the software ourselves. When you’re a small, busy firm, you don’t have time for that. We chose MyCase.”
“When Pete was helping four or five clients, he could do everything manually. But as the case count increased, we knew that we needed help.
With MyCase eSignature, we cut client intake time in half—maybe more. We can do a lot more in an hour now than we could ever do before MyCase.Also, our staff loves the MyCase timers that allow them to switch back and forth between cases in real-time. And because we have so many different bill rates and fee types, being able to set these rates in MyCase (or write them in the case notes) helps ensure bill accuracy.”
“I generate invoices every month based on the time entries in MyCase. Billing now takes longer than when we were doing it manually—but only because we have many more clients. I can’t imagine how long it would take me to bill if we didn’t have MyCase.
After sending out invoices, sometimes we receive online payments within seconds or minutes. In fact, most clients pay within the day. We definitely get paid faster due to MyCase.”
“One thing I love about the MyCase Client Portal is its flexibility regarding client service. We can serve all types of clients with various needs.
Our clients can securely view their documents, such as fee agreements and FOIA documents. They can also look at their trust summary, pay invoices securely, and message us whenever it works for them. The Client Portal allows us to meet clients where they are.
Additionally, we personally train clients on how to use MyCase. It’s a great tool to hold hands and show them that a real person will help them.”
“Some of our team members are hybrid, some are in office, and we also work with law students around the country. MyCase keeps us in sync. Team members never work in a silo and continue to collaborate seamlessly. Everyone works on one central system.
For example, all team members can track time from anywhere. We also use the notes section on every client file to record fee type, bill rate, and billing contact. This makes time entries a lot easier and ensures accurate invoicing.
MyCase also allows us to adjust permissions per employee. I, for instance, can see what everyone is doing in MyCase. Pete and I are going on vacation soon, and we feel confident that we’ll be able to stay aware of everything going on at the firm through MyCase.”
“If something wasn’t fitting our needs, we emailed MyCase or spoke to a real person quickly and easily—and it seemed like the feature we needed suddenly appeared. Communication with the MyCase team is always open, and we feel like our needs are heard.”