Access Legal Care: From Clio to MyCase
Number of Attorneys
Clients Paying Online
Access Legal Care, PLLC
A Bit of Backstory
Since Access Legal Care opened its doors in May 2011, the law firm has won accolades for its commitment to providing affordable, high-quality legal services to lower and middle-income clients. The Detroit-area firm's founder, Bert Whitehead IV, MBA, JD, developed the Access Legal System while attending Thomas M. Cooley Law School. The system's mission is to provide comprehensive legal care at a cost-effective rate – many of Access Legal Care's services are priced 40 to 60 percent lower than most firms – while ensuring the firm's legal-service providers and attorneys are well compensated for their expertise.
To fulfill his firm's mission of offering significant cost savings for clients, Bert Whitehead needed technology that could support innovative ways to provide legal services. But the firm's prior software solution, Clio, fell short of the intuitive, efficient system he envisioned for Access Legal Care.
"From the client side, the experience and capabilities were not nearly as developed as they are with MyCase," he said. His previous platform's limitations ultimately forced the firm to become heavily dependent on email communication, which caused confusion and hindered productivity. "It was very difficult to have clients share documents and message us, relying completely on email. This was not the most secure channel to communicate through, and bogged down our time unnecessarily."
I like the responsiveness of the company, and appreciate that they solicit my input on updates that are in queue.
Whitehead searched for another solution and discovered that in addition to streamlining workflows, MyCase offered a user-friendly interface, giving clients the ability to easily upload documents and initiate messages within the legal management software platform. This allowed Access Legal Care's lawyers to communicate clearly with clients without disclosing email addresses.
The ability to customize MyCase's user interface to suit Access Legal Care's branding was another element that drove Whitehead to adopt MyCase for his firm. "When we used Clio, it was a whole different brand experience that did not complement our brand at all. MyCase allowed me to upload our logo and keep our branding seamless."
Awarding Innovative Work
As Whitehead's firm began to use the platform, they quickly discovered MyCase's tools for efficiently managing tasks and documents. "You can have multiple checklist items within one task, and check items off within a task category. This feature is especially useful for preparing documents for filing, for example," explained Whitehead. The streamlined workflows have allowed Access Legal Care's staff to become more efficient with their time, and in turn, reduce costs for clients.
Whitehead has also valued MyCase's customer support and enthusiasm for feedback. "I like the responsiveness of the company, and appreciate that they solicit my input on updates that are in queue." In honor of Access Legal Care's successful model for providing affordable legal services to clients in need, the American Bar Association awarded the firm the 2013 Louis M. Brown Legal Access Award. This award recognizes programs that employ innovative means to enable affordable access to legal services for those who do not qualify for legal aid, yet lack the discretionary funds to pay traditional legal costs.
Whitehead credits MyCase as a key contributor to the success that drew this award, noting the software delivers the innovative technology that allowed his firm to create a flexible and economical system. "MyCase enables clients to not have to come into the office all of the time, which is a big part of what makes us affordable," he said. "A large part of our success is due to MyCase."
With the client portal, our entire history from beginning of the end to the case is in one string. I’d say this feature alone saves me 5-10 hours a month.
We asked Bert about adding online payments to his account and what he does with the time MyCase saves him. The following are snippets from that conversation in his own words.
How do you use online payments and how does it save you time?
What I like about online payments is that I don’t have to do any mailing of bills or invoices, I just share invoices with people. That cuts down on hours of time preparing postage, printing, and then trying to follow up and get responses. With the client portal, our entire history from beginning of the end to the case is in one string. I’d say this feature alone saves me 5-10 hours a month.
Everybody likes convenience and simplicity. They're already messaging me back and forth and they can easily see the pay button, so the client portal is the easiest and least intrusive way for them to pay.
How has MyCase changed your work/life balance?
One of the biggest grievances attorneys hear from clients is that they don’t feel updated on their case, but I can do it whenever I want without disruption. Phone calls can only happen 9-5, but messaging can happen any time of day. I can be on vacation and still message with clients and keep them updated on their case without having to take a phone call.
What’s your #1 piece of advice for a new MyCase customer?
I recently set-up MyCase for a friend of mine and showed them how to use the software. I encouraged them to use it to manage and share documents easily. It's important for getting paid, for remote representation, and not being limited to your local boundaries.