A Year with MyCase
I use MyCase and its iPhone app daily, and I have for nearly a year. My partner and I use it for all of our invoicing, conflict checks, billing, and general matter management. So, how has it held up?
Overall, MyCase seems to have lagged behind Rocket Matter and Clio in development over the past year. And now that we have used it for so long, a lot of the shine has worn off. We are noticing flaws that did not bother us when we started with it.
What I still like about MyCase
Overall, I really enjoy using MyCase, and I recommend it when others ask about practice management software. The interface is intuitive and it’s easy to input billable hours. Plus, with an ABA membership discount we pay less than $65 a month for two of us, which is a nice discount from the regular price of $78 per month for two lawyers.
There has been no down time or maintenance windows, which is nice. Sometimes I work late at night, and I never have to worry about the site being down. I have never struggled to find a setting or an input for a field. And when I ran into an issue with calendar sharing and posted it to the LAB, I even got a call from their customer support.
What MyCase still needs to improve
While I still enjoy using MyCase, there is a lot of room for improvement. Recently MyCase has rolled out some minor tweaks and upgrades. And it recently announced a new iPhone app at ABA Techshow. But it isn’t enough, and there are still many things MyCase needs to improve.
There is no way to edit the sidebar on the dashboard or customize the order of the boxes. This is very annoying. To start, it means the task list is at the bottom, and I have to scroll past all of the calendar events to see the list. This sounds like a minor gripe, but it takes away from the whole purpose of the software, which is to be a comprehensive practice management solution. In order to do that, it must show users their whole practice at a glance. The dashboard almost accomplishes this, but it could easily free up space by deleting some of the white space and hiding the always-present “Important Alerts” box when there are no alerts.
MyCase also recently added a “My hours billed today” box at the bottom of the screen. This box constantly displays, as you may have guessed, the hours I’ve billed that day. This is something that drove me crazy with Rocket Matter. Because my practice isn’t wholly driven by billable work, it does quite a mind job on me when I log in at 3 p.m. and see that I have only billed two hours. It encourages users to favor time-billable work over other pay structures. There is also no way to disable this feature.
Unlike Rocket Matter, there is no option to sync with QuickBooks. But considering the cost of that feature, I’m okay with that. Unfortunately, there isn’t even a way to export to QuickBooks from MyCase. That means we have to create all of our invoices in MyCase, then my partner has to create new invoices in QuickBooks to keep track of everything and give the information to our accountant.
Speaking of invoices, I hope you like the way they look, because they are not customizable. You can throw your logo on, but that’s about it. It also does not let you display the total number of hours billed. That means if a client wants to check your math, she has to add up all those .2 and .4 hours of billable time, and then multiple by your hourly rate.
There is no way to link MyCase with any contact-management software. This means users can import contacts via CSV (but not sync them with a smart phone) or start from scratch. Putting that aside, the contacts don’t work with each other at all. There is no way to link contacts together, besides linking employees to a company and contacts to a matter. For instance, if I represent a child, I want to be able to see at a glance who is involved with that child. I should be able to link the child contact to the parents, as well as any service providers. That way, even if a case closes, I can see how the contacts are related.
There is also no way to have the same contact in different roles. For example, if someone serves as the state’s witness in one case, and a co-defendant on a different case, I have to put them in MyCase twice. This completely defeats the purpose of having a unified system.
Cloud syncing support
In fact, MyCase does not allow any kind of cloud syncing. It does not support Dropbox, SkyDrive, Box.net, or anything else. Nothing. It works fine if all the documents for a case are linked to that case. But that means every document has to be scanned, labeled, and then uploaded to MyCase. Not to mention the fact that when a document is revised, it has to be re-uploaded. This synchronization support is really holding MyCase back.
The e-mail “integration” in MyCase is great if you just want to connect a particular e-mail to your case. But if you want to quickly see all the communications you have had with various people on a case, just go to your e-mail inbox. Getting e-mails into MyCase is cumbersome. Once you get the e-mails into the system and linked to the correct case, they do not appear to be text searchable.
I spoke to Matt Spiegel from MyCase about this issue. He explained that MyCase’s goal is for all correspondence to remain in their system. That way, according to Spiegel, the messages are much more secure.
MyCase recently rolled out some new task features which are great for working in teams. It now has sub-tasks, which I think are a great step. But there are no saved task lists. In other words, I can’t create a new matter and add the tasks for “Open File,” “Create IOLTA Account,” and have MyCase automatically create the appropriate sub-tasks.
The future ahead
Now that MyCase is owned by AppFolio, I think the company is ready to really take off. Unfortunately, it comes after a year of stagnation. I have had a lot of contact with their team, and I believe they are driven, but are they driven enough to keep up with an increasingly crowded market? Ask me again in a year.