4-Step Computer Security Upgrade
Learn to encrypt your files, secure your computer when using public Wi-Fi, enable two-factor authentication, and use good passwords.
When MyCase launched, it called itself social practice management software because of the way it is designed from the ground up to facilitate secure communication between lawyers and clients. Communication remains a primary focus even though MyCase has dropped social from its tag line. MyCase’s mobile apps, for example, are not just for lawyers. Clients can also use the apps to communicate with you and keep tabs on their case.
Here’s what you need to know about MyCase, from getting started to using the mobile apps with your clients.
Getting Started with MyCase
All you need to get started with MyCase is your email address. Visit the login page and you can be up and running and using the software in moments.
The way to add your first case or contact or appointment should be obvious:
Migrating to MyCase
You can import matters and contacts into MyCase, though you will pretty much have to do it yourself. MyCase has several step-by-step data migration guides, though, and you can always email or call MyCase’s support staff for extra help. That should be enough to help you get started if you are transitioning from another software package.
Still, the data migration options are limited. While you can migrate the important stuff, you will probably have to leave some data behind when you move.
MyCase’s tabbed user interface should feel familiar to anyone who has used web-based software, and the dashboard contains shortcuts (see above for a screenshot) for most common tasks.
The dashboard also features a feed of recent activity, in case you want to keep tabs on what the rest of the firm is doing, and widgets for upcoming tasks and appointments, pulled from your task list and calendar, respectively. The feed of recent activity is most useful if you have a very small firm (2 or 3 people). Fewer, and the feed will not be very interesting. More, and it will probably move too fast to be useful.
There is also an always-visible “dock” at the bottom with shortcuts for the date calculator, email integration, timekeeping, and a menu for quickly adding anything you might want to add.
Apart from the dashboard and dock MyCase pretty much does the things all practice management software does, with a few things that are worth highlighting.
- MyCase’s Workflows feature is really well-implemented, and makes it easy to create templates for tasks and appointments.
- You can create folders and subfolders within your cases to help you organize your documents. You can only create folders within your cases (i.e., not from the Documents tab), though, and as one user points out, MyCase doesn’t yet make it easy to back up your MyCase data yourself.
- The date calculator (in the dock) is handy for quickly calculating due dates (although it does not account for holidays so use it carefully).
- You can accept trust account–compatible e-check (ACH) payments from your clients with MyCase Payments.
Sync and Integrations
MyCase comes with several integrations you can choose to use. You can sync contacts and calendars with Outlook, and you can sync your calendars with Google Calendar. MyCase email integration is simple. You can forward emails to a private email address, then associate them with your cases back in MyCase. (You could probably even automate this using filters in Gmail or Outlook.)
There is just one other integration: a $99 QuickBooks sync add-on that reportedly works quite well — until it doesn’t. At least one MyCase user I talked to said the QuickBooks integration stopped working all of a sudden. This seems to be a problem with QuickBooks, however, not with MyCase. The popular accounting software is not built to play well with other software. If QuickBooks integration is important to you, I think you have to expect that it might be unreliable.
So that’s it. As of this writing, MyCase is pretty shallow when it comes to sync and integrations. That seems to be by design. MyCase is focusing on adding features rather than relying on third-party software and services to fill in. So while MyCase will probably integrate with Dropbox at some point, for example, it will probably beef up its own document management, first.
With the app, lawyers get most of the functionality of MyCase in the browser, in a touch-friendly package. Both apps are universal, meaning they work on both phones and tablets. The iOS app still has not yet been update for iOS 7, and that is starting to feel very overdue, especially since MyCase recently launched its Android app.
While most law practice management apps are just for lawyers, the MyCase apps are also for clients. Clients obviously don’t get to see all the information you do. They only get to see what you have shared with them, which mostly means documents and communications, but can include appointments, tasks, invoices, and anything else you can share in MyCase (i.e., most things).
Lawyerist reader Tom Stubbs did a head-to-head comparison of several practice management software apps, and decided that MyCase’s app is the best:
MyCase has the best app for two reasons. First and most importantly, it allows you to get messages. Clio and Rocket Matter’s apps unbelievably fail to allow that. Second, the search function is better on MyCase. It easily allows you to search across all sources of data. I input a name and it searches contacts, cases, events, etc. In the other apps, the search (at least initially) is limited to the area (contacts, calendar, matters) in which you reside at that moment.
Like all responsible cloud-based software, MyCase uses “bank-grade” security. This means it secures your connection to MyCase’s servers with SSL, and stores your information, encrypted, on those servers. MyCase also offers two-factor authentication, which you should turn on. For (a bit) more information, check out the security summary on MyCase’s website.
So that’s the back-end security. But now that we know emails can be intercepted by just about anyone, security on the front end makes a lot of sense. A secure client portal — like MyCase — for sending messages and sharing documents is a really good idea, whether you just use it for just some messages or for all attorney-client communications.
When you send a message or share a file within MyCase, the system sends out a notice by email, but not the substance of the communication itself:
The client then has to log into MyCase to get the message or document. This makes the client portal a bit more of a hassle to use than email, obviously, but it is essential. If MyCase included the message in the notification email, there goes the security.
Remembering a username and password may be just enough of an obstacle that clients won’t want to use it, in fact. I have talked to a couple of MyCase users whose clients have shown no interest in the client portal.
Increasing security usually adds complication, but it may be worthwhile, anyway. In this case, communicating through MyCase is far more secure than communicating through email. If your clients use the apps, they can get at their communications much more easily (though you should probably caution clients against using the MyCase apps on an employer-provided smartphone).
Backing Up Your MyCase Data
Backing up your data from MyCase is simple. Just go to Settings > Import / Export > Full Backup and download a .zip file with all your data. It doesn’t get much easier than that. According to the MyCase knowledgebase, you can only do this once per day, but that should be more than enough.
Of course, MyCase also backs up your data regularly, but you should definitely take advantage of the option to download your own copy regularly.
Evaluating MyCase for Your Practice
There is only one way to find out if MyCase is right for your law practice: sign up for the free trial and give it a try. The best way to do it is probably to pick one or two willing clients to act as guinea pigs and try it with you.
However, it doesn’t hurt to see what others have to say. Here is a non-comprehensive list of MyCase reviews. I have included the dates, because anything more than a few months old is probably too far out of date.
- Comment to “A Year with MyCase” by Tom Stubbs (January 9, 2015)
- “Cloud Practice Management: MyCase” on The Droid Lawyer (October 9, 2014).
- “MyCase Law Practice Management Review: Taking MyCase for a Test Drive” by Andrew Cabasso on JurisPage (March 28, 2014).
- “The Sorry State of Legal Practice Management Software” by Avi Frisch for Legal Typist (February 2014).
- “Should you invest time and money into a case management program: A comparison of Rocketmatter and MyCase” by Jim Hart (December 11, 2013).
- “Android App Review: MyCase” by Jeff Taylor on the Droid Lawyer (March 31, 2014).
At just $39/user/month (and just $29/user/month for staff), MyCase is the least-expensive of the “big three” cloud-based law practice management software packages. More importantly, you can try it free for 30 days, so you might as well.
Originally published 2014-10-21. Last updated 2015-10-20.