Part III in my series reviewing three of the top cloud-based case management software services available to attorneys.
Part I: Clio
Part II: Rocket Matter
Part III: MyCase
Part IV: Review & Comparison
My reviews will focus on how effectively the services provide case- and matter-management. My reviews will not discuss the accounting/timekeeping/billing aspects of the services. Instead, I will focus on the accessibility/presentation of case information, contacts, calendar & tasks, documents, document assembly, and unique features each service provides.
by MyCase, Inc.
Price: $39.99 per month for attorneys, $29.99 per month for staff
MyCase advertises itself as “an affordable, intuitive and powerful legal practice management software designed for the modern law firm.” A full-service cloud-based case management software service, MyCase’s biggest selling point is that it is the only case management system that offers an integrated client portal, allowing you to keep your clients updated on everything going on in their case.
Accessing case/matter information easily and quickly is a major strength of MyCase. The matters are organized by name, and can be further organized by practice area, so that you can easily access your cases (particularly important in a firm with a large number of cases). The main screen for individual matters is nicely organized, with the basic case information available immediately. Tabs give in-screen access to the case’s calendar, notes, tasks, messages and contacts. Custom fields for each case are given a prominent location on the case information screen, proof that MyCase has placed great importance on a user-controlled experience. Another great benefit is direct access to case-specific Workflows (see Unique Feature, below) directly from the matter page.
On the other hand, the accessibility of documents from the case information page is problematic. Document sorting is confusing, and document Tags have to be pre-set in order to serve as document categories. However, even if done right, searching by Tags isn’t 100% effective. A huge drawback for my experience is the inability to designate the roles of individual contacts for each case. Roles are assigned at the contact level instead. Effectively, this precludes multi-party litigation for a lot of firms, as the designation of various contacts would become WAY too confusing.
MyCase really wants you to know how effective collaboration with your clients (or other contacts) can be on their service. That collaboration is established through the contacts page. The main page, sortable by name of the contact, actually includes a list of the related matters for each of the contacts. While definitely nice for a quick-glance look, I have yet to determine if there are any functional benefits to be found in this feature. Still, it’s definitely nice. Once in an individual contact page, you are able to adjust the settings to determine whether, and to what extent, the contact will have access to information on MyCase, providing for considerably greater collaboration than other case management software services.
However, MyCase’s contacts section has some significant drawbacks. Each contact only has one available address field. To me, right off the bat, this is a glaring weakness that dramatically reduces MyCases’ utility for me. Many of the attorneys I deal with on a regular basis have a mailing address and a physical address. I also have a large number of contacts that I want to list their home and office addresses. Another major weakness is that the “Group” designation is global, and cannot be applied on a case-by-case basis. Moreover, unlike Tags, you can only apply one. Therefore, you cannot list someone as both an attorney and a mediator, a serious deficiency. MyCase’s customizable fields falter here, as well, by neglecting to include the option to link to another contact.
The calendar/tasks section, on the other hand, is where MyCase really shines. By implementing your calendar and tasks with the Workflows feature, you are able to automate a major portion of your calendar entries and tasks. Any entries in the MyCase calendar that include a physical address links directly to Google Maps.
The interface is clean and entry of new calendar entries and tasks is easy and intuitive. Among the key features that Workflows adds to the tasks feature is the ability to include sub-tasks within a task. Before you can mark your primary task as completed, you’ll have to have completed all sub-tasks. MyCase even tracks what percentage of sub-tasks have been completed.
Concerning drawbacks, I was basically unable to find any major flaws in MyCase’s calendar system. The only thing I found a little strange was the fact that pending tasks were not included on the calendar in some way.
Similar t0 Rocket Matter, MyCase allows for the use of “Tags” to organize and categorize your documents (although utilized far less than Rocket Matter). A well-organized firm will find the use of Tags to be an excellent means of organizing the documents. Additionally, MyCase includes a “Version History” tab for each document, giving users a one-click look at previous versions of the specific document. Considering MyCase’s emphasis on collaboration, the accessibility of the version history for each document is hugely important. Also, the ability to share new documents with specific contacts in a case (some, none, or all) is unique and serves to enhance the collaboration features.
However, MyCase is clearly NOT intended to serve as a document management system for your law firm. The only information that you are able to input for documents is a name and a Tag, omitting date created/received, author, or category information. Law firms that do not implement and uniformly utilize a detailed Tag system alongside an organized naming convention for documents will have difficulty finding the documents they need on MyCase. If the case is document heavy, I question whether you would ever find the right document without a Tag and Name system that made Obsessive Compulsive Disorder look disorganized.
The document automation features of MyCase, on the other hand, are probably the best available. The number of fields available far exceed either Clio or Rocket Matter, because they don’t require the creation of various custom fields just to be able to access certain information. Instead of having templates that operate completely independent of the case management system, MyCase integrates the two. Once you’ve established which case your new document is for, you are able to access the complete contact information of anyone who has been attached to that case. Templates can be Tagged for different categories, and they can be restricted to only certain users, which can serve as its own method of categorizing (only personal injury paralegals have access to certain documents, so workers compensation paralegals list isn’t clogged with documents they won’t ever need).
The only serious drawback to MyCase’s document automation function is that it only uses MS Word.
Workflows. Possibly the coolest (and most unique) feature of all three services I’ve reviewed, Workflows adds more to MyCase than any other single feature to any other software. By entering certain conditions, your Workflows automatically creates entries on your calendar or task list based on pre-set dates. Enter a Workflow for service of complaint, and filing Answer will automatically appear on your task list, with sub-tasks for contacting your client and emailing your initial case review to the insurance adjuster built in. And they will be keyed to a pre-set date. You can design as many Workflows as you can handle. The only drawback I’ve found so far is that while they do allow dates to be measured by weekday only or weekday and weekends, they do not yet factor for due dates falling on a weekend or holiday. Here’s hoping for the future…
4 out of 5.
MyCase is a combination of features that are head-and-shoulders above the competition in one area, and disturbingly lacking in others. The Workflows system makes an already excellent calendar and task system even better, and the document automation is the best in the business. However, a minimalist contact system and a woefully inadequate document management setup really bring MyCase back to the middle-of-the-pack. However, if you’re willing and able to overlook the flaws, MyCase definitely has tools and features that no other case management software can match.
Did you find this review helpful? Have a question about my methods? Disagree? Leave a comment below!