An Introduction to Of Counsel I.T.
This article is meant to be a brief introduction into how and why my company was started. To begin, here is a little about me. My name is Kevin Hogle. I’ve been practicing law in California since 2005. Most of my career has been spent as a criminal defense attorney, specifically as a Public Defender. I have tried over 40 cases through verdict, over 30 of which were jury trials. I have cross-examined thousands of witnesses in front of a judge and/or jury, have conducted more than 150 preliminary hearings, and have represented thousands of clients in court. I tell you this with the primary intent that you understand that if you’re reading this, I am likely just like you. A trial lawyer. Specifically, a criminal defense trial lawyer. These days my practice has changed a bit, but I still carry a small criminal caseload, and will always look at myself as a Public Defender.
Who Cares About Criminal Defense Law Firms?
When I left the Orange County Public Defender’s (California) office, I looked into what software for criminal defense attorneys existed on the market for two primary reasons:
- I wanted to be organized and efficient; and
- I wanted to have as close to a paperless office as was possible.
My exploration of available software options led me down an interesting path. I quickly learned that there are a lot of really great software companies with products that can help civil attorneys. I also learned that none of those great pieces of software really did what I needed or wanted them to do. I started to think about my process with clients, from intake through final invoice, and how those software products didn’t do a fraction of what I needed done. Hourly billing and invoicing weren’t the problems that I needed to solve in my practice.
I decided that I would not be purchasing any software from the existing vendors. I couldn’t justify paying for something that would force me to design my practice around the software as opposed to having the software designed around my practice. My process was important to me. As a coder I started to think about how I was actually missing the bigger picture. What if I built something that solved my problems? Wouldn’t it also solve other attorneys’ problems as well? If software companies didn’t care about criminal defense attorneys, or other niches that generally don’t have the “big firm + lots of big firm users = big money” appeal, maybe I could create a company that did care about those attorneys. So I did.
What Part of My Process Matters?
When designing LEA (“Legal e-Admin”), I began to think about a number of things:
- What parts of my process were most important to me?
- What am I doing every day that could be automated, regardless of whether I have an assistant or not?
- Why am I logging into multiple different vendors to re-input the same client data? For example: getting electronic signatures, processing credit cards, and updating internal and external calendars?
- How can I make sure that my intake process is consistent so that I capture the right data every time (issue spotting)?
- How should my files be electronically organized?
It quickly occurred to me that some of these problems were relatively obvious. I was somewhat baffled that no one out there has really put all of this together for criminal defense attorneys. I’m not trying to say that there weren’t other products that could have been used; it’s not that at all. It’s just that none of the existing products on the market were ready for a practice like mine out-of-the-box. If I wanted to create a custom intake process for a criminal case, I would have to integrate with a third-party vendor. If I want to store data regarding a criminal case, such as a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) result, I would have to manually create a custom field. Once I created that custom field, it would just show up randomly on a matter dashboard in an unorganized fashion. The criminal dataset is so huge that it would be pointless to create a hodge podge of data because it would never be readable or easily searchable.
The Beginning of “LEA”
I really felt like I needed to create my own solution: software for criminal defense attorneys. So, I built LEA.
LEA is designed from the ground up to be specifically for criminal defense attorneys. LEA has everything pre-configured for a criminal defense attorney like you. You don’t have to create custom fields to collect the data on a case that you need; it’s all done for you. You don’t have to log into different platforms to complete the different aspects of your process; it’s all done for you. You don’t have to cut and paste your client’s information into your electronic signature vendor, then your credit card vendor, then your case management software; it’s all done for you. You don’t have to use a paper intake form: it’s all done for you. You don’t have to re-input calendar dates, or search through your paper files to find your notes; it’s all done for you.
LEA already has most of the things you need, and we are pushing out updates on a weekly basis adding more features. Please feel free to reach out to us to discuss what features you’d like to see in LEA and we’ll add them to our list. Please contact us with any questions and we’d be happy to chat with you.