Jesse Danoff is refreshingly frank when asked why he became an attorney.
“I just really liked arguing with people,” says the Bay Area-based personal injury lawyer (half-joking). “I just didn’t get enough of it in my daily life. So after college I decided to go to law school. And here I am 12, 13 years later.”
“Here” is Mitchell & Danoff Law Firm. He joined it in March 2019 (when it was Mitchell Law Firm), becoming managing partner in December 2021 with the retirement of founder Tab Mitchell. Previously he was in-house counsel for a Silicon Valley firm. “I had a two-hour commute that I would do twice, three times a week, sometimes more,” Jesse says. “And I hated everything about driving that commute, so I started just looking for other jobs closer to home.” Upon coming across an ad that Mitchell had placed, “I was just like, ‘Hey, I don’t really have any experience doing personal injury stuff, but I’m pretty smart, and I think I could figure it out.’”
The Best of the PI World
Jesse discovered that personal injury law incorporated his favorite aspects of working as a criminal defense attorney, which he’d done directly after graduating from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in 2011. “I enjoyed going into the courtroom, and talking to people, and mixing it up, rather than just writing all day long in an office. So this was kind of a way to do that without having to do criminal defense stuff,” he says. And unlike when working as corporate counsel, “I get to actually help the smaller guy rather than just businesses and shareholders. Fortuitously I found what I was supposed to do.”
“I get to actually help the smaller guy rather than just businesses and shareholders. Fortuitously I found what I was supposed to do.”
The Move to CloudLex
Also fortuitously—at least for his new firm—Jesse knew a lot about legal case management software. At his Silicon Valley job he’d been responsible for negotiating all software deals. Upon joining up with Attorney Mitchell, he knew right away that the firm had to make some changes. “It was almost impossible to work efficiently,” he says. “Nothing was connected, there was very little cloud storage or backups. It was mostly paper files in file cabinets. There was the idea that they wanted to do some stuff on the internet, but the internet was like this mythical thing that they just couldn’t figure out.”
The firm was using a case management program when Jesse signed on, but not very effectively. “The staff are really good, they’re amazing,” he says. “But for one reason or another, they were not been brought up in this environment where they wanted to even use it.”
He speculates that the software company did a poor job of training the staff, which led to them “using it in ways that just made no sense. It was just making things harder.”
Jesse and his team researched other personal injury legal case management solutions, choosing CloudLex for several reasons. Chief among them was CloudLex’s responsiveness. “The customer service was so much better than that of the other companies we talked to, and for people who are not super tech-savy, that was huge,” Jesse recalls. “Our receptionist could call someone at CloudLex, and they would answer and be work with her to solve an issue or just answer a question.”
“I always feel like if there are options that are niche, it’s better to go that route than to just pick the big company.”
Another reason was the efficiency of CloudLex’s legal matter manager software, which among other things allows users to create, manage, and store in an easy-to-track, easy-to-search place all documents and data related to each case. With the previous software, “I would never be able to find what I needed in the file,” Jesse says. “When you have 50 notes on a case, and a ton of documents, and all these tasks and stuff, it was a challenge. Now I can see exactly what’s been done and know exactly what’s coming up.” He estimates that keeping up with case files now takes only 70% of the time it used to.
And unlike many other legal practice management software options, CloudLex is designed to accommodate medical records, retainer information, and other elements that are specific to personal injury law. “I always feel like if there are options that are niche, it’s better to go that route than to just pick the big company,” Jesse says. “If there’s something that’s more focused, you should look into it.”
Jesse also has high praise for the seamless transition from the firm’s previous software to CloudLex: “We had something like 300 cases at the time, and they all transferred over, and there weren’t any glaring issues that we had to figure out after the fact. Everything was smooth.”
In fact, he has no quarrels to pick with anything about CloudLex.
And coming from a guy who loves to argue, that’s significant indeed.