There’s a chill in the air during a Chicago February that is unmistakable. It’s not the cold punch of early winter nor is it the wet slap of an early spring. February Chicago cold is a singular thing: an icy onslaught that goes straight into one’s veins. And deeper: it’s bone-chilling.

Lucky for visitors, it’s during this unique time of the year in the Windy City that ABA holds its annual TechShow, “where lawyers, legal professionals, and technology all come together” (and perhaps share some warmth along with ideas.) Indeed, each winter TechShow offers networking, after-hour parties, CLEs, and—most importantly—vendor space for companies in the legal industry to tout their wares.

And this year, Smokeball once again joins TechShow as a Platinum Sponsor. While setting up residence at the Hyatt Regency we’ll attempt to convey why ours is the best case management software (or best legal practice management software, depending on your parlance) on the market. At our booth we’ll be giving away some great goodies while demoing our legal technology and highlighting our billing, service, and secure communication capabilities. At our Lunch ‘N Learn on Friday, our CEO will join a family law attorney to discuss the evolution of automatic time keeping.

Needless to say, we’re excited.

But it’s also a time of reflection as we look back on our involvement in ABA TechShow 2019, just one year (and one Polar Vortex) ago. Last year Smokeball focused on our productivity capabilities as a differentiator between us and our cheaper competitors. While competitors often offer lower prices, customers get what they pay for (no library of court forms, no on-call service, no free integrations, no in-house timekeeping services, etc.) You get what you pay for, and we showcased how the value clients get from us comes in the form of increased billable hours and more organized communications with clients. In short, more productivity.

But more visibly, last year’s TechShow always marked our unveiling of our partnership with Calista Flockhart, one of TV’s most beloved fictitious lawyers. Released last February, our “I Invented It” ads found Calista Flockhart claiming to not only have invented Smokeball, but to also be its developer and CMO. All of it is not true, of course, but we appreciate the enthusiasm. You can watch the original ad and the behind the scenes videos here:

While we continue to play along with Calista, TechShow 2020 is our chance to explain who really invented Smokeball: the lawyers, paralegals, and legal assistants we work with every day. So this year we clearly aim to demonstrate how lawyers invent Smokeball. Each new capability—more efficient billing and invoices, AutoTime time-tracking, client-facing Communicate secure messaging, etc.—comes as a direct result of client feedback. Smokeball employees are comprised of approximately 50% ex-lawyers or legal professionals. Lawyers drive every aspect of our development (sorry, Calista.)

Customers new to case management software (or legal practice management software) often search online for “cheapest legal software” or “billing software” or “Clio alternatives,” etc. What this year marks for us is a firm statement that you can have it all in one package, and that the value you receive far outweighs the price.

But don’t take our word for it, listen to your fellow lawyers. After all, they’re the ones who invented Smokeball. What will you invent?