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Cloud-based legal software: One PI law firm’s all-in-one solution

Noel Peel

Written by

Noel Peel


June 3, 2021

When McHenry County law firm Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC began their search for new practice management software, they needed something to streamline their firm and bring it into the modern world. They wanted something that would work for all areas of law that the firm took on – with cases ranging from personal injury to family, real estate, and beyond, attorneys and staff were spending unnecessary time shifting between different types of legal software.

“We handle personal injury work, workers’ comp, criminal and traffic defense, family law, real estate, estate planning. So kind of a little bit of everything… we wanted something that everybody could use.”

Kelly Lancaster is the Managing Partner at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC.

Saving time

Prior to making the switch to Smokeball, the employees of Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC had a document creation system that may look familiar to a lot of legal professionals – when a new document needed to be drafted, they would go to their database to find a previous file that could be copied and edited to fit the needs of the new case. This required staff to keep a mental catalog of where to find relevant forms, where the most recent version of those forms might be saved, and often left attorneys in a lurch if they needed to find a form quickly.

These days, things look a little different. Smokeball’s document automation capabilities enable them to generate documents within their case management system, without having to hunt through old files. As attorney Kelly Lancaster noted, “If I need to find something, I can actually do it.”

“All of a sudden we could see that certain things weren’t taking as long or [were] just easier to do.”

Cloud and remote capabilities

Smokeball’s hybrid cloud technology has been an asset since day one and ensured that whether an attorney was working from home, or needed to pull up a document to reference in court, everything they needed was at their fingertips.

This feature quickly went from convenient to crucial during times when the entire staff has had to work remotely. Being able to see things updated in Smokeball in real time enabled attorneys and their assistants to continue to communicate and work together on cases, regardless of distance from the office.

“Whatever they’re doing is updated in real time. So even though my assistant isn’t physically in the same location as I am, it doesn’t matter because so long as she’s putting in Smokeball whatever she’s doing, I’m good to go.”

For firms that handle multiple practice areas, finding case management software that fits everyone’s needs can be easier said than done. Luckily, Smokeball allows firms to select from a huge library of matter types to customize their software as needed. Additional features such as document automation, tracking billable hours, and email management software save time and stress by providing a one stop solution.

The attorneys of Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC have been dedicated to helping clients achieve their goals since 1981. They are a successful litigation firm offering a variety of services in northern Illinois, including family law, personal injury, workers’ compensation, criminal law, real estate, estate planning and probate, business law, and appeals. For more information, please visit

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