Recap of the 44th Annual Advanced Family Law Conference

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Smokeball took its show on the road to San Antonio, Texas for TexasBarCLE’s annual Advanced Family Law Conference from August 13-16.  The conference is one of the most widely attended in Texas and allows family law attorneys to share insight and war stories, and to gather CLE credits along the way.  From case law updates and ethics refreshers to small-town practice tips and practice management tricks, the conference held tracks for everyone looking to improve their family law practice.  

Smokeball case management software was thrilled to be a vendor sponsor at the conference, unleashing its latest campaign, which should be near and dear to family lawyers’ hearts: “Less Stress. More Success.”  At its orange booth, Smokeball Sales Executives Allison Gibson and Mike Skelly handed out stress balls and chatted with various practitioners about how technology can improve their practice and their work-life balance.  They gave brief demos of Smokeball, and set follow-up calls and demonstrations. Smokeball offered two “stress-free” gift baskets for a raffle on the last day of the conference.

The conference was a superb way to brush up on the intricacies of a difficult practice area.  Family lawyers are expected to be social workers, counsellors, guardians, mediators, and even law enforcement.  The undertaking is immense, and the conference focused on realigning focus on wellness, case law, and ethics. Various break-out tracks included trial skills, practice management, ethics issues, and ADR issues.  An overall theme of the conference was civility and professionalism in an often wild practice setting.

It quickly became clear that Smokeball is an incredible product for firms looking for family law software.  Especially resounding with attendees were the specific family law matter types, legal document automation, automatic lawyer time tracking, and the mobile app for lawyers.  Tasks and workflows also went along with the underlying theme of the conference to ensure you are doing everything you must and should do for your family law clients.

  • Matter Types for Family Lawyers: Smokeball provides many unique matter types for family law practitioners.  This means that the parties and information they keep track of differs according to the law in the state and the type of case taken.  For example, a Texas divorce matter will present different fields to track parties and information than a guardianship matter. The effect is stunning, as family lawyers are not trying to fit particular information into generic buckets.
  • Document Automation: The result of specific matter types for specific cases is extremely smart automated documents.  You have a guardian in guardianship matters, so it will properly pull into documents mentioning a guardian. The benefits of document automation in a correspondence-heavy family law practice are innumerable.
  • Automatic Time Tracking: Family lawyers are all over the place most of the day – how in the world can they keep track of each minute properly to either prove it to the court or bill accurately?  An eyebrow-raiser during the conference was talking about how Smokeball tracks everything you do in it, Word, and Outlook automatically. Smokeball leads the industry with this technology, and conference attendees took note!
  • Mobile App: Smokeball’s mobile app means that family lawyers can be everywhere at once.  The app means that their entire practice goes with them to court, to visit clients, and in the car or on the train.  This type of access to accurate information is essential to ensuring nothing gets missed. It also means that forgetting to print something before court does not wind up as an embarrassing conversation with a client or judge.
  • Tasks & Workflows: Setting up tasks for members of a family law office means that nothing falls off the radar for any clients.  Deadlines are never missed, and clients feel like their lawyer cares. Workflows similarly let family law firms set their processes in stone for repetition on each case.  A family lawyer’s care for their clients becomes standard when etched into a Smokeball workflow.

Smokeball learned a lot in Texas and we’d like to think we opened some family law attorneys’ eyes to how much technology can help not only them, but their clients.  The goal for the lawyers in attendance and for Smokeball is the same: great care taken for customers and clients. Such care is especially necessary to a family law firm, and Smokeball was happy to provide a way to deliver that for each family law client.  The Smokeball Team looks forward to attending many more conferences for family law and other practice areas!

Remember, Smokeball is the first and only complete cloud-based legal practice management software that automatically records time for you. Whether you bill hourly, fixed fee, or on contingency, Smokeball provides you the insights you need to run a more successful law firm. Plus, with over 14,000 automated forms, document creation and management has never been easier. Access all matters on the go with Smokeball’s robust mobile app built for iPhone and Android. Smokeball manages emails & documents easily, and it creates documents in a snap with clever automation, giving you a paperless office. Book a demo today!  With Smokeball, it’s less stress and more success.

By | August 22nd, 2018|

About the Author:

For years, Josh has helped lawyers become more organized, productive, and profitable. A trained litigator, Josh came to Smokeball from a large east-coast law firm where his practice focused on franchise, insurance, marine, and general litigation. His work with Smokeball, and his continued passion for what he does each day, is driven by a desire to help lawyers and their staff do better in every way. Knowing well the stress and strain put on today’s legal professional, he regularly focuses on improving work and life in the law. He has traveled the country working with and learning from lawyers and their staff. Josh speaks regularly to bar associations about successful law firm practices and other legal topics. Recent notable engagements have been with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In addition to his work at Smokeball, Josh serves on the Writing Resource Center staff at The John Marshall Law School. Besides legal technology, his research interests include judicial decision-making, jury decision-making and psychology, and legal writing. He has written and overseen research exploring causal effects of sex/gender on federal appellate court decision-making, and assisted with research for a forthcoming textbook on judicial decision-making. Josh holds his J.D., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Wash. U. Law Review, held the prestigious Thompson Coburn Research Fellowship, served as Research Assistant to then-Vice-Dean (now Chancellor) Andrew D. Martin, and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.M. in Music Performance with Honors Scholar distinction from the University of Connecticut, making him a Huskies basketball fan through and through. Follow Josh’s activity on LinkedIn, and keep up with new articles on the Smokeball Blog.

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