Smokeball Celebrates 2018 with Clients and Community Activists

//Smokeball Celebrates 2018 with Clients and Community Activists

Friday, November 16, 2018, was a busy day at Smokeball’s Chicago offices.  It was a day to celebrate 2018, a year of giving and a year of supporting worthy causes.  Two big events took place at Smokeball’s offices. First, the Community Activism Law Alliance (CALA) brought a group of legal professionals to Smokeball for training on Smokeball’s practice management products.  Smokeball supports CALA with free Smokeball licenses for their work fighting injustice in the community. Second, Smokeball hosted its annual holiday party for its clients and partners. This year, Smokeball chose to beat the holiday office party rush and hold a gathering before Thanksgiving as part of a Month of Thanks to its clients.  Both events on Friday were a hit, so here’s a bit more about them!

CALA Training

The Community Activism Law Alliance’s stated goal is to change legal aid for the better.  The organization seeks to reinvent how law and society interact: “We are changing how lawyers and communities work together. Our model, ‘community activism lawyering,’ unites lawyers and activists to help underserved communities access justice and pursue social change. We create community activism-law programs for, by, with, and within our partner communities.”  This mission is a difficult one, especially now, and Smokeball is a proud partner of CALA, providing case management software to the group for free. CALA’s Executive Director, Lam Nguyen Ho, recently wrote to express “huge appreciation for Smokeball and how it has really enabled us to serve over 10,000 people directly in their communities who are ineligible for, or otherwise struggle, to access legal aid from other organizations (undocumented immigrants, day laborers, sex workers, and grassroots activists).”

Friday’s training session at the Smokeball office was a chance to work directly with many of the lawyers and other legal professionals utilizing Smokeball each day to accomplish these amazing goals.  CALA professionals truly use all parts of Smokeball software. The training day started with lunch and then flowed into a Q&A session. Trainer Jessica Robinson and Onboarding Specialist Lydia Otey were so pleased to answer pointed questions about all the ways Smokeball can help CALA become more efficient for its clients.  A break followed so that attendees could see the Smokeball offices – the snack stash was a big hit. The day ended with in-depth document automation training, a staple of Smokeball’s platform and one that makes attorneys immeasurably more efficient and productive.  When leaving, Lam made sure to repeat his appreciation, saying, “We can’t imagine doing our work without you guys!” It was a gratifying start to a day of celebration.  Some CALA folks even returned a few hours later for Smokeball’s annual holiday party!

Holiday Party

A highlight of the year for Smokeball’s employees is this opportunity to meet and celebrate with clients at the company’s headquarters.  The party was meant to thank Smokeball clients for their loyalty and help over the years. Smokeball delivers great service and a great product to its clients because of the input from early adopters and loyal local users.  Also in attendance were partners similar to CALA, with the Justice Entrepreneurship Project represented by its Director, Trevor Clarke.

Food flew and drinks flowed as Smokeball’s offices transformed into a fall/winter fest with conversation and merriment all around.  Parting gifts for all in attendance were homemade and hand-decorated cupcakes from Amanda Wiszus, Smokeball’s resident semi-pro baker extraordinaire.  The event was a perfect cap on November as Smokeball’s Month of Thanks, and a perfect wrap-up to Smokeball’s Season of Giving, which raised nearly $10,000 for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children).

By |November 21st, 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. Additionally, Josh sits on the Board of Directors of Chicago-based Community Activism Law Alliance and on the Board of Directors of Chicago Fringe Opera Company. 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.