We recently asked Cory Easton, a Criminal Defense attorney based in St. Louis, for feedback on the impact Smokeball has had on his firm and his response was too valuable to not share with you. As a legal professional, the scenario Cory describes pre-Smokeball is all too familiar. Taking a line from Cory, if you are still on the fence, read this completely uncensored feedback to help you jump over it:
“I was drowning in files that had taken over my office. I knew there had to be a better way. I had files all over my desk, on chairs and on the floor. I had to move files to allow clients to sit in the office for meetings. My two paralegals had files all over their desks. We had files on top of the filing cabinets and files in the hallway. We had boxes of files on top of other boxes of files. My shoulder was starting to droop from the weight of files in my bag when I went to court. Just walking into the office in the morning seeing all the files made me anxious—and when we couldn’t find a file the office went into panic mode. I kept reading about “paperless offices” in the bar journal. Furthermore, I still carried a little black book around. I had a larger master paper calendar at the office. The paralegals had their own calendars. Countless hours were spent logging court dates in multiple books and calendars.
I tried Smokeball because a friend of mine said he used it and liked it. In a few short months Smokeball has transformed our office into a lean mean fighting machine. The calendar and paperless features were just the tip of the iceberg. The auto-time billing feature tracks everything I do in a case and totals up the time without me doing a thing. It was very easy to learn and the software catches billable time that I was missing. Our bills look tight and professional.
I went to criminal felony court today and did not take a briefcase, calendar or file. I had one pen in my suit jacket (it was a Smokeball pen- they are nice quality) All of my cases (the documents, pleadings, etc.) are accessible from my phone. I scan the court orders with my phone (I use adobe scan or Smokeball allows you to take a photo and save it directly to the file) while in court and my secretary had sent out notices to the clients with their new court dates before I made it back to the office. No more picking up files in the morning then dropping the files on her desk then putting away the files. I make notes on my phone (sometimes I take my ipad pro) of what happened in court. All of my contacts (clients, judges, other attorneys) are in Smokeball and therefore I can access contact info on my phone. I don’t need to save my contacts information on my phone and waste valuable memory space. If it is Saturday and I am out of the office and a client calls about a court date, an order entered or anything else that requires a file review, I can access it in seconds.
When we close a file it literally takes one second. I click on the word closed. If I want to see all my closed files I click on another tab to see them. No going to the basement to add another file to a pile of files that later I will have to pay to have shredded by a company that overcharges. If a client needs a document from a closed file we do not have to leave our desk. We can email it to them within seconds, not minutes.
We are learning how to create workflows that save us even more time. Smokeball also has a ton of forms that we use on a daily basis in every category of the law you can think of.
I looked at other software but Smokeball has the most comprehensive set of tools out there. It was a little more expensive (Smokeball pays for itself TRUST ME) and when a paralegal left the firm I had no need to hire another and am thinking about hiring an associate instead. Smokeball has increased our productivity by hours, not minutes. Walking around with my whole office in the palm of my hand is pretty cool too. It empowers me to do more for my clients.
The Smokeball team continues to train us and the IT support staff handled every request or issue we had almost immediately. We proudly display the Smokeball logo on our front door. If you are on the fence jump over it. I am glad I did. Illinois is going paperless with E-file—we are ahead of the game.”
At Smokeball, we are driven to help small law firms find success. When we receive feedback from our customers like this, it makes us proud to know we are delivering on that mission. Let us help you find success in your law firm.