Smokeball Hosts Knowledge-Packed Real Estate Symposium: Making 2018 Your Best Year Yet

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On Thursday, May 3, 2018, Smokeball’s Content and Client Success Teams hosted a symposium for real estate attorneys at its Downtown Chicago offices.  The symposium focused on using Smokeball’s many features to “Make 2018 Your Best Year for Real Estate.”

Sara Hawes, Smokeball’s VP of Content, opened the program stating that it was inspired by a desire to help real estate attorneys with preparation, efficiency, and profitability.  The timing was perfect, as Smokeball had recently released many new software tools for real estate attorneys to maximize efficiency while realizing tremendous profits.

The Importance of Preparation

Sara Sultan, Smokeball’s Senior Client Trainer, kicked off the substantive portion of the event with best practices for setting up new real estate matters in Smokeball.  She illuminated the importance of setting up the firm’s fee, workflows, and tasks with reminders on new files. She then outlined how easily customizable each matter is, meaning that attorneys can be ready to go with nuanced deal templates (e.g., short sales, cash deals).  The theme of Sara’s portion of the day was preparation and setting up for success, utilizing all of Smokeball’s many real estate tools.

Sara drove home the notion that good data input on files means that Smokeball can give back immense accurate information to an attorney; thus, setting things up correctly is key, from contacts to task workflows.  Sara showed the attendees common errors she sees out on the road as she travels to different firms and how to correct those errors to ensure data is useful. A major highlight came in response to a question when Sara pointed out that Smokeball’s training website houses pre-built task workflows for real estate attorneys to use in their practice immediately.

Key Features for Real Estate Efficiency

Sara then handed the reins to Angie Wilde, Smokeball’s Content Manager for Business & Real Estate.  Angie got the room excitedly buzzing as she walked through the abilities of Smokeball’s automated Closing Statement.  She displayed Smokeball’s automatic tax calculations, transfer taxes (state, county, and municipality), HOA fees, among other things.

Attorneys and staff in attendance were amazed as she answered most “can it do this” questions in the affirmative. Especially popular was when Sara Sultan jumped back in to show one questioner how to update a previously-created Closing Statement after new figures had been put into Smokeball without any need to create a whole new document.

In addition to Closing Statement bells and whistles, Angie showed the crowd of about 30 real estate attorneys and staff the incredible breadth of Smokeball’s Real Estate Form Library. Many in the room had no idea that automated, ready-to-use public forms organized by county, title company, and beyond were at their fingertips in Smokeball. Just a click of a button from the Form Library would now prepare important transaction documents effortlessly.  In fact, Smokeball has thousands of automated documents in its public Form Library. Angie also iterated that Smokeball will work with firms to get their specific proprietary documents, such as letters and engagement agreements, automated and available to the firm in its own personal document library.

It All Points to Profitability

The symposium culminated with profitability.  Everything shown to that point was to drive home the idea that real estate attorneys can and should be more profitable.  Especially in a flat-fee industry, time savers can result in more work done in the same amount of time, and more profit as a result.  Sara Sultan returned to the podium to illustrate how Smokeball gives real estate attorneys law firm insight into time spent on files and resulting profits.  Firm Insights proved to be the biggest hit, with dashboards on profit by matter and profit by matter type (i.e., buy vs. sell) that would give attendees the powerful knowledge to change their fees, take on only certain types of work, or track who gives them the most business.  

Finally, Sara reminded the audience to utilize Smokeball’s Mobile App for lawyers outside of the office. Real estate lawyers are, of course, always traveling or passing time at closings; why not make the most of time out of the office with your entire practice right in your pocket?

Overall, the symposium handed attendees many terrific tips on making 2018 their most successful year yet.  It was clear to all in the room how powerful Smokeball is to a real estate practitioner. Some realized that they were only scratching the surface with Smokeball. Attendees showed great enthusiasm and brought wonderful questions, and many stayed past the formal presentations to chat with Smokeball staff.

To learn more about the powerful tools that Smokeball offers real estate attorneys, book your free demo and see the software for yourself!

By | May 7th, 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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