Smokeball Version 5.1 is Here!

//Smokeball Version 5.1 is Here!

Smokeball’s latest release, Version 5.1, is finally coming to computer screen near you!  Smokeball’s Product Team worked with both clients and internal stakeholders to release new features and refinements that make Smokeball easier to use and information easier to access and store.  As with any Smokeball release, if you have questions about any of the new Smokeball features and refinements discussed here, please reach out to your Smokeball Account Manager or view more in-depth training resources on our training site.

New Smokeball Memos

Our first new feature is one that many clients have been eagerly awaiting—we’re so thrilled to finally bring you a brand new Memos Tab. We made some significant changes to the way that memos work in Smokeball.  These changes ensure that memos are never again overwritten by other users if multiple people are trying to contribute material at the same time.  Everyone can add to a memo at the same time without any contribution overwriting another.

The new Memos Tab allows users to create separate memo entries for a given matter that are sorted automatically by date created.  Each memo entry has a snapshot tile view on the left and a scrollable preview on the right so that you can see at a glance what’s going on in the matter.  We have also made it possible to search memo name and content, print a single or all memos, and attach memos to tasks.


New Profitability Reporting Capabilities: Realization Rates

The new version of Profitability Reports within Smokeball’s Firm Insights Tab now shows three stages of realization.  Radio buttons display on the top right corner of the reports to show:

  1. Realization by billable amount
    This rate takes into account billable Amount (staff hourly rate x time spent) and Fees (total time/fees recorded in Time & Expenses).  The purpose of this realization calculation is to give Firm Owners insight into whether they are recording the time they worked on the matter accurately–i.e., is the amount going onto the invoice reflective of the work done on the matter.
  2. Realization by invoice amount
    This rate accounts for the amount invoiced recorded in Smokeball’s billing feature.  It gives firm owners insight into fees being written off or discounted. If you regularly write off/discount, this realization rate will be less than 100%; if you never discount/write-off fees, this realization rate will be 100%.
  3. Realization by fees collected
    This rate—the traditional realization calculation—captures realization based on fees collected.  This shows firm owners their realization in the face of waiving invoices or other non-payment by clients.


Important Smokeball Refinements

View All Daily Digests
A feature that many clients have requested is the ability to toggle from one’s own Daily Digest on the Smokeball Homescreen to view other firm members’ Daily Digests.  It is now possible for users to switch between their own and other Daily Digests. This gives users a central location to see what others are doing that day rather than navigating around through tasks and calendar to gather the information.  We think this addition will be very much appreciated by any staff member tasked with knowing what’s on the books for their attorneys!


Trust Balance Visible on Matter Billing Summary
Clients using Smokeball’s billing feature will now see trust account balances on the right-hand side of each matter.  This gives each person touching the matter an idea of what remains in trust and gives users who do not normally access Smokeball’s billing feature top-level information on what remains in the client’s trust account.  Empowered with this information, all firm employees’ communications with clients are more informed.


Recurring Events Icon
Clients using Smokeball as their primary calendar will now see a small indicator differentiating recurring events from one-time entries.


Search Form Library to Link Templates to Tasks
With Smokeball’s addition this winter of adding templates to tasks and workflows, accessing the right document to use at the right time has never been easier.  Now we’ve made it even easier than it was! When attaching templates to tasks and workflows, you can now search the Form Library to find exactly the right template to add to the task.


By |June 26th, 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.