“Vehicle of Change”: One Small Firm’s Story of Success Through Unexpected Succession

//“Vehicle of Change”: One Small Firm’s Story of Success Through Unexpected Succession

Earlier this fall, a letter arrived on Smokeball President Jane Oxley’s desk.  That letter was the story of unexpected success rising from unexpected loss and succession planning at a small law firm in Clearfield, Pennsylvania.  The letter was a pouring out of thanks for Smokeball’s steadiness, reliability, and help during a time of tumultuous transition.  It is the story of Smokeball law practice management software achieving what it set out to be from day one: the catalyst to success in an ever-changing legal business world.

Eric Cummings is the managing partner of The Cummings Law Firm, a very successful multi-office law firm in central Pennsylvania.  But Eric’s and the firm’s current success were not guaranteed after the unexpected death of his mentor and friend. “My mentor was here and then, he was gone. . . . I was grappling with the short-term success of survival; survival in the face of fear,” Eric recalled in his letter.  

Smokeball was around at just the right moment for Eric and his team: “This is where Smokeball became a primary administrative tool for my firm, driving our efficiency and focus.”  Smokeball’s commitment to helping Eric through a difficult time and continuing commitment to develop for lawyers just like Eric was intensely apparent when it was needed most. “Smokeball creates a mindset of peace and stability; which is invaluable to a business owner in a world full of paper jams, dropped internet service and unread emails. Smokeball is a business which is in business to understand businesses.”

Eric and his team tangibly realize Smokeball’s promise to support small law firms in their work so they can better serve their communities.  “[T]he success of this practice in efficiently providing legal services to its local community is in large part, a result of my ability to focus on the practice of law,” he echoed.  “Reliance on Smokeball’s consistency generates a reservation of energy and creativity in me that does not have to be wasted in the administrative-muck and mud of my practice. My efforts are laser focused on the practice of law because I know that from the beginning, Smokeball has had my back and continues handling those ancillary matters that administratively keep most other lawyers up at night.”

As his firm’s vehicle of change for the better, Eric poses an important question to all other small firms who know they must get smarter, quicker, and slicker in an ever-changing legal landscape: “Will you choose to drive the old-clunker, or will you choose to experience the Ferrari-style operational system of the legal marketplace?  For me, my Ferrari is Smokeball and the ride is smooth, the productivity is fast, and my fears can only be found fading away in my rear-view mirror.”

Stories like Eric’s abound at Smokeball, and we love sharing them with all of you.  Read Eric Cumming’s full letter to Smokeball’s President, Jane Oxley, below. To see if Smokeball can be the Ferrari or even just the stabilizer for your small law firm, book a full free demo with one of our small firm specialists today.

Cummings Law Firm Letter

Smokeball is legal software so perfect for your practice, you’ll think you invented it.  From document automation to automatic time tracking and legal billing, Smokeball is built to reduce stress and increase success at small law firms.  Learn all about these features and much more by booking a free demo today.

By |December 12th, 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.