Sometimes inefficiencies can be the seed of transformation. As a 26-person firm specializing in criminal and family law, Buzgon Davis Law Office knew that efficient systems were pivotal to success. However, as newly appointed Office Manager, Stephanie Kratzer soon discovered their existing way of working was not working at all.
Seeds of transformation
Before Smokeball, "our processes were very disjointed, and information was located all over the place," confesses Stephanie. Client files scattered across various servers, notebooks doubling up as data centers, and a workplace resembling a paper collector's dream. Client satisfaction had begun to suffer, and the firm's image was at stake. “We weren’t getting any stellar reviews from clients. We were maybe meeting their needs but we weren’t impressing them in any way,” says Stephanie.
The persistent inefficiency was taking a toll on the staff, too, leading to a 35% employee turnover rate. "We had a mess on our hands," Stephanie remembers. “There were a lot of things that had fallen off the cart.” Thankfully, Stephanie came on board just in time. A determined “fixer” on a mission to find a user-friendly solution, she discovered Smokeball.
Smokeball: a “no-brainer” for simplifying complexities
"From the moment I did the Smokeball demo, I knew it was the solution for us. I could clearly see how it would seamlessly bring together all our disparate processes," Stephanie shares. Knowing that staff can resist implementation of a new system, it was critical to find legal software that was efficient and intuitive. Smokeball’s user-friendly interface, document creation libraries, and collaboration tools sold Stephanie. “I knew it would make life so much easier for me, as well as the staff and clients. Choosing Smokeball was really a no-brainer.”
Propelling Buzgon Davis into the modern era
After a less than positive experience with previous legal case management software, Bugzon Davis staff were cautious. But they were quick Smokeball converts after a dramatic shift in client relations. "Our clients love it. Customers are coming to expect easy payment and seamless communication. Smokeball definitely helps us with client retention," says Stephanie. These improvements give the firm a competitive edge they previously didn't have. As Stephanie puts it, "If we continued with our old methods, we'd almost certainly be losing clients.”
Effortless time tracking drives profitability
With Smokeball’s AutoTime feature, all the attorney’s work is timed, tracked, and associated with the appropriate matter automatically. “Before Smokeball, we had some attorneys who wouldn’t do timesheets for days at a time and were mentally having to recreate their billing,” Stephanie remembers. Now, staff focus on delivering client work instead of logging hours, and partners are confident that time entries are accurate. This gives Buzgon Davis visibility into the profitability of their fee earners, practice areas, and individual matters enabling them to optimize profitability across the firm.
Stepping into a new era of efficiency and team harmony
Life at Buzgon Davis is radically different from what it was before Smokeball. Staff are now unified with efficient processes and streamlined workflows. "Our paralegals love Smokeball because creating court documents and filing is so much easier. Our bookkeeper now focuses on reconciling and auditing, rather than keying in data," Stephanie explains.
The transformation brought about by Smokeball extends far beyond pure procedural adjustments. It has had profound implications for the work environment and team morale. “There’s a lot less frustration now,” Stephanie remarks, highlighting the positive shift in the firm's atmosphere. "I can proudly say that our staff turnover rate has dropped from 35% to 0%." And while some of this can be attributed to a shift in culture, Stephanie is confident that it also has a lot to do with better processes and systems. “People are working better together as a team and feel a sense of progress because we have systems in place.”
Smokeball paves the way for ongoing success
Today, the wheels of success are firmly back on the cart at Buzgon Davis thanks to Smokeball. “We will never switch!” Stephanie firmly states. “Not just because transitioning to new software is a pain but because we love Smokeball so much.”
As the firm looks to the future, the role of Smokeball in their ongoing success is undeniable. "I think we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface with what Smokeball can do. We’re in it for the long haul," Stephanie concludes.