Cottonwood Law Group, LC
“All those best practices things you tell yourself you don’t have time for Smokeball does it for you.”
AREA OF LAW
Joshua Boehm wanted to streamline his processes in his office in order to pick up where someone left off. He found Smokeball’s powerful Microsoft Word and Outlook integration made it possible for his law firm to collaborate. With the automatic time tracking feature, it helped Josh find missing activities that he wasn’t tracking. Josh was able to capture 30% more of his activities due to Smokeball’s automatic time tracking.
The reason we initially went with Smokeball was the interface and usability – everything is organized so it’s extremely easy to find stuff, it’s fast, and it integrates well with both Adobe and the Microsoft Office suite.
Smokeball made it easy for us to onboard our first staff member in January this year. She’s picked up Smokeball quickly and already does all the automation of documents and so on. It was easy to get her up to speed because Smokeball is so intuitive, and because of the training videos available.
We’ve had our practice for 5 years and we’ve been using Smokeball for almost a year. There are three of us, 2 attorneys and 1 staff person. We are in a rural area in Kansas and have a general practice – wills, estate planning, probate, domestic, real estate, small business and municipal work.
Our goal is to have multiple offices but we want to consolidate so we can run phone calls through one office and have staff pick up work in other offices where needed. The last practice I was at had two offices and you had to bring the paper files with you between offices, it was a huge hassle. It’s so much easier with Smokeball to be able to work on my phone, my tablet, or different computers and have everything look the same and work the same.
We do a lot of e-filing and it’s really easy to go to a matter in Smokeball, right-click to upload it, and then also to later download documents as PDFs, manipulate them, and save them straight into Smokeball. I like that Smokeball keeps the version history of all your documents so you don’t have to save each draft as you work.
Smokeball’s form library and the ability to create your own templates has made a huge difference to our practice. It’s also so easy to manage your documents and access them from anywhere compared to other cloud software – there’s no downloading and uploading. Smokeball keeps everything within the same program.
The way Smokeball organizes your matters and contacts is great, the organization and standardization that Smokeball has set up for us has definitely allowed us to be more efficient and produce more work. Everyone knows exactly where to go and look for things. Being able to configure set folders that are automatically created for each Divorce file, for example, means that everyone knows where a memo gets saved. We also use a ton of tasks and they’re saved to the matter, our calendar events are there, it’s huge for us to be able to see all of these details on the one screen.
Smokeball has also helped us to go paperless. I don’t have multiple file cabinets or a separate file storage room, I have half a drawer of paper files and it’s mostly death certificates and city plats. We have ScanSnaps on every desk and scan everything directly into Smokeball. For every step and every process that we go through as a small law firm, Smokeball has a tool or feature that works with that process and makes it better or easier.
We’re a husband and wife team – she does a lot of court work and can work remotely with Smokeball from the courthouse. When I go to court, I don’t have to carry a big briefcase, I bring my Microsoft Surface and can pull up any document on any file – not just the files I thought I might need. If I’m there on one case and another attorney asks me about another case I can pull it up quickly in Smokeball and see every document, memo, and email.
Smokeball’s automatic time recording feature has hugely increased the amount of time I capture, I would say 30% or more.
When I used to manually enter time it was easy to forget to do it – and you don’t necessarily do it every day. I used to have to go back and look at the calendar and try and piece my days together.