Everything you need to get started in the Smokeball community. Learn how to connect with Smokeball experts and other legal peers near and far.
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Australian update: New matter types, form and precedent updates in March
My team and I work hard to add new content across the areas of law we cover in Australia. This month, we're sharing some of the updates we've made in the Community. Let me know what you think about the new format! These are just the highlights. We make hundreds of changes each month to ensure our content is up-to-date and efficient to use. If you want to know more about an update in the areas of law you practice in, let me know by replying below. Conveyancing Stakeholder matter type (QLD) The stakeholder matter type is used in circumstances where a law firm is acting as Stakeholder for both parties under a contract for sale of land in a Conveyancing matter type. Here’s the details on the new stakeholder matter type. Lexon precedent updates (QLD) We made some changes to our Lexon precedents. All automated and non-automated documents are now up to date. Contract of sale and purchase of land (NSW) Read more about our updates to the NSW Contract of Sale and Purchase of Land. Mortgage
March Roundup - Highlights for Smokeball USA
We’re still feeling the holiday cheer after donating over $20,000 to charity with your help through our Season of Giving initiative. Thank you all for helping us achieve this goal!We realize Daylight Savings is just around the corner (Sunday, March 12 to be exact). Here are some other timely updates and resources to prepare you for the spring season. State of the Law 2023 Report: The Great Automation We surveyed 200 law firms. No surprise legal professionals have embraced technology in the last three years. But the real power of legal tech to help law firms work smarter and more efficiently comes with automating key legal processes and tasks. Read the findings. Here are a few key areas where firms are shifting their ethics as we enter a new era. How about you? Recession speculation is everywhere. Are you prepared? In this three-part series, we look at numerous ways to protect your firm during a recession, counter-intuitive ways to increase your firm’s profits, and how to pivot to
Write your last 'to-do' checklist and automate it
I often speak to firms wanting to achieve similar goals: Improving the visibility of work Becoming more organised Making the workday more efficient Delivering consistent client experiences My first recommendation is always the same; take the time to set up Tasks and Workflows. It’s a simple way to get more work done with less effort. Never miss a deadline or key dateAutomating tasks lets you replace a manual “to-do” checklist, freeing up your time and delivering the best possible experience to your clients. Tasks and Workflows allow you to effortlessly allocate tasks including documents and files to the right person at the right time, every time! There’s a range of options to help you make tasks as useful as possible in your workflow including, setting reminders, assigning the tasks to others, linking to files and setting reminder notifications. Give your team a productivity and confidence boostMany firms tell us they wouldn’t have been able to keep up with the new era of on
How to uplevel your firm's website intake and lead conversion process: webinar recording and recap
We recently hosted a webinar with virtual receptionist Smith.ai, a 24/7 client engagement platform that helps you save money, gain business, and reduce interruptions. Chelsey Lambert and Maddy Martin shared how Smith.ai offers an exceptional client experience—and integrates with Smokeball for seamless intake and increased lead conversions. You can watch the webinar for free here. Here's what they covered: Part 1: Introduction to Smith.ai Screens potential clients based on your criteria Schedules appointments on your calendar Takes payments Makes outbound calls for quick follow-up Part 2: Engage & Convert with Smith.ai Consumer expectations Lawyering vs. Laboring Benefits: win more clients, boost marketing results, extend hours & capacity, reduce staff interruptions and increase productivity, improve client satisfaction Part 3: Convert & Retain with Smokeball Connected systems with consistent information Creating and viewing leads in Smokeball Le
Elevate Intake: 12 steps for creating a seamless client consult [on demand webinar]
Attorney and Smokeball legal technology advisor Jordan Turk recently gave her insight on the client intake process, which you can watch here for free. (And be sure to register for Smokeball's upcoming free CLEs here.)She focused on creating a client-focused process that’s seamless, comfortable and easy for the client to understand. Jordan also provided tips to ensure you're protected and are establishing the foundation for great client relationships. Part 1: Potential Client10 tips for better bonding and assessing your client's history Discuss what client wants (are their goals realistic?) Set reasonable expectationsPart 2: 12 Steps to Elevate Client Process Standardize conflict check process Narrow your lead sources Provide client paperwork ahead to fill out online Beware of waiver of privilege Be clear about case costs Give client a case roadmap and set expectations Have fee agreement already filled out Have the client initial the evergreen clause Collect the consultation fee prior
Set up Smokeball to suit you with these right-click tips
Smokeball is full of features designed to place what you need to run your best firm right at your fingertips. Each area of law, firm, and employee needs something different. That’s why we have so many great features and customizations accessible with a single right-click. 1) Matter list view By right-clicking on the matter list heading, you can choose the information you wish to see at a glance when opening the matter list. Learn more about organizing your matter list.2) Matter detailsAdd more information you have on a matter by right-clicking certain fields in the Matter Details, such as multiple contacts. 3) Matter documentsRight-clicking on a file in a matter will present you with a plethora of different actions you can take. From sending the file as an attachment to converting it to a PDF, you can access everything you need from one place.Learn more about organizing your matter files and documents. There’s many other places where right-click can do it’s magic in Smokeball. Is th
Are you the next Australian Legal Community hero? Win a $5,000 travel voucher!
*Drum roll*The Community Hero award is back!It’s our way of saying thank you to the unsung heroes that give back to the Australian communities they practice in. The winner of the Smokeball Community Hero award receives a $5,000 travel voucher to go towards a trip of their choice. Five runners-up will also each receive a luxury hamper.Nominate in 5 minutes or lessYou can nominate anyone in Australia via the Smokeball Community Hero page. Self nominations are also welcome! Don’t feel guilty about nominating yourself - if you have a story to share, we want to hear it. Applications close COB Monday 30 January 2023.We'll announce the winners live at the Smokeball Spark conference on Friday, 17 February 2023.If you have any questions, let us know in the replies below.Happy nominating!
Are your robots underperforming?
Despite working for free, never getting tired and always showing up on time, robots still need to be set up for success—they require an occasional check-in! Automation, or “the robots,” is really just using specialized technology to quickly complete common legal tasks. It will never replace key components of the work: problem solving, mentoring colleagues, advocating for clients, or other things that drew you to the work. Automation will ensure you’re not burning hours on repetitive and tedious tasks. Take back your time In our free CLE Embrace the Robots: Automate Law Firm Tasks + Grow Your Practice on November 15, we’ll help you take the next steps in automating your firm. But to do it, we need to know where you’re stuck. We’d like to know your answers to any or all of these questions: What non-billable tasks are holding you up? What repeatedly appears on your to-do list and kills your profit margin? What tasks would you like help automating?
Trust yourself: how to properly manage your trust accounting to stay compliant with your state bar [on demand webinar]
Some of the most common sanctions assessed across states have to do with trust account violations. In her recent CLE, attorney and Smokeball legal technology advisor Jordan Turk gave a refresher on trust accounts and their ethical considerations, which you can watch here for free. She also shared four war stories and advice on how to avoid similar outcomes. Here’s how she broke out the session: Part 1: Trust Account 101 Overview of IOLTAs Serving as fiduciary of clients’ funds Watching out for bad actors Part 2: Ethical considerations Refresher on ABA Rule 1.15 and 1.5 Properly accepting credit cards (Hint: ensure you’re using a solution specified for attorneys) Three-way reconciliation (what it is and how to do it) Part 3: Storytime Four horror stories and ensuring you’re in compliance Jordan wrapped with eight key take-aways. One last reminder: a lawyer must maintain seven years of current trust account records. If yours are just paper files or saved to your
What are your firm's goals?
We talk a lot about personal New Year resolutions, but do you set resolutions for your business too?To help you achieve your goals this year, on behalf of our Client Success team, we’d love to know what your firm is focusing on, and how we can help.Want to find more clients? Keen to branch out into different areas of Law? Looking to grow your team? Something else?Your success coaches are on standbyThe Client Success Team here at Smokeball are here to help you realise your business goals by helping you use Smokeball to your advantage.We also invite our community members to share learnings to help each other. Starting a conversation or simply posting your goals below is a good place to start.Whether you're planning on automating more of your processes to give you more time back or want to start tracking your profitability so that you know where to focus your marketing dollars, we are here to help support your success.Even if you aren’t sure what your goals are yet, we can share a wealth
How I saved time and billed more using Autotime
Before I joined Smokeball I worked in a law firm. When my firm moved from manual to automatic time tracking we quickly saw how much more we were earning and how much time we saved on admin. Here’s what I learned from making the move to Autotime and why I think you should too.Before: Manual time tracking & billing the old-fashioned wayMy firm and I tracked everything using a timer and a new spreadsheet to log the time for each matter.It was completely manual and I remember how much time I spent recording tasks and calculating the totals when it came time to bill. Smokeball research with clients showed that firms that track time manually underestimate billable hours by up to 30%.That was my experience too. It was hard to be sure I had captured everything that was billable. I know we missed a lot.As a Client Success Manager here at Smokeball, I’ve seen how many firms are under billing and under valuing their work. Some of these clients would record their time entry in an Excel spread
Nomination Inspiration for Smokeball's 2023 Community Hero Award
With so many individuals in the Australian legal community doing incredible work in their own ways, we wanted to re-share the story of Thomas Mathew from Unite Legal, who was last year’s winner of the Smokeball Community Hero award. Thomas contributes significantly to the legal community through pro-bono work, supporting communities who often have the least power in our society – immigrants. Thomas is passionate about helping the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community in Melbourne. He has partnered with the South Sudanese Association of Victoria (SSAV) to inform and educate the community regarding the important and common legal issues often faced. Thomas has also been recognised for his ongoing contribution and legal assistance to the African community at the African Afroshine Australia Awards for two consecutive years. Thomas’ passion and dedication to helping others within society in need of legal support is a true inspiration to us all!
Happy holidays! Getting support for Smokeball over the holiday break.
Happy holidays!After a busy year, many of us here at Smokeball are taking a break between now and new years day. Don't worry; some of us are sticking around to chat if you need help during normal support hours (excluding public holidays).Ask a question here in the community Check out our help articles Or -if you're still stuck-do send our support team a messageWe wish you all a happy holiday and a prosperous new year!
What would make your firm more successful? [feedback request]
Hello Smokeball Community!As we head towards the new year we are doing some research here in the USA and would love your feedback.We want to hear what kinds of things you think would help your firm be more successful or would have helped you get your firm rolling.Do you wish you had access to a place where you could buy/sell templates for common documents (wills, common petitions etc)? What about access to resources on how to run a firm from a business standpoint or best practices by area of law? Is there something else you wish you had now or that would have made your life easier?As a note, this is not meant to be a forum for Smokeball feature requests and we would love this to be a more holistic view of the needs you might have as a firm and/or as you were getting started. Drop a comment here with ideas for discussion or if you'd like us to reach out to you so we can chat.
Save $100 on Smokeball Spark: Early bird tickets available until 31 December
Want some inspiration to transform and grow your firm?Smokeball Spark, Australia’s premier small law conference, offers a chance to join other leaders to spark new ideas for business growth and learn about top technology trends to fuel your firm’s business transformation.2 streams: ‘Firm Development’ or ‘Daily Efficiency’ streams to either map out long-term strategies for your firm or to identify how you can operate more efficiently day-to-day. Keynote speakers include Holly Ransom, globally renowned content curator and speaker, and Sam Bloom, Bestselling author, 2 x para surfing world champion, and inspiration behind the Netflix hit movie, Penguin Bloom. Earn 5+ CPD points, networking and moreRegister today and save $100 on early bird tickets on sale now until Dec 31, 2022. Smokeball Spark will be held on February 17, 2023 at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth.
Automation opportunities: watch how they help save time, reduce errors and remove stress [on demand webinar]
Automation can sound overwhelming, but Jordan Turk and Chelsey Lambert broke it down into three manageable parts in their recent CLE, which you can watch here for free. They also connected automation practices to ethical considerations. Afterall, automating one's practice doesn't just save time, reduce errors, and alleviate stress; it also helps ensure excellent client communication, protected information, and other top ethical concerns.Here's how they broke down automation opportunities across a firm:Getting the workLead generation Intake SchedulingDoing the workDocument automation Workflows Utilization reports Unified calendaring Expense trackingBilling the workCapturing time Invoicing Payments Profitability reportsDon’t try to tackle all these areas at once! Think about where you're losing the most time and money, or where you’re experiencing the most stress. Prioritize automation at those points and build from there.Smokeball's free Getting Automated guide walks you through the abo
'Tis the Season (of Giving)
Turkeys are filling freezer space, and Mariah Carey is telling us what she wants for Christmas. It signals there's no better time to give back--and Season of Giving is the way Smokeball does just that.Join us by taking or referring a demo today until Dec 30. For each demo ran, we'll donate $50 (up to $25,000) to our partner organizations: Howard Brown Health, Equip for Equality, Restore Justice, and CASA.Help us make a difference! The more we grow, the more we can give.
Learn how Smokeball is making life easier for family law professionals
Lead intake is a vital part of any family law case. Smokeball has partnered with Settify, a comprehensive family law intake and lead generation tool. Settify helps firms capture information from prospective clients and create a clear overview of the case, including a concise timeline of events and balance sheet of assets. On Friday, Nov 4, join Senior Trainer Sara Sultan for a 30-minute training webinar. She'll demo how Settify allows you to send intake forms to your client for completion and how that information then seamlessly creates a matter in Smokeball. With Settify you can also use a customized button on your site to generate more leads; educate clients earlier with Settify's intelligent AI; and focus on relationship-building, with much of the info gathering already out of the way before your first meeting. Settify is currently available for Illinois firms only.
Recognize your favorite paralegal
There's no end to the ways that paralegals contribute to law firms. In celebration of National Paralegal Day (Oct. 23), we’re honoring paralegals who go above and beyond every day. Now through Friday, November 4, nominate your paralegal for their chance to win great prizes and bragging rights! Just fill out this short submission form, including the name of your paralegal and a short description of how they go the extra mile for your practice. We’ll select one grand prize winner and nine runners-up, to be announced November 14. The 2022 National Paralegal Day Winner will receive a $250 Amazon gift card, a giant personalized tin of Garrett's popcorn (Chicago's favorite!) and a blog feature on Smokeball’s website. We can’t wait to read your submissions!
Introducing the CEO of the Family Law Education Network of AustraliaAsk an Expert
@AmandaLittle is the CEO of the Family Law Education Network of Australia (FLENA) a network built specifically for Australian Family lawyers looking for wellness support, great FCFCOA ready Precedents, CPD training, a family law community and a whole lot more.We’re lucky enough to have Amanda sharing her family law precedents as part of our new Precedents Marketplace. Subscribing through the marketplace also gives you access to everything else that a FLENA membership provides. If you’re interested in signing up, but would like to know a little more about FLENA then this is the space to get the details you’re looking for. Ask away in the replies below!
How to get actionable data from firm insights in SmokeballAsk an expert
We’re about to go live with a webinar on how to make the most of the data Smokeball gathers and shares with you about how your firm is running. Ask your questions hereWe’re on standby to help you put the lessons learned in this webinar into action. Whether you’d like help using firm insights in Smokeball or you’re not sure how to interpret the data, this is the place to get help.
Smokeball’s Response to the Optus Data breach
In light of the recent Optus data breach, there is a lot of legitimate concern in the legal industry regarding the threat of cyber-security and the possibility of sensitive information being compromised. At Smokeball, we treat client data security as a top priority. We align ourselves with industry-leading approaches to protect the safety and integrity of the sensitive information stored in our systems. To keep your firm safe and ensure client data is protected, the following internal controls are in place:Access to all infrastructure is protected using Multi-factor Authentication Systems are protected with firewalls and intrusion detection technology Access to all infrastructure is audited and logged centrally Access to the physical network is authenticated and authorised centrally Monitoring systems are used to detect unusual behaviour which alerts IT staff If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to our dedicated support team for assistance on 1300 33 55 53, reply to
I love the Firm Insights Tab!
As a former Smokeball user myself, I did not discover or utilize the Firm Insights Tab in Smokeball until I had been using Smokeball for over a year. Yikes!The Firm Insights Tab is available for the account owner, but if the account owner would like other firm members to have access to this tab they can reach out to the firm’s SB account manager.Here is one of my favorite webinars covering Firm Insights: Using Firm Insights to Manage Your Business Enjoy!
Medical record retrieval woes?
Hey PI attorneys, If retrieving medical records drains a significant portion of you or your staff's time and energy, I want to make you aware of Smokeball's integration with YoCierge. Right now, your firm might be calling every medical provider, tracking down the right person, individually requesting records, wasting time on follow-up, saving incoming records to the file, and more. Instead, you could hand this off to YoCierge who manages it all and saves all associated records directly to the related Smokeball matter. A laborious, multi-step process streamlined and humming in the background without your oversight! Zach Meeks of Meeks Impact Law says, "The YoCierge integration is critical to my practice. I will never go back to having an employee manually enter records." You can hear from Zach and Sette Law paralegal Kristine Stapleton directly in this webinar recording. They're joined by Smokeball senior trainer Sara Sultan who walks you through the Smokeball-YoCierge integration, demo
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