Everything you need to get started in the Smokeball community. Learn how to connect with Smokeball experts and other legal peers near and far.
Smokeball’s legal configuration team has been working hard to create a collection of matter intake forms for your use. Below is a current list of those MatterFlow forms.If you're not familiar with or using Smokeball's intake forms, here's a helpful overview of these powerful new features, LeadPro and MatterFlow.If you don't see the form you need, please reply in the comments with what you're looking for. We'll add it to our priority list and update you regularly as we release new matter intake forms.Civil Civil Dispute (All states, except CA) Criminal DUI (All states) DWI (All states) Felony (All states) Misdemeanor (All states) Estate Planning Estate Planning (All states) Family Custody, Support & Visitation (All states) General (AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IL, MD, MI, MO, NJ, NV, NY, OH, PA, TX, WI, WV) Parentage (AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IL, MD, MI, MO, NJ, NV, NY, OH, PA, TX, WI, WV) Post Decree (IL, NY) Pre Decree (All States, except NV) General General (
You will have heard that we are in the process of launching our new LeadPro & MatterFlow Intake solutions. Along with this we also have a Form Builder tool that allows you to create your own LeadPro forms. We would love to get some users to help us with a short usability study and provide feedback on the LeadPro Form builder tool. It will take about 30-60 minutes of your time. If you are interested in helping us and providing feedback on this awesome new feature, please like or comment on this article.
Hi all, We have some exciting news! Our new URLs to access the Smokeball Billing app are ready to use right now!USA: app.smokeball.comAustralia: app.smokeball.com.au We’ll automatically redirect you on the 18th August, but you can start using the new URL’s as soon as you’re ready.Read on for more details. Why?Smokeball Billing has always been about just that - billing. However as we continue to add more and more productivity features we want to better represent (and to celebrate) where Smokeball Billing is moving. As part of this, we’re going to launch a new URL to match. When can I use the new links? You can start using the new URL right now, at your own convenience.On the 17th August, to make it easier for you in the future we’ll start redirecting you automatically to the new URL. Three Important things to remember:Your account details remain the same Your data remains the same - we’re not moving anything When you first access the new app, you’ll need to login again (use the Forgot
In this month’s CLE, Jordan Turk and Bob Ambrogi tackled the subject on everyone’s mind: Artificial Intelligence. Watch the full webinar and access the slides: AI for AttorneysAI actually isn’t new to the legal field. The International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law was held in 1987. (See the slides above for a full timeline.) What's wild about generative AI is how quickly it has evolved. Extractive AI - pulls out the data you need Generative AI - creates new content based on the datasets it’s learned fromWhen GPT-4 passed the Bar exam with 76% accuracy, it demonstrated the power of AI to understand legal language. Jordan and Bob called out that there’s legitimate concerns and fears around this technology but also many ways that lawyers can currently benefit. Ways to use AI as a lawyer:Summarizing articles, documents, or longer text Drafting emails, letters, blog posts, and more Ideating everything from good opening arguments to staff gifts Bob and Jordan focused o
We’re thrilled to launch our community hero award, the Smokeball Beacon, to acknowledge the exceptional pro bono work our clients do every day. You advocate for those in your community who face inequality, discrimination, poverty, or who are otherwise struggling—often without expecting recognition. But we believe acts of kindness are worth recognizing. Nominate yourself or another Smokeball user by 8pm on June 21 for a chance to be the Beacon Award Grand Prize Winner. That person will receive a $2,500 check and $2,500 donation to the civil legal service provider of their choosing! Submit for the Beacon AwardWe’ll also honor: (1) People’s Choice Winner with one year of tailored coffee from Mistobox and a personalized Yeti tumbler (5) Honorable Mentions with a 1-year subscription to the mindfulness app Headspace and pro wireless earbuds This is the inaugural community hero award for Smokeball US, and we’re excited to shine a light on our clients work in the States. While only a fe
Smokeball clients do amazing things, and we’re thrilled to announce Chlece Walker-Neal-Murray as our Grand Prize and People’s Choice Winner of the 2023 Smokeball Beacon Award. Chlece is joined by Jonathan Kibler, Michelle Gehris, Poonam Lakhani, Sandra Emerson, and Taryn Fisher who we also recognize for their life-changing work. Meet the 2023 Beacon Award WinnersThese community heroes have performed pro bono services for victims of domestic abuse, marginalized families, homeowners facing foreclosure, and many others in their communities. We’re grateful to everyone who’s creating and inspiring positive change. If you or someone you know is doing amazing pro bono work, submit for the Beacon Guiding Light. This ongoing recognition spotlights a Smokeball client positively impacting their clients and community. And congratulate Chlece, @jkibler, Michelle, Poonam, Sandra, and Taryn in the comments below!
This month, Jordan Turk provided an insightful CLE on how to build strong client relationships. When you focus on optimizing the client’s experience, you’ll simultaneously create a firm that has better internal communication, uses technology to streamline processes, and gets paid more quickly. Everyone wins! Here's an overview of the strategies Jordan shared, as well as access to the webinar recording and slides. Building Strong Client Relationships: on-demand recording, slides, and handoutSetting the Tone at Intake Suggestions for making a good first impression, setting and managing client expectations, and things to consider before taking the case. Plus, important reminders about fee agreements and conflict checks. Client Communication from Your Office A reminder of the ethical obligations, how to leverage technology to make communication easier, and why internal firm communication is just as important as external client communication. Proper Billing Procedures Best practices
Welcoming new staff and bidding farewell to former employees is a normal part of running a firm, but there’s a lot to manage during these transitions. By properly onboarding and offboarding users in Smokeball, you’ll avoid confusion, prevent important items from falling through the cracks, and ensure a smooth transition for staff and clients. Here’s our recommended steps for adding and removing new users in Smokeball: Create a new user under Settings > Staff & Users Walk through the steps in this guide to reassign matters, tasks, events, workflows from former staff to new or existing staff. Remove the former team member from document containers, automated documents, and invoice signatures. Reassign their Communicate conversations to a new team member. Disable the former staff and enable the new user If you’re a visual learner, watch this 20-minute webinar where senior trainer Zac Meyer demonstrates best practices for onboarding and offboarding users in Smokeball. Qui
Congratulations! You’re taking a much-earned vacation and won't worry while away because you’ve: Reviewed matter stages Reviewed & reassigned tasks Sent out bills Set phones to be answered Logged out! But if you’re one of those people who boards a flight wondering if the garage door is still open or if the pet-sitter will show up—senior trainer Zac Meyer shows you how to get insight into the firm without packing your laptop. Remember: Smokeball Billing is web-based, and the Smokeball and Communicate apps allow you visibility into what’s happening back home. Now it’s time to put up your out of office, log off, and enjoy a break from your hard work.
You work hard and deserve time to unplug. But we know you want to deliver exceptional client service at all times. Senior trainer Zac Meyer shows you how to use Smokeball’s phone and virtual receptionist integrations to ensure every call is answered in your absence. And if you’re out for an extended period of time send an email blast to notify your clients. Jump to the final installment of my holiday series:
While you’re out, you want money coming in. Senior trainer Zac Meyer shows you how to prep bills for sending while you’re away. First, use Communicate to easily notify staff you’re headed out of town. Second, use the Work in Progress Billing Report to get pre-bills out early. Lastly, don’t forget to edit the note on invoices if it references you or someone who’s out of office. Up next in the series:
A key part of leaving for vacation is packing. Most of us have either a written or mental checklist where we categorize items (toiletries, shoes, underwear!) and anticipate upcoming activities to ensure we're prepared. Likewise, senior trainer Zac Meyer shows you how to use Smokeball Tasks to review all upcoming items for you and others at the firm while you’re away. Just like packing your luggage, you can sort tasks by category to review what’s most important. You can also sort by due date to reassign items due while you’re away and see what's on deck to prepare accordingly. Up next:
Before taking a trip, most of us do a little prep work. We might check the weather, consult local restaurant reviews—essentially, get an overview of the destination. Use Smokeball Reports to get a similar high-level overview of your matters to ensure a stress-free vacation. Senior trainer Zac Meyer shares reports that give a status overview so you have a handle on upcoming deadlines and can prep accordingly. Watch the rest of the series for more tips to set you up for worry-free time away. Up Next:
Wisdom wanted: linking matters, tips for following up with 300+ clients, great reports and integrations to test
The more you can share, the faster we can tailor Smokeball to meet your needs. Here’s 5 conversations that could benefit from your insights. Efficiently Tracking Trust Replenishments: @KBT is seeking ideas on how to efficiently track trust replenishments. With more than 300 clients to follow up on this is no easy task. Got some tips? You could make a big difference for KBT. New “Register of Files Opened” Report: @Zehava from Smokeball invites you to try their new “Register of Files Opened” report. Which is built to help surface the right information for NSW and VIC lawyers subject to the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015, We want to make this report as useful as possible so please share your feedback. Linking Matters in Smokeball: @Sam King from Smokeball is exploring ways to link related matters. There’s a lot of data, files and other information that we can help you move between matters. Your insights will help ensure we focus on the right features for you first. Cou
There’s a lot to lose sleep over as a lawyer. Staying in compliance with the latest rule changes can easily top the list. An angry client is one thing. Losing your license is dramatically different. Several states, including California and Illinois, have recently heightened or amended rules regarding monthly trust account reconciliation requirements. Smokeball user Ken Burgi shared how Smokeball removes the admin part so he can focus on being a lawyer instead of a bookkeeper. Ken practices in California where he’s required to have, in real time, exactly what's being expended on each client's account and keep them informed as to their available funds. Additionally, he’s required to do a monthly trust account reconciliation. Ken uses Smokeball to manage this process in just a few minutes each month. Here’s how: Write checks directly from Smokeball. No juggling data from one program to another. Once a month, pull the Account Balances Report from Smokeball. This breaks down each p
Reward an Exceptional Paralegal, Legal Secretary, PA, or Receptionist with a Lavish Hamper – Nominate Now!News
Do you work alongside an incredible paralegal, legal secretary, PA, or receptionist?These unsung heroes are the true backbone of any successful law firm, working tirelessly day in and day out to keep things running smoothly and providing quality service to clients. It's time to give back and reward them! This National Secretary's Day on 5 May 2023, we are giving you the chance to nominate your legal superstar for a chance to win a luxurious hamper worth $275. We will also be rewarding five runners-up with a beautiful gift pack. Nominate someone today You can nominate your Australian-based legal superstar today via this form on our website. Be quick as nomination applications close by COB 28 April 2023. Winners and runners-up will be announced on Friday, 5 May 2023. If you have any questions, let us know in the replies below.
In our latest CLE, legal technology advisor Jordan Turk shared how to reclaim your day with automated workflows. These series of tasks are like a supercharged checklist. They automate cases, reduce errors, ensure deadlines are hit, relieve stress, and help train staff. Watch the Reclaim Your Day with Automated Law Firm Workflows webinar recording. Here’s why Jordan believes all firms can benefit from using workflows. During the CLE, Jordan also discussed: Workflows vs. checklists Workflows integrate reminders, staff communication, document automation, and billing Heavy hitter workflow examples Intake, Initial Pleadings, Statue of Limitations, Discovery, Mediation Preparation, Settlement, Trial, Closing Out the File How to create a workflow Choose a heavy hitter use case Document the steps involved in that workflow Consult your staff Test your draft workflow Finalize it Example templates Six example workflows Pro-tip! Smokeball's website has suggested
Hi everyone, I’m back to share some more tips on how to make the most out of Smokeball. This time I want to talk about how to simplify the process of moving your leads from that first inquiry through to taking them on as a client.Why maintaining a healthy lead pipeline is importantLooking after your current clients always takes precedence over taking on new ones. When things get busy it can be hard to keep on top of the conversations with potential clients. It’s easy to get trapped in a cycle of being too busy and then -as the wave of matters begins to wind up- not busy enough. Bigger firms hire more staff and run expensive lead management software. While this approach works, it’s an expensive way to solve the problem. You can do a lot more with a lot less by taking advantage of these handy tools that are ready to go in Smokeball right now. 3 ways Smokeball can help you stay on top of leads Get a birds-eye view of progress with our Dashboards and Reporting tools Access our Lead Dash
Hi everyone,Zendesk, the system we use to track support tickets was offline for approximately an hour this morning (AEDT). Here’s what you need to know: We're back online. Zendesk is investigating the cause, but everything is working normally for now. We have logs of your calls and emails, and we're following up on them. We may take longer to respond while catching up. We'll keep you updated here.How you can help: Please reply here if you’re having trouble connecting with the support team via phone, email or form so that we can look into this for you.
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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