Smokeball is desktop-based law practice management software for Windows-based law firms. Its robust document and automation features are tightly integrated with Microsoft Word and Outlook.
Robust document assembly and automation. Smokeball’s marquee feature is document assembly and automation. It comes with a variety of forms and letters pre-installed. Smokeball can help you set up additional templates, or you can build them yourself.
Automated time tracking. Due to the tight Microsoft Word and Outlook integration, Smokeball can keep track of what you are doing as long as you are working in Smokeball, Word, or Outlook.
Offline access. Because Smokeball is desktop-based, you can keep using it even when you are offline.
Cloud backend. Instead of requiring your firm to set up and maintain a server, Smokeball uses the cloud to make your data available to everyone in your firm. Smokeball’s cloud-based infrastructure also powers its mobile apps.
Sponsored Smokeball Updates
- Smokeball’s New Firm Insights Feature Gives You the Data You Need to Help Your Firm Grow
- Smokeball’s Auto:Time Feature Helps You Track Time Automatically and Assess Firm Profitability
- Smokeball’s Email Management Simplifies and Streamlines Your Inbox
- Smokeball’s Automated Legal Forms Save You Time and Reduce Errors
- Smokeball’s Matter Tags Help You Create a Custom Organizational Scheme
Smokeball costs $139 per user per month, plus a required onboarding fee of $300 for installation and training. This puts Smokeball on the expensive end of law practice management software pricing, especially considering you will need additional software for invoicing and accounting.
To put the price in context, two other well-established software options are Clio and MyCase. The highest-priced tier of Clio is Elite, and it costs $99 per user per month. On the other end of the spectrum, MyCase is just $39 per user per month.
You will also need invoicing and billing software. Smokeball integrates with two options: Clio and Boost Billing, which is in invitation-only beta. If you want to use Smokeball with Clio for invoicing and billing you’ll need to pay for the middle Clio tier, Boutique, which costs $59 per user per month on top of your Smokeball contract.
|Billing & Invoicing|
Things You Might Want to Know
Windows only. If you use a Mac, you will have to run Windows using virtualization software like Boot Camp, Parallels, or VMWare Fusion in order to use Smokeball.
Apps. Smokeball has mobile apps for both iOS and Android. The mobile apps allow you to view matters, see your daily digest, see your calendar (and those of your colleagues, if applicable), tasks and to-do list, and also add documents to a matter.
Setup. After you sign up for Smokeball, a representative will schedule a call with you. They will either guide you through the install process or remotely install and configure the software for you, whichever you prefer. Here’s what’s included in the onboarding process:
- Installing Smokeball.
- Installing add-ins for Microsoft Word and Outlook.
- Setting up your letterhead template.
- Configuring user preferences.
- A consultation call to learn more about your firm and its needs.
- Two online training sessions covering basic and advanced features.
In short, the setup process is fairly time-intensive, but if you need hand-holding you will probably appreciate the attention.
Migration. Except for your contacts, there is no way to bulk import information from other practice management software into Smokeball. For contacts, you can either sync up with Outlook or provide a CSV file to Smokeball during your onboarding. The tight integration with Microsoft Outlook also includes calendar sync.
Template setup. There are three ways to get up and running with document assembly: (1) use the pre-installed templates, (2) give your documents to Smokeball, which will turn them into templates for you, or (3) set up your templates in Smokeball yourself.
Task permissions. While it is convenient to be able to view the tasks of everyone at the firm, there is no way to restrict permissions if you don’t want everyone’s tasks to be shared with everyone else at the firm.
Invoicing and accounting sold separately. While you can track your time in Smokeball, it does not include invoicing or accounting. If you want to be able to send invoices, Smokeball offers integrations with Boost Billing and Clio.
Backup. Smokeball backs up your data internally, but there is no way for users to regularly back up their own data. However, you can request an export of all your documents, including versions. Presumably you could do this on a regular schedule if you wanted to. For storage and backup, Smokeball relies upon Amazon S3, a cloud-storage service that does have a high level of security, uptime, and backup capabilities.
Security. Smokeball isn’t as forthcoming as we would like about security. There is very little on its website or in its documentation. What Smokeball does say is that it uses “bank-grade security, encryption, firewalls, and data backups” to keep your client data secure. On the phone with a Smokeball tech representative, we learned that Smokeball uses 128-bit SSL encryption for all data traveling between your computer and Smokeball. For what it’s worth, most of the cloud-based practice management software options in our directory use 256-bit SSL encryption.
Ai (Active Intelligence). Ai is a tool to help you keep track of what’s happening in your firm on a day-to-day basis.
Who Smokeball Is For
Smokeball is a great fit for small Windows-based firms that rely on document assembly and automation and like some extra hand-holding during setup.