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.

Smokeball Highlights

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 so you can view and save documents on the go.

Smokeball Pricing

Smokeball costs $139/user/month, plus a mandatory onboarding fee of $300 for installation and training. These fees include a billing solution that integrates with Smokeball’s automatic time tracking features and allows for manual line-item billing entry if you prefer. Their billing features also integrate with LawPay and Quickbooks.

This price point puts Smokeball on the expensive end of law practice management software pricing, especially considering you may choose to use more robust bookkeeping, accounting, or payment software.

To put that price in context, two other well-established software options are Clio and MyCase. Clio’s highest-priced tier is Elite, which costs $99/user/month. On the other end of the spectrum, MyCase is just $39 per user per month.

With all the features that Smokeball offers, which includes document automation, billing, and invoicing, among others, the price may be well worth it for some.

Features

 Smokeball
Websitesmokeball.com
Starting Price
 
$139/user/month
InstallationHybrid
Apps
 
 
 
Windows
iOS app
Android app
Email Client
Calendar
Client/Contact Mgmt
Case/Matter Mgmt
Task Management
Secure Portal
Conflict Checking
Document Mgmt
Document Assembly
Timekeeping
Billing & Invoicing
Online Payments
Trust Accounting
Basic Bookkeeping
Full Accounting

 

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. There are 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, a representative will schedule a call with you. They will guide you through the install process and remotely install and configure the software for you. Here’s what’s included in the onboarding process:

  • Installation.
  • 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, and additional feature-related training you request.
  • Dedicated account management from their “client success team” for the life of your subscription.

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 provide a CSV file to Smokeball during your onboarding experience. 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, which include public court and administrative forms; (2) give your documents to Smokeball, which will turn them into templates for you; or (3) set up your templates 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 included. You can track your time in their interface—either automatically or manually—and use its billing features to transform your time entry into finalized invoices and send invoices.

Backup. For storage and backup, Smokeball uses Amazon S3, a cloud-storage service with a high level of security, uptime, and backup capabilities.

Security. Smokeball isn’t as forthcoming as we would like about security. It shares very little on its website or in its documentation. What they do say is that it uses “bank-grade security, encryption, firewalls, and data backups” to keep your client data secure. We learned that it uses 256-bit SSL encryption for all data traveling between your computer and their servers and all data while at rest. For what it’s worth, most of the cloud-based practice management software options in our directory use 256-bit SSL encryption.

Ai (Activity Intelligence). Ai is a tool to help you keep track of what’s happening in your firm on a day-to-day basis. Activity Intelligence allows you to add activities to client bills or simply review your and your team’s productivity.

Who Smokeball Is For

This software is a great fit for small Windows-based firms that rely on document assembly and automation and like some extra hand-holding during setup.

One Review of Smokeball

  1. Sheldon Mayer says:

    Excellent Email Integration

    Extremely satisfied. Smokeball has an excellent layout, helpful support and the desktop elements makes it faster than web-based programs. Additionally, Smokeball allows you to link emails to matters directly in Outlook as well as to directly upload and save documents to/from matters. I don’t think any other practice management software offers this level of integration.

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