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Focus on Your Work, Not the Clock, With Smokeball's TimeScribe

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a practice management system with a large forms library that automatically captures the billable time you spend on document drafting and email (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a cloud practice management and accounting system that now includes free credit card processing via LawPay, a cloud practice management system with a new document management component that works locally on PCs and Macs like a network drive, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Accurate time tracking empowers law firms. Those that bill by the hour can maximize earnings while those that charge fixed fees can evaluate their profitability and staff efficiency. But how can you prevent lost billable time given human nature?

Smokeball … in One Sentence

Smokeball is a practice management and document assembly system that recently gained a new automatic time capture feature called TimeScribe.

The Killer Feature

Product Marketing Manager Eunbin Rii walks me through a typical stretch of time in a law firm, drafting documents, sending and receiving email, etc. He then clicks on the TimeScribe button in Smokeball's toolbar.

Not only does TimeScribe capture the time spent on this work, but it creates nearly final time entries. TimeScribe itemizes each task, connects it to the corresponding matter and creates a description of the work (e.g., Letter to Law Office of Arthur Kirkland). You review these entries, make any necessary edits, and post them if you bill by the hour. Every night, TimeScribe emails you a report listing all your captured time for the previous day broken down by matter.

Rii tells me that early adopters of TimeScribe have captured 34% more time on average. TimeScribe's Performance report enables you to measure its impact at your firm, and prove time worked in the event a client transfers his case to another firm. The report breaks out time spent and cost for each employee.

"We have not only been able to take on more clients, but have also seen profits skyrocket after just a few months of using Smokeball," said Michael Rapp, co-founder of Stecklein & Rapp in Kansas City.

Other Notable Features

Smokeball is a hybrid product, combining the capabilities of a native Windows client with the convenience of cloud data storage. The Window client allows for tight integration with Microsoft Office. When you open a potential matter, choose from more than 250 Matter Types with all the information fields you're likely to need. Smokeball also runs a conflict check.

Smokeball's Workflows enable you to capture your firm's processes. A Workflow consists of a set of tasks, each of which is assigned to an attorney or staff member. You can create task dependencies, and generate due dates based on triggers.

Many law firm tasks involve document creation. Smokeball offers more than 12,000 legal forms, and can help add your own during the onboarding process. Smokeball automatically enters information from the extensive set of matter fields. You can email completed documents directly from Smokeball. A clever feature lists the contacts associated with the matter, which saves time and prevents misaddressed messages. Alternatively, you can attach documents in Smokeball from Outlook. Either way, Smokeball saves all email in the matter, including replies.

"Smokeball helps small law firms increase the profitability of their matters," said Jane Oxley, Smokeball's President. "By providing our clients with features like full visibility into matter profitability and the most robust Microsoft Outlook and Word integrations in the industry, we help attorneys spend less time on administrative tasks, and get back to practicing law."

What Else Should You Know?

Smokeball's mobile app for Android and iOS gives you access to your practice on the go. For billing, you can use Smokeball's Boost Billing or any third-party billing software. Smokeball costs $139 per user per month plus a one-time onboarding fee of $300 per user, which includes contact migration and training. Learn more about Smokeball.

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Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Automation/Document Assembly/Macros | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire
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