Version 7.10 November 2021

Each version contains many enhancements, tech updates and bug fixes. See below for an overview of major changes.

New Features

Display Estimates on Billing Widget and Notify at stages of use

Context

A matter can have fee estimates set, however once the estimate is set there was no real visibility over that estimate and how much of it has been used. We would like to increase not just the visibility of the original estimate, but also provide notifications when you are getting close to the estimate to allow you to notify your clients if needed.

Solution

To help offer visibility into the matter estimate, the estimate will now be displayed on the Billing Widget on the Matter page, as well as an accompanying update to Smokeball Billing that will display the estimate total in the summary panel.

This means instead of relying on having someone manually and continually check these values, the Person/Attorney responsible as well as the Person/Attorney Assisting will receive a Communicate “Internal Matter Conversation” notification when the estimate reaches over 70%, over 85%, and over 100%.

This is designed to allow you to reset client expectations if appropriate to help curb any potential financial surprises at the end of the matter (which in some cases can lead to time-consuming auditing of work performed and writing off items).

Feature Details

This feature is designed to work with Time-Based matter types. When an estimate has been set for a time-based matter, this will now display the Estimate Total on the Billing Widget. An information icon will be shown next to it that will display, when you hover your mouse over it, a tooltip that shows the percentage of estimate currently used, and the breakdown of the billing and unbilled items.

The icon will change from black, to orange, to red when the usage tiers are reached.

 

The status of the Trust item has also been updated with an icon rather than a text colour change to make things more consistent.

The tiered notifications will also generate an “Internal Matter Communication” message via Communicate that is viewable via the home screen as well as through the matter window. The message will be sent by Billing, and the Person/Attorney Responsible and the Person/Attorney Assisting will be notified when that tier is reached. These notifications will be sent at the 70%, over 85%, and 100% mark, and will be triggered when a financial transaction takes place on that matter. A Person/Attorney Response must be set for the Communicate notifications to work.

If a client updates their estimate, when the tiered value is reached, the notification will be triggered again when the new updated tier is reached.

N.B. The Communicate notification will ONLY be sent when a transaction is performed on that matter where the criteria match. Turning this on will NOT spam a client with notifications about all of their matters.

Mediation Style Matter Types

Context

In Mediation style matters, the firm is acting as the Mediator or another capacity but not as the Client’s Solicitor/Attorney. Smokeball is currently configured to set the firm as the Solicitor/Attorney for parties in the client role, so there is no way in Mediation style matters to enter who the party’s solicitor/attorney is and have them populated in document automation.

Solution

In Mediation style matter types, we want to allow you to enter the applicable Solicitor/Attorney for each Client and have it flow through to automation.

Feature Details

You will find a new Matter Type with this release for a firm acting as a Mediator. When you create a Mediation style matter, you will see the Solicitor/Attorney relationship for each Client and can enter the relevant representative, which will flow through in automation.

Regular matters are unaffected by this feature, so you will not see the Solicitor/Attorney relationship with any party you represent in the Client role and the firm is automatically assigned as their Solicitor/Attorney, which will flow through in automation.

Refinements

Matter Stages: Preview Automated Communicate Message

Context

In previous versions, when you have an automated matter stages message set up and you change the matter stage, you currently get a simple dialogue box - "Send automated message?" - with a confirm or cancel option and no further explanation. If you were not the user to set up the feature from the outset then you would have no idea what the message contains and no way of finding out what the message contains.

Solution

We are now showing a preview at this point. You can answer:

- Yes to send the message

- No to not send the message but still update the stage

- Cancel to not update the stage

This way you are aware of exactly what the message will say, even if you did not originally set up the feature.

N.B. If the contact does not have an email address, there is an error message "Recipient contact has no email address" and the options switch to Okay or Cancel as the message cannot be sent.

Matter Stages: Send Automated Communicate SMS

Context

In previous versions, you were able to send automated Communicate messages and manual Communicate messages as an SMS, but not send automated matter stage messages as an SMS.

Solution

We have added a checkbox to the matter stages setup “Send as SMS”, which will allow you to send the Communicate message as an SMS. At the preview screen, you will also be informed that the message is being sent as an SMS.

An email address is still require since the message is still sent via Communicate. If the contact does not have an email address, you will see an error message "Recipient contact has no email address" and the options switch to Okay or Cancel as the message cannot be sent.

If the contact does not have a phone number (but they do have an email address), the message can still be sent, but it will only be sent as a Communicate message, not an SMS. The options will stay the same but a warning message will say “Recipient contact has no mobile number".

Matter/Lead Opened Column

Context

In previous versions, you were not able to sort your list of matters and leads by date. You may, for example, want to check the new matters each day to ensure that there is plenty of activity on them as they are for a new client, or you may want to work through your old matters/leads to see if any are able to be closed off, but there was no way to access this information.

Solution

We have introduced an “Opened” date column to allow you to sort your lead and matter lists by date range.



Contacts: Show age in additional details

Context

From time to time, you will be required to provide the age of a client to an authority as part of the matter e.g. this information is required when manually filling out plea paperwork in a criminal matter. This requires you to locate the DOB and manually calculate their age.

Solution

We have now included an "Age" next to the DOB field to make it easier for you to locate this information.

Contacts: DOB on Contact Widget

Context

In previous versions, when you need to refer to your clients' DOB while working on their matter (e.g. while on the phone with a 3rd party), you need to: 

  1. Open the contact card

  1. Navigate to the “Additional Details” tab

  1. Locate DOB

Solution

We have now included both the DOB and the age of the person on the matter contact widget to make it easier for you.

 

Contacts: Additional contact folders

Context

Contact tab folders are provided to our users to help them easily filter a list of contacts down to a specific type. Since this was first released, we have grown our matter type suites and in turn there are a lot more contact types than there once was. This now means that there are a lot of contact types that are not included in these folders so there is no easy way to filter down to some of these specific roles.

Solution

We have now added in additional contact folders to cater to all contact types. Folders will be available even if the firm has any contacts in that role type, and available folders differ between package types.

See below for full details on what has been added.

Conveyancing:

Folder Name 

Contacts included 

Accountants 

Accountant 

Councils 

Local Government Area 

Financial Institutions 

Creditor 

Lender 

Lender – Consenting 

Lender – Discharging 

Lender – Incoming 

Government Departments 

Land Titles Office 

Revenue Office 

Owner’s Corporations 

Owner’s Corporation 

 

Law Firm:

Folder Name 

Contacts Included 

Accountants 

Accountant 

Councils 

Local Government Area 

Barristers 

Barrister 

Courts 

Court 

Commission 

Tribunal 

Educational Institutions 

Educational Institution 

Experts 

Expert (in Litigation matters) 

Financial Institutions 

Creditor 

Lender 

Lender – Consenting 

Lender – Discharging 

Lender – Incoming 

Health Service Providers 

Doctor 

Defendant (in Medical Negligence matters) 

Mediators 

Mediator 

MedicoLegal 

Expert (in Personal Injury matters) 

Police Stations 

Police Station 

Process Servers 

Process Server 

Government Departments 

Department of Child Protection Litigation 

Department of Communities and Justice 

Department of Home Affairs 

Foreign Investment Review Board 

Land Titles Office 

Legal Aid 

Revenue Office 

Insurance Companies 

Insurer 

Superannuation Funds 

Client’s Superannuation Fund 

Other Side’s Superannuation Fund 

Superannuation Fund 

 

Ability to pin Sticky Note when you create it

Context

In previous versions, to create a sticky note with the intention to pin it, you had to add a new sticky note, save it, then return to the sticky note to pin it.

Solution

We have now provided a pin from within the new sticky note to allow you to pin this note before you save it.

 

Additionally, we had numerous Performance Upgrades in this version that everyone will benefit from.

If you require any assistance or training in relation to any of the above, please Contact Us

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