Our New Technology Surge: Thanks to Our New Partnership With Smokeball

    CALA is super excited to announce our new partnership with Smokeball, a Chicago-based company with over twenty years of experience providing its incredible case management software to solo attorneys and small organizations like CALA. As part of its new Legal Clinics & Pro Bono Attorneys program, Smokeball has very generously provided free software licenses and specialized training to our entire, and expanding, team. While we are only a few weeks into our transition to Smokeball, it’s already apparent that CALA has been turbo-charged technologically! Smokeball has and will continue to make our attorneys, volunteers, and interns more efficient and save us countless hours: meaning we will able to help more low-income, underserved clients! 

The Perfect Fit for Our Community Activism Lawyering Model

CALA’s was founded to address the challenges low-income, underserved populations face accessing justice, and also push the boundaries of what lawyers can achieve. Our model—community activism lawyering—not only  brings  free legal services directly to clients overlooked or rejected by other organizations, in locations geographically convenient to them, while increasing grassroots activism in their communities; it also allows us to do so at a significantly reduced cost. We eliminate nearly all need for (expensive, downtown) real estate by using free, existing space, and our operational expenses are significantly decreased through staffing and administrative support provided by community volunteers. Not only does this ensure that our legal clinics are within the communities they serve—accessible and familiar—but it also creates a sense of ownership and investment for the community, all the while creating more funding to be used directly for serving clients.   

Integral to our model’s success is the use of effective and low-cost technology that allows us to spend our time directly in the community serve. Instead of sitting in an office (downtown), waiting for our clients to come to us, we do our work in our client’s communities. We reach out to clients, conduct their intakes, hold meetings, help them fill out paperwork, prepare for court, discuss case strategies, and organize events… all inside community locations on the south and west sides of Chicago.  That means we need technology that will let us quickly and efficiently access our files wherever we happen to be, especially documents, notes, and e-mails. Smokeball allows us to do all that—and more—and more importantly, it fully integrates everything we need for each client file into one convenient location.  

Although we’re still learning how to maximize all of Smokeball’s numerous functions, our attorneys have started using, and benefitting from, Smokeball’s document and information automation tools. We can’t wait to fully take advantage of the ability to automatically generate and complete letters, and even court documents, that we currently are filling out manually.

Making Smokeball Into an Even More Invaluable Resource For Legal Aid

CALA is thrilled not only for the technology boost that Smokeball has kindly given to our team, but we are also extremely grateful for how responsive Smokeball’s staff has been in accommodating CALA’s specific needs, many of them common to other organizations serving low-income and other disadvantaged population. We hope that our partnership with Smokeball will help to spread Smokeball’s amazing Legal Clinics & Pro Bono Attorneys program, and that our we can make the Smokeball into an even more invaluable resource for other legal aid organizations, clinics, and pro bono attorneys.  


Find out more about Smokeball and the Legal Clinics & Pro Bono Attorneys program: