The inaugural 2023 Smokeball Spark small law conference kicked off with Smokeball's Founder and CEO, Hunter Steele, taking us back to where it all started.
As a 10-year-old sitting around the family dinner table, Hunter grew up hearing stories about small law from his father, a lawyer in regional NSW. Hunter's early experiences helped him understand the unique challenges of running a legal practice.
"There's a lot more to small law and being successful in law. It takes more than a law degree to run a successful law firm."
While studying law and computer science at university, Hunter saw first-hand how new legal practice management software drove his father's business forward— igniting the spark that would later become the impetus to start Smokeball. He realised his passion wasn't in practising law but in helping small law firms be more successful through the power of technology.
We're in an era of consumer-driven change
As legal technology continues to advance, experience-driven innovation is the most significant change to date, explained Hunter. The industry has moved from compliance and efficiency-driven innovation to now being driven by consumers.
Experience-driven and consumer-led disruptors like Uber and Airbnb have fundamentally changed transport and hospitality, and the same is now happening in the law industry.
"Engaging with your prospects and clients in a digital world is no longer a choice."
Many customers now are digital natives (born after 1980), and this generation expects to do business online. Hunter explained how small law firms are prime to lead the next phase of progressive law offerings, much more so than the mid-size or large firms, because the people we're doing business with are driving it to make it happen.
A connected law firm is at the heart of client experience
As our industry practices evolve, prospective and current clients, particularly digital natives, need to feel confident that law firms possess modern digital capabilities that come with connected technologies.
Cybersecurity is an increasing concern in all industries, and compliance and cloud data security must be a priority for small law firms. Hunter emphasised if firms don't step up and utilise their technology partners to help, their practices could soon be considered archaic.
"Digital natives expect more, and your referrals could start to change if you don't start producing interactions in a digital way."
Hunter also teased new product innovations coming down the pipe to ensure firms were prioritising their clients' experiences to secure referrals and repeat business.
The new innovations (launching soon) are set to reimagine end-to-end workflows and support modern law firm experiences, whilst taking advantage of Smokeballs trademark practice area specificity.
Hunter wrapped up his keynote with a thank you and a reminder to small law firm owners, that the work they do is important to people and communities. Smokeball’s mission is to help clients "do good and do well,” and at the heart of everything we do at Smokeball is to use innovation to help drive your business forward.
Register your interest for Smokeball Spark 2024
A big thank you to everyone who attended our inaugural small law legal conference. We’re eagerly preparing for Smokeball Spark 2024.
Register your interest now to be among the first to know about all things Smokeball Spark 2024. Get access to early registration, exclusive ticket offers, speaker announcements, and much more!