SmartAdvocate Review

We Have Used SmartAdvocate Since 2013

My plaintiffs’ personal injury law firm has been using SmartAdvocate® since 2013. This SmartAdvocate review was written by Phil Franckel, Esq. My practice is exclusively personal injury and I have used several personal injury practice management software since 1991. I have even designed software for personal injury and for the mortgage industry. If you want to discuss SmartAdvocate with Phil Franckel, feel free to call me direct at 516-621-9399 extension 5.

Quick SmartAdvocate Review

If you have a plaintiff or defense personal injury law firm of any size, don’t even waste time looking at any other personal injury case management software, seriously. Call SmartAdvocate for a demo right now and I promise you’ll be convinced in 15 minutes. Make a list of what you didn’t think was possible but really wished your personal injury case management software could do. Then ask if Smart Advocate can do it.

SmartAdvocate has everything you could possibly want. It’s easy to learn how to use; easy to use; does everything; customer service is impeccable, and SmartAdvocate keeps getting better. You can even use a Mac now. It does so much that it’s no longer possible to list all the most important features but see a bullet list below of some features. SmartAdvocate will make dinner and you can even have dessert first!

Are you afraid of sophisticated software? SmartAdvocate is easy to use and easy to learn how to use even by technology-challenged users. This is important when using software that can do so much. My partner was computer challenged and instantly took to it. He learned a lot about computers since we started working together but he is still amazed at how easy SmartAdvocate is to use.

SmartAdvocate is cleverly designed to allow data entry with fewer clicks to save time and effort. One example is when entering an address. Just enter a zip code and you don’t have to enter the town and state. Once data is entered anywhere it’s available everywhere without having to retype it. You’ll never have to enter the same information twice.

It’s tough to provide a detailed review of SmartAdvocate and even tougher for competitors to compete with them because with three releases per year SmartAdvocate has a long streak of releasing over 1,000 enhancements every year, mostly based on clients’ suggestions.

Support at SmartAdvocate is top-notch.

What Size Law Firm Is Smart Advocate® Good For?

Evey size, from a solo personal injury practice to the largest plaintiff or defense personal injury law firms. Thanks to cloud technology, Smart Advocate really is easily affordable for a solo personal injury lawyer.

When I started with SmartAdvocate, I had to install a server and buy SmartAdvocate at a cost of nearly $10,000. And I saved another $5,000 on an email server by using Office 365 (now Microsoft 365). Office 365 had just come out and I asked SmartAdvocate to integrate with Office 365 for everyone. They agreed and did it in less than a week. $10,000 was a lot of money but it was well worth it.

Now, with SmartAdvocate in the cloud, you can use it for just a few dollars per month without any purchase, installation, maintenance, and backup costs.

My Favorite Feature – Template Documents

I have so many favorite features but my most favored is the unmatched template document system. It even works with Excel and PDF forms.

This is a demo video of SmartAdvocate’s document template system

There are thousands of merge codes for any data you could possibly want to use in a template document. If you can find a merge code SmartAdvocate doesn’t have, which is unlikely, they will happily create it for everyone quickly.

Template documents are easily created. You can easily find and insert common merge codes into a template document with one click and find hundreds of others in three seconds using the merge code finder.

An important feature of SmartAdvocate is that you can save a template document in 10 seconds. Saving a template document in some personal injury practice management software is very complicated and time-consuming.

The template document system allows us to run a busy personal injury practice with just two lawyers without any secretaries or paralegals. For larger firms with secretaries and paralegals, using the SmartAdvocate template document system will allow your employees to multiply their caseload many times. Because it’s so quick and easy to create template documents, this one feature can be used by every law firm to cut overhead and increase revenue with larger caseloads.

In short: SmartAdvocate moves cases faster with less work, does everything, tracks everything, and is easy to use even by the technology challenged.

SmartAdvocate Features

See SmartAdvocate video demos

  • The best template document system available
  • Integrates with lead management software so new client info can be inserted automatically
  • New client signup wizard with automatic conflict-of-interest check
  • Input new cases on an iPad or Android tablet
  • Retain clients by email from within the case file created by the wizard
  • Email integration – send emails with attached documents directly from the case file and easily upload any email and/or with attached files including voicemails and photos that were sent or received in Outlook. Emails can be sent to case documents or notes.
  • Send and receive text messages with photos from within the case file
  • WorkPlans function as a checklist and automate routine processes.
  • Automated Procedures allow you to create repeating tasks, send automated text messages or emails to clients, create multiple reminders, and automatically generate documents.
  • Calendar reporting can display events for a single case, a single individual, any group or department, or the entire office. Appointments, Critical Deadlines, and SOLs can be pushed to your Outlook calendar.
  • Track medical records
  • Track injuries and medical treatment
  • Track all kinds of liens
  • Track negotiating history
  • Track Discovery, Motions, etc.
  • Track advertising and ROI
  • Track referrals to and from other law firms
  • Time tracking
  • Track anything you want!
  • Reports will report anything you want to know. Reports can be automatically emailed to whoever you want on any schedule you choose.
  • Barcoding
  • Create your own User Defined Fields
  • Automatically computes disbursements, liens, and legal fees with merge codes to complete closing documents
  • Security – Two Factor Authentication
  • Assign different permissions to different staff members

Easily Create Work Plans in SmartAdvocate

SmartAdvocate workplan screen

Integrations With Other Software

See a list of partner integrations


Categories of features important for managing a personal injury practice:

  • Support/Customer service
  • Security
  • Calendaring
  • Critical deadline tracking
  • Document management
  • Document merge from templates
  • Document generating from templates
  • Medical records tracking
  • Damages tracking
  • Time tracking
  • Outlook calendar sync
  • Outlook email integration
  • Texting integration
  • Contacts management
  • Automated intake
  • Settlement Calculator
  • Advertising tracking
  • Platform: Cloud-based, PC-based or Mac-based
  • A mobile app that actually does something
  • Company’s ability to update the software quickly, frequently and seamlessly

The SmartAdvocate App

SmartAdvocate App allows you to view:

  • Office calendar
  • All contacts – View/Add contacts
  • Case contacts – View/Add contacts
  • Case calendar – View/Add appointments
  • Case summary
  • Case notes – View/Add notes
  • Case documents list including the ability to view and add new documents
  • Case Timeline
  • Case Time tracking and add time tracking
  • Case disbursements
  • Send emails from a case
  • Send text messages from a case

I wanted to add two other categories: customer service and one which no one ever thinks about which is the software engineers behind the software and the company’s ability to update the software quickly, frequently, and seamlessly.

SmartAdvocate excels in all of these categories but also has the best customer service and software engineers I have seen. Just one example: I emailed a suggestion to SmartAdvocate (12/16/2015) at 10:59 AM and received an email from them at 4:52 PM advising that my suggestion had been implemented. Not only was my suggestion incorporated into the software but I didn’t have to wait for a version update. It was already working on my system. I really shouldn’t be surprised because this wasn’t the first time I submitted a suggestion and they have been implemented within a day to a couple of weeks.

I haven’t seen any other cloud-based system that has the capability I need for my personal injury practice. I tried one software program specifically made for personal injury lawyers available on a server or in the cloud but it did not have the capabilities I was looking for and I canceled my contract after three days.

We used SmartAdvocate® installed on our server but in October 2019 we moved to the SmartAdvocate cloud which is cheaper and easier than using our server.

SmartAdvocate is intuitively designed and extremely easy to use but is extremely robust and has every feature a lawyer could want for a personal injury practice.

I can enter all medical offices in the database but I can also enter a tremendous amount of information about the doctor; visits to the office; and requests for records, bills, images, etc. We use an outside service to request our medical records but occasionally request a medical record directly. SmartAdvocate lets me know who requested the medical record. It also tracks dates including date requested and follow-up dates. When I upload a medical record, it will often change the medical request for that record to “Received”. If it is unable to change the status, it will send me an email notifying me that there was a conflict, so I have to do it manually. SmartAdvocate also tracks amounts for medical invoices. Liens are tracked in a separate section for liens.

Expenses are tracked in a Disbursements section and like everything else in SmartAdvocate, the disbursements section is a very powerful tool. You can assign a disbursement to a particular plaintiff, share it among plaintiffs, or waive it. It can be marked as recoverable or not recoverable. The expenses are also tracked in the retainer section which automatically computes your legal fee depending upon various factors selected.

Most powerful and most important to me is generating completed documents from a template. I have almost 2,000 templates. This allows my partner and I to run a law practice without any other employees. I can generate any form, letter, or legal document with the click of a button. To accomplish this, I need an almost unlimited number of merge codes. The ability to easily create template documents and the time it takes to save template documents is vital.

The first problem I found with other software was the limited number of merge codes. I tried to create template documents but the merge codes I needed did not exist. I would have to copy and paste to complete the document. This takes more time and would necessitate hiring a paralegal. The second problem with some software is that it is complicated and time-consuming to save a template document.


You should think about what you need to do from the moment you receive a call from a potential client to the moment you are sending out a settlement check. Jot down the things you do such as entering initial information; sending out initial documents such as claim letters and a no-fault application or other forms; calendaring for tracking court appearances and other appointments; compiling litigation documents; and anything else you want to do automatically.

SmartAdvocate moves very fast with updates and improvements and is extremely open to suggestions. Their customer service is outstanding. I don’t think you will find software that is as robust. Additionally, it’s extremely easy to learn how to use even for the computer challenged, like my partner.

SmartAdvocate review wins seal of approval logo SmartAdvocate® – After a year of looking at software and having used SAGA DOS, Trialworks, and then SAGA Windows, I decided to purchase SmartAdvocate®. I became a beta user in April 2013 before it was being sold to law firms and paid the beta user price of 1/2.

SmartAdvocate is intuitively designed which makes it extremely easy to use but is extremely robust and has every feature a lawyer could want for a personal injury practice.  It does far more than any of the other software I looked at and is much easier to use. SmartAdvocate® is the personal injury case management software created by Jerrold Parker for his own national personal injury and mass tort law firm, Parker|Waichman LLP, with 120 employees in their 28,000 square ft law office.

SmartAdvocate® is designed specifically for personal injury and mass tort law firms. If you need multi-practice software, this is not for your law firm. You won’t believe SmartAdvocate’s capabilities! It was created to be more powerful and easier to use than SAGA. I thought SAGA DOS was the best personal injury case management software in the ’90s. SAGA Windows was powerful but complicated to use. Jerry Parker says they spent $10M over 10 years developing SmartAdvocate®. I know they spared no expense because Jerry asked me to sit in on a development meeting a few years ago when Jerry was looking to spend $100,000 on a database relational module for the software.

What makes SmartAdvocate® so powerful is 7 software developers who work on SmartAdvocate® (SAGA used to have only one software developer); they work inside of a large personal injury law firm so they knew what was wanted and they get immediate feedback, and the software was built in modules so improvements or new features don’t require rebuilding the whole program.

Now, other lawyers can use the exact same personal injury case management software. SmartAdvocate® is a very sophisticated, full function personal injury case management software that meets all of my criteria and more. Jerry Parker is like me. I want the software to do all the work; I just want to click a few buttons, and I want it to be easy to use. SmartAdvocate® does that. There are a lot of features that make work easy like pop-ups which let you see the contact information when you hover a mouse cursor over a name. It has time-saving features such as when entering a zip code, the town and state are automatically populated in the appropriate fields.

It not only does everything you could need but it’s laid out well and provides more information in the dashboard which is extremely useful to help identify what’s going on at a glance. For instance, in the defendant screen, you can see the SOL date; Date Complied; Date sent to Process Server; Date of filing S&C; Last date to serve S&C; Date of Service; Last day to file S&C; Date Affidavit was filed; Date Answer was due, and Date Answer was received.

It’s even pretty to look at. While not the most important attribute, the right colors really do make a difference.

SmartAdvocate® is more than willing to implement good suggestions and has a suggestion button in the dashboard to email your suggestions from within SmartAdvocate®. Parker|Waichman advertises 1-888-BIG-CASE so tracking cases from advertising is important to them. While I was looking at the demo, I saw a great feature to help track where cases are coming from for lawyers who advertise. I advertise 1-800-HURT-911 so I immediately saw the benefit of that feature but I made a suggestion to improve it. Jerry immediately called his lead programmer to add it. Now that it’s been installed, I emailed another suggestion at 5:32 pm and it was implemented at 10:am the next morning!

But the most important part I wanted to see is the process to create a template document. I will be the Admin and the attorney creating template documents. The difference between a simple process and a complicated process for me is just a matter of the amount of time it takes to create a template document. For most lawyers, a process involving 26 separate steps can be a nightmare. While I can get used to 26 steps, I don’t want to spend an extra 15 minutes per template document which is costly. I currently have 1,782 template documents and continuously create new template documents. SmartAdvocate® doesn’t involve any extra steps other than… well, clicking on File > Save in Word and choosing the template category and subcategory from a drop-down window. It couldn’t be made any simpler or quicker.

SmartAdvocate® has an endless list of merge codes (if you find a need for one they don’t have, they will add it for you) and you can easily insert any merge code in seconds. Everything in SmartAdvocate® is intuitive including the merge codes and they’re easy to find and insert. SmartAdvocate® merge codes look very similar to the intuitive SAGA merge codes but there are a lot more. The merge codes are so intuitive that I can often correctly guess a merge code I didn’t remember. For instance in SAGA, <<PL-FIRST-NAME>> was used for the plaintiff’s first name; <<PL-LAST-NAME>> was used for the plaintiff’s last name, and <<PL-NAME>> was used for the plaintiff’s entire name. In SmartAdvocate®, many of the most frequently used merge codes can be easily and quickly inserted by clicking a button at the top of Word. Any of the other merge codes are easily found by opening the merge code screen; searching by scrolling down alphabetically or sorting by category; selecting the merge code and clicking the insert button.

Security: Social Security numbers are encrypted in the database.  You have the ability to control users’ access to social security numbers (Allow access to SSN, Last 4 + Allow entry, Allow access
to SSN (Last 4), No SSN access).

Features & Reports: From the new case intake wizard to integration with Outlook’s email and calendar, the number of features is endless and too many to mention! SmartAdvocate will work with Microsoft Exchange on your server; hosted Exchange; or Office 365. After much reading, including “Why Office 365 beats hosted Exchange for small business emailby Derrick Wlodarz, I switched my email to Office 365 which costs only $4/month per user. I called Derrick Wlodarz 312-445-0702 at who helped me migrate my email-call him to get set up with Office 365.

There are reviews on the internet by lawyers complaining about the difficulty creating custom reports in other software but I seriously doubt there is a feature or report you want that SmartAdvocate® doesn’t already have and if you find one, they will add it probably within minutes!

This image below shows one of the advertising reports which creates a map showing the location of your cases so you can visualize where your cases or even calls are coming from (anywhere in the US & Canada). You can run a report to see all cases or filter by date range and/or type of case.
SmartAdvocate client map

Easy to use! Also important was the fact that my partner, who is not very computer literate, was immediately at ease with the look of the rest of the software. He was rather intimidated during demos of all the other software we looked at. While I thought that SmartAdvocate® and Prevail are easier to use than the other software we looked at, my partner thought only SmartAdvocate® looked easier to use and he liked the layout much better. He was so much at ease with SmartAdvocate® that he was begging me to go with SmartAdvocate®. While ease of use for the admin is important, it is also important for the users, since many attorneys (like my younger partner) are really computer illiterate even though they think they know how to use a computer. Now that SmartAdvocate® is installed, he keeps telling me how happy he is that we got it. I am too!

Customer support couldn’t be better! I have had issues corrected and suggestions implemented within minutes of my call or email.

SmartAdvocate® works on your own server in either 64-bit or 32-bit and is also available as a hosted (cloud) version. It is web-based using your web browser, either Internet Explorer or Chrome. Since it is web-based, you don’t need software installed on workstations and you can access SmartAdvocate® from any computer. I have SmartAdvocate® installed on a 64-bit server with 64-bit Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and 64-bit 2012 SQL and access it with 64-bit workstations. This is a very powerful program and likes fast computers with extra memory. I originally used a 32-bit dual-core workstation with 2 GB of RAM and it was ok but I like instantaneous responses so I bought a couple of open box PowerSpec computers from One was an iCore3 processor with 4GB RAM and only $407 and the other was an iCore5 quad-core processor with 8GB RAM and RAID 1 costing $530, both are screaming fast. My server had 4GB of RAM so I bought another 16GB for $180 and now have 20GB of RAM. SmartAdvocate® is the Prozac of Personal Injury Software!! (because it will keep you from going insane). SmartAdvocate® is the best choice for either a one attorney firm or a 100 lawyer firm if you want software that is specifically for personal injury; software that’s easier to use; to get more work done with fewer employees; to get work done easier, and to get work done faster.

  • Highly customizable with show/hide columns buttons on many screens.
  • Calendar interfaces with Outlook and shows adjournment history
  • Easily file incoming or outgoing emails from Outlook to your case file.
  • Reports are easily generated and can be subscribed to so you receive reports automatically at the time schedule you select.
  • Highly

SmartAdvocate® has all the major features you need but also has many minor features that just make it nice to use.  One of the minor features lets you see your client’s information anywhere from within any of the SmartAdvocate screens. Anywhere you see your client’s name, you can click your mouse (1) on your client’s name which will open the Contact Info screen displaying your client’s address; primary phone; email; Social Security number; gender; date of birth; and exact age. Click on the map pin (2) and a screen opens (3) giving you a choice to see your client’s location on a Google map; get directions from your client’s location to your office; or get directions from your office to your client’s location. This can be used immediately after signing up a new client using the new case wizard.

SmartAdvocate directions screen


Still not convinced with our SmartAdvocate Review? See our complete list of personal injury case management software