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How should law firms define productivity?

Noel Peel

Written by

Noel Peel


June 3, 2021

Productivity. It’s a term that comes up a lot in the professional world, often portrayed as the secret to all business and personal success. There are books, podcasts, social media accounts, and even online courses all dedicated to the goal of increasing your productivity 

But with all of the advice and formulas for unbridled productivity availablehow can law firms cut through the noise to find a version of productivity that helps them to be more successful law firms? 

At the most basic level, productivity can be understood as getting things done. Using this definition, it would seem that accomplishing ten tasks is better than one and the longer your to-do list, the more opportunity for productivity. But when it comes to the legal industry this quantityoverquality thinking can backfire quickly and result in unhappy clients and poor resultsLawyers need to prioritize the tasks that move their business forward instead of just high-volume busywork 

Every law firm will have their own high-priority tasks depending on their area of law. A real estate lawyer may focus on closing transactions while a personal injury attorney may need to obtain medical records quickly, but optimizing productivity in any law firm has to include the following 

Maximizing billables

There are tasks that are part of running a law firm but not related to a particular case, and then there are billable tasks – activities that are related to a specific case and help to advance that matter. Maximize billables and minimize unbillable administrative tasks by implementing legal software that helps to streamline your day, so that you can spend time on what really matters to your clients.  

Legal document automationautomatic time tracking software, legal calendaring software, and even law firm email management system are all excellent tools to increase your productivity.  


Keeping your team on the same page and working together efficiently is crucial whether you’re working remotelyor in the office. Using a cloud-based practice management system such as Smokeball ensures that matters are updated in real time as users add documents, emails, and notes. Your whole team can see the latest information at a glance without having to call or email for updates.  

Caring for current and prospective clients

No discount can make up for poor customer service. Today’s consumers have higher expectations than ever – make sure you’re meeting or exceeding expectations by using legal software that sends your clients automatic updates. Smokeball’s case management software also includes lawyer app Communicate, which replaces frustrating email chains with secure messaging and file sharing that gives your clients the convenience of texting, while allowing you to save those conversations to their matter for easy reference 

 Unlike other industries that may be able to measure their productivity (and success) by sheer volume of tasks completed each day, law firm productivity is more complexRather than focusing on staying busy for 8+ hours a day, make sure you’re finding the right balance of tasks that truly contribute to the wellbeing of your law firm and clients. Your future self will thank you. 

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