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How Smokeball Can Help You Recognize and Manage Law Firm Burnout

Patrick Davis

Written by

Patrick Davis


November 3, 2022

Burnout: How to recognize it, and how to manage it with the help of Smokeball

Of all the workplace buzzwords in the headlines today (looking at you, “quiet quitting,”) “burnout” is one of the most relatable for us here in the legal profession. We’re no stranger to the late nights, long days in court and stressful caseloads that can lead to overwhelming anxiety and depression — namely, law firm burnout.  

And lately, the stats are staggering. Over half of employees said they experienced burnout last year (up from 43% pre-COVID). And those who work remotely are 10% more likely to say burnout has increased during the past year versus those working onsite. 

All that burnout has a huge impact on your law firm. When your staff is under water with no end in sight, they tend to jump ship. According to our Law + The Great Resignation Survey, 65% of firms said they were struggling with resignations and the inability to hire new staff.  The second-most popular reason law firm job applicants are leaving their roles? They’re seeking better work-life balance.  

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Thankfully, there are lots of tips and tricks out there to help you reduce law firm burnout. And technology is the key to spotting, understanding and reducing burnout before it becomes too big a problem at your firm. In fact, legal pros who took our Great Resignation survey said positive impacts from new technology helped them decrease resignation and hiring issues.  

So exactly what resources are out there to help you recognize and manage law firm burnout? Let’s jump in.  

What role can technology play in reducing law firm burnout? 

These days, technology’s positive effect on the legal industry is undeniable. From helping leaders identify inefficiencies to more efficiently tracking billable hours to making room for more employees, technology plays a huge role in helping you run your best firm.  

But when it comes to law firm burnout specifically, where does technology fit in? Here are just a few ways that we here at Smokeball can help:  

Automatic Time Tracking 

Time flies when you don’t have to track it. Clocking in and out can take a huge toll on your already-busy staff, and sorting through those random notes and post-its to produce an accurate invoice can take hours.  

With Smokeball, all of that changes. We offer the only automatic time-tracking software that records every minute you’re working. Whether you’re reading and responding to emails or drafting documents and communicating with clients, we’ll track your time and tie it to the related client matter. Even if your firm bills by contingency or flat fee, Smokeball’s legal time tracking software offers valuable insights like how much time you’re spending on each case, and whether you’re charging enough for your work.  

The end result? One less thing on your team’s to-do list, more accurate invoicing, and peace of mind for your staff that they’re being paid accurately for exactly the right amount of work. Bye bye, law firm burnout!  

Law Firm Insights 

How do you know where burnout begins and ends if you don’t know what your employees are doing day-to-day? 

Smokeball’s Law Firm Insights give you a full view of where your staff is spending their time, and which activities are taking up the most bandwidth. With real-time data that’s easy to read and understand, you’ll have a better sense of where overwhelm might be stemming from, and who on your team might be the most overloaded. Use these insights to spark meaningful conversations with your staff about where you can be more efficient, and where there might be room to share responsibilities more effectively.  

Legal Tasks & Workflows 

Without straightforward expectations and communications, it can be complete chaos to figure out who’s working on what, and when it’s due. Smokeball Workflows give you a big-picture view of your entire staff’s workload, allowing you to assign and adjust to-dos throughout your firm.  

Sensing burnout in one area of your business? If someone needs a lighter load, Smokeball makes it easy to prioritize and reset their deadlines, shift tasks and remain productive without shame or blame.  

Document Automation & Management 

Nothing says “burnout” like having to copy-paste the same client details into a million different documents. Give your admin team a break with legal document automation and management software that integrates seamlessly with the tools you’re already using (hello Microsoft Word) to automate legal document creation.  

Everything you enter into Smokeball — contacts, parties, every detail — is used to automatically populate your firm’s legal documents in seconds. Our legal form library boasts 20,000+ common legal documents, so you’ll never have to search for what you need again. But if that’s not robust enough for you, you can also host your own custom forms in our library, so that you don’t have to start from scratch when you onboard with Smokeball.    

That’s one more task to cross off your staff’s to-do list, so that they can focus on more important projects that help them feel more connected and valuable to your team.  

Final thoughts 

At the end of the day, the key to reducing law firm burnout is knowledge. If you don’t know where your team is spending their time, or which tasks are causing the most stress, then you can’t guide them towards solutions that will help them find better work-life balance and higher job satisfaction.  

And that’s the power of technology. With a bit of help from Smokeball, your team will be on their way to eliminating administrative bloat, working smarter without working harder to make your law firm run effectively. (Feel free to breathe a sigh of relief now.) 

Ready to get started? Book a demo 

Set your firm up to
successfully battle burnout.

Watch our on-demand webinar,
“Burnout Prevention: Harnessing the Tools of Time and Thought Tracking to Set You Up for Continued Success”

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