Maintaining control and accountability over a decentralized office

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Once law firms are set up to work remotely with communication and case management software, their next thought should be how to make sure everyone in the firm is remaining productive and accountable.

Obviously a lot of firms are now working from home in light of Covid-19, and while email, phone, and chat (like Smokeball’s Communicate, or Slack or Microsoft Teams) are part of the first line of attack to keep everyone collaborative and in communication, there’s still no clear way for users of most case management software to know how their colleagues, paralegals, and legal assistants are staying on top of their caseloads during the coronavirus disruption.

Instead, for many law firms, it’s the honor system.

Fortunately for Smokeball users, law firms don’t need to run their businesses on blind faith. If you use Smokeball, you already have the tools you need to keep everyone accountable: Law Firm Insights.

Data insights that work for you

Any Smokeball user can go to the menu bar and find Firm Insights to dig deeper into how their law firm’s business is doing. From there, you can view and manage dashboards that summarize everything from new business to fees to referrals. Firm Insights essentially give users the ability to view the health of their business, and analysis into how to change as needed to increase profitability.

To really drill into day-to-day data, users can further nuance their data in two important ways:

  • Profitability by Matter: Within this tab (or Matter Insights) a law firm can view how much work (by time) was done on a given matter, who was performing the work in a given matter, what the fees charged were, and how much it cost the firm to work that particular matter. It’s not only a case by case temperature guide, it’s also a way for firms to ultimately gauge what matters were money-makers, and which weren’t.
  • Profitability by Fee Earner: Of course matters don’t work themselves, and especially as members of a law firm work remotely, a law firm needs to see who is doing what, and for how long. With this view you can see how many hours (down to the tenth of an hour) were worked over a period of time, and how much profit each person is projected to bring in.

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Measure each step in the process

Even once law firms view what matters are doing well and which colleagues are working the most efficiently, firms still have a potential blind-spot in looking at each step of working a particular matter.

Fortunately, Smokeball-using law firms can drill down further by seeing which step and/or matter type is taking the longest and bringing in the most profits. Admin users can see, for instance, if Pre-Decree matters are taking longer than Post-Decree. And firms who practice multiple types of law can see if their projected Real Estate closings allow them to take on an Estate Planning client.

Accountability

Solo and small law firms are like families. Lawyers, paralegals, legal assistants, and other employees pull together for the common good. You don’t need to be skeptical or overbearing, though, to worry about your business when people are no longer under one roof.

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Firm Insights allows law firm owners to regain a sense of control. Even if everyone is working as productively as possible, the data analysis and projections contained within Insights allows firms to have more productive goal-planning and strategy sessions together. Instead of regular check-ins that can be vague, Insights allows all members of a firm to talk about specific goals, setting times and putting a price tag on that time so that everyone can feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when a matter is finally finished.

Interested in gaining visibility and insight into your firm even as you’re all decentralized? Click here to schedule a demo today.

March 21st, 2020|

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