Firm Insights

Maintaining control and accountability over a decentralised office

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

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

Obviously a lot of businesses 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 legal and conveyancing software to know how their colleagues are staying on top of their workloads during the coronavirus disruption.

Instead, for many law firms, it’s the honour system. Fortunately for Smokeball users, 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: 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 business is doing. From there, you can view and manage dashboards that summarise 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 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 legal and conveyancing businesses 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 employees of a business work remotely, a  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.

Measure each step in the process

Even once legal businesses view what matters are doing well and which colleagues are working the most efficiently, law firms still have a blind-spot when trying to work out which matters are slowing them down and why.

Fortunately, Smokeball users can drill down further by seeing which tasks and matter types are taking the longest and bringing in the least profit. A Principal of a law firm can easily see whether Probate matters are taking longer than Letters of Administration and which steps in their matters are slowing them down. For law firms that practice multiple areas of law, they are able to easily see what stage their current matters are up to and whether they have the capacity to take on more work in other practice areas.


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


Firm Insights allows business 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.

Get started

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

Book a Personalised Demo

Book a live personalised demo to see how Smokeball can help you run your best firm.

Book your Demo
Smokeball Legal Practice Management Software Youtube Link Logo
Feb 14, 2022