Blog posts for your law firm

June 10, 2021
Top 6 police check questions your clients will ask
Has your client signed up as a volunteer for an organisation that works with children? Or applied for a new role and is going through a recruitment process which includes a police check? There are many scenarios where your client may be required to consent to a police check.
June 18, 2021
Smokeball Community Hero Award 2021
To acknowledge the important work that small law firms do in their communities, we will be presenting the first ever legal community award in 2021. The prize is a luxury trip valued at up to $5,000.
June 2, 2021
This Is When Company Culture Shows Its Muscle - With Jane Oxley
Smokeball is busy right now with a lot of communication around best practices for working remotely, and importantly, engaging staff remotely. Because how much can you really get done if your staff aren’t engaged, right?
June 2, 2021
Internal Communication – enough with the emails!
Law firms are telling us that they have more emails than ever. Not only do they have their normal, overwhelming number of emails from clients, other lawyers and so on, now they also have most of their internal conversations through email too.
June 2, 2021
Re-Spec Your Practice: Get Your Computers in Shape to Properly Support Your Business
Computers are important members of your support staff in your legal or conveyancing business. To be operating at the top of your game, and to be ethically compliant, your computer must be reliably up to date.
June 2, 2021
Manage every aspect of your practice with Lead Management
We’re enabling law firms to oversee a whole new area of their practice. Our Lead Management feature gives law firms the tools they need to manage and follow up with potential new clients before a matter is even created.
June 1, 2021
Keeping your files up-do-date with Court Sync™
We are excited to announce that Smokeball now integrates seamlessly with Court Sync. Once documents, orders and judgements are submitted, clients can click the ‘Court Sync’ button within Smokeball and any updated documents will be automatically saved to the corresponding matter.
June 1, 2021
How Collaboration and Communications Tools Help Firms Work From Anywhere - With Jane Oxley
When we launched our suite of communication and collaboration tools in Smokeball, we worried we were too far ahead of the curve: that small law firms would fail to embrace messaging each other internally, sharing documents with each other, and also messaging their clients and third parties from our software.
June 1, 2021
Cut out time spent on unbillable administrative work
The legal industry has a reputation for long hours and high stress. Lawyers frequently report working longer than a standard 9 to 5 workday, yet studies have shown that the average lawyer spends just over two hours each day on billable work.
June 1, 2021
7 Reasons Why You Should Shut Off Your Computer Every Day
Are you wondering: “Should I turn off my computer every day?”. Many people leave their computers on for days or even weeks at a time, but is that really a smart choice? There are many benefits to shutting down your computer every day, let’s take a look at a few.
June 1, 2021
Document Automation: 6 Reasons Why You Need It
Document automation has become the foundation of most modern small law firms. The ability to use software to quickly produce documents has transformed the way lawyers and conveyancers service their clients and has significantly improved the productivity of their businesses.
May 29, 2021
Fixed fees reaping rewards for smaller firms
Small law firms are witnessing an increase in requests for fixed fees, as well as greater profitability – and the future looks bright for charging in such a fashion, too.
May 28, 2021
Celebrating National Secretary's Day 2021
To acknowledge and celebrate our legal admin superstars, we asked our clients to nominate their remarkable paralegal or secretary and tell us how they go the extra mile for their practice, for their chance to spoil them with a luxury hamper valued at $250.
June 1, 2021
Working Remotely: A Practical Guide for Small Law Firms
This guide will cover the technology you’ll need in order to work remotely no matter the technology you’re using. It includes tips on tools to work better together when you’re not in the same office, as well as guidance for where to find help.
February 19, 2021
Smokeball's Top Five Tips and Tools for Successful Remote Work
When working remotely it is vital to establish clear and consistent communication with your clients and co-workers. Regardless if you’re the only one working remote, or if your firm has shifted to a "virtual" office, you need to make sure that your entire team is in constant communication to sustain productivity and ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
February 19, 2021
Video chat that saves directly to your legal matters
With face-to-face meetings often replaced with video conferencing right now, we wanted to provide Smokeball users with a seamless way to incorporate video into their workflow. In a recent update, we’ve made client and co-worker communication even more effective by integrating it with the most popular video chat application on the market: Zoom.
February 19, 2021
How can Lawyers Witness a Will Remotely?
How can Lawyers Witness a Will Remotely? 27/3/20202 Comments Picture Estate Planning is the bread and butter of many small law firms. Wills, powers of attorney, guardianships and medical directives are important documents that require proper execution. Without the necessary witnessing and execution requirements met, it is easy to contest these documents when they come into effect.
February 19, 2021
Cloud software for small legal and conveyancing businesses: Why not all clouds are built equal
When looking to move to the cloud, is there a difference between ‘cloud’ from one vendor to another? Yes, and the differences can be profound. The majority of providers use the purely browser-based technology to take you to the cloud, but, there are a few that go the extra mile and implement all the cloud benefits right into your desktop, into your existing applications, and the into the workflows that you use every day.
February 19, 2021
Maintaining control and accountability over a decentralised office
Once legal and conveyancing 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.
February 19, 2021
Maintaining control of tasks and deadlines while working remotely
Legal and conveyancing businesses are sacrificing a lot of control as their employees work from home in light of Covid-19. Lawyers and conveyancers are paradoxically more autonomous in staying on top of their daily tasks while relying more on each other to make sure nothing falls between the cracks.
February 19, 2021
Family Law documents can now be signed electronically
The new “Joint Practice Direction 2 of 2020 - Special Measures in Response to COVID-19” was issued by the Family Law Courts on 31 March 2020 in order to help combat the daily practical challenges now faced by Family Law practitioners as well as prioritise the health and safety of the wider community, Judges and Court staff.
February 19, 2021
What Can Conveyancers and Lawyers do to Improve Email Management?​
Email is a great way to quickly and easily communicate with clients and colleagues about a matter, but if not managed effectively, email can become a productivity killer. There are a few things every conveyancing and legal business can do to improve email management.
February 19, 2021
Microsoft Outlook Tips for Lawyers and Conveyancers
While social media and text messaging have gained popularity with the masses, email is still the primary way that conveyancers and lawyers communicate with clients. Email is a private and flexible communication tool accessible to everyone, but are you getting the most out of your email management feature, especially if you’re using Microsoft Outlook? Let’s take a look at a few powerful Microsoft Outlook tips and tricks that you can use to increase your productivity and communicate effectively.
June 1, 2021
Becoming a Paperless Office​ - With guest blogger Rebecca Wadelton
The hardest part in making the transition to the electronic world and operating a paperless office is working out where to begin, followed by removing the overwhelming thought of having to find the time to make the transition. Most of us have this notion of how hard and time consuming the transition is going to be. The transition itself is easy and when completed in stages it is no longer overwhelming or time consuming.
February 19, 2021
10 Ways to Save Time Producing Documents with Templates
Quick and easy document creation is crucial to keeping your conveyancing or legal business running at the speed clients need and expect from modern firms.
February 19, 2021
Smokeball ‘Communicate’ - Secure File Sharing and Messaging Securely connecting Lawyers and Conveyancers with their clients
Cyber crime has rapidly increased in recent years, with email fraud being the primary tactic of attackers. Lawyers and conveyancers represent an attractive target for cyber criminals, considering you are typically small businesses that deal with large financial transactions.
February 19, 2021
What is Smokeball Communicate and what makes it so secure?
Cyber crime has rapidly increased in recent years, with email fraud being the primary tactic of attackers. In result, email is now deemed insecure.
February 19, 2021
Communicate: Group chat and file sharing for dispersed teams
There are myriad chat apps on the market. Alternatives to Slack and Microsoft Teams include Google Hangouts Chat, Mattermost, and Flock. But, none unfortunately are truly free. Sure, some remote teams are relying on iMessage and SMS texts in a pinch, but for a decentralised office, consistent and secure communication is a must.
June 1, 2021
Top 5 Reasons Smokeball Billing is Brilliant
We are proud to introduce our Smokeball Billing expert – Priscilla Lawrence. These are Priscilla's top 5 reasons why Smokeball Billing is brilliant,
June 1, 2021
Billing what you’re worth: How doubling your revenue is actually a possibility
To tell a law firm that our software can double your revenue sounds like an outlandish marketing claim. So when we started to look at the data and realised that it is not only possible, but it has already happened for many Smokeball clients, we felt uncomfortable shouting it from the rooftops, because it sounds too good to be true.
February 19, 2021
Smokeball brings home Australian Business Award for Software Innovation
With just under three years in the Australian market, Smokeball Legal and Conveyancing Software has won an Australian Business Award for Software Innovation.
February 19, 2021
Smokeball placed in the Top 20 for 2019 Best Places to Work Study
We have always been proud of our culture here at Smokeball, and today we have another reason to be!
February 19, 2021
Tips for Capturing (and Billing) More Time
Capturing and billing more time can take your businesses revenue from mediocre to outstanding. When it comes to tracking time, so many lawyers and conveyancers leave money on the table because they fail to record all the hours they’ve worked.
May 31, 2021
How long are you spending each day on email? With guest blogger Janis Donnelly-Coode
Depending on which set of statistics you look at, you are spending far too much time managing your emails. It is so ubiquitous that it is a running joke within the legal industry.
May 31, 2021
Smokeball Trust Accounting Now Law Society Approved! The Road to Certification
Just shy of a year ago, we started our journey enhancing Smokeball’s Trust Accounting in preparation for the certification submission with the Law Society of New South Wales.
June 1, 2021
Secrets of an Award Winning 'Great Place to Work' Company
We have always been proud of our amazing company culture here at Smokeball, and now we have another reason to be: We've been named #14 Best Place to Work 2020, awarded for the second year running!
June 1, 2021
(Re)Starting Your Law Firm - Emerging from the Crisis or the Crowd
Whether you’re emerging from quarantine or setting out on your own, 2020 has become the year of the great equaliser. Never before have firms, courts, and clients been so reliant on technology and innovation to ensure success.
February 23, 2021
How Collaboration and Communications Tools help Small Law Firms Work From Anywhere - With Jane Oxley Smokeball CRO
When we launched our suite of communication and collaboration tools in Smokeball last year, we worried we were too far ahead of the curve: that small law firms would fail to embrace messaging each other internally, sharing documents with each other, and also messaging their clients and third parties from our software.
February 23, 2021
LPI Podacst: The interplay between innovative software and legal practice success with Justin Betar, Betar Lawyers
This an original interview conducted by Legal Practice Intelligence Editor Peter Frankl. View the original interview here.
February 23, 2021
Automatic Time Tracking and Matter Profitability Tracking: When something that sounds too good to be true is real!
For the past three years, the team at Smokeball has been working on AutoTime. AutoTime is a total revelation for small law firms whether working on time billed or fixed fee (or as is common, a combination of both) as it performs two key functions.
February 23, 2021
Keeping social activities alive in a virtual workplace - With Eve Pinamoura ​Smokeball People and Culture Manager​
Prior to COVID when all 70 Smokeballers worked in the office together, organising the social activities was straight forward. As a social bunch something as simple as Friday beer and pizza, or a monthly birthday cake and song went down well. Though in March, when we suddenly all started working from home, our humble social calendar simply didn’t work. Virtual social drinks were a flop, and singing happy birthday online was plain awkward. So, with much trial and error, here are my tips:
February 23, 2021
Smokeball Product Chat with Adele Hoyle and Jane Oxley
Innovation is part of our DNA at Smokeball. We are always hard at work developing the most cutting-edge software features for small law firms.
February 23, 2021
Legal trends to look out for in 2021
2020 was full of unexpected challenges. We redefined where and how we worked, with many lawyers and conveyancers transitioning to remote work. Whatever new challenges await in 2021, we can be sure that the legal industry has been changed forever.
May 31, 2021
How hourly and fixed fee billers can bill more without charging more
Not only does Smokeball help law firms get their work done faster with industry leading productivity tools, it also makes sure fee earners are paid what they’re worth.
May 31, 2021
Smokeball’s new mobile app for lawyers keeps your practice in your pocket
The new and improved Smokeball app for iOS and Android brings Smokeball from your desktop to your pocket, helping you manage your practice whether on the go or in the courtroom.
February 23, 2021
Why automatic time tracking is essential for more than billing
Any lawyer who has manually tracked their billable hours knows it can be a thankless task. Between constantly setting and resetting timers, compiling that information into timesheets – and trying to calculate how much time was spent on tasks you weren’t able to set a timer for – lawyers need to be meticulous with their billable hours.
April 28, 2021
Building trust through billing transparency
We’re hearing a lot about transparency these days. It is a kind of elixir of modern management, widely discussed as a way to build value with every constituency an enterprise may have, including shareholders, communities, regulators, employees, suppliers and customers.
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