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Product Spotlight

Revolutionize Your Small Law Firm with Smokeball Activity Intelligence

By Chelsey Lambert

How do you know if you’re really busy or just doing busywork? Becoming more productive and profitable is next to impossible if you don’t understand how your team is truly spending its time and allocating its energy. Your law firm needs real, actionable data and business intelligence to make smart decisions and maximize efficiencies.

Meet Smokeball Activity (Ai): The next generation of activity reporting.

What is Activity Intelligence?

Activity Intelligence is the first comprehensive activity reporting tool designed specifically for small law firms. Instead of asking your staff to watch the clock and manually record information on the tasks they engage in, Smokeball Ai allows your firm to automatically capture meaningful data about every appointment made, email exchanged, task completed and phone call placed — converting all activity data into reports that help you uncover opportunities to optimize your work. Smokeball Ai follows your firm’s progress over time and allows you to view, sort and filter detailed firm activity intelligence with the click of a button.

How Does It Work?

Think of Smokeball Ai as a fitness tracker for your small law firm. You go about your business and it keeps tabs on your activities throughout the day without any extra effort from you.

Because Smokeball integrates with all the tools you use and the activities you engage in daily — from scheduling meetings on your calendar to creating forms and documents in Microsoft Word — Smokeball has unparalleled insight into how your team is allocating effort. Smokeball Ai is simply the engine that pulls all the meaningful insights together and makes them digestible so you can understand and act on them.

Smokeball delivers these insights through an Activity Timeline and a set of corresponding reports that help your small law firm understand its distribution of work, profit margins, associates’ work patterns, and other key performance indicators you need to track as you work toward your goals.

Smokeball Leverages Microsoft Word and Outlook to Create Meaningful Reports

Unlike other standalone activity tracking tools, Smokeball is fully integrated with Microsoft Word and Outlook, allowing you to track the work your firm does inside the two tools you use most: word processing and email.

For most lawyers, keeping track of and accounting for email communication can feel downright impossible, but with Smokeball Ai it happens automatically. Every email sent from Outlook or tagged with a case name is automatically recorded in your Activity Timeline, including all replies and attachments.

Activity Intelligence will also track work performed as staff create forms and documents or letters in Microsoft Word. Because all of your documents are in one place and data is being compiled behind the scenes, accounting for the day’s activities is totally painless.

How Does Smokeball Ai Differ from other Activity Reporting Tools?

Smokeball is the only activity reporting tool designed and customized to suit the specific practice areas small law firms serve. It was built to capture the information most relevant to your specific matters and tie it back to the performance indicators that matter most to your business.

Because Ai is built into the Smokeball software, and because Smokeball pulls together all the tools you use and all the activities you engage in daily, you never have to think twice about tracking your activities or waste time sifting through confusing reports. Smokeball generates the accurate, actionable intelligence you need to become more productive and profitable with no extra effort from you. It’s really just that simple.

What Can I Learn?

Example Case 1: Predictive Hiring Trends. Most law firms wait to hire until they absolutely need to, then make hipshot decisions that can result in a misassigned, or underutilized employee.

Because Smokeball Ai measures the actual work performed on a daily basis by each employee, you are able to clearly view activity and predict hiring needs long before problems arise.

In the two screenshots below, we compare the volume of documents being generated daily, seen in purple, with the number of meetings or events, displayed in green. By comparing the amount of work actually being performed, you can decide whether your hiring needs are on the administrative side or if adding another associate is required.

Figure 1 - Smokeball Ai

Figure 1 (Click to enlarge)

Figure 2 Smokeball Ai

Figure 2 (Click to enlarge)

Example Case 2: Measure and Benchmark Employee Performance. No one likes to compare one teammate against another, but lackluster employee performance could be a silent business killer. Daily activities can be filtered by individual, allowing you to compare and contrast the work patterns of your associates or administrative staff. And, you can further filter activities by type to see who’s drowning in email and document production, or working weekends to get ahead.

Figure 3 - Employee 1 (Click to enlarge)

Figure 3 – Employee 1 (Click to enlarge)

Figure 4 - Employee 2 (Click to enlarge)

Figure 4: Employee 2 (Click to enlarge)

Example Case 3: Measure Margins or Justify Fees. Has a client ever scoffed at a bill or questioned the flat fee rate for your services? Quickly put an end to billing dramas by pulling a detailed report of every touch you’ve had on a matter. Phone calls, drafted documents, number of emails, completed tasks, meetings held, and much more are seamlessly tracked and delivered in an easy-to-read report.

Wondering if you’re not charging enough? Let’s say you deliver a fixed fee Estate Planning or Uncontested Divorce package, but don’t seem to be making ends meet. Run a Smokeball Ai report on a handful of cases and see exactly how much time and effort you’ve been spending on each one. Cross reference that with your hourly rate and let the numbers be your guide.

With Smokeball Ai, you’ll finally have the reporting you need to make better business decisions, without having to change the way you work. Real data translates into real results, putting you one step closer to building the practice of your dreams!

Contact a Smokeball representative today and start optimizing your operations with Smokeball Ai. Watch a demo of Smokeball:


Attorney at Work’s Product Spotlight showcases news and features from legal technology industry leaders. For more information, click here.

Categories: Legal Technology, Managing a Law Firm, New Products, Product Spotlight
Originally published April 25, 2016
Last updated February 11, 2018
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Chelsey Lambert Chelsey Lambert

Chelsey Lambert is an author, speaker and legal technology specialist. She is CEO of Lex Tech Review and the Legal Technology Media Group. Follow her on Twitter at @ChelseyLambert.

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