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April, 2019
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April, 2019 | President Message

President's Message

Harris, Pam 1nov17
Author Pamela Harris

This winter seems to have been particularly long, a Jedi mind trick no doubt.  I really struggled with some seasonal blue periods, tired of cold, windy, wet, grey days.  I am so glad that Spring is finally here and cannot wait to feel the warmth of the sunshine!  It was perfect to begin Spring with many of you at our social “Sipping on Spring” event in March.  Sunshine even makes the April Showers that bring May Flowers bearable.

I am reminded of how extremely contagious emotions are.

We have all seen this in action; everyone loves “Miss Mary Sunshine” and avoids “Debbie Downer”.  The reason we are drawn to the person who is happy all of the time is because we come away feeling good about ourselves after we talk or spend time with them.  Alternatively, we avoid the person who is down or negative because we are left feeling drained and can get caught up in their negativity.

It took time in the early days for me to figure this out.  When I would talk to my dad about the chatter at work that I would be all caught up in; he would always ask “What does this have to do with you?”  My dad is a very patient man and had to ask me the same question many times, often in the same conversation to get me to realize that ultimately the answer was nothing.  I was taking on the negativity of someone else and carrying it with me and then spreading it to others.

Being highly aware of your own emotions in order to manage them when it matters most is something that I continue to work on.  I recently heard a quote that I jotted down during a webinar that I thought I would share with you.

“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing in the tempting moment” - Dorothy Nevill.

By being aware of and controlling our emotions, we are better equipped to let things be silent when there is nothing positive to say or that will change the outcome.  One of the best tips I learned a long time ago and was reminded of recently was that during situations where my emotions are taking over is to listen more, talk less and then ask questions to understand.  This strategy engages a different part of your brain that allows you to move out of “flight or fight” mode and into problem solving mode.

EI is arguably one of the most valuable skills leaders will work to develop and apply in every situation they encounter.  Emotions play a big role in every aspect of our lives.  They impact our own performance and those around us.  As you develop your EI you can help others by recognizing and influencing their emotions which will have a direct impact on everyone’s level of success.

The lack of a scientifically valid scale makes it difficult to truly measure or predict someone’s emotional intelligence on the job, but I think we can all agree that when we and those around us have invested time developing this skill, we all benefit.

Given emotions are contagious, allow me to inspire you with some positivity.  The board, SIG leaders, committees and TLOMA staff have been working very hard making improvements to your member benefits with the goal of delivering excellent educational and networking opportunities. We have been receiving excellent feedback regarding our new live stream webinars.  This is a very practical platform that provides learning opportunities to our members who are unable to make it in person on the day of the event.  Stay tuned as we are going to be introducing further new online offerings.

We are also offering a new format for the April Professional Development session that is taking place on the morning of Thursday, April 4. This will be a three-hour workshop that will allow for more time to dive deeper into the topic of productive conflict.  Dr. Liane Davey is known as the “teamwork doctor” whose mission is to transform the way people communicate, connect and contribute to create high performing teams.  Every registrant receives Lianne’s book “The Good Fight”.  I am certainly looking forward to reading it this Spring somewhere outside on a patio.

We recently announced the enhancement to the Discussion Forum and the ability to upload documents.  This is a great way to knowledge share from the convenience of our office and build resources for future reference.  We are continuing to look for more member benefits to bring to you.

The TLOMA Finance SIG - Introduction to Integrated Disability Solutions is taking place on April 9, 2019.  As one of the benefit plan administrators, I always find these presentations valuable in finding creative ways to meet the needs of our employees.  When we take care of our employees they are happier and more productive which in turn makes us happier.

The TLOMA Human Resource SIG – Employment Practices Liability in the #MeToo is taking place on April 16, 2019, be sure to mark your calendars.  This session outlines the claim trends specific to law firms; workplace investigations and procedures for filing a claim and settlement amounts in Canada. 

The Conference Committee is working hard in putting together educational content of the highest quality along with excellent networking events that are always a great deal of fun.  They recently announced that Linda Edgecombe will be our Opening Keynote Speaker.  Linda is an award winning Celebrity Humorist Speaker, Trainer and Consultant with 25 years of experience.

We are currently in the Action Plan stages of our strategic priorities and are looking for all that we can do for our members.  I will have more to report in May as we develop further important TLOMA initiatives that recognize and engage our members.

Pam has been working at Oatley Vigmond LLP since 1989 and is currently the Director of Administration and Planning.  In this role, Pam has the privilege of working with an amazing group of partners, lawyers and peers.  Pam helps focus their time and energy on the priorities that improve how they do business, provide the best level of service to their clients and create a better experience for their employees. 

Pam values continuous learning while looking at things differently, to find the opportunities when no one else sees them. 

Pam believes that strong continuous learning skills are required to successfully adapt to changing work and life demands.  Pam applies continuous learning in the workplace by viewing all experiences as potential learning and re-examining assumptions, values, methods, policies and practices. 

Pam has been a member of TLOMA since 1996 and held the Board position of Human Resources Special Interest Group Leader from 2015 until 2016, Vice President in 2018 and is the current 2019 President.

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April, 2019 | Article

Self Awareness is a Key Indicator to your Success

Personal Branding
Edgecombe, Linda 26feb19
Author Linda Edgecombe 2019 TLOMA Conference Keynote Speaker

Self-Awareness is the Single Most Important Factor in your Success

For the past 26 years I have been speaking to, for and with experts and professionals from across the globe. In every different kind of career, level of income and degree of education. And the one ‘across the board’ indicator, that I have noticed is the most successful folks I have ever come across have one distinguishing factor they all have in common. They are all very self-aware adults. So here are a few Self-Awareness indicators you can work on to work towards your own Success story this year.

Self-Awareness Indicators for Highly Successful People:

1. No one has it together. That is correct, not one person in your life has it all together.  Even if they look like they do, they are most likely falling apart internally and behind closed doors. If you want to lighten the load for yourself this year, come to terms with this one fact. And stop trying to look like you have it all together. When you realize that no one does, you can stop trying to look like you have it together and spend that energy on something that actually has more meaning for you, and use that effort and time make the planet a better place.

2. According to Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, who conducted a study on the success of leaders and self-awareness, a high self-awareness score was the strongest predictor of overall success. This is not altogether surprising as executives who are aware of their weaknesses are often better able to hire subordinates who perform well in categories in which the leader lacks acumen. These leaders are also more able to entertain the idea that someone on their team may have an idea that is even better than their own.”  

3. Start “Noticing what you are Noticing”. Simply one of my favourite lines. When you are aware of your “notice habits” you can start to change them. First one being: how judgmental are you? Are you able to catch yourself in judgement of other people and yourself. If you can, then you can choose in that moment to become CURIOUS about why you are being judgmental about what ever you are spending energy on.

4. The most effective executives I knew had, I believe, realistic assessments of their own abilities – their strengths and weaknesses, their effect on others, the gaps that needed to be filled.

5. When you find yourself in situations that are difficult, a self-aware person may stumble but will be able to admit their shortcomings. Vs, pushing through and avoiding the person or the mistake they may have made.

As an award winning Celebrity Humorist Speaker, Trainer and Consultant for the past 25 years, Linda’s footprint is seen and experienced around the world.  Her mission is to get people Fired up and Ready to Shift or Get off the Pot!

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April, 2019 | Article

Tips for Internal Team Negotiations

Negotiating Article
TLOMA - Get Involved HalfPage
MartyLatz
Author Marty Latz

WE negotiate every day, whether with a colleague, a boss, a vendor, or even a significant other or kids. In fact, our ability to effectively negotiate may be the most critical skill we possess.  Yet most negotiate instinctively or intuitively. This article – and future negotiation articles - will focus on helping us approach negotiations with a strategic mindset.  There’s been a great deal of research on negotiation in the last 40 years. Let’s see how these proven strategies and tactics can help us get what we want.

“I really don’t connect very well with my colleague. We just don’t have much in common. But we have to work together to successfully complete this project. What should I do?”

Many of us have been in this situation. And it’s not ideal. But unless you’re the CEO, you don’t often get to choose your colleagues. So how can you most effectively negotiate in a team environment?

1.  Use your EQ skills

Daniel Goleman, in his groundbreaking bestseller Emotional Intelligence, focuses on our ability to identify, assess and control our emotions as well as others’ emotions. These skills are crucial in team environments.

As international management consultant Susan Sneider put it in a recent talk I heard entitled “Emotional Intelligence for Successful Teams,” this means you need to:

  • Be self-aware and recognize your feelings;
  • Self-regulate your emotions and stifle your negative impulses;
  • Harness your emotions to help you achieve your group’s goal;
  • Exhibit empathy and focus on your colleagues’ emotions and needs by stepping into their shoes; and
  • Use your social skills to manage how others interact with you (don’t push their hot buttons, etc.).

Sneider also noted that a team’s EQ – which measures how well a team is attuned to and understands each other, manages healthy conflict and reduces unhealthy conflict – “builds trust, group identity and a sense of group efficacy.”

According to Sneider, the research is clear – the greater a group’s EQ, the higher the group’s performance.

Are these easier said than done? Of course. But each is essential to team success.

2.  Keep your eyes on the prize

“The economy, stupid” was famously written on the wall of the Bill Clinton campaign headquarters when he ran for president in 1992. Why? To focus every team member on the core message that they felt would deliver them the White House.

It worked, despite the huge number of distractions that inevitably erupt in presidential campaigns.

My recommendation? Collaboratively develop a group-wide strategic plan – and put it in writing with your group’s goal prominently identified upfront. Then get each team member to commit by signing off on it.

Then review your goals and the written plan when distractions arise.

3.  Focus on effective communication

Open and honest communication between team members is fundamental to a team’s ability to achieve success. Effective team interaction and communication – according to Goleman, Sneider, Patrick Lencioni (author of The Five Disfunctions of a Team) and Adel B. Lynn (author of The EQ Difference: A Powerful Plan for Putting Emotional Intelligence to Work) – should also focus on:

  • developing trust;
  • creating accountability;
  • ensuring commitment;
  • providing motivation;
  • encouraging creativity
  • maintaining flexibility;
  • fostering positive chemistry between team members; and
  • determining a process to healthily resolve team conflicts.

And if you don’t do this, be aware that the absence of these elements constitute the reasons many teams underperform – or worse yet – simply fail.

4.  Emphasize the team

We all have strengths and weaknesses. In teams, we need to identify, engage and encourage everyone’s strengths. We also need to recognize, sometimes acknowledge, and avoid relying on others’ weaknesses.

Bottom line – figure out the best individual person for each task. But always remember it’s a team effort.

Latz’s Lesson:  Successful teams require EQ, clear goals and communication, and a team effort. It also sometimes requires you to take one for the team.

Marty Latz is an international negotiation expert, author, and Founder of Latz Negotiation, a negotiation training and consulting firm. His most recent book is The Real Trump Deal: An Eye-Opening Look at How He Really Negotiates (www.TheRealTrumpDeal.com). He can be reached at 480-951-3222 or Marty@LatzNegotiation.com. For more, see www.LatzNegotiation.com.  

HUB International - Interruption Ad - Employment Practices Liability in the #MeToo Era - April 16, 2019
April, 2019 | Article

Dear Hiring Manager

Dear Hiring Manager
TLOMA_SocialMedia_LinkedIn HalfPage
Katherine Forge Recruiting
Author Katherine Larrazabal

Dear Hiring Manager,

I was filled with excitement as I read through your job posting and was hopeful at the prospect of finally getting to work in a job that truly satisfied me! I was employed, happy in my role, but yearning to do more. It took a lot of courage for me to even explore a new job. It was your job posting that caught my eye. So, I tailored my resume, wrote a cover letter, attached it all and hit submit! I applied to YOUR job. A job I thought would be the perfect match!

A couple days went by and I had yet to hear back on my submission. I started to assume that I wasn’t the right fit for the job.  Maybe there were credentials I lacked – something I missed in the job posting? Maybe I had a spelling error on my resume? Maybe I just wasn’t right for the role.  I started to convince myself that I didn’t want the job.  Who wants to get into a new routine anyways? Meet new people? Go to a new office? Eventually I forgot that I had even applied to the position.

Although it was least expected, I eventually received a response from you. My heart fluttered. My cheeks flushed and I clenched my fists in excitement! It was an invitation to come in for an interview. “YES!” I whispered excitedly under my breath!  I responded immediately; sharing the details of my availability in order to set an interview as soon as I could!

You were friendly and sweet - very easy to speak with. We went over the details of my past experience.  I felt like I explained things well. You went over the details of the position with me. As you told me more about the lawyer’s practice, my excitement was heightened. Hearing more about the firm’s culture and environment, and the prospect of growing my career with you, I knew this would be a great fit for me! We spoke for about 45 minutes and you told me you had a few other meetings, but I could expect to hear back from you for a second interview – to meet with the lawyers. I left your office very hopeful! I went home ecstatic and awaited further instructions. 

Again, time went by. Days, weeks - I never heard back. I sent a follow up email and you told me you were still going through the first interview round, but I could expect to hear from you for a second interview.  Once again, I found doubt slowly creeping into my consciousness. Weeks past, and I felt scared and anxious at the thought of facing potential rejection. I began to convince myself that I was not right for the role – there were surely stronger applicants.  Anger and frustration began.  “I can understand that I may not be the right fit for the role, but don’t leave me in the dark.  Let me know what is going on!” I thought to myself. Time passed and eventually I shoved the position in the back of my mind, slowly forgetting both the role and my earlier excitement.

I wasn’t going to let this experience get the best of me.  I welcomed the idea of exploring other opportunities.  After all, I did miss the exhilaration I felt from thinking of newer, better prospects. I knew what I needed to do.  I began exploring other jobs and even submitted a few more applications.  I met with a couple of firms – and first interviews turned into second interviews. 

However, once again, when I least expected it, I saw your email! It was an invitation to come in for a second interview, to meet with the lawyers. I was not as excited as I initially was ahead of my first interview. You made me wait so long. But I did feel very strongly about the role. I responded to your email and we set up my second interview. 

The two lawyers I met with were wonderful. They were both interesting and exciting, and I felt that I could really learn from their expertise. The meeting lasted an hour and by the end of it, you told me that I should expect to hear back from you shortly. 

I went home but didn’t have to wait long. This is because that evening, I had received a call from one of the other law firms I had met with. They offered me a position!  This role was a strong contender, but yours was still my top choice. I sent you an email letting you know my predicament. I called and left a voice message. I never received a response from you.  My calls and emails fell on deaf ears.

I had no other choice but to let you go. I let you go and accepted a position with the other firm. 

Here I am, writing to you while I am 2 weeks into my new job at my new firm. Why you ask? I just received an email from you offering me the position at your firm. A position, I at one time wanted so badly. 

Unfortunately, it’s too late. I moved on. You missed your opportunity. If you had gotten back to me sooner, I would most likely be sitting at a desk in your firm. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Truthfully, while I started out desperately wanting your opportunity, all this waiting dulled my excitement. During this time, I realized that if you were unable to at the very least give me a reason as to why things took so long, I must assume that you do not respect my time. Therefore, it only makes sense that I join a firm, which does respect me. A firm that keeps me updated throughout the process.  A firm that moves quickly once they realize what a great addition I can be to their team.

Unfortunately, it did not work out between you and I. However, for your benefit, I hope you do not treat your future prospective employees this way. In the end, you may lose out on all the good ones, left wondering where all the top talent has gone.   

Katherine joined Forge Recruitment in 2018 following her completion of the Paralegal Education Program at Humber College.  While in school, Katherine interned with a busy Personal Injury Law Firm.  She now uses her legal experience to better empathize with her candidates, allowing her to better assist each person and ensure that she is making the best fit.

You can contact Katherine at Katherine@forgerecruitment.com and can learn more about Forge Recruitment by visiting www.forgerecruitment.com.

TLOMA - Interruption Ad - New Members Breakfast - April 25, 2019
April, 2019 | Article

Why Document Management Delivers The Greatest Impact For Law Firms

Content Marketing
TLOMA 2019 Conference HalfPage
virginio
Author Virginio Basile

Recent research named document management systems (DMS) as today’s most important legal technology for law firms. In this article Tikit’s Virginio Basile* explains why that’s the case and why the right DMS can now make such a big difference to firms of any size.

 

According to the 2018 Aderant Business of Law and Technology Survey, document management systems (DMS) is the technology that delivers the greatest impact to legal firms today. This is so despite the fact that the first generation of DMS technology has been around since the 1990s. So why has DMS suddenly catapulted to the #1 position? I believe the answer lies in the increasing pressure firms are now feeling to give clients exactly what they want. And what clients now really, really want from law firms is for their data to be extremely well protected and at the same time, for their legal documents to be accessible whenever and wherever required.

WHAT HACKERS KNOW

The trouble is that hackers are well aware that law firms regularly handle very high‐value data. This includes detailed information on acquisitions, on mergers and on disputes – in other words a whole litany of sensitive transactions. This is material which hackers can lucratively monetize fairly easily, and which also has the potential to devastate a client’s share price.

Moreover, hackers are learning that – alarmingly for clients – law firms are very often the weakest link in the information security chain. This is because firms often struggle to make an adequate investment in information security provision. Also, all too often, law firms don’t make as much effort as they should to educate their staff – all their staff – on information security hygiene. This is relevant because a surprisingly large proportion of security breaches are inadvertently (and sometimes maliciously) caused by staff themselves. A 2018 UK Government survey, for instance, found that fully 75% of reported data security breaches among the 778 businesses surveyed were the result of fraudulent emails or websites directed at, and mishandled by, staff.

THE REMEDY IS SIMPLE

The solution, however, is simple, and what’s more is close at hand, no matter what size of firm is involved. It’s simply this: give custodianship of your clients’ data to a third‐party which happens to first and foremost deliver a trusted security platform. In other words, a cloud‐based DMS supplier.

Thereafter, when clients ask: “How is my data being looked after?” the firm can demonstrate that the highest standards are being adhered to. Clients can rest assured that your firm is providing the data privacy and information security they want. They know that information is being held in compliance with regulatory requirements. They also know that your data security provision is fully auditable. In short, a cloud‐based DMS can deliver unassailable information governance.

At the same time, because a cloud‐based DMS can provide secure, controlled, anytime/anywhere access to data, clients will get the capacity to share documents and collaborate safely which they now demand. The system also takes care of document governance so that users know they’re always using the correct version and changes are immediately synchronized.

An added bonus is that cloud‐based DMS also deliver robust business continuity management and ironclad disaster recovery – taking these concerns off the plate of the in‐house IT team and freeing up resource to focus on refining systems which improve the client experience.

CLIENT SATISFACTION

Back in the day, information security provision was an expensive business which big law was able to throw a lot of money at, but which was much more problematic for smaller firms. Today’s cloud‐based DMS supply the software as a pay‐as‐you‐go service, bringing the cost of ownership within reach of any size of firm.

Meanwhile, today’s emphasis is on client satisfaction. So, strangely, what firms now want from DMS has changed almost 180 degrees from what was wanted back in the 1990s when these systems were new. The fact is that the productivity gains related to knowledge sharing and document access of DMS are now a given for firms. What now matters is clients. They want assurance that their documents are safeguarded and handled with extreme care. This is why the new generation of cloud‐based DMS is now the most potent technology in a firm’s arsenal. Because, at an accessible price, it supplies the security, compliance and collaboration which clients now desire.

 

View upcoming webinar on May 1st for details.

Virginio Basile is Tikit’s Vice President Professional Services, North America. Tikit is a world‐leader in technology solutions for law firms and supplies NetDocuments, the market’s leading cloud‐based document and email management solution. To learn more about NetDocuments and its capabilities, contact Virginio at virginio.basile@tikit.com
April, 2019 | Article

Building a Successful Law Firm

Industry Alginment
TLOMA_SocialMedia_Twitter HalfPage
Author Law Firm Leadership Alliance (LFLA)

As the newly formed Law Firm Leadership Alliance, (LFLA), Gary Mitchell, Lisa Dawson, and Mayur Gadhia, have come together to collaborate on behalf of law firm leaders and law firms across Canada. By way of introduction, we offer this 5–part series on Building a Successful Law Firm.

 

This first article serves as an introduction to the series. The next four will cover Practice Management, Administrative Management, Financial Management and Business Development.

 

There are certain traits that successful law firms share.  They all begin with leadership. There have been many studies (McBassi & Company, Greenfield Belser, Thomson Reuters, Altman Weil to name a few) detailing the skills and attributes of successful law firm leaders. Leadership is a mindset. These studies and our collective experience form the basis for our series. 

 

Where skills are learned, attributes are more the personal qualities or natural temperaments of who we are. Understanding and working with BOTH, is essential for strong leadership. For example, the Managing Partner is usually in the leadership role by default. Often the founding partner assumes this title. Typically, this individual has not had direct training or coaching to develop their skills as a leader, or business director. Yet typically they have direct control or influence over the way the firm is run.

 

Most lawyers will have their "lawyering" skill set fairly well honed: Analytical ability; attention to detail; logical reasoning; persuasiveness; sound judgment; writing ability, and others. At the same time, successful leaders require skills to formulate and articulate a shared vision for the firm: lead the fight for constructive organizational change; empower and develop lawyers and support personnel; work collaboratively with the  management team; develop problem solving and multiple options thinking skills; make tough decisions; establish both firm goals and performance goals for all lawyers and support personnel; seek input from others while coaching and developing others; confront and deal directly with internal and external (client) conflict and communications problems.

 

Whew! No small order! If you are a Managing Partner/Owner of the law firm/Law firm administrator, you know what a tug-o-war this is! The good news is, skills can be learned. On-going leadership training and coaching will address this. It is not taught at law school, but it certainly determines the degree of a law firm's success. 

 

Attributes are more innate and part of our personality temperaments. They are subtle, soft-skill qualities that reinforce what you say and support your desired actions. So, the second part of being a successful leader is to know what kind of leader and person you are. This insight to one's own personality dimension and that of others, equips one with leverage to influence others, negotiate with influence and successfully lead others.

 

Lawyers in leadership positions cannot inspire confidence in others if they cannot manage their own emotions and formulate a vision for change or action. Lawyers in leadership situations must have the ability and inclination to listen to their lawyers and support personnel. They must foster a sustainable relationship just as they do with their clients. However, many law firms do not encourage or insist upon their leaders to develop the skills and abilities necessary to more effectively lead change or action in their firm.  Although many firms are adopting competency-based associate development approaches, there is a lack of the same consideration for those at the top (a bit of a dichotomy?) 

 

Now, success can be defined any way you want it to be: achieving a high degree of profitability; attaining a reputation as the best in practice (in the city, province or country?); fostering highly leveraged teams enjoying a lean process work flow; and/or experiencing low turnover and a highly productive and collegiate team.

 

Does your firm meet or exceed the definition of your success?

 

Our series will expose the key elements of successful law firm leaders in achieving this state in their firms.   

 

  • Practice Management - Think Quality Control
    (Effective and efficient delivery of legal services leading to higher productivity and profitability)
  • Administrative Management - Think Leadership
    (Organizational structure and development of human capital/firm culture)
  • Financial Management - Think Accountability
    (Responsibility for the Firms' Financial Health)
  • Business Development - Think Growth
    (Attracting and keeping more high-level clients)


If you are a managing partner, leader in your firm, or aspire to become one, or a law firm administrator, stay tuned as we go into details about these four key  areas that will impact your success as a leader and ultimately, the success of your firm.

As the newly formed Law Firm Leadership Alliance, (LFLA), Gary Mitchell, Lisa Dawson, and Mayur Gadhia, have come together to collaborate on behalf of law firm leaders and law firms across Canada. 

Gary Mitchell is a seasoned business coach serving the legal industry since 2005. He has two books published with Carswell and writes a monthly column for The Lawyers Daily. gary@ontraccoach.com

Lisa Dawson has been serving the Vancouver legal industry since 1995 in the area of office operations. Her passion for success at, all levels in a law firm, results in business improvement. She welcomes new challenges at ljdmanagement@shaw.ca.

Mayur Gadhia, CPA, CA, is the Founder of CloudAct CPA Professional Corporation, a Toronto based firm providing taxation, accounting and business advisory services to lawyers and law firms. mayur@cloudact.ca.

April, 2019 | Movers and Shakers
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Movers and Shakers

New Members

Mara Da Camara

Marketing Manager

McLeish Orlando LLP

Angela Caracciolo

Director - IT Applications & Training

Thomson Rogers LLP

Helen Maheras

Senior Manager, Claims Litigation Support

TD Insurance

Chris Riley

IT Manager

SmithValeriote Law Firm LLP

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