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April, 2022
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April, 2022 | Presidents Message

President's Message

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Hunter, Mark 10may19
Author Mark Hunter

Spring is finally in the air and for those of you who work in the Toronto core, I am sure you are beginning to feel the same level of excitement that I am. All of a sudden there are people in the PATH, restaurants are busy, and there are more people in the office. For people who strive on this energy, it is a welcome sight.

With the province opening up activities, your board continues to monitor the situation and speak with firms to understand which activities are being allowed. At this point, we have decided to keep our SIGs virtual until the fall but will host a number of in-person activities such as the Professional Development Event (“PD”) and golf tournament.

The PD Event - Driving Professional Success and Well-Being: The Three Domains of Mastery hosted by Jane Southren and her team has been postponed from April 12 to May. This year’s golf tournament will take place at Royal Woodbine Golf Club on Wednesday, June 22. More details on both events to come.

Canadian National Volunteer Week is April 24–30. Volunteering connects people, provides an opportunity to share ideas and take action, and helps create friendships forged in common goals and aspirations. It often helps us see the world through the eyes of others by connecting people from diverse backgrounds and life experiences. We work with lawyers who at times can be demanding, passionate, and strong, while maintaining a healthy level of skepticism. For many of us, our role is to take their ideas and make them into reality, and through TLOMA we are able to do that by providing support to one another. I want to thank all of our TLOMA members who volunteer their time and energy to support our association. Without your strength and ideas, we would not be the strong group we are today.

Mark Hunter,
TLOMA 2022 President

Mark has over 20 years marketing and communications experience delivering strategic advice and operational expertise that guides and supports organizations. He has helped lawyers, engineers, scientists and planners understand where clients come from, why they get selected over other professionals and what they need to do to keep a busy book.

Mark has helped a number of organizations appreciate what differentiates them, how foundational awareness guides good decision making, and how to build a high performing cultures.

April, 2022 | Article

TLOMA SIG Follow Up: Unleash the Untapped Potential in Your Firm’s Website

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carole_wright_bio
Author Carole Wright

We were delighted to share our insights on “Making your firm’s website awesome again” at the March 23 Marketing SIG.  We covered a variety of issues that are certainly hot topics these days – including SEO, mobile friendly websites, security and the user experience. We also spent time covering questions that are particularly relevant to law firms, such as how and why to blog, and how to update your staff bio page so it stands out. Here is a summary of the key points discussed that will uncover the untapped potential in your site:

1. The importance of your firm’s website – post pandemic.

Covid drastically changed how law firms of all sizes do business. With fewer people in the office, new mandates, and a shift in services, it has become apparent that increased marketing efforts, excellent communication and a solid website are essential. Let’s explore some affordable, effective ways to make it awesome - so that your clients, community and future staff can not only find you, but experience that ‘website wow factor’!

2. SEO – Main elements and tips for success.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  is a process that involves a variety of methods to help your website move up on Google rankings (or other search engines like Bing). By using good SEO techniques, people can find you closer to the top on their search results. It works by gaining the attention of the algorithms and bots that scan for relevant information with every single search. If you better understand what your audience is looking for, you can tick all the buttons with a strategic plan and get found faster. This means beating out your competition and gaining more visibility and more clients. This is how to get started on improving your SEO:

  • Your website and related online content must have regularly-posted, new, high quality content using keywords that people use to find you. If your website says, “Ontario corporate litigators,” but most people search for “business lawyer near me”, your firm won’t get ranked very high on those searches. You need to use a variety of well-researched keywords that cover the top search words and phrases.
  • Incorporate solid design features on your websites and socials. This means quality images, great layout, few pop-ups, user accessibility and more.
  • Check that your technical SEO is in good shape; your meta tags, page speed, mobile responsiveness,
  • Google Business Listings – Keep your listing updated, reply to reviews, post new content and photos to it.

SEO TIP:

Many law firms get into trouble with their SEO when they use too much legal jargon on their website, social media and blogs. The ‘everyday’ layperson does not use legal terminology in their searches – so it will lower your chances of getting ranked well.

3. User experience – Is your audience is getting what they need?

User experience (UX) is a design approach that simply aligns your firm’s purpose of the website with your users’ needs and goals. It’s about meeting their expectations – providing an engaging, informative customer experience. It doesn’t have to be rich with animations or intricate functions; you simply have to give the people what they want. If you have ever been on a website that was a frustrating, slow or complicated  experience, you know what we mean.

UX TIP:

How to do your own 10-minute UX audit:

  • Start at the top. Does your website meet your business needs? Does it have everything you need to let people know about your practice? Does it list team bios and specialties, highlight high performing areas of your business, attract new talent and can people contact you easily?
  • Assess the complaints. Do you have a lot of feedback about your website? Is it too slow, hard for potential clients to find what they are looking for? Is any of it outdated?
  • Check with internal and external stakeholders to find if it has everything they need. How does it compare to other sites in your industry or specific field?
  • Lastly, does it match the professionalism of your firm? Are you stern and serious, or lighthearted and approachable — does this align with your goals?


4. Web hosting – Where does your data live?

Have you considered where your website physically resides (as in the host computer)? Sometimes your server could be in-house, it could be a cloud-based or other third-party service provider.

WEB HOSTING TIPS:

  • Take time to learn the privacy policies and concerns relevant to your firm and your clients. Our privacy laws prohibit certain data from being stored outside of Canada.
  • Consider cyber security when choosing to upgrade or stay with your current provider. Malware and Trojan horses are on the rise – as are ransomware attacks.
  • Choose a reputable hosting company that provides multiple contact methods, good customer support and regular back-ups.


5. Are blogs worth it?

We often get asked if blogs are necessary for busy law firms – and 99.9% of the time, our answer is a resounding “YES!”  Every new blog is a new website page and Google loves new content. We have outlined several reasons why you should be blogging:

  • Reach the right people and attract NEW leads
  • Stay top of mind with existing clients & community partners
  • Inform your audience and answer their questions with helpful content
  • Gain trust and be seen as experts in your field
  • Increase online exposure and organic traffic by regularly beefing up your website
  • Increase rankings on search engines like Google
  • Increase social media presence when posting about blog articles.
  • Shows your audience you care about them and their legal journey

BLOG WRITING TIP:

If you don’t have the staffing or resources to blog, hire an outside copywriter or marketing firm who employ professional ghost writers that research and write expertly. You have all the control. You can choose the topics, do the editing and approvals and decide when the blogs get uploaded to your site. Done and done!

6. Wow factor - team pages that POP!

The final discussion from our SIG was with regards to team pages and lawyer bios – an essential item for every firm’s website, and one that results in frequent edits and sometimes … lots of headaches. Often a team page is outdated or bland, so we have listed several tips that we use when updating our clients’ content and designs:

  • Consistency is key – keep image sizes, backgrounds and bio formats/ headings the same.
  • Invest in professional photography – but you don’t need old-timey serious headshots with arms folded.
  • Use the “Read More” option – avoid endless scrolling and boring bio facts or cases – the content and all those awesome keywords are still there for those who want to review it.
  • Keep team pages updated often and announce new staff additions on socials, etc.
  • Make it interactive and bright: Use fun features – such as zooming or hovering over an image to learn more, add visual flare, links to their personal LinkedIn or email, etc.
  • Have a bit of fun – add some personality, a fun fact about a team member, pet’s name, etc. to add a friendly, welcoming feel.
  • Mention their legal specialties up front so there is no confusion.
  • Be accessible – let people contact your team members directly when possible.

7. Wrap up & questions

We ended our SIG session with a few questions that are listed below. Want to know the answers? Just give us a call or emails and we will go through them with you!

  • How do I know if my firm’s website is secure or not?
  • Can you make a website mobile friendly without redoing the whole website from scratch?
  • How much does it cost to get a new website?
  • What are the best social media channels for a law firm to post on?
  • Is it a good idea to give away free legal advice on a blog page?
  • What can we do at our firm to get more people to check out our website?

Thanks again for letting the team at Element 6 be a part of your recent Marketing SIG – it was a pleasure.

A Western University graduate, Carole has over 20 years of experience in creative, dynamic roles such as project coordinator, marketing lead, and most recently as head content writer and blogger. She’s living the dream: walking to work & loving the agency life.

Carole can be reached at carole@element6.io or 705-503-7066.

TLOMA MARKETING SIG - Going Green: Connecting With Clients By Incorporating Sustainability
April, 2022 | Article

5 Things Your Law Firm Can do Right Now to Improve Cybersecurity

5 Things to Improve Cybersecurity - April 2022
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Millier, Dave (2)
Author Dave Millier, Moderator

Cybersecurity may not come to mind as the most important aspect of running your business but consider the following.  It takes the lifetime of your business to build and maintain your firm’s reputation, but a single cybersecurity incident can ruin it.

There are many challenges facing law firms today when it comes to cybersecurity. In most cases, there simply isn’t an understanding of what cybersecurity is. In some law firms, there is no budget for cybersecurity.  Many still believe that cybercriminals are not interested in attacking their law firm, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

For the smaller firms that believe they are unimportant to cybercriminals, they may want to review ID Agent’s SMB Cybersecurity statistics.  Some key findings include:

  • 2 out of 5 SMBs were the target of a ransomware attack
  • 34% of data breaches involved internal resources
  • the average ransomware payment in 2021 was $500,000

Other areas of concern highlighted include:

  • Business email compromise rose by 14% overall in 2020 and up to 80% in some sectors, with the most common type of BEC scam being invoice or payment fraud.
  • More than 60% of employees use the same password across multiple work and home applications.
  • Supply chain attacks have increased by 78%, what are your suppliers doing to protect YOUR firm from a cyberattack?

If that isn’t enough, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), a UK-based regulatory agency of law firms, did a review in 2020 of 40 firms about their experiences with cybercrime.  They found that 75% of law firms they reviewed had been the target of a cyber attack.  They also found that half of the firms allowed unrestricted use of external data storage media and that 25% of firms are not encrypting their laptops.

If all the above seems daunting, take heart.  There are 5 things your firm can do right now to improve your cybersecurity posture without breaking your bank account.

1. Use a Password Manager

The number one weakness that contributes to security breaches is weak passwords.  Weak passwords are often guessed by cybercriminals or in some cases brute-forced using software to gain access to systems. The problem of duplicate passwords, where a user uses the same password for multiple devices and applications is also an issue.  Once that reused password has been discovered, cybercriminals will try it over and over again to get into multiple systems. 

A password manager works by allowing users to compile a list of passwords in a secure and encrypted database.  One of the reasons users create weak passwords and reuse them is because they can’t keep memorizing all the different passwords they need to know for multiple systems. 

Some password managers also have a feature that will create strong passwords for you and store them. By ensuring every member of your firm is using a password manager, you protect your firm’s data and network by  allowing every user to have unique passwords. 

2. Implement Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

The easiest way to explain multifactor authentication is by the phrase “something you know, something you have, and something you are.” The something you know is your unique password, the something you have could be a key fob, your mobile phone, or some other device that only you have and can generate a one-time code to grant you access.  This code will only be available to you for a limited amount of time.  The something you are is literally you! It can be a fingerprint, facial recognition, or some other biometric form of identifying who you are. 

The major benefits of implementing multifactor authentication are:

  • Reduce password only risks: even if someone steals your password, they still need the 2nd Factor
  • Early warning system: you’ll be notified if someone is trying to use your account
  • It significantly increases your security by reducing the risk of unauthorized access
  • Provide better controls over who can access your data

According to Microsoft, users who implement MFA on their accounts end up blocking 99.9% of attacks. 

3. Mandate Cyber Awareness Training for All Firm Employees & Contractors

Cyber awareness training is a must in today’s connected workforce.  It is just as important as new hire training, and the ongoing skills training that your staff may engage with regularly.  Everybody who uses a computer at your firm, be they the receptionist or senior partner, needs to take cyber awareness training.

The goal of cyber awareness training is to ensure that staff

  • Know what behaviors are expected of them and why allowing them to make educated decisions
  • Help employees adopt a positive attitude towards cyber security, so they can be part of the solution
  • Are aware of the cyber risks that are out there and are also aware of the available safeguards within the company

The end goal is to turn your employees into a source of cyber strength rather than a cyber weakness. 

4. Have Endpoint security in place

Endpoints are how your users access your company network and your company data.  Some examples of endpoints include desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, servers, workstations, and even Internet-of-things (IoT) devices. In many small organizations, a lot of sensitive data is stored directly on the endpoints.

That is why it is important to secure the endpoints, as they are frequently compromised by viruses, worms, malware, and ransomware.  In addition, working from home due to the pandemic has contributed to an increase in employees accessing corporate resources from personal devices. Those resources also need endpoint protection to protect your firm’s network. 

There are numerous ways to protect your endpoints.  Leveraging them all helps minimize the risk that a single endpoint becomes an open door to your firm.  They include:

  • Installing endpoint protection software like anti-virus or anti-ransomware software on all endpoints
  • Continuously patch and update all endpoints to reduce vulnerabilities
  • Use a defense-in-depth strategy on the endpoint by turning on firewalls and any built-in protection systems (such as Windows Firewall, Windows Defender, etc.)
  • Ensure you apply endpoint protection consistently across your network. If one device is overlooked, all your other efforts have gone to waste
  • Consider following a Zero Trust approach

What is a zero trust approach? Zero Trust is a security framework requiring all users, whether in or outside the organization's network, to be authenticated, authorized, and continuously validated for security configuration and posture before being granted or keeping access to applications and data. Zero Trust assumes that there is no traditional network edge; networks can be local, in the cloud, or a combination or hybrid with resources anywhere as well as workers in any location.

5. Know your data and back up that data regularly

Before you can back-up any critical data, you need to know what data you have and where that data is stored.  Some best practices should also be followed to better secure your data, such as the method of least privilege access: only grant access to information people need, a method of restricting/disabling/removing access to your data if an employee changes roles or leaves the organization, along with building good data management practices such as naming and cataloging conventions. 

When it comes to backing up your data, one of the best methods to consider is the 3-2-1 Methodology. This involves ensuring you have at least 3 copies of your data, using 2 different storage methods with 1 copy stored offsite and offline.  You should also encrypt your backups: otherwise, you’re saving the bad guys a lot of time. Remember, local backups are great for convenience to quickly restore from, however, they are also targeted when ransomware strikes. You should also test your back-ups periodically to make sure that you can restore your data from them. 

Cybersecurity is critical to the health of any law firm. By following the five steps highlighted above, you will not only help protect your data, but it can help save you money and your reputation.  The good news is that it isn’t too difficult or expensive to implement these steps. 

For more information on implementing these 5 items in YOUR law firm, or to talk about any IT or cyber security related issues, please feel free to contact us any time, we look forward to the conversation!  Remember, you don’t have to go on the cyber security journey on your own, QuickProtect is here to help when you need us!

As much as we are cybersecurity experts, we are also educators! Members of the QuickProtect team work with you and your team to stop security breaches and put preventative measures in place to protect against future breaches. We’ll also help you and your team learn to spot potential online dangers.

Dave Millier is a Serial Entrepreneur, Off-road Motorcycle Rider & Food Lover. Dave has been involved in cybersecurity for almost 20 years. He founded and built an InfoSec company, Sentry Metrics, building one of Canada’s most successful MSSPs, selling the company in 2014. After the sale, Dave’s lifelong passion for reading led him to finally sit down and write his first book, Breached!

In late 2014, Dave launched Uzado (www.uzado.com), a Cloud-based InfoSec company focused on helping companies simplify Cybersecurity by answering the questions “what now?” or “what next?”. Dave is also the CSO of Quick Intelligence (www.quickintel.com) , a boutique VAR and cybersecurity consulting company, and is the CEO of MIDAC Solutions (www.midac.ca), a Managed IT services provider focused on small to mid-size clients. Dave recently launched Canada Rides (www.canadarides.com) , an off-road motorcycle training company headquartered in beautiful Simcoe County, providing off-road motorcycle and ATV safety training. Dave lives in Ontario with his wife Maria and their two cats.

In his spare time, Dave volunteers with the Ontario Federation of Trail Riders (www.oftr.ca) and is the Chairperson for the Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada (www.motorcycling.ca).

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April, 2022 | Article

The Top Myths Arising from the Pandemic

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Steve Mabey
Author Stephen Mabey CPA, CA

The problem with myths in general and specifically for law firms is that they risk perpetuating erroneous ideas and solutions. These have a double whammy on a firm's costs – the cost of pursuing a false solution and then the cost of reversing the erroneous solution in both time and money.

There are several myths, to be tactful, arising from the last two years that need to be put to rest and quickly! The premise for treating some of the current thinking as myths stems from Dr. Larry Richard's, of LawyerBrain LLC, widely accepted advice on the most effective way to deal with millennial lawyers, which includes:

  • Provide autonomy to associates — give them choices discretion, even in small ways;
  • Foster ways to provide them with an experience that gives them meaning and purpose in their work;
  • Increase their opportunities for social connection, particularly in three areas: feeling included; opportunity to collaborate; opportunity to form friendships at work; and
  • Please pay attention to the continual development of their mastery of the skill set that helps them become increasingly competent as lawyers.

The cost of creating the above-envisioned environment is substantially less than the cost of continuously attracting and losing young lawyers.

The other basis for recognizing that firms (not all, of course) are erroneously attempting to build their firms on myths stems from a commonsense definition of insanity, which goes along the lines of "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

The legal profession has a long history (more like a tradition) of their first instinct to throw money at any issue they are confronted with (unfortunately, the second is to try and ignore it in the hope it will go away).

The myths that create the most significant concern for the future of law firms include:

1.  The basis behind the "Great Resignation" is money. Everyone needs to pay their bills, but it is a fundamental mistake to believe because firms waive higher salaries and bonuses that they will keep or attract lawyers in the medium to long term. Money does not make everyone feel included, give meaning, and purpose to their work, or enhance their competency. That is why the significant hike in lateral movement is the "Great Reassessment," whereby lawyers have increased the value placed on freedom/flexibility and decreased the value placed on net worth. And the pandemic has created a sense of freedom. An insightful comment in a recent article I read suggested that firms needed to be "engaging in an innovation war – not a wage war – to earn the loyalty of current employees and the trust of new applicants."[1]

2.  Hybrid work policies are a temporary issue and not the basis of a new, more effective operating model. In the enthusiasm about the return from remote working, law firm leaders run the risk of actually increasing disconnect between themselves and their people. The idea that we will cross a finish line and suddenly be done with all the hard stuff seems to exist only in the minds of senior Partners. In survey after survey, employees favor a more flexible working arrangement in the future. There is a growing body of evidence that "tone-deafness of the messaging may also be accelerating what's already shaping up to be the "great attrition" of 2021 (and 2022 and even 2023)".[2]

3.  Lawyers must return to the office to maintain productivity levels and develop better lawyering skills. In the recent study 2022 Report on the State of the Legal Market[3], the average hours worked per month by lawyers (124) in 2021 was the highest average since 2013. And while not at the 2007 average level of 134, it is fair to say the entire profession has changed since then.

If you remember the definition of insanity, a simple return to the office will not result in better lawyering skills or retention. Three issues impacting lawyering skills include uneven workload balance, mundane administrative tasks, and access to advice/guidance. Firms have not historically successfully addressed these issues being under one roof in the past, and a simple return to the office will not solve them now. Instead, what is required is an investment in some innovative technology like:

  1. Capacity – "is a work distribution platform designed to address significant inefficiencies and inequalities in how firms hand out work."
  2. Avvoka – "is an online document automation platform designed to radically reduce the administrative burden on junior lawyers."
  3. Define – allows users to instantly access all defined terms and references without ever having to leave the clause or provision they are working on."

4.  The leadership skills pre-pandemic will be the same as those required post pandemic, so no change is needed in selection criteria. Law firm leaders will require extra strong human capital management ("HCM") skills. It will not be enough to possess the following traits, but equally critical will be how they are deployed, including relationship-focused continuous dialogue; descriptive communication style; focus on situational emotions before dealing with problems; emphasis on verbal encouragement and praise; and collaboration in managing conflicts and tasks. The "good old boy" selection of the firm's leader will not result in the HCM skills necessary to create a legacy firm and reduce attrition to an acceptable level.

5.  The pandemic resulted in a larger than usual exit by female and minority lawyers. "Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) encompasses the symbiotic relationship, philosophy, and culture of acknowledging, embracing, supporting, and accepting those of all racial, sexual, gender, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds, among other differentiators."[4] Just because leadership says it strongly supports DEI and has policies that lawyers follow neither ensures their execution as intended nor matches peoples' experience. It is only lip service to the issue if not enforced. Until leadership roles are filled or even created in firms that the marginalized groups serve, no "real" inroads will likely be made into dealing with the "exit" issue. If the concept of success achieved through balance does not appeal to your partners, then discuss the opportunity cost every time a lawyer leaves the firm (current estimates range from $200,000 - $500,000 as the amount of investment loss when they walk out the door).

The real danger of basing your response on myths was perhaps best captured by John F. Kennedy when he pointed out that "The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie--deliberate, contrived and dishonest--but the myth--persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."[5]


[1] The winners in law’s “Great Resignation” will be firms that focus on innovation, not compensation, William Dougherty, February 22, 2022
[2] It’s time for leaders to get real about hybrid, Aaron De Smet, Bonnie Dowling, Mihir Mysore and Angelika Reich, McKinsey Quarterly, July 2021
[3] Thomson Reuters Institute and Georgetown University Law Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession, 11 Jan 2022
[4] What Is Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)?, Lisa Dunn, November 6, 2020
[5] Yale University Commencement Address, delivered 11 June 1962, John F. Kennedy

Stephen Mabey is a CPA, CA, and the Managing Director of Applied Strategies, Inc. with over 35 years of experience with law firms. Stephen's chosen focus is on law firms in general and small to medium-sized law firms in particular. He has written about and advised on a wide range of issues, including – leadership, business development, marketing, key performance indicators, strategic planning, mergers, practice acquisitions, competitive intelligence, finance, mergers, practice transitioning, compensation, organizational structures, succession, and transition planning, partnership arrangements, and firm retreats. In 2013, Stephen was inducted as a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management to recognize his sustained commitment to the highest standards of professionalism in law practice management. For more information, visit appliedstrategies.ca or connect with Stephen Mabey on LinkedIn.

April, 2022 | Article

Optimizing Benefits Procurement - the Smart Choice

Optimizing Benefits - April 2022
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Stinchcombe, Jeffrey
Author Jeffrey Stinchcombe

We should have seen it coming.  All the signs were there; employers becoming more informed; the need for procurement power; consistent upward pricing pressure on employee benefits.  The writing was on the wall.

Yet TPA’s (Third Party Administrators) bided their time until the Canadian market caught up to their ideas. 

And that time is now.

For decades, TPA’s have been the norm in the United States, but not so in Canada.  Until now, many firms have told us that they simply did not know how to access the TPA market.  But that has all changed.  Canadian Third Party Administrators are now eclipsing the “direct to one insurer” model - one group at a time.  This is because TPA’s provide more flexibility and empower your firm to be a better consumer, completely changing the procurement dynamic.

Let’s look at a few ways TPA’s are turning the Canadian benefits industry on its head.

The Benefit of Choice

Insurers outsource many of their services.  For example, if you have a ‘pay direct’ card, look at the logo on the front or back; you’ll notice that claims payments are processed by a company other than your insurer.  Indeed, insurers are TPA’s themselves, but they only offer the products of one insurer.    TPA’s provide the same administrative, claims and billing services as the insurer, but offer you the choice of many insurers for each line of benefit. 

 Changing the Procurement Dynamic

Law firms tend to spend more on benefits than other industries.  In fact benefits can cost between $5,000-$9,000 per year per employee (including Health, Dental, Life, LTD and Travel).  Multiply that by 100 or 200 employees and that can add up to more than a million dollars; every year.   Yet many TLOMA members continue to buy all their employee benefits from one ‘store’. 

Leading firms have discovered that spending all that money in one place may not be in their best interest.  For this reason, many use TPA’s to procure their benefits – one line of benefits at a time.  One insurer may have an attractive Life rate, while another may have a deep LTD expertise and a fair rate for their industry.  By pairing-up with two or more insurers, your firm can buy the ‘best of class’ for each line of benefit.

 Many Providers. One Bill

A TPA consolidates each line of benefit and bills your firm monthly with one bill, despite multiple providers.   When changing an insurer, the billing and service model remains firmly in place with no new systems for HR and Finance to adopt and learn.   This means you can change insurers without all the hassle of moving in the traditional model.

 Employer-Centric Billing Design

Many of you have told us that when receiving your monthly bill, it creates hours (and sometimes days) of work to make it right for internal systems and reporting.  A TPA provides the flexibility to custom design a bill that permanently eliminates this work.  TPA’s take the time up front to design a bill that integrates seamlessly with your systems and procedures.

Longer Term Rate Guarantees

With a TPA, 5 year rate guarantees on admin fees are not uncommon.  Imagine negotiating a fee in 2022 and having your next renewal discussion in the year 2027.    This allows you to focus on Wellness, Managed Formularies for Drugs, Plan Design, employee engagement and other critical cost drivers. 

Buying Power

When your firm approaches an insurer as a single group -  you lose the concept of leverage as a small fish in a very large pond.  By working with a leading TPA, you can begin to experience this leverage due to the TPA’s buying power.  Larger TPA’s will have contracted relationships with every leading insurer in Canada, with huge blocks of business with each.  This translates into better, more stable rates for you.

The Power of Change

In the single insurer model, moving from one insurer to another can be a massive disruption to HR, Finance and to your employees.  A change of providers can last all year and create employee communication headaches, administrative errors, claims misfires and billing mistakes.  For these reasons, many TLOMA members are reticent to change insurers, even if rates go up.  This is where the real power of the TPA model emerges, because once you enlist with a TPA, the game completely changes.  Because you are being billed and served by the TPA, you can change insurers easily for any one or all lines of benefit, without any disruption to your operations.  This greatly shifts the power of changing providers into the hands of your firm.

Access to More Product Options

Insurers may only offer one or two options for benefits like Stop Loss and Travel coverages.  With a TPA, your options are no longer limited.  While an insurer may only offer a $15,000 per individual Stop Loss for extended health and prescription drugs, a TPA can offer you almost limitless options for a wide range of innovative Stop Loss products from many different providers.  This helps you make better risk management decisions and offers more choice.

 

Leading Edge Employee Engagement

Your employees can’t wait for the answer; they want it yesterday.  TPA’s are making big investments in employee engagement and communication including cloud claiming, smartphone apps, employee intranets, enrollment engines and the integration of your benefits plan with your wellness plan. 

Getting Started

When selecting a TPA, it’s important to look at critical factors, like; the number of insurers available through the TPA, the number of employer groups served, their geographic location(s), employee count and number of years in business. 

Not sure how to find a TPA?  A good place to start is the Third Party Administrator Association of Canada at www.tpaac.ca 

Jeffrey Stinchcombe is a Partner at People Corporation serving the strategic benefit needs for TLOMA members.  He can be reached at TLOMA@peoplecorporation.com  or 416-508-5449.  www.peoplecorporation.com 

 
April, 2022 | Article

Why Advanced? - ‘Organize Solution’

What are your goals resized
Kaye, Mike
Author Mike Kaye

Why Advanced?

Ever wanted to explore a solution without committing to a demo? Well now you can, with our six-part video series supplemented with blogs, which breaks down the various features of NetDocuments. In these videos we detail the various solution options available with NetDocuments, and how the system meets the needs of legal professionals. We’re kicking off this series with the first NetDocuments solution, ‘Organize’.

Organize

A summary of what the video covers includes why the NetDocuments Organize solution is a best-in-class document and email management system. How it meets teams where they’re already working, with functionality available directly through applications such as Outlook, Word, and other Microsoft apps. How the Cloud-based solution, provides you with a seamless user experience, easy access, and superior encryption and security, which allows your team to be safe, connected, and organised. We run through the actual software, displaying the software’s capabilities on-screen.

Being Cloud-based, one of the main access points to NetDocuments is on an internet browser. Here, you can view and access your matter files, whilst also storing your files and folders in their respective matter files, applying the appropriate structure to all documents. NetDocuments can also be accessed directly through the integrated software being used, such as Outlook.

For email filing, you can leverage the one-click-filing integration of NetDocuments within Outlook itself. To make life easier, NetDocuments allows you to file the email within the correct matter using its inbuilt intelligence and predictability. It analyses the properties of your email and makes accurate suggestions for where it believes the email should be filed. These suggestions are ranked out of 100 for accuracy. You can file the email to the desired matter file at the click of a button, by simply ticking the appropriate box, allowing you to swiftly move on to the next email and so on. NetDocuments provides multiple ways of filing your emails, so you can pick whichever is most intuitive for you, whether it be at the click of a button or drag and drop.

If you look at your inbox, each email that has been filed in NetDocuments will have a global file indicator. So, anyone the email is shared with will be aware that the email has been filed into the matter file already. In addition to this, when composing an email, you can click the NetDocuments button within the email itself to open files within the matter and attach it to the email.

The same form of in-app integration is demonstrated within the Microsoft suite of applications. For example, in Microsoft Word, when you’ve finished with a file you can simply click the save icon, which will bring up the NetDocuments save screen. This will then show you your most recent matter file, and it also allows you to search for the matter file too, so that you can save it to whichever matter file you’d like. On the right-hand side you can see all the metadata your document would automatically inherit by being saved into this folder, which makes it easier to classify your content with more information. This also makes it simpler when it comes to searching and reporting later. If this is the first time the file has been saved in the matter, it will automatically save it as version one. NetDocuments fully supports full versioning and version control. If you take a look at the name of your document, it will be the name followed by a unique 12 letter ID, followed by the version number. This makes it clear as to whether you have filed your document into NetDocuments, and which version you are working on, reducing the risk of working on the wrong version of a file. Any changes made after saving will be recognised by NetDocuments as an altered version of an existing document, and will save as a new version. 

We also cover how the search capability of NetDocuments uses intelligence to allow you to refine searches to either the matter you’re currently in, the system or on a cabinet level. You can search either for the document name itself specifically, or for everything, – including the content found within a document or email itself. Once you’ve received the results of your search, you can filter even further via clients, matter, author, agreements, file extensions, practice area, and more. NetDocuments has OCR built-in automatically, therefore if you are filing image-based documents, it will be searchable and appear in the results.

Interested in discovering more on NetDocuments or speak to one of our experts? Click here.

Mike Kaye is a Senior Solutions Consultant at Advanced with years of experience in the field and a resident expert on all things NetDocuments.”
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