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TLOMA Today

January, 2022
January, 2022 | Article

Vice President Message

PC Law - The Golden Ticket - September 2021-February 2022 HalfPage
Hunter, Mark 10may19
Author Mark Hunter

Welcome to 2022. I sincerely hope all our members and business partners were able to have a safe and happy holiday season.

January is often a time of reengagement with our work lives. New projects and programs are launched, people are back to work and there is real a sense of optimism. While the recent government lockdown announcement may have dampened some people’s moods, it should not take away from the new year we are stepping into.

2022 will be a year of evolution for TLOMA with our new Executive Director, Joe Mauro, now in the fold. Your board is very excited about what Joe will bring to the association and over the coming months we will share with you some of the initiatives that TLOMA has planned.

Our slate of SIGs will begin on January 27th with David Chernitzky of Armour Cybersecurity discussing the impact a cyberattack could have on your firm. This is an incredibly timely topic with the number of attacks rising at an alarming rate. We are excited to have Jane Southren and her team at the Southren Group delivering our in-person PD Event in April and have begun planning our early summer golf tournament.

We may have started 2022 with a pivot but I have high hopes that TLOMA will experience a tremendous year of knowledge-sharing, community engagement and inclusivity.

Mark Hunter
TLOMA Vice 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.

January, 2022 | Article

Meet TLOMA's Executive Director, Joe Mauro

TLOMA - Career Board HalfPage
Mauro, Joe 7dec21
Author Joe Mauro

I am excited to be joining TLOMA as your new Executive Director. I would like to take this occasion to thank the TLOMA Board of Directors for giving me this opportunity.

As a seasoned not-for-profit executive with over 29 years in the sector I am no stranger to associations and the challenges they face; having led 2 national organizations and recently worked with an association management company.

Working at the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) and the International Association of Airport Executives Canada (IAAEC); I created programs focused on enhancing the member value proposition through what I describe as a niche approach. 

It’s an approach which identifies the unique or special attributes that attract you to be a member of TLOMA. Once these attributes are ascertained, we then create unique programs tailored to you.

In this way we can support our members through enhanced Professional Development experiences and increase the value of a TLOMA membership for you and your firms.

I hope to take my diplomatic style, combine it with a collaborative approach and forge partnerships with the TLOMA board, our Business Partners and you the members.

2022 holds some exciting possibilities and I am eager to get started.

Joe Mauro
Executive Director

Joe is a seasoned executive with over 28 years in association management and fundraising including 11 years as CEO for 2 national non-profit organizations. He has extensive experience in strategic planning and membership development. Joe has led several multi-million dollar fundraising campaigns over his career.

Joe is a relationship builder who emphasizes collaboration and innovation. He will be reaching out to many of you to learn as much as he can about TLOMA as he works with the board to deliver on our strategic priorities.

Interruption Ad - TLOMA Technology Event - January 27, 2022
January, 2022 | Article

TLOMA 2021 SIG Leaders Year In Review - Facilities, Finance & Human Resources

year-in-review
Samaraweera, Asanka 1nov19
Carrano, Pat 11nov19
Susanne Craig jJuly2016
Authors Asanka Samaraweera, Pat Carrano and Susanne Craig
Your TLOMA SIG Leaders provided you with some great topics and virtual networking opportunities over the past year.  Below are some of the highlights.

Facilities SIG Leader 2020-2021: Asanka Samaraweera CFM, Manager, Procurement and Facilities, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP.

As I wind down my tenure as Facilities SIG leader, I am grateful for the encouragement and support from my peers and previous Facilities SIG leaders such as Wayne Gayle & Patrick McFetridge. 

Unfortunately, the pandemic put a damper on our plans to have any in-person Facilities SIG's. However, we still managed to host five webinars in 2020 related to Facilities, yet relevant to the current atmosphere in the world. 

In 2021 the atmosphere in the world around us changed from bad to worse. The Facility leaders were staring squarely in the eyes of another challenging year. Finding topics relevant to the challenges all law firms faced regardless of the size was a bit of a challenge. We managed to host four events pertinent to all law firms, "Future of the Legal Workplace; Working from Home: Taking Care of Your Most Valuable Asset in the Next Normal; How to Plan for a Return to the Physical Office; and COVID, Air Quality and Purification Systems" as Facilities SIG with great success! 

All this wouldn't have been possible without the support of one extraordinary person with such dedication and loyalty to TLOMA, Karen Gerhardt. I am very grateful for your continued support throughout my tenure.

I am keeping true to my predecessor's tradition and passing the torch to the new Facilities SIG leader with the promise of helping in any way possible. I wish Gabor Balogh all the success in his tenure.

Despite a couple of challenging years, I have to say it was a great experience and getting to know many like-minded professionals from many law firms with whom I have forged friendships that will last a lifetime. I truly appreciate the opportunity has allowed.

TLOMA is an excellent organization that I stand behind and believe in its mission, vision, and value.   

Finance SIG Leader 2020-2021Pat Carrano, CFO, Loopstra Nixon LLP.

2021 was my third year as the Finance SIG leader for TLOMA.   Working with the fantastic finance folks across the city has been tremendously rewarding for me.   Sharing ideas and concepts makes working with peers satisfying.   After all, we are all working towards the same goal!    Despite a second full year of conducting sessions remotely, we successfully managed to have 4 Finance SIG’s, which were all extremely well attended.

Nov 17, 2021 - TLOMA Finance SIG Event - Financial Reporting Update for Law Firms
Sep 15, 2021 - TLOMA Finance SIG Event - Making sense of Today’s Insurance Market: An in depth look at insurance markets status, appetite and underwriting for Law firms
May 06, 2021 - TLOMA Finance SIG Event - Roundtable Discussion
Apr 21, 2021 - TLOMA Finance SIG Event - Business Continuity Planning – What, why and how?

Hopefully 2022 will keep everyone safe with a potential “live, in-person” SIG or event.   Can you imagine that!!!!!

Build it and they will come……

Human Resources SIG Leader 2020-2021: Susanne Craig, Director, Legal Support Services, McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

The topics for the 2021 Human Resources Special Interest Group sessions revolved around the themes of working in the remote environment and changes that firms were either experiencing or thinking about implementing as our industry worked through a changing landscape.  The HR SIG topics included “How to Virtualize Your In-house Training”, “Building Resilience” and two roundtable discussions where TLOMA members shared their experiences. One roundtable discussion related to not only remote work but also emerging trends on the horizon as firms started to think about returning to work in the office (fondly known as RTO). Our second roundtable discussion and the last session of the year was titled, “ The Evolving Role of the Legal Assistant” which garnered a good deal of interest and was very well attended.

I have really enjoyed my term as HR SIG leader; I had an opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people and expand my network.  Nicole Hunter takes the reins over for the next term.  As we start 2022 with different challenges, I look forward to the programming that she has in store for us.

Special thank you to Karen Gerhardt and Joanne Gibson-Davis for their support and guidance over the past 2 years.

Asanka leads and manages the facilities, procurement, mailroom and duplicating service teams. In this role, he works closely with members of Blakes senior management team. With more than 15 years of experience in facility management and office services, Asanka has led teams in all aspects of renovation and relocation projects – from initial planning and consultation, through to execution and support.

He has a particular focus on strategic planning and identifying potential risks and ensuring compliance with Firm policies and industry regulations.

Pat brings 30 years of experience to Finance in the legal sector.   Originally hired in 1989 as a trust clerk/AP clerk with Blakes, Pat has seen (and survived) the Wang dummy terminal, GST/HST Implementations, Y2K, numerous new office launches (and closures), extensive computer software automation, In-house legal departments, the dreaded RFP process and most recently the Financial impact of Covid19.   He has been in the trenches and has worked in every finance department area, from AP, AR, Conflicts, Collections, Billings & Financial analysis.

Pat has spent the past 20 years in a Director/Management role, overseeing the finance department.  In May 2019, he joined Loopstra Nixon LLP as their Chief Financial Officer.  

Having been a member of TLOMA since the late 90’s, he became the 2019 Finance SIG Leader and looks forward to working with all of you in 2021 in the same capacity.

As a passionate and curious business leader, Susanne has significant experience building talented and effective teams, improving processes and strengthening businesses for the long term.

Susanne is motivated by the opportunity to help people excel in the workplace and enable organizations to innovate and transform. An effective collaborator, she thrives on strategizing with others to elevate people and businesses, while ensuring revenue and profitability are improved.  As a builder and innovator, Susanne prides herself on being a change strategist and leader that constantly seeks out opportunities to learn, improve and grow.

Susanne has built her career in the field of Human Resources and has worked with McCarthy Tétrault since 2012.  She recently moved into the role of Director, Legal Support Services where her mandate is to build on the firm’s strengths, capacity and capability in this important support area.

January, 2022 | Article

Return to Online Learning is Here to Stay!

Online Learning
Charny, Jeff
Author Jeff Charny

Welcome to 2022! As you kick off this new year, you are probably dealing, whether directly or indirectly, with the return to online learning among Ontario students. The sudden shift to distance education was certainly a challenge for everyone involved the first time around. But now that it’s become part of our day-to-day, seesawing between physical and virtual learning is now a familiar experience that will be considered the norm for many years to come. More than a remedy, it has presented us with opportunities that we wouldn’t have been able to seize otherwise. Learning from our own experience and that of industry experts also makes the process a lot more rewarding.

Compugen’s education specialist, Adrienne Veneziano, shares her thoughts on the current state of hybrid learning and how she foresees the modern classroom to evolve. As the host of our Ask Adrienne video series, she also provides tips, tricks and insights on how to make the best of Microsoft Teams in any setting, from education to the modern workplace.

  Not just a pandemic remedy:  Why hybrid learning is here to stay.

Ask Adrienne -  Adrienne helps you build collaborative workspaces, connect with colleagues
and create your ideal working environment within Microsoft Teams
 

 

Jeff Charny has over 15+ years of I.T. sales and account management experience and is currently an Account Executive at Compugen Inc.  He has a very good understanding of current trends of the legal market and provides I.T. solutions and services to firms across the Greater Toronto Area.  

Jeff’s main responsibility is to understand legal firms business requirements and create a great customer experience leveraging the use of technology.   Jeff has a BA and is a graduate of York University.  
January, 2022 | Article

Going, Going … Not Gone. Best Practices for Managing Covid-19 in Your Firm

ION Group
TLOMA - TalkTLOMA Forum HalfPage
carole_wright_bio
Author Carole Wright

For something that we all thought would last a few weeks or months, it has now been more than two years since we first heard about the ‘novel coronavirus’. Since then, workplaces have been turned upside down and sideways, and will continue to pivot as we learn more about this virus and its far-reaching impacts. For partners and office managers, there are ongoing demands to implement safety measures unique to each law firm. Ensuring clean, healthy and safe spaces while keeping an eye on the bottom line has never been more challenging.

As we continue to monitor data and follow public health guidelines, we cannot ease up when it comes to keeping clients, staff and guests safe; we aren’t anywhere near being out of the woods – as Omicron has shown us. The ability to adapt operational strategies while prioritizing your employees’ health is the key to your success. With ION Facility Services as your strategic Covid-19 consultation and maintenance partners, we provide resources and supports to move forward during these exceptional times. We have outlined some best practices to help lead us through this (persistent) pandemic and come out stronger as a result.

Effective assessment strategies

Most businesses have been diligent in their efforts to stop the spread of Covid, but many have noted that fatigue has taken its toll. Here are some strategies to reinvigorate your teams and best serve your clients and staff:

  • Take a fresh look at each area of your office each month to identify high-traffic areas and frequent touchpoints, noting that traffic and movement patterns change.
  • Document how many people are in the building at various times and for how long. Do they need to be there from an operational standpoint? Even with vaccine policies and/or passports in place, we must assume that Covid-19 pathogens are present.
  • Assess your common areas, including lobbies, hallways, washrooms, stairwells, etc. to identify locations that could harbour or transmit viruses.
  • Examine air flow/HVAC systems – learn how and where air moves to lower the risk of exposure.
  • Talk to your staff – learn their key concerns and keep communication flowing both ways.


A revised plan of action

After assessing your office space, it is time to implement a customized action plan. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, as every building has unique (and ever-adapting) operations and policies. Below is a list of procedures that will reduce the spread of infection within your law firm:

  • Control point of entry access – e.g., utilizing security personnel, card swiping, ‘one in, one out’
  • Limit touch points and install/retrofit hands-free equipment
  • Boost cleaning frequency, especially in high traffic areas
  • Disinfect using electrostatic sanitization and other high-potency cleaning
  • Provide PPE (including N95 masks where budgets permit), rapid antigen tests and hand sanitizer
  • Improve availability of hand sanitizing and hand washing stations
  • Install acrylic or polycarbonate barriers/partitions to reduce person-to-person transmission
  • Arrange/adjust spaces for optimal distancing and air flow
  • Ensure signs, banners, floor decals and other posted information are visible, accessible and accurate
  • Layer your ventilation improvements – such as open windows, strategically place fans, increase air filtration, maintain exhaust fans, add portable HEPA fan/filter systems, add UVGI (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation) to enhance air cleaning, and adjust HVAC systems to increase airflow to occupied areas - where possible.

 

As we collectively navigate this pandemic that we thought would end ages ago, it is important to remain vigilant, follow the science and public health guidelines, and be flexible, yet strategic.  

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.

January, 2022 | Article

Ransomware Protection: What You Need to Know

Ransomware
TLOMA_SocialMedia_LinkedIn HalfPage
Eizadirad, Arsalan jan22
Author Arsalan Eizadirad

You log in to work one day and discover your firm’s most critical files are inaccessible – they’ve been taken hostage. Cybercriminals have infiltrated your network and if you don’t pay up, they’ll either destroy the files or release them on the dark web.

Ransomware is a very real threat to Canadian law firms of all sizes and areas of practice. According to the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, in the first six months of 2021, two thirds of Canadian victims were small and medium-sized organizations. Law firms are attractive targets because of the sensitivity of their data, which means they are higher value for extortion.

How Ransomware Works

Very likely you’re already familiar with the concept of ransomware and the devastating impact it can have on a law practice and its clients.

Typically picked up when a firm member clicks a malicious link or downloads an attachment in a phishing email, ransomware spreads through the files on their device in a matter of seconds, making its way through the network to locate sensitive or business-critical information.

Once its target is reached, the cybercriminal locks everything down and demands a ransom. The average ransomware payment in 2021 was more than $200,000 CAD. Adding the cost of downtime and system and data recovery on top of this, it increases significantly to an average $2.3M CAD.

Third-Party Attacks

Cybercriminals target small and mid-sized organizations for two primary reasons: they tend to have weaker security, and they can provide access to more lucrative targets – their clients. Sophisticated ransomware operations will sometimes attack companies’ third-party vendors as a means to gain access to their primary target.

Firms with clients in financial, insurance and government sectors are finding themselves subject to third-party security audits where their IT infrastructure, security policies and even staff training are assessed.  This can be a months-long process and if your organization’s cyber security isn’t up to their standards, you could lose out on their business.

Protect Your Firm and Clients

Law firms with remote or hybrid workforces are at higher risk for cyberattacks, which is why attacks have increased since the onset of the pandemic. IT management becomes more complex when workers and devices are distributed, increasing risk.

Endpoint Protection

Secure endpoint security is critical for preventing the initial breech. Remote and in-office device security, best practice management and employee cyber security training are essential for protecting your front line.

However, you can’t rely on endpoint security alone.

Detection and Containment

If an employee’s device becomes compromised, your organization requires immediate containment to mitigate further damage.

Ransomware is insidious, entering your network stealthily and taking its time, learning your systems, searching through files and even monitoring employee communications. Like a sophisticated bank heist, cybercriminals take the time to gather information to ensure a swift and effective blow. In fact, a 2020 IBM study shows that the average time for an organization to even detect a breach is 207 days! Immediate ransomware detection and containment is critical.

Firms need automated software that detects ransomware encryption and stops it in its tracks -  even when the malware has bypassed all endpoint protection and other security tools. This type of software is a vital element of your overall defence strategy, providing critical protection for a small portion of your security budget.

Conclusion

Ransomware is scary stuff, however, the good news is that technology is continually evolving to provide enterprise-level security at scale for law firms of all sizes. Ricoh Canada provides a wide range of cybersecurity solutions and services, including automated Ransomware detection and containment, so you can rest easy and focus on serving your clients.

With more than 15 years of experience in the IT industry, Arsalan’s core focus is ensuring clients invest in secure technology solutions that are aligned with their business strategies.

Arsalan actively promotes diversity and inclusion in the IT industry and volunteers his personal time to several science and technology organizations.

Contact Arsalan for more information about Ricoh Canada’s ransomware services.

January, 2022 | Movers and Shakers
Iron Mountain - Thank you HalfPage
Movers and Shakers

New Members

Farzad Boreyri

COO

Polley Faith LLP

Toni-Ann Francis

Office Administrator

Parker Sim LLP

Christine Gilmore

Office Administrator

Moodie Mair Walker, LLP

Ava Isaacson

Director of Team Development

Sherrard Kuzz LLP

Joe Mauro

Executive Director

TLOMA

Jillian Zavitz

Office Services and Facilities Manager

Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Moved

Rosemary Cross

Director, Administration

Samis+Company

Michelle Williamson

Human Resources & Office Manager

Sullivan Festeryga LLP

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