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June, 2022
Golden Ticket - Facility Plus - Office Moves - March 14/22 - September 14/23 Leaderboard
June, 2022 | Presidents Message

Presidents Message

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Hunter, Mark 10may19
Author Mark Hunter

As I am writing to you, it is over 30 degrees Celsius outside, the PATH is full of people and Top Gun premiered on the weekend. A few weeks ago I attended an event with 300 people – there was dining and dancing, a terrific band and light show. It is 2022 but could be 1986. We are in a very different place today than we were 36 years ago when the first Top Gun premiered, but with the official launch of summer only a few weeks away, I am very much looking forward to seeing people in person more and more.

We are very pleased to announce that membership to TLOMA has grown again this year. With so much change happening in our industry, it is heartening to see how our community is able to help each other with the discussion boards and SIGs. It is our members’ willingness to share experiences that make this a great association.

Earlier in May, your board met to review items that were part of the strategic plan. Typically the board puts in place a three-year plan and then works through the action items. Many of the items were placed on hold as we managed through the early stages of COVID and changes to our Executive Director. The board went through all the action items and determined what were still issues vs. items that may need a longer lead time. Joe Mauro is completing additional work on questions that arose during the session and will be providing recommendations to the board.

Don’t miss out on our June SIGs which include:

Our Professional Development Day is quickly approaching on June 14. Jane Southren, Christine Shimoda and Kelly Margani have a fantastic program designed for us on Driving Professional Success and Well-Being. I would like to thank Forge Recruitment and Cineplex for their support of the program.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to register for our golf tournament at Royal Woodbine on June 22. It will be a great opportunity to mingle with members and business partners. Thank you to Facility Plus and LEAP for their generous support. Last year we had a great turnout and all levels of ability are welcome!

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.

June, 2022 | Article

5 Reasons Why Paperless Storage is the Safer Option

5 Reasons Why Paperless Storage is the Safer Option (Courtney) - June 2022
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Courtney Lerman
Author Courtney Lerman

Finding the right strategies for managing data privacy and security is an ongoing challenge for many law firms. Although the process of storing information electronically is now routine, the worry of a potential online confidentiality breach can cause hesitancy.

Often overlooked by firms with these concerns, however, are the greater risks to privacy, security and even day-to-day operations that can result from storing key business data in paper format.

Risks of Storing Information in Paper Format

By storing information in paper format only, you can be exposed to unnecessary risks due to:

  • Lack of recovery: Paper files destroyed in a fire, flood, or other disaster are unrecoverable.
  • Unrestricted Access: It is often difficult to restrict physical access on a per document basis. Employees may be able to look at any document in a particular file once they obtain access, for example (which can create issues for law firms dealing with potential conflicts of interest).
  • Filing Errors: As paper documents tend to be moved around several places before they are filed, they can easily be misfiled and/or permanently lost.
  • Inaccessibility: Paper files cannot be accessed remotely, which can be problematic due to unforeseen circumstances (i.e. a pandemic) or as an increasing number of law firms move to a hybrid work from home model.

5 Key Benefits of Storing Case Files, Minute Books and More Electronically

Electronic data storage has many advantages that can give you an advanced level of data security and privacy over paper storage, as well as a more efficient method of information management:

1. Enhanced Loss Prevention:

  • Electronic files can be backed-up, enabling you to recover or retrieve accidently deleted and misplaced files.
  • If you choose to use Cloud storage to back-up, every time you make changes to a file saved in the Cloud, it can automatically sync and update across multiple devices.

2. Improved Security Measures:

  • Storing information electronically gives you the ability to password-protect files on a per document basis, thereby limiting unauthorized access.
  • Not only can you encrypt files stored on Cloud severs, but most Cloud service providers also offer encryption of your data while it is in transit (as it moves between the user and the Cloud service).

3. Added Accountability with a Clear Audit Trail:

  • Files saved electronically are time stamped and can provide you with details on who has accessed and/or made changes to a particular file. This level of accountability helps you uncover unauthorized system access and limits data tampering.
  • With a clear audit trail, you can gain access to older versions of existing files as well.

4. Minimized Contact with Critical Information:

  • Storing your business data electronically makes it easy for your employees and clients to immediately upload and share vital information, helping to reduce privacy concerns and the potential for errors.

5. Increased Accessibility:

  • Data stored electronically in a Cloud environment can be safely accessed with the right passwords, at anytime from any device with an Internet connection.
  • Employees can also remotely access electronic files on an in-house server, given the appropriate permissions.

How Octacom Delivers Safe Document and Data Management Solutions

Octacom can provide you with secure document scanning services and a customized electronic document storage solution while effectively managing your data privacy and security due to our:

  • Stringent chain of custody controls

Interested in learning more about moving to paperless storage? Read the blog, “Starting a Document Scanning Project

Courtney Lerman started at Octacom in 2019 joining the team as the Director, Client Service and Strategy. Courtney assists various clients (including law firms) throughout the scoping and implementation phases of scanning and digitization projects enabling clients to effectively manage, access and maintain critical documents. Throughout Courtney’s career, she has held several client service centric roles, including practicing employment law for several years at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. 
Event sponsor for Golf Tournament - Leap & Facility Plus
Professional Development Event - Forge Recruitment - June14, 2022
Red Carpet Webinar - Facilities SIG - Let’s talk hybrid in action! - June 2, 2022
June, 2022 | Article

Law Firms and the Case for Hybrid Work

Law firms and the case for hybrid work - June 2022
Author Stephanie Leontis

The legal services industry is at a turning point. Work from home, while not unheard of before the pandemic, was thrust upon law firms practically overnight — and overall, the workforce responded favorably. Associates and staff appreciate working remotely, citing the lack of a commute and the ease of working out of a home office as among the many factors leading to an improved work-life balance.  

Covid-19 Threatens to Blow Up Law Firms’ Intense Office Culture—for Good,” read a headline in The Wall Street Journal. “Remote Work is Here to Stay and Here’s Why it Matters,” said another from The Bar Association of San Francisco.

But law firm leaders are less enthused about remote work, especially as clients push them toward getting employees back in the office. Big Law especially faces these pressures, with high-profile clients like Morgan Stanley announcing that they expect their legal firms to improve client service by requiring attorneys to work from the office.

It’s a ripe environment for hybrid work, the business model in which employees work some days in the office and some days remotely. Attorneys still enjoy some of the perks of working from home, while firms can more easily nurture personal relationships and offer vital face-to-face client interactions on the days when employees are in the corporate office.  

But is hybrid work beneficial for both the attorneys who are demanding more flexibility in their day-to-day work ― and the firms that employ them?  

The Benefits of Hybrid Work for Law Firms

Hybrid work has its potential challenges, to be sure, such as employee isolation and culture clashes between remote and in-office employees. But legal firms that show a willingness to experiment with a hybrid work model point out the following advantages.

Improved employee health and well-being

Attorneys and staff alike report that remote work has resulted in a better work-life balance and increased well-being. The stress of commuting is reduced or eliminated. Employees generally have more control over their remote office environment, making for a more satisfied workforce. And fewer in-office interactions (along with stringent health and sanitation protocols to protect employees from illness when they’re in the office) mean a lower spread of disease.

Higher productivity

Not only does the lack of a commute lower employee stress, but it also correlates with greater productivity. Take Big Law, where the move to remote work was accompanied by a 10% increase in an associate’s average annual billable hours, according to a Wells Fargo Private Bank survey. One explanation is the time formerly spent commuting is now spent carrying out billable work. Another is that the lack of in-office distractions creates an environment conducive to the deep-thinking work critical in the legal industry.

Increased job satisfaction

In an industry prone to burnout, it isn’t surprising that a boost in employee well-being, lack of office distractions, and higher levels of concentration and productivity have led to greater job satisfaction. Consider the findings of a Bloomberg Law survey in Q4 2021. On a scale of 1-10, lawyers who reported improvement in well-being ranked job satisfaction at an average of 7.3, compared to an average job satisfaction score of 4.1 for those who reported a decline in well-being.  

“Work-life balance is the most influential factor in an associate’s decision to jump to another firm. Sixty percent of associates said they would consider leaving their firm for better work-life balance, compared to only 27% of associates who said they would leave their firm for higher compensation.” ― Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal 

A larger talent pool

It’s no secret that firms are battling for talent in a fiercely competitive arena. As attorneys increasingly expect the option to work remotely, a hybrid model helps recruitment and retention by offering the flexibility employees seek. But the benefit extends beyond job satisfaction. It also opens positions to associates who live farther away from the main office and wouldn’t consider, say, a daily 3-hour commute ― but would be willing to do so a few times a week.

Lower daily expenses

Reduced day-to-day expenses are another area where both the workforce and the workplace benefit from hybrid work. Commuting costs, meals, and even the need for an office wardrobe are slashed from personal budgets. Firms also realize costs savings for items like business meals and travel. But the biggest savings are found in what is typically the second-biggest expense for any business, behind their workforce: real estate.

Reduced real estate needs  

With fewer bodies in the office each day, law firms are either shrinking their real estate footprint or planning to do so. A recent Cushman & Wakefield survey shows that a growing number of firms are signing leases for significantly smaller square footage. Key stats from the survey:

  • 24% of legal firms are making drastic changes in their workplace
  • The legal sector is downsizing its real estate needs from 10% to 30% on average
  • By later this year, there’s a predicted 50% growth in global business office vacancy  

The Future Law Firm

What does all this mean for the future of the legal office? It’s too early to say definitively. Some firms predict hybrid work is here to stay and are making the most of it, while others are finding it more challenging than fully remote work and are advocating for a full return to the office. But it is clear that to make hybrid work a success, firms will need to manage some practical considerations, including the technology to support a hybrid legal services environment.

To dive deeper into this topic and explore some of the technologies powering hybrid work, check out our on-demand webinar The Resilient Workplace: The Tech Businesses Need for Long-Term Success.

Accruent is the world’s leading provider of intelligent solutions for the built environment –spanning real estate, integrated technology systems, and the physical and digital assets they connect. Accruent continues to set new expectations for how organizations can use data to transform the way they manage their facilities and assets and is transforming the way people and systems work together. With major office locations in Austin, New Orleans, London and Amsterdam, Accruent serves more than 10,000 customers in a wide range of industries in more than 150 countries around the world.
TLOMA GENERAL SIG - How to Make Your Law Firm More Productive with Artificial Intelligence - June 6, 2022
June, 2022 | Article

Seeking a competitive advantage? Look at your technology

Seeking a competitive advantage - June 2022
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Misti Holmes
Author Misti Holmes

Being of a generation of children who grew up without mobile phones and the internet, and to watch as they transformed the way we live, work, and play, I have a deep appreciation and respect for technology as a true game changer.

As a child, I was the first person I knew to own a computer – a Commodore 64, which I used to play games. I earned a Bachelor of Technology from Metropolitan Toronto University, where I visited the library for research projects regularly in my first year and not at all by my final year. I also have nearly two decades of experience working in the legal technology space.

But it was not until I began to work for PCLaw | Time Matters™ that I stopped to explore why, on a personal level, that technology is so important to me. Over the last two decades, working with law firms across the country, common challenges continued to surface:

  • Business development including maintaining referral sources
  • Rising client cost sensitivity, and demand for greater transparency
  • Rising competition outside of traditional law firms
  • Desire to increase efficiency
  • High administrative burdens, i.e. "I didn't go to law school to...

Many firms did not have the tools to compete with their peers, and for me, legal technology is really about equalizing the opportunity in the market and giving lawyers the chance to have a personal life as well as a business.

Be An Early Adopter

By the nature of their industry, lawyers can be steeped in tradition. Many of them have also not been extensively schooled on how to run an efficient business. Beyond this, many legal professionals are so focused on providing a high level of service and great expertise in their industry that everything else comes second.

Because of this, there are many professionals in the legal industry who are reluctant to utilize the latest software and technology. And yet this reluctance comes at a great cost.

I very recently heard of a law firm that focused on businesses and employment, who continued to print physical invoices for every one of their clients each month, which they then stuffed into envelopes, and shipped directly through the postal service. While this process gets the job of delivering invoices to clients completed, technology can create a better way. In this example, this firm clearly has someone in their office doing these tasks who could probably do something to support their business in a way that is much more effective and even profitable. Or even worse, this lawyer may even be doing these tasks themselves instead of enjoying their personal life.

This is a labour-intensive process, that could be reduced significantly by providing clients an option for e-billing. A process upgrade would streamline billing, reduce manual work, and, as an added benefit, likely result in the firm also being paid faster. Tack on online payments and your clients have an easy way to pay bills at the click of a button.

This is just one example of how technology can reduce labour, allowing legal professionals to add more value in ways that technology cannot.

Do Not Wait For Fear

In the carrot-versus-stick dichotomy of what motivates lawyers and businesses to succeed, the chance to improve efficiency and profitability both count as the former.

However, for those who feel that a ten percent lift in their overall productivity is not suitable motivation, consider this:

When a firm chooses to ignore the latest software updates and new integrations that would enable them to automate the most mundane of routine tasks, they are certainly wasting time and money, but they are also doing something else – they are giving their competition new opportunities to leave them behind.

Competitors who are less reluctant to leverage new updates and integrations as part of their day-to-day business strategy will eventually be able to take on more capacity. If you are not investing in the same opportunities by adopting new technologies, you may be allowing your competition to gain an edge.

Do not wait for fear to motivate you or your legal practice to adopt the newest upgrades and integrations. Help keep your firm relevant and competitive in today’s increasingly digitized landscape.

An upgrade or a new change may require a considerable investment of time, perhaps even a period of trial and error, but these risks will pay out in dividends in your professional, and thereby your personal, life.

Misti Holmes is the General Manager of PCLaw | Time Matters in Canada and brings more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience to the organization, including 16 years serving clients in the legal vertical. She is passionate about building community and connections with people, solving problems and improving customer experience.

At PCLaw | Time Matters, we help legal professionals enhance their productivity and profitability, which allows them to help more people around the world.  Learn more at

Finance SIG Roundtable Discussion - June 24, 2022
June, 2022 | Article

What is your firms “Benefits Philosophy”?

What is your firms Benefits Philosophy - June 2022
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Ruiters, Joshua
Author Joshua Ruiters

Alice: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
The Cheshire Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
Alice: “I don’t much care where.”
The Cheshire Cat: “Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.”

Lewis Carroll “Alice in Wonderland”

As a Total Rewards professional that focuses on Employee Benefits, I have been hearing more and more that my clients are re-considering their compensation strategy. As such employers, and plan administrators have been eager to review their employee benefits programs. I have no doubt a lot of the TLOMA membership are having discussions like that internally and with their own advisors and consultants.  

With that in mind, I thought it would be beneficial to share an exercise I like to do with my clients about how to frame these sorts of discussions. The goal is to understand what that individual clients benefit philosophy is, and how that measures up against the current plan that they have.

So what does Benefits Philosophy mean? Well it is simply a better way to understand the goals each organization has for its benefit program. It’s not often employers sit down and take a holistic view at the employee benefits program, often times the program was implemented by someone else, and inherited by the current administrator. Benefits plans are often tweaked and adjusted without a deep look into why the program is set up the way it is in the first place. The benefits philosophy discussion is a great way to understand where you want the benefits program to be and then charting the path on how to get there.  Here are the 6 main considerations when thinking about your own benefits philosophy;

Flexible Vs Traditional

A traditional program is a single plan design that applies to all employees. A flexible program allows varying levels of employee choice of benefits. As our workforce demographics continue to change and become more diverse, flexibility and custom benefits are becoming far more common than ever before. Organizations of all sizes can now access extremely flexible plan options for members, with that said, not all organizations want or need all of the flexibility available to them.

Simplicity Vs Diversity

A simple program is generally provided by a single insurer. A diverse program allows for the participation of multiple specialty service providers. The overwhelming majority of employers in Canada have their benefits program with a single carrier, but a growing number are using a multiple carrier arrangement. Understanding the benefits and challenges of both a simple and diverse program will lead to finding the right fit for your firm. Maybe a single carrier would work best for your firm, maybe using 5 carriers would be the best, or maybe its somewhere in between.

Competitive Vs Leader

A competitive program is aligned with average benefits in your sector or the general market. A leader program has trend elements and is common among early adopters. This conversation can take a broader tone about how the organization sees itself from a compensation and total rewards perspective.  This can include feedback from the diversity and inclusion team, the recruitment team, the payroll team and senior leadership. One firm might choose to be a leader in a particular benefit category while remaining only competitive in the others, another firm might choose be an industry leader in salaries and bonuses while staying competitive with the benefits programs. This is why so many departments and teams input is critical to this component of the benefits philosophy.

Flat Vs Class Driven

A benefit may be flat (single class for all employees) or be class driven (different plan designs for different employee groups). This is a relevant discussion for law firms, most use a class driven system with lawyers and administrative staff being separated, but would further division make sense? Maybe breaking lawyers into associates and partners would also have some benefits for the firm.

Employee Paid Vs Employer Paid

Mandatory benefit programs require a minimum of 50% employer participation in cost. The rest of the plan cost can either be employer or employee paid or a cost share between both parties. While it is recommended that employees do pay for disability benefits, the rest of this discussion is entirely subjective to the employer. 

Risk Tolerance

Would you prioritize predictable monthly expenses over potential cost savings with some variability?  There is plan design risk, funding risk, and employee engagement risk.  Can you manage unexpected costs? These sorts of discussions are very important when understanding how to build and structure the employee benefits programs and often times come up when discussing the other benefits philosophy considerations.

More often than not, organizations are not in one camp vs the other on any of the above mentioned topics. Typically considering each category carefully will help to prioritize what is important for your firm. Ultimately the purpose of this activity is to really reassess your organizational goals for employee benefits. Does your current plan help you achieve those goals? If not, it will help guide you in that direction. Understanding your own organizational benefits philosophy will help guide conversations with your consultant, internal stakeholders and employees alike. 

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or would like some help figuring out your own benefits philosophy. 

For the last ten years Joshua Ruiters has been consulting businesses on how to actively engage and retain employees. Josh passionately believes that employees are the most important part of any organization.  His primary focus is working with organizations to create a culture where employees feel appreciated and valued. Josh recently joined Gallagher as a Group Benefits Specialist and one of his first initiatives was to begin working with TLOMA.

Red Carpet Webinar - Facilities SIG -  Step-by-Step Guide to Digitizing Case Files and Minute Books - June 28, 2022
June, 2022 | Article

Workspace Matters – Optimizing Adaptable Workplaces to Meet Changing Business Needs

Workspace Matters - Optimizing Adaptable Workplaces - June 2022
Dave Turner
Author Dave Turner

How buildings, people, and organizations perform in the workplace affect one another and ultimately the corporate bottom line. Changing business needs means changing organizational structures, which in turn means changing spaces. Workspace change requires reconfiguring perimeter and enclosed space walls and relocating infrastructure outlets. Raised floors and movable walls, vital tools of an Organic Workspace® approach, better accommodate such need for change more so than traditional construction. More efficient alignment of space to changing business needs means better business.

Understanding The Workplace

Floors and walls, typically, are immovable objects. Within traditional construction, they are placed with great effort. Thus, space owners are often reluctant to change floorplan configurations because of the significant initial investment during construction. Unfortunately, the inflexibility of workspaces can impact the organization in negative ways, further depleting resources and reducing the organization’s ability to change. How can that be so?

The workplace includes physical sciences, such as structural engineering, as well as social sciences, such as psychology. While many people would consider engineering to be difficult, it is the social aspects that can be more difficult as they address intangible issues of people. When designing a workplace, both approaches, as well as the way they inform each other, should be considered carefully in terms of:

  • Routine Issues: Acoustics, ergonomics, efficiency, and costs
  • Complex Issues: The impact of culture, collaboration, privacy, engagement, and human performance

This holistic approach to understanding the workplace includes consideration of place, people, and process in conjunction with evolving business needs. Design decisions (who works alongside whom, layout, openness, costs, and even colors) will affect the people who occupy the space. Oftentimes, what seems like good design decisions today might hurt human, and ultimately, business performance when needs change. Modular construction, however, using movable walls (also known as demountable partitions) and raised access floors (RAF) are vital tools for an Organic Workspace approach, which supports this perpetual need for change.