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March, 2019
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March, 2019 | Article

Presidents Message - March, 2019

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Harris, Pam 1nov17
Author Pamela Harris


As I sit down to write this message for the second time, it is the morning of our firm’s annual Years of Service dinner.  This year I am celebrating 30 years of service, I am one of many long-term employees with the firm, but the first to reach this milestone.

Leading up to each of my milestone celebrations I always find myself reflecting on my journey and at times wondering how I got here.  There are many stories and advice I could share, some off the wall funny, some amazing and lots of lessons learned the hard way.  The latter are my favourite upon reflection; I did not hold that opinion at the time life was teaching me a lesson as you can well imagine.

Setting the stories aside for another day, there is one word that comes to mind on why I have had such a successful journey with the same firm and that is Adaptability.  When I joined the firm at a very young age, I was certainly not adaptable.  It is something I have learned to develop as the days, months and years go by.

When I was younger and jockeying for positioning, everything seemed so immense and overwhelming that when something changed; it would throw me for a loop, and I would consistently gravitate to a place of negativity.  This tendency did not serve me well at all and quite frankly, it exhausted me.

I came to realize that change was the one thing that I could count on and that as part of the administrative team, I was expected to embrace change and help others through them.  That challenge took some time to figure out, with the learning still in progress.

As human beings we have to adapt; our very survival depends on it.  The same applies to the workplace with much lower stakes of course.  Being adaptable with the end goal of being able to embrace change more quickly is a skill that contributes to our success and has the added benefit of improving our personal happiness.

For me the key to adapting is information and communication.  The information comes from the planning process where we obtain a true understanding of the “why” or reasons for making a change and defines the steps we need to take.  This is also helpful when you want to get a “yes” from the partners or Executive Committee on one of your ideas or recommendations.  The information and reasons then form the communication strategy that is shared and discussed with everyone at all levels.

The topic of adaptability goes much deeper than this brief introduction.  It is truly one of my personal success factors that I thought I would share with you.

In February, the board had a successful Handover and Onboarding meeting; the Handover portion of the meeting is when the outgoing board members sign off and the incoming board members sign on and the Onboarding portion of the meeting is when the incoming board members receive valuable information about the operations of the association, their roles and obligations.  I want to thank our outgoing members Ivaylo Nikolov, Cathy Byrnes, Debbie Tibbo and Angela Kirkpatrick for their outstanding service.  I also want to welcome our new board members Dawn Millar, Leah Halpenny, Joanne Gibson-Davis, and Jenny Telesford.

As I write on another cold snowy day, I am truly looking forward to seeing you at the complimentary Member only Cocktail Networking Event “Sipping on Spring” taking place on March 21st at Earls Kitchen + Bar.  Thinking of Spring, we also implemented a new Professional Development event format where TLOMA will hold a half day workshop on April 4th facilitated by Dr. Liane Davey on How to Use Productive Conflict to Get Your Team Back on Track.

While I am adaptable, I have yet to learn the adaptability lessons of winter.  I look forward to connecting with you at our next event. Please seek me out if you have an adaptability story to share and/or want to hear one of mine.

Pamela Harris,
TLOMA 2019 President

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.

March, 2019 | Article

Personal Branding – You Need to Do It

Personal Branding
TLOMA 2019 Conference HalfPage
Hunter, Mark 10may19
Author Mark Hunter

Personal branding is one of the most important parts of building your professional persona. We are all distinct in our own ways and understanding what makes you unique and having an ability to forge your own path will ensure that you stand out from the crowd.

Personal branding can be about the way you dress, your approach, the foods you eat or how you spend your free time. Mark Zuckerberg looked funny in a suit when he was  speaking to Congress because we are used to him in a tee shirt and jeans. Drake’s love of Toronto can be seen in the clothes and music he creates. Brian Temins @BTemins, a Toronto lawyer has taken his love of food and running to Twitter in his pursuit for the ultimate cheeseburger. We all have passions.

Your brand helps you connect with your clients. We are human and humans have interests. Things you will want to consider as you build your personal brand:

  • Find ways to add value for your audience – don’t just repeat, be creative
  • Start thinking of yourself as a brand
  • Monitor your online presence – that does not mean make it boring!
  • Be purposeful – share with reason, don’t share just to share
  • Reinvent – your brand, just like you, evolves

Your personal brand isn’t only about what is online, it is how you answer the phone, enter a room, treat people, and on and on. We don’t want to hide from who we are, rather embrace the areas’ that clients will connect with. The old saying of we work with people we like is as true today as it has ever been. Today, clients simply have more avenues to learn if they will like you.

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.

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March, 2019 | Article

Leadership Skills, Episode 2(C) – Communication: Receiving Feedback

Leadership Episode 2C
Radulescu, Roxana 15aug19
Author Roxana Radulescu

Episode 2(A) of our Leadership Series started a series of its own: communication. We talked about a maybe not so obvious communication tool, which we sometimes forget to use, or maybe don’t make enough use of, out of our desire to communicate right away. We talked about listening.

In episode 2(B), we talked about one of the tools we use – almost all the time – to express ourselves, our likes and dislikes, wants and needs: feedback. More specifically, giving feedback.

In this episode, we talk about receiving feedback.

It’s funny, isn’t it, how, when we talk about feedback, we typically have this preconceived image of someone, usually ‘the boss’, coming and telling us we’ve done something wrong. They say it and leave it with us. And that’s it. End of conversation.

First of all, that’s not a conversation. That’s a monologue, a criticism, a line. And it certainly is not feedback.

Feedback is a dialogue. One that takes time to give and discuss. If it doesn’t take time, it’s a waste of energy, because it leads to no result.


Now, the question is, how can I make it a dialogue?

Let’s look at these 6 steps to receiving feedback:

1.  Focus

This is the hardest part, and it’s right at the beginning! We need to listen (so you might want to revisit the article on listening now). This means no interruptions. No escaping into defensive strategy building - just concentrate on what is being said.


  • Lower down the volume of distractions, especially the internal ones!
  • Be prepared to discuss solutions, not take sides (not even your side!)
  • Make notes (or at least mental ones)

2.  Reflect back: summarize and paraphrase

Summarize key messages to demonstrate you have got the intended messages and that you are listening. Their views are valid, even if you do not think that they are correct. You’re looking at the same thing from two different standpoints!


  • I heard you say…
  • What I’m hearing is….
  • You mentioned ‘process needs improvement’ a few times so far…

3.  Explore: ask, don’t assume!

You may not agree with what you hear, that’s ok, we’re not supposed to agree with everything and everyone!

Knowing this, you can simply focus on wanting to understand what is being said and why this person is reacting in this way. Stay calm (breathing always helps), show interest and seek examples to clarify.

Ask for more information. Ask questions to find out more about the topic and, whilst they are at it, more about any other topic too.

In this part, we say ‘So’ a lot!


  • So, by [this], do you mean [that]?
  • Can you give me an example?
  • So] What happened?
  • What did they say?
  • You said you need more time, how much time do you mean?
  • [So] What do you see as a solution in this case?

4.  Express your observations, concerns, assumptions

Now is a good time to use some of the techniques for giving feedback. Remember how we talked about giving negative feedback and include feelings? That’s it.

When receiving feedback, we need to express our observations, concerns, assumptions, ideas AND feelings. 

Keeping it all bottled up never helped anyone, under any circumstance. At some point, the bubble can only burst. Express yourselves without being defensive or aggressive. Express your honest reactions from a place of observation and care.


  • My concern is…
  • I’m afraid that if we change this now it will result in…
  • I disagree with some of the points you’ve made on [1, 2, 3]…
  • I’m not 100% sure our approach on [this] is the right one.
  • By ‘let’s finish this soon’ I assume you mean tomorrow morning?

5.  Say ‘thank you’!

They took the time to observe and think about how they express their observations. That’s one definition of caring. It takes a lot of courage for anyone to come forward and give negative feedback, knowing that we’re not going to like what we hear, knowing that them, as ‘feedbackers’, might end up being misunderstood, judged, criticized.

Talking to each other from this place of caring about what is going to happen next always helps. Acknowledging and respecting each other’s effort in both giving and receiving feedback, that takes that dialogue to a whole new level! A level where collaboration starts and creativity sparks. A level that takes us to the 6th step below.

6.  Decide / agree on the next steps!

Now that we agree on what the issues and concerns are, we can decide on the solutions. Feedback discussions need to be solution-oriented. Anything less is not feedback.

So make your list of solutions you agreed on and decide how and when you are going to implement them.

Instead of conclusion

Our relationships can only be as healthy as the food we give them! Feedback should be just that, healthy food for healthy relationships, both professional and personal!

And yes, feedback takes a lot of courage: the courage to be honest, to tell you my truth and how things look from where I stand, while feeling uncomfortable and expecting you will disagree with me. It’s the courage to have a dialogue on what I don’t agree with from what you just said, and agree on what will work for both of us from now on.

This kind of courage, to have that ‘tough conversation’ rather than ignore it, to show-up rather than hide away, that’s what fosters accountability and trust.

And leadership is that place where trust is present at all times, good or bad.

Further resources:

Feedback Exercise
How to use others' feedback to learn and grow | Sheila Heen | TEDxAmoskeagMillyardWomen


Roxana Radulescu is a TEDx speaker, a certified Learning & Development and HR professional, Master Coach, and a certified GCologist®. Having worked in international Magic Circle law firms for 16 years and having led the firmwide Learning & Development department for 8 years, she started her consulting, training & coaching business, All Personal, in 2017.

All Personal is proudly the first Canadian Partner Organization to The Game-Changing Index® and works with corporate, small businesses and non-government organizations to help them build game-changing teams and cultures!

Roxana is also a course designer and instructor on ‘Workplace Communication, Culture and Success’ with York University and College Boreal.

She is also an author of online courses available on award-winning e-learning platforms!
Her online course on Emotional Intelligence is also accredited for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points with the following Canadian professional associations:
❖ CPA:
❖ Law:
❖ HR:

Contact & Social Media
❖ +1 647 568 1596
❖ LinkedIn YouTube Facebook Instagram
Interruption Ad - People Corporation - Finance SIG - April 9, 2019
March, 2019 | Article

Don’t Be Shy, Learn How to Negotiate, Ask for Raise

Negotiation Article - Ask for a Raise
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.

A law student of mine several years ago asked me for help in negotiating a salary with a law firm for whom he had worked the previous summer. He told me he loved the firm and wanted to accept its offer, but thought its starting salary was low.

So he asked – should he interview with other firms even though he was pretty sure he would ultimately accept the first firm’s offer. After asking him a bunch of questions to help him focus on whether the firm could satisfy his fundamental financial and nonfinancial interests, and to find out what other compensation-related issues might be on the table, here’s what I said.

Many of these same principles apply to those requesting raises.

Explore and improve your alternatives.

Interview away, I told him. Find out what alternatives exist if, for whatever reason, you decide not to accept their offer. Then take steps – such as interviewing – to turn those likely alternatives into valuable options.

The benefit? Assuming you get some other offers, and my student did, you’ll feel and act stronger and have more negotiation leverage when you enter the salary negotiation with the firm you really want.

For those going for a raise, while you may not (and oftentimes should not) interview, be aware that generally you will be negotiating from a weak standpoint because you don’t likely have much choice but to accept what they put on the table.

Ascertain your value using fair independent standards.

Another powerful tool to use revolves around your professional value as determined by fair independent standards. Find out the going market salary for similarly situated persons, i.e., similar corporate level, industry, geographic area, professional background and experience, etc.

How? Ask peers in the same field. Contact industry associations. Check salary surveys (see

If you want a raise, also find out what your boss considers the most “fair” standards and how he/she values your contributions. A documented list of your achievements during the past year? The amount of money you saved the company? Precedent? Tradition? Hours worked? Inflation?

Then, after you’ve found this information, use it in a nonthreatening fashion.

Take a problem solving, fact-based approach – and do it in person. Shy away from anger, threats, warnings, games, direct confrontation and extreme offers unsupported by facts and standards.

Instead, promote an atmosphere of trust consistent with valued long-term relationships. Then, relatively openly and honestly share the information you’ve found about the market value for someone in your position. Be cool, calm, respectful and show how it’s in the company’s best interests to provide you with what you want.

Meet in person, too. It’s more difficult to say no to someone’s face than in writing or on the phone.

Get them to make the first offer and practice your response.

Finally, as a general rule, avoid making the first offer as you may undervalue your services or contributions. Plus, choose your words carefully.

If you’re extremely uncomfortable asking for a raise – and many are – practice with a tape recorder. Consider using phrases like: “I’m interested in asking for a raise. How would you do that if you were me?” Or “I feel like I’m doing a good job here, and yet I understand I’m making less than my co-workers. What do I need to do to earn more?”

Then, prepare a response to their offer or counters. Interestingly, most simply respond with two letters: OK. If it’s an exceedingly fair offer based on your knowledge of independent standards, this might be the best response. On the other hand, “OK” might be the two most expensive letters in the alphabet. Try this instead: Repeat their offer and then go “hmmm.”

Appear contemplative. Then be silent. See what happens. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised.

Let’s face it. No one likes to ask their boss for more money. It’s commonly viewed as one of our toughest negotiations.

That’s why many don’t even ask. They just accept – even though they likely deserve more. So next time, at the least, ask. My law student did. He’s now better off. You can be, too.

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 ( He can be reached at 480-951-3222 or For more, see  

March, 2019 | Article

No ‘Alternatives’ Anymore

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Heather Suttie - New Headshot 2023
Author Heather Suttie

There are no “alternative” legal service providers anymore. This is because lawyers and other professionals who provide legal services can be found outside the traditional partnership law firm purview. They reside in corporate-structured law firms, professional services firms, paraprofessional organizations, legal outsourcing operations, legal tech, legal consulting, and various entities that dub themselves NewLaw.

But NewLaw isn’t new. US-based Integreon, Inc. was founded in 1998, Axiom in 2000, and in Canada, Cognition LLP (now Caravel Law) and Delegatus Services Juridiques Inc. began in 2005. There are also legal offerings from the Big Four accounting firms, which predate all. My own legal experience began with Donahue LLP, which operated from 1997 to 2003 within Ernst & Young (EY) as Canada’s first and so far only Big Four multidisciplinary law firm. Many independent legal service enterprises have sprouted since and continue to proliferate in the global marketplace.

So, the acronym ALSP may safely be jettisoned from the legal lexicon for two main reasons: it’s more than 20 years out of date, and those who hire legal service providers are increasingly less concerned about a BigLaw or NewLaw distinction, especially when many legal services have become commoditized.

How many traditional law firms claim to do complex work, yet handle rote tasks? Rote work may help junior lawyers to learn, however many clients are refusing to pay for it. Other than for complex matters requiring numerous senior lawyers backed by experienced support teams, clients often don’t care who handles their legal work as long as it’s done on time and on budget, within a collaborative framework, and supported by clearly scoped plans and communications to manage expectations and deliver without surprises.

That’s why there is abundant room in the legal market for BigLaw and NewLaw to coexist, complement and collaborate with each other. It’s also why legal market positioning and brand definition are more vital than ever to enable identification of who does what, especially when legal service provider distinctions become blurred.

Since lawyers tend to be risk-averse, though, it’s not surprising that the legal industry has been evolving at a snail’s pace. However, with Google launching in the same year as Integreon, access to digital information changed everything. As a result, clients who could do their own research but needed help executing work, and lawyers who bridled at traditional firm structures and methods have been instrumental in NewLaw start-ups and pushing change within BigLaw.

NewLaw and BigLaw can learn from each other. By nature, NewLaw provides a select suite of tightly scoped services that are executed by specially hired talent often aided by technology. A hefty percentage of revenues are reinvested in the business while operations run lean and pivot easily.

BigLaw has the advantages of breadth of expertise and talent, along with infrastructure and financial means. The problem for many traditional law firms is that their pyramid structure is challenging to remodel, and to effect change many are trying to fix their plane while flying it.

Some firms are creating streamlined, less expensive versions of themselves as well as operational offshoots, and on-shoring or off-shoring to lower costs in order to protect client relationships and revenues. Meanwhile, their competition may spin off non-core practices to operate as standalones. These firms can then restructure to focus on distinct services that cast them as unique while affording agility to scale if and when needed.

Regardless of strategy and tactics, collaboration between BigNew and NewLaw is a critical factor in securing and retaining client work. Collaboration is successful as long as relationships remain respectful and one doesn’t hold dominion over the other, which they don’t from the client perspective.

We are all legal services providers now. At a time when the global legal services industry has never been more challenging is when an evolving “new normal” means disruption and innovation become by-products of change.

Providing responsive, solution-oriented, client-first legal services require continual transformation to meet the market’s ever-changing demands, while retaining distinctiveness and setting divisiveness aside. 

Heather Suttie is an internationally recognized legal market strategy and management consultant to leaders of premier law firms and legal services providers worldwide.

For 25 years, she has accelerated performance within law firms and legal service businesses — Global to Solo | BigLaw to NewLaw — by providing consultative direction on legal business strategy, market strategy, management strategy, and client strategy. The result is a distinctive one-of-one legal market position and sustained competitive advantage culminating in greater market share, revenue and profits.

Reach her at +1.416.964.9607 or

March, 2019 | Article

Business Partner Spotlight - Alan Bass, President, Korbitec Inc.

business-partner-spotlight image
Bass, Alan 26feb19
Author Alan Bass

Name of Organization / Company:  Korbitec Inc.

Organization / Company Overview

a)  Expertise & Growth – Document automation and exchange of complex legislative documents plus task management.

b)  Service Overview – Our motto is that we trip over ourselves to service our customers. Our Customers are why we exist, and we must exceed expectations with every interaction.

1.  How many years have you been a Business Partner of TLOMA? 12 years.

2.  What has been your partnership experience with TLOMA over the years? We have enjoyed a very close and fruitful partnership, not only by growing our customer base, but in making good friends on the journey. The Partnership has allowed us to grow as a company and improve our product and service offering.

3.  Favorite TLOMA memory? A co-worker performing on stage at one of the dinners.

4.  Where was the last place you vacationed? Shadow Lake Lodge.

5.  What is your favorite movie? Pulp Fiction.

6.  What is your favorite artist/band you got to see live in concert? Bruce Springsteen.

7.  What is your favorite sports team? Toronto Blue Jays.

8.  Where is your go-to coffee shop? Cafe Plenty.

Alan Bass, has been leading tech companies for over 25 years. For the last 11 years, he has been the president of Korbitec Inc., the developer of Automated Civil Litigation (ACL), the leading document automation technology for litigation. Prior to that, he was the President and COO of Lorex Technology, a developer and manufacturer of video surveillance solutions. Alan was also the COO of Aztec New Media, a publisher of gaming and productivity software.  In addition, Alan sits on a number of boards and mentors young tech companies.
March, 2019 | Movers and Shakers
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Movers and Shakers

New Members

Nicole Fernandes

Human Resources Business Partner

Stikeman Elliott LLP

Agnes Hsiung

Finance Manager

Fine & Deo

Deanna Severeyns

Chief Financial Officer

Stewart McKelvey

Meghan Williams

Office Manager

Waddell Phillips PC

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