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November, 2019
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November, 2019 | President Message

President Message

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Harris, Pam 1nov17
Author Pamela Harris

As the temperatures drop and snow threatens to fly, I cannot tell a lie, November has arrived. It is time to pull out the cozy sweaters and book an appointment to put the snow tires on your car. Whether we are ready or not, winter comes each and every year; that you can count on. This reminds me of the importance of planning and a line I always remember from a lunch and learn we did on time management; “failing to plan is planning to fail”. To turn this into a positive, I would say; “when you take time to plan you are planning to succeed”.

Planning is truly one of the keys to success and achieving results for both you and your firm.  Good plans are written down, they include the end goal, what progress looks like, leaves room for flexibility, identifies decisions that need to be made, uncovers hurdles and obstacles, and identifies key stakeholders and deliverables.  Let’s face it, creating a plan, working the plan and seeing success just feels good.  We all deserve to engage in an activity like that.

The TLOMA Board and team have excellent planning systems in place; we set our actions and objectives and have monitored and measured every step of the way.  Later this month we will have the association’s annual strategic planning meeting where we will move forward items that are ongoing and set new actions and objectives for 2020.  If you have ever wondered how we achieve that, I thought I would let give you a peek behind the curtain if you have never been a part of that process.

Each year the Board, Executive Director and Committee Chairs prepare Year End Reports.  These reports, along with the membership survey results we received this year, thank you to all who completed it, will be used to drive decisions and actions and to create strategic actions for the upcoming year and beyond.  We will also spend time reviewing the 2019 budget comparing to actuals in order to measure our success on meeting our targets.  We will also engage in a preliminary discussion on the 2020 budget.  There will be more to share with you soon.

The membership task force is currently in the process of creating an Executive Summary for you which will be provided in the December issue of our newsletter.

Another aspect of planning TLOMA engages in is finding volunteers to fill various roles, the Nominating Committee has done an amazing job this year filling all of the roles for 2020 and beyond.  Thank you to the 2020 Nominating Committee for your hard work and efforts, you have worked tirelessly since the Spring finding the perfect candidates.  The slate will be circulated to the membership shortly to initiate the voting process.  If you are interested in volunteering with TLOMA, it is never too late.  Please send me an email, pharris@oatleyvigmond.com.  I would love to speak with you about my personal experiences and roles that will become available.

In your personal plan, don’t forget to include attending our Special Interest Group meetings this month.  There is a Facilities SIG Roundtable event on Friday, November 15 and a Finance SIG event on Tuesday, November 26.  The website will be updated soon and please watch your inbox for further event details and registration.

Have you planned to attend the annual Holiday Networking event? Wait, you haven’t.  STOP what you are doing and register now. I will wait. Theme from Jeopardy plays in your head.  Okay, now that you have done that, I promise you will love this year’s event at The OMNI King Edward Hotel, such a beautiful location, full of warmth and history, fantastic food and of course, outstanding company of your TLOMA peers.

I would like to take a moment to appreciate our event sponsor Thomson Reuters; without your support these events for our members would not be possible; Thank You. A reminder that TLOMA will be supporting Fight to End Cancer cause and if any of the members are interested in donating please use this “link” to make a Donation.

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.

Interruption Ad - Facilities Roundtable Event - Nov. 15, 2019
Interruption Ad - Finance SIG - What Information Do Partners Need / Year End - Nov. 26, 2019
November, 2019 | Article

These Things are Undermining our Ability to Build Relationships in our Personal and Professional Lives: What’s the Fix?

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Author Jane Southren

This interview of Simon Sinek is worth a watch for many reasons.

Simon Sinek on millennials in the workplace

In particular, some of the challenges he talks about – addiction to technology, the consequences of our society’s evolution toward instant gratification on all fronts, the impact of the resulting impatience that is being cultivated in all of us – are not limited to millennials.

Most of us, at all ages, now cannot let go of our cell phones. If we do, it is only to put them down on the table between us and the people we are with.

It is no longer the case that there are a few empty minutes before the start of any meeting, in which those in the room actually take the opportunity to talk to each other. Instead, we all sit like zombies staring into the little screens in our hands, oblivious to what is going on with any of the people who are sitting in the room with us!.

Most, if not all, dinners, coffees – meetings of all varieties – include cell phones on the table ringing or dinging and the magnanimous statement “I’m not going to answer that” being offered by the owner of the offending device – as though that will remedy the impression that the person you are with only has moderate importance to you, which was left by the presence of the phone on the table in the first place. Just to be clear, in my experience, it does not.

It isn’t just millennials that need to think about these things. Relationship building skills are becoming more and more rare, and it is hurting us in lots of ways, including but not limited to weakening our capacity to build the powerful relationships that fulfill us and facilitate our success.

I encourage you to watch this video, save it, think about it, watch it again, figure out what aspects of it are impacting you and those around you (millennials in particular) and what you might be able to do in your own lives and professions to help turn the tide.  For one thing, absent some serious potential emergency, let’s all put our phones away when we are socializing or meeting with other people.

Jane Southren is a business development advisor and consultant, and the founder of Jane Southren Consulting.

A former practicing litigator and in-house business development director with a leading Canadian law firm, Jane is a well-known speaker, powerhouse coach, mentor and advisor to lawyers, accountants and other service professionals seeking to build their businesses.  Jane and her team lead individuals and groups to cultivate insights, develop strategies, implement behavioural changes and build the habits they need to build sustainable, independent practices that they love - practices that are aligned with their values and their personal and professional goals. 

To learn more about our services check us out online at www.southren.ca or reach out to Jane at jane@southren.ca.

Holiday Networking Event - Nov. 29, 2019
November, 2019 | Article

Value of Thought Leadership in Law

Content Marketing
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Hunter, Mark 10may19
Author Mark Hunter

Most professionals agree that thought leadership is an effective form of marketing. It helps you get known publically for your expertise, the research required helps with personal development and publishing articles helps other people find experts which can lead to new files and additional marketing opportunities.

However, does the value of thought leadership differ based on your practice and target audience?

The basic premise of thought leadership is to provide free and thoughtful insight in areas you practice and is of most importance to your audience. The concept is simple and has been discussed at length. For example, a corporate tax lawyer creates content on tax laws that CEOs/CFOs are interested in. The audience is specific, the content is written in a manner that is easily consumable and provides guidance or answers to, “what to do in case you come up against this problem….”

But what if your audience can be easily defined but not easily found. For example if you are a litigation lawyer who helps individuals that have been harmed, your audience could theoretically be anyone in the province which you are licensed. Writing content for an audience of millions will be more difficult and may not resonate the same way as our corporate tax lawyers’ content. There is value in the litigation lawyer’s content but its value requires a different measurement. The audience may not necessarily be looking nor care for a thought leader in the traditional sense.

With all thought leadership pieces, starting with a real problem will draw in potential readers, providing a solution to the problem will keep readers around and help you develop your platform. When your audience is unknown, how the information is shared becomes increasingly important. Including a great deal of legal information, citations, etc. will not interest a broad audience in the same way it is for a defined small audience. You need to present the problem in a different manner, pose questions that will attract readers while providing enough detail so that you come across as knowledgeable. Using a lot of legal language will not be engaging to the broad audience.

So the answer is yes, thought leaders are relevant to all practices and all audiences. There is value. If your audience is difficult to define, make sure the content is easy to digest and searched by potential clients. The more defined the audience, the deeper you can go with the content and developing your platform. The expectation in both cases is your in-depth understanding of the problem and solutions.

Mark Hunter 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. 
November, 2019 | Article

Why Lawyers Really Have to Stop Hating CRM

CRM
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Adam Michie headshot
Author Adam Michie

Customer Relationship Management systems have the potential to give firms a huge competitive advantage – but all too often they don’t because the data being entered is partial, patchy or out of date. Firms have a lot to gain if they can raise the consistency and quality of data entry, argues Adam Michie. The trick lies in utilising software that makes it a painless process.

It’s all too easy for CRM systems to get a bad name with lawyers. And when that happens it can trigger a vicious cycle. After all, lawyers are being asked to take time out of their busy days to input data into the CRM system. They may do so diligently and regularly at first – only to find that their colleagues aren’t doing the same. And as soon as a lawyer gets embarrassed by not spelling the client’s name correctly; or not knowing there’s a new CEO; or not knowing the precise status of a potential client’s relationship with the firm the inaccurate or out-of-date information in the CRM discredits the whole system in their eyes.

It is at this point that a lawyer may decide, on some level, not to be so diligent any more. Not to waste time on a CRM system that’s giving limited value back. And so the vicious circle begins. As fewer and fewer lawyers put accurate, current and comprehensive data into the system, the quality of the information it generates begins to degrade. Over time the system becomes less and less useful.

It’s tempting at this point to just give up on the whole thing as a bad idea. But don’t – for two good reasons. One is that the potential value that a CRM can deliver has never been so high. The second is that it’s now much easier to get data into the system without causing pain to lawyers.

Why CRM matters so much

I’m not making it up when I say that the biggest challenge faced by firms in relation to CRM systems is getting people – and by that I particularly mean lawyers – to enter data. Recent research [1] shows that:

  • 88% of CRM users admit to entering incomplete contact information
  • 69% of firms have out-of-date information in their CRM
  • 63% have duplicate contacts in the CRM
  • 62% of CRM users admit to not logging all activities


The problem is that this makes CRM systems weak. And that’s an important problem and one that prevents many firms even starting to implement such a system.

Right now, as you know, the legal arena has never been more competitive. New business models are emerging; more and more firms are getting eaten alive in consolidations; clients increasingly don’t like hourly fees; and they’ve never been more discerning, cost-sensitive and disloyal.

At the same time, because of the world we live in, a firm’s reputation matters more than ever. It plays an increasingly large part in why potential clients choose one firm over another. And reputations aren’t based on what firms says about themselves, but rather on what their clients say about the firm. Clients therefore need more love than ever, so firms need to get better at nurturing client relationships. QED: Customer Relationship Management systems matter more now than they ever have.

Why quality counts

What’s more, I have to emphasise that it matters how good a CRM system is. A poorly performing CRM is a positive hazard. It cost you money to buy and install it in the first place. Potentially it will continue to cost you money if people are wasting their time entering data that no one looks at or trusts. Needless to add, contacting clients with flawed, inaccurate data could be disastrous to the client relationship and ultimately very costly indeed.

Conversely, a high-performing CRM delivers all kinds of benefits. People can find reliable contact details and client information quickly because they trust what they have to hand on the system. And the firm will always be more efficient if client data is consolidated.

At the same time, it makes a difference if you’re getting people’s names and job titles right, and are able to contact the right people, at the right moment in the sales cycle, with the right offer. You can be sensitive to who they are and what they care about. You can demonstrate better internal collaboration on key accounts. You can more easily make “warm” as opposed to stone cold introductions. From the client’s, or the potential client’s perspective, your firm looks coordinated, sharp and in control. It all enables the firm to generate new business more cost effectively and quickly. And to keep track of current clients, understand their pain points and act to ensure they’re retained.

With so much to gain from a strong CRM system, and so much to lose from a weak one – it’s an area firms really should tackle. The good news is that they can make their CRMs much more effective and valuable in two steps without even having to change system. This is how.

Taking care of attitude

The success of a CRM system hinges partly on the system, partly on people’s attitude to the system and partly on what can be done to make the system work more effectively for all concerned. Assuming you already have a system in place, and that there are no radical modifications you can make to its usability at this point, let’s leave that one alone.

As for people’s attitude towards the system – this is to do with the culture within the firm and the training and support people get with using the CRM. A way forward on culture is to communicate a clear understanding of the value of the CRM. Of course lawyers need to earn revenue in the here and now. But they also need to be clear about the importance of investing time in ensuring future work. In other words, if you never look to the horizon, the danger is that you walk off a cliff. Firms need to make sure that inductions, on-going training and regular communications set clear goals as to how the CRM is used, and a clear rationale as to why it matters.

Letting technology take the strain

That is not to say that technology doesn’t play a huge part. At Tikit we focus our offerings around four ecosystems. An ecosystem is an integrated suite of software, consisting of Tikit own products together with selected partner offerings, which work efficiently together to support key processes within a law firm. Our Marketing and Business Development Ecosystem has been constructed to eliminate some of the key challenges that traditionally prevent CRM being fully adopted.

One of the important ways we achieve this is to leverage technology to simply remove the need to manually enter data. The bonus here is that it not only saves time, it also eliminates the errors that can creep in when it’s up to humans to do the keying. This starts right at the beginning of the process with initial data capture. The solution scans interactions through Outlook, including emails, contacts and calendars. When it picks up a mention of a contact that is not in the CRM system, it will research the contact to present as complete a record as possible and send the user an email asking for permission to synchronise the data into the CRM system. All the CRM user or lawyer has to do is click to accept the new data. It constitutes an extraordinarily painless way to update client and contact records in the CRM. And because of its sheer simplicity it ensures that the CRM is much better informed and up to date than before.

Similarly, from the marketing side, data flows seamlessly between the CRM database and the e-marketing activity to allow full exposure of activity against the contact record. Lawyers can see who has received a mailing, opened it, read an article, been invited to an event, accepted an invitation and whether they actually attended.

The aim of the system is that every crumb of information is captured, building a comprehensive, accurate and current view of the contact. Further, the system proactively feeds this information to the lawyer just when they need it. The system can see from a lawyer’s calendar when they have a meeting scheduled, and can automatically prepare and send an email briefing on that client a day before the meeting. The briefing can contain pretty much any information held about the client in any system – this can include recent marketing activity, recent meetings, who else in the firm knows the contact, billing information and news from external sources.

Better still, after the meeting has happened it sends an email asking for an update. The lawyer simply replies to the email and the update makes its way automatically into the CRM.

The lesson is that firms should neither abandon nor despair of a CRM system which isn’t performing at its optimum potential because it lacks good, accurate, up-to-date data. The introduction of a data entry system will not only claw back the time that lawyers and others spend on updating the current system (quite a significant amount of time, by the way). It can also radically improve the depth and quality of data that the CRM system has to work with. This can make a real difference to the firm’s client knowledge, and it can stop lawyers hating CRM.

For more information on the subject please join us for a free webinar on December 12: 
https://www.tikit.com/news-events/tloma-webinar-circle-of-trust-contact-management-best-practices/

Adam Michie is a Product Manager at Tikit, based in London. He has 13 years experience in the legal publishing and technology sector with 8 of those years spent in Product Management. During that time Adam has worked with law students, para-legals, knowledge managers, associates and partners from large law to in-house firms, developing game-changing solutions in legal research Apps, practitioner calculators and tools, automated drafting and document creation and template management. His most recent focus is driving change in business development and marketing practices in law firms through effective CRM, contact management and email marketing. 

November, 2019 | Movers and Shakers
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Movers and Shakers

New Members

Katja Ash

VP, Human Resources & Operations

Hummingbird Lawyers LLP

Olga Bekmemeteva

Office Manager

Schultz Frost LLP

Amanda Brazier

Operations Coordinator

Thorsteinssons LLP

Suzanne Douglas

Director, Human Resources

Law Society of Ontario

Natalia Graham

Executive Assistant

Dipchand LLP

Jane Rhee

Manager, Human Resources

Bennett Jones Services Limited Partnership

Susanna Trebuss

Business Manager

Rapley & Company PC

Jason Tsoukas

General Counsel

Chicken Farmers of Ontario

Melissa Wemyss

C.E.O.

Wards Lawyers PC

Moved

Brandon Chatwell

Mr. Brandon Chatwell IT Manager

Bell Temple LLP

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