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Priorities

By Elyssa A. Goldstein

Traditionally, I have never been one to make New Year’s resolutions.  I typically operate as more of a short-term goal-setter, at whatever time of year I see fit.  However, in the waning days of 2016, I began to give considerable thought to things I wanted to achieve in 2017.  I wanted to obtain three professional certifications (including the Association of Legal Administrators’ Certified Legal Manager designation), focus on my health and play a team sport for the first time since I graduated college.  In short, I wanted to make myself a priority, something I have always had an incredibly hard time doing, and that required me to set long-term goals.

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2017 New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) - Annual Meeting and Convention Recap

By Kathy Dart

The NJALA was represented at the 2017 New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) Annual Meeting and Convention held at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey this past May.  As advertised, “[t]he NJSBA Annual Meeting and Convention is the place to be each year for education, CLE credits, networking, the industry’s top speakers and outstanding social events.  It is the must-attend event of the year where you can you get 16 CLE credits in 3 days”.  

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Sleep Debt

By Michelle Cohen

We have all heard of the National Debt, student loan debt and credit card debt, but what about sleep debt? Is that really a thing?  Indeed, it is! And sleep debt is encroaching upon your life in insidious ways. According to the National Sleep Foundation, we humans need an average of eight hours of sleep per night. Skimp on your sleep, and your body craves it even more. Your reaction times slow down. All sorts of problems begin to emerge…

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The Golden Age

By Elyssa A. Goldstein

The NJALA is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.  Fifty years ago, gas cost 24.5 to 29.9 cents per gallon, a McDonald’s hamburger was 39 cents, a movie ticket cost $1.50, the federal minimum wage was $1.65 and my parents had yet to meet.  Obviously, much change has occurred in the past 50 years, but what has not changed are the guiding principles of our illustrious organization.  The NJALA is just as “dedicated to the continued improvement of law office operations” and its members still make every “effort to assist each other in the management of their respective law firms”.

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What Would You Do?

By Elli Albert

For this feature, each issue of the Jer-Z-Journal will pose a scenario that could occur in the law firm. Members were surveyed and asked how they might respond if faced with the situation. All responses, whether serious, sarcastic or humorous, were encouraged. All responses are confidential.

Scenario: It’s your birthday. Or a holiday. Or maybe, without any reason, one of your employees has left a gift for you on your office chair. You open it and—uh oh—it’s totally inappropriate! WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

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Five Tips to Help Create a Safe Work Environment

By Andy Surtz

Since before 2018 even began, you could not turn on the television, radio or computer without seeing or hearing news of another person falling victim to harassment in the workplace.  The #metoo movement is long overdue, though it is taking the world by storm.  A conversation that should have occurred in every workplace for decades is now happening consistently.  The idea of a safe work environment is not new.  However, it can be guaranteed that this idea is not going anywhere any time soon.  Employees, as well as employers, are taking notice of issues that may have been swept under the rug or laughed off in the past.  Here are five tips to help make sure you are creating a safe and inclusive work environment.

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Act Now…Before It’s Too Late! Can Smaller and Mid-Size Law Firms Successfully Adapt to the Changing Marketplace?

By John Remsen, Jr.

According to recent surveys conducted by The Managing Partner Forum and others, far too many smaller and mid-size law firms are doing little, if anything, to evolve and adapt in the face of rapid and accelerating change in the legal services industry.  What little innovation does occur is driven by the client in almost every case. And that’s not good if smaller and mid-size firms want to survive.

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The Five Compliance Questions You Should Be Asking Every Vendor

By Jerry Colasurdo

A common buzzword in the last few years, compliance is a top priority for many law firms.  In the process service industry, we’ve seen a significant increase in compliance requirements, especially in the financial sector.  Whether mandated by federal or state rules and laws or put in place due to increasing pressure from clients, securing confidential information is critical for law firms of every size.  Being compliant requires a proactive approach that covers all the bases. 

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4 Tips for Law Firms Who Want the Most Out of Their Process Server

By Amanda Sexton

Process service isn’t something every office manager has to deal with on a regular basis.  But with the potential to impact client satisfaction, staff workload and timelines for cases, it should be on every administrator’s radar.  Below are some helpful tips you can use (or pass along to your staff) to make sure subjects and entities are getting served as quickly as possible.

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Competent and Reasonable Measures of Data Security

By Kevin Roth

The probability of a malware attack on the legal community is higher than ever.  In 2015, Cisco ranked law firms as the seventh most-vulnerable industry to “malware encounters”.1 Bloomberg Law reported in 2015 that at least 80 of the 100 biggest [law] firms in the country, by revenue, have been hacked.2  Cybersecurity firm, LogicForce, recently released a report that revealed over 200 U.S. law firms faced hacking attempts for confidential client data between 2016 and 2017, and 40% of the firms didn’t even know the attack had occurred.  Additionally, the LogicForce report found:

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Business Development—Five Ways to Impress Clients

By Anne Itri

The number one rule of business development is to always impress your clients.  Happy clients will continue to give you their business and are much more likely to give you additional business and referrals.  The number two rule of business development is to always impress those with whom you work.  Eventually, they will have a need for your services and remember you.

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Like Blood Pressure, Your Copy and Printing Costs Should be Checked Regularly

By Joe Donohue

Unless you’ve implemented a print policy in your office, there’s a good chance your print volumes and costs may be higher than you think. Like high blood pressure, high copy and print expenses left unchecked can have a negative impact on the overall health of your company. Even in today’s economic climate that demands expense visibility and control, the avoidable waste associated with office printing is eye opening, to say the least!

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Designing Suburban Law Firm Workspace

By Dana Nalbantian, Jennifer Ellis-Rosa, IIDA, LEED AP ID+C and Rosemarie DeCiccio, CID, IIDA, LEED AP

Gensler, a global interior/architecture design firm with a focus on law firm design, hosted an NJALA workshop at its Morristown, New Jersey office on Wednesday, February 28, 2018.  The session gave a glimpse into the design process for creating law firm workspace.  The Gensler design team led participants through three activities to simulate the preliminary phases of the design process. 

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10 Rules-Based Printing Tips to Reduce Your Firm’s Print Costs

By Joe Miller

If you're reading this, you might have already heard about rules-based printing, and then you're wondering how it can help you.  Beyond the productivity, control and information gains that a rules-based printing environment brings, you can also reduce your overall print footprint (a footprint that determines how large your printing expenditure is and will continue to be).  Shrinking your print footprint is the only sure-fire way to lower your overall costs.

There are 10 major ways that rules-based printing can be leveraged to reduce print costs:

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Major Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a New Phone System for a Law Office

By Vincent Finaldi

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of meeting with many law firms primarily located in Northern or Central New Jersey.  These law firms have ranged in overall size, from scaled multisite law offices with decades of experience to startup firms looking to build a new practice.

Regardless of firm size or type of law being practiced, I’ve come across some problematic buying behaviors common among these law firms.  I want to share these with you so your firm doesn’t inadvertently make the wrong phone-related decision.  Remember, phone systems are long-term investments, and it’s often not easy to undo a decision once it’s finalized.

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How to Modify Your Partnership Agreement Under the New Partnership Audit Regime

By Carolyn Dolci, CPA and Alyssa Rausch, CPA, MBA

Now is the time to dust off your partnership agreement and amend it to reflect the new partnership audit rules. Effective January 1, 2018 (or earlier, if elected), under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, all partnerships (including LLPs and LLCs taxed as partnerships) will be impacted by the new partnership audit rules. Below are key questions to consider as you update your partnership agreement.

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Insurance Issues in the News

By Leo F. Miller, Jr., C.I.C. and Staci Grant, RHU

Cyber Threats

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Legal Office Planning Trends—Are NJ Law Firms Ready to Shift to Working Remotely?

By Jennifer Ellis-Rosa

Most law firms in New Jersey have been slow to adopt modern office trends. I’m not talking about slick, glossy interiors that look like they belong in a magazine. I’m referring to spaces that have outdated planning metrics and are not adaptable as technology continually evolves. The fact is most of these firms lease more space than they need.

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Best Practices to Reducing Cyber Risk

By Stew Smith, CISM

The challenges associated with a data breach are changing the legal landscape.  The March 2017 issue of the ABA Journal cited cybersecurity as the biggest risk that law firms face in 2017.

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Risk Manager: The New Firm Administrator

By Scott Jacobson, CLCS

As an administrator, you also take on the role of risk manager.  Your job is to deliver on the mission and vision of your law firm.  Sometimes, that calls for being direct, patient, encouraging or decisive—and sometimes all at the same time.  You take unrealistic ideas that are thrown on your lap and convert them to real world actions, allowing the impossible to become possible.  This means your accountability level for the firm is paramount.

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