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Strategic Planning for Cloud Adoption

By Christopher Zegers
 
Recent breakthroughs with cloud and artificial intelligence should be closely followed by law firms.  With a plethora of new players in the space, the opportunity for law firms to align their business strategies with technology is greater now than ever.  However, choosing the right suite of technologies is no simple task.  Before being told what you need by vendors, determine what you want to do better through thoughtful, guided discussions with other law firm leaders and practitioners.  This article offers strategies to engage with your colleagues and what to consider when you have their attention.
 
Evaluation
When faced with the inevitable technology upgrades that keep businesses running, we often follow the path of least resistance.  We stay with the incumbent vendor, secure in the knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses, and the level to which our expectations will be met.  We upgrade, secure in avoiding data migrations, training and process changes.  Moving to the cloud requires substantial effort, even when staying with an incumbent vendor.  Because it will undoubtedly affect how your employees perform their work, it is the best time to assess and identify how to improve your business practices, as the answers and requirements that come out of this assessment will drive you towards successfully selecting the right software.
 
When evaluating and benchmarking software against functional requirements identified and gleaned from in-depth interviews with law firm constituents, it is helpful to delineate between functional requirements (business tasks and processes) and non-functional requirements that must be met by the vendor, particularly their security posture and underlying technical platform.  It’s also important to assess each vendor’s position in the marketplace to understand their financial standing, long-term viability, potential for acquisition and product roadmap.
 
Selection
A successful software selection process entails comprehensive requirements-gathering that generates a list of features, functionalities, need, and wants against which each product is benchmarked.  Those vendors closest to meeting the functional and non-functional requirements will love the opportunity to demonstrate how useful their product can be for your law firm.  You should not let them do this because they don’t know your law firm.  They know how their product works best and will present that to you, when what you need to see is if their product will do what you need it to do best.  With the knowledge you’ve developed about your law firm, you can direct the product demonstrations, focusing on what’s most important to you and saving time from superfluous information that can distract an audience and derail a demonstration.
 

Whether you take a formal RFP approach or not, the time and effort needed to prepare for and engage in software selection should not be underestimated.  Time, resources and costs should be allocated for requirements-gathering, benchmarking and negotiations.  It is critical to understand every detail of a contact to manage risk, ensure no hidden costs and ensure data ownership and portability.  Having laid the groundwork above, successful implementation is more likely because you have the details for which you can hold your vendor accountable.

Data Management
Moving to the cloud is also the best time to re-evaluate and enhance your data management practices.  There are countless ways in which proper data management will enhance your business practices and strategies.  When data is governed properly, actionable information and institutional knowledge can improve your work product and client service.
 
From a security perspective, data should be managed according to the principle of least-privileged access, by which only those who need access to data have it, and for only the amount of time necessary.  Data management practices must be enforced by policies, procedures and training.
 
Putting your data in the cloud does not preclude you from ensuring that access rights are assigned properly, and private data is not unintentionally configured for public access.  This is an ongoing effort that requires scheduled audits to ensure policy and procedure compliance and identify training and process-improvement needs.
 
Agreements and Insurances
Negotiating a cloud contract properly involves more considerations than traditional technology services.  Even with news-making outages of Microsoft, Amazon and Google, consumers often consider clouds to be fully redundant.  Purely from a risk perspective, it is best to know everything that can go wrong up front.  Vendors should be pressed to provide the instances where outages or failures may occur.
 
It is critical to ensure that you retain ownership of the data and metadata stored in the cloud service and a clearly defined method exists for migrating the data into an externally recognizable format, e.g., Structured Query Language (SQL).  If your vendor stores protected health information (PHI), it is important that you have executed a business associate agreement (BAA) with them.
 
It is also important to clarify to what, if any, extent do vendor engineers and support specialists have access to your data and under what circumstances.  Also ensure that you are indemnified of any data breaches or loss that result in vendor errors, product vulnerabilities or defects.  And, finally, your vendors should have cyber insurance, inclusive of coverage for the trending tactic of social engineering of vendor staff.
 
Conclusion
Going to the cloud has never been an easier decision.  Getting on the cloud is more complicated, but it’s the best opportunity law firms have had since Y2K to re-evaluate their business processes and develop strategies that can be achieved in part through the proper use of emerging technologies.
 
Christopher Zegers is the Director of Consulting – Legal for Ivionics.  Chris is responsible for providing Ivionics’ law firm and corporate legal department clients with legal operations management consulting, capitalizing on proven process management principles and a team of legal tech, development, infrastructure, cloud and security experts to help legal teams exceed client expectations and generate consistent, high-quality products and services.  He may be reached at [email protected].

Five Mistakes to Avoid When Evaluating a Job Offer

By Jamy J. Sullivan, JD
 
In today’s job market, talented legal professionals are in high demand.  Law firms and legal departments are acting quickly to secure their top candidates—pressuring them to make fast decisions after receiving job offers.
 
But taking on a new position is an important and potentially career-changing decision, and you should be looking at more than just the starting salary.  Don’t make these five mistakes when evaluating a job offer.

 1. Accepting (or declining) the initial offer
Salary negotiation is the name of the hiring game.  In fact, when hiring staff, 70 percent of the managers polled for a recent Robert Half survey expect candidates to counter with a higher figure.  So be sure to consult reliable sources, like the Robert Half Legal Salary Guide, to see how much more you could be earning.


But pay is only one aspect of a job offer.  You could also ask for more vacation days, a hiring bonus, tuition reimbursement, telecommuting options and an enhanced healthcare plan.  Don’t hesitate to negotiate perks, especially if the hiring manager is unable to offer you a higher starting salary.

 2. Failure to consider work-life balance
In the excitement of being invited to join a new law firm, you may brush away worries about a longer commute, more travel, weekend hours and so forth.  But if the new job requires you to spend more time in traffic, out of town or at the office, it may not be worth it—especially if you have responsibilities at home.

When considering a job offer, ask the hiring manager about flexible hours, work-at-home days and amenities like on-site childcare.  If the daily commute will be farther or during peak rush hour, you may soon fall out of love with the new position no matter how interesting it is.

 3. Not inquiring about professional development

To remain on top of technological changes and the latest legal trends, you need access to continuing education.  Would your new employer help you keep learning and growing in your career?  After onboarding, does the company offer any training besides mandatory sessions on workplace discrimination and the like?  Even if the company sanctions professional development, who would foot the bill—the employer or the employee?  Is there a formal or informal mentoring program?
 
The ideal is to work for a generous organization that is eager to help develop its workforce.  Given the current unemployment rate, you don’t need to settle for less. 

4. Thinking just about the present
This new position may give you an immediate income boost, but how will it affect your long-term career?  You want a job in the legal field that moves you closer to your professional goals, not further away from them.
 
For example, is the law firm a leader in its practice area and an early adopter of new technology, or is it sedate and set in its ways?  Would this job challenge you and help you acquire valuable hard and soft skills, and possibly give you experience in a hot practice area?  Seriously consider these intangible benefits—or the lack of them.
 
5. Ignoring organizational culture
No salary hike or sign-on bonus is worth it if you dread going to the office every day.  Consider what you like and dislike about your current organization, evaluating everything from dress code to communication style.
 
Before you sign on the dotted line, try to spend some time in the would-be employer’s office environment.  Are workers happy to be there?  Do you get positive vibes from prospective colleagues?  How well do the workplace values and philosophy align with your own?  Your future job satisfaction can largely depend on an employer’s corporate culture.
 
If you’re a skilled legal professional with several years of relevant work experience, many employers will pay more to have you join their team.  You have choices and bargaining power.  So, take the time to assess a job offer, as mistakes with accepting a new role or salary can cost you in terms of both career advancement and earning potential.
 
Jamy J. Sullivan, JD is executive director of Robert Half Legal, a premier legal staffing service specializing in the placement of attorneys, paralegals, legal administrators and other legal professionals with law firms and corporate legal departmentsAn author and speaker on legal employment and law practice management topics, Jamy began her career with Robert Half Legal in 2002 as an account executive in Columbus, Ohio. Over the years, she has held various sales management positions within the company and received recognition for serving on project committees, mentoring internal employees and her leadership and sales performance.  Jamy may be reached at [email protected].

Surface Care in Aging Facilities

By Lindsay Bartlett-Cupples

Flooring and architectural finishes in an aging facility might look like they need to be replaced but may only need repair and restoration to bring the surfaces back to life.  From stone to terrazzo and concrete, avoiding replacement is good for the environment and your bottom line.
 
Stone
Stone will never go out of style, and if properly maintained, this surface will last the life of the facility.  Marble, granite, travertine and limestone have been used for centuries on vertical and horizontal surfaces due to both attractive appearance and durability. 
 
Stone surfaces require different care based on material, traffic patterns and usage.  Over the years, wear and performance issues may be visible if stone requiring different maintenance needs were installed side-by-side.  For example, it is not a good idea to pair marble and granite or marble and terrazzo together for several reasons, including variations of density and hardness and care requirements.
 
Choosing stone from the same family or stone with similar maintenance needs, such as marble and limestone, combined with a tailored routine surface care plan, will help ensure your stone floors last for centuries.  In an aging facility, property and facility managers don’t always have the luxury of a redesign, so paying special attention to the maintenance needs of each type of stone is critical for aesthetics and the stone’s life cycle.
 
Terrazzo
Terrazzo originates from Italian craftsmen who learned to mix marble scraps, discarded material and mortar to make new floors.  This surface has come in and out of popularity over the years, but one thing is certain: no one considers terrazzo to be a short-term commitment.
 
Terrazzo installed decades ago often yellows and is harder to maintain than today’s modern epoxy terrazzo.  Coatings have been a popular choice to help maintain terrazzo, but as layers of coatings are applied, the floor can start to look dirty and is harder to keep clean.  If an aging facility has layers of coatings, they can be removed and replaced with a maintenance plan that includes mechanical polishing.
 
When caring for any type of terrazzo, there are many factors to take into consideration—environment, traffic patterns, usage and proper tools to name a few.  For mechanical polishing, there is a fine line between grinding, honing and polishing.  While they may sound like the same process, there are important differences.  It is common to see terrazzo cut through to the subfloor in high traffic areas due to poor “over” maintenance using improper tools and methods.  The result is usually patching or replacing the damaged area.  Patching and replacing terrazzo is never a good look because the color and finish rarely match and are highly visible.
 
Although most maintenance equipment and supplies are available to the public, a specialized craftsman understands the physics of the job and how to combine the right tools, frequency and methods for the best possible result.  Do your due diligence when hiring a consultant or maintenance provider.  Interview, check references and have them perform a test area to demonstrate their capabilities and expertise.
 
Concrete
For decades, asset management has been sold the myth that concrete is maintenance-free, resulting in dissatisfaction over appearance, performance and maintenance issues that inherently arise post-installation.  There is no such thing as a maintenance-free surface.  If floors are walked on, rolled on or simply in existence, they will need to be maintained to ensure a long life.
 
Concrete requires regular maintenance and care just as your stone, carpet or wood surfaces.  Highly polished concrete will experience appearance loss over time.  Janitorial staff often do not have the best tools to care for the aggregation of wear and tear in high traffic areas, and the frequent restoration model of care results in high costs and facility disruption.  Instead, to maintain polished concrete, invest in a proactive maintenance plan performed by a skilled specialist.
 
Concrete is a popular choice in aging facilities because it can be poured over floors that formerly had tile and grout carpet and other surfaces.  Before taking up existing flooring and replacing with concrete, be aware of common challenges such as uniformity of color, transition heights and unknown conditions under structures like planters and fountains.  Carpet tile and ceramic tile areas may look different when honed and colored.  For areas with tile and grout, testing by an experienced concrete specialist may be needed.  Tests may include a mud bed pull test, density test and material absorption testing to determine the appropriate installation and maintenance plan.
 
Thankfully, there is a solution to all surface care challenges.  A qualified consultant can provide a field assessment and offer recommendations for existing floors that may involve restoration as needed and an ongoing cleaning and maintenance plan.  If or when the flooring needs to be replaced, the same expert can provide a long-term maintenance strategy, cost analysis and surface recommendations before a flooring investment is made.
 
Depending on the flooring type, there may be environmentally friendly disposal options and recycling programs to consider.  While recycling programs are a wonderful option, the truly environmentally conscious option is to keep flooring on the floor if possible and out of the landfill.  Your budget and the earth will thank you.
 
Lindsay Bartlett-Cupples is a Solutionist at DriKlean SOLIDCARE.  SOLID Surface Care, Inc. is a unified team of surface care experts who provide the highest level of care for all hard and soft surfaces while simultaneously providing a world-class client experience.  The company is diligent about going beyond the surface to grasp the brand and culture of each client and develop a customized Consolidated Care Plan, all with an advanced data management platform that assures immediate information and transparency.  Lindsay may be reached at [email protected].

Can My Law Firm’s Office Solutions Meet Today’s Privacy Requirements?

By Paul Russo
 
The preservation of client confidentiality and the legal profession have always been synonymous.  National and international legislation have heightened security awareness and expectations in priority areas for law firms, such as medical records, personally identifiable information (PII), intellectual property and prospectuses.  According to the American Bar Association[1], one out of every four law firms is a victim of a data breach.  This staggering figure highlights the need for IT administrators and senior partners to have technology in their offices that can help them protect client data.
 
Those law firms collecting or storing personal data of European Union (EU) citizens or individuals located in EU nations should also familiarize themselves with their compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).[2]  A U.S. law firm may be subject to GDPR regulatory action, including fines, for failure to comply with applicable regulations.  Law firms should investigate whether their content workflows and associated solutions are aligned with their HIPAA and GDPR compliance strategies.  Consider a secure ecosystem that authenticates and allows document access based on assigned roles and associated privileges that align with the characteristics of the content.
 
Can your office solutions assist you with your compliance efforts?  Here’s a fast Q&A to help you identify areas where your law firm can make changes to help improve workflow security:
 
Q: Does my law firm’s content workflows and associated solutions align with its HIPAA Omnibus and GDPR compliance strategy?
 
A: HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, underwent rule changes in 2013[3] broadening the law’s application to attorneys in some cases.  Law firms with access to protected health information (PHI) may be classified as business associates, so it is important that they implement processes to ensure the security and protection of the PHI they possess and transmit.  PHI includes Social Security numbers, medical records, insurance information and other data law firms may collect in the course of their practices.
 
Q: Do my clients have a secure way to send and retrieve documents?
 

A: A single data breach in the U.S. is estimated to cost an average of $7.91 million in 2018, according to The Ponemon Institute.[4]  The data lost in a breach can be enormous.  News reports about one alleged security breach that has been called the “Panama Papers” claim that 11.5 million documents affecting 214,000 organizations and individuals may have been compromised.[5]

Even as data breaches make news, there’s no denying that technology has increased the level of service clients expect from their attorneys.  This includes the ability to use file sharing or content collaboration platforms securely.  It is up to IT administrators to implement a process to give clients the access they want while preserving the security of the data and the system in place to help protect it.  Consider investing in or enhancing your existing workflow systems to solutions that can help seamlessly bridge content integration points and offer advanced security capabilities that will align with your law firm’s security and compliance policies.  Such technology can offer users the ability to securely access documents both inside and outside the law firm.  Also consider solutions that offer integrated authentication and discrete content controls that are specific to a document, file or client.

Q: Would we be able to supply information about document access and handling during a cybersecurity audit or a post-breach audit?
 
A: Concerns about the impact of a data breach are expected to cost businesses and organizations in the U.S. upwards of $2 billion in 2017 on premiums for cyber liability insurance policies helping to cover them in the event of a security breach.[6]  A workflow system that allows administrators to digitize hard-copy content can provide tools to track document access, and it can help law firms comply with security audits that may be required by the insurance companies and with the recordkeeping that may be required by HIPAA and GDPR.  Tight integration of a secure document ecosystem can permit administrators to quickly access login information, device activities, document tracking and more.  This information can be instrumental in helping with routine audits and workflow mapping for gap analysis, and it can assist with post-breach remediation efforts.
 
Q: Are there places where we can improve on security gaps in client data protection?
 
A: Law firms and offices of all types can struggle with some common security gaps, including:
  • Frequently leaving out papers and documents at printers, fax machines and other devices without an authorized person present to retrieve them;
  • Utilizing a secure content management solution to centralize data storage;
  • Preventing individuals from purchasing and using devices that don’t align with the law firm’s security and compliance policies.
Evaluate your current document workflows for their ability to provide comprehensive control and oversight throughout the entire chain of custody.  Consider enhancements that prioritize integrated content security features.  Government regulatory agencies are increasing efforts with respect to the security of the personal data that law firms possess.  Clients expect that documents and data entrusted to their attorneys will remain private and secure.  So, it is up to law firms to employ a holistic approach to their integrated document management strategies and the supporting workflow solutions to better align systems with their security and compliance policies.
 
Canon Solutions America, Inc.’s primary mission is to improve workflow efficiency and document processes in organizations of all sizes and industries, while helping them reduce waste.  This is accomplished through the strategic implementation of services, technology and support options that are unique to each customer’s operational requirements.  For more information on security solutions, please contact Paul Russo, Branch Sales Director, at [email protected].
 
Canon U.S.A. and Canon Solutions America do not provide legal counsel or regulatory compliance consultancy, including without limitation, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, GLBA, Check 21 or the USA Patriot Act.  Each customer must have its own qualified counsel determine the advisability of a particular solution as it relates to regulatory and statutory compliance.
Canon products offer certain security features, yet many variables can impact the security of your devices and data. Canon does not warrant that use of its features will prevent security issues.  Nothing herein should be construed as legal or regulatory advice concerning applicable laws; customers must have their own qualified counsel determine the feasibility of a solution as it relates to regulatory and statutory compliance.
Some security features may impact functionality/performance; you may want to test these settings in your environment.  Neither Canon Inc., Canon U.S.A., Inc. or Canon Solutions America, Inc. represents or warrant any third-party product or feature referenced hereunder.

[1] ABA 2017 Cyber Security Report
[2] EUGDPR.org, “Controversial Topics”
[3] HHS.gov, “HIPAA Guidance Materials”
[4] Ponemon Institute 2018 Cost of Data Breach Study: Services sector
[5] BBC, “Panama Papers Q&A: What is the Scandal About”, April 6, 2016
[6] Washington Post, “Cyber-insurance Becomes Popular Among Smaller, Mid-size Businesses”, Oct. 12, 2014

You Have a Choice: The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

By Sean E. Paige

(c) Prohibition on Conditions for Written or Implied Warranty; Waiver by Commission No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer’s using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name; except that the prohibition of this subsection may be waived by the Commission if—

(1)   the warrantor satisfies the Commission that the warranted product will function properly only if the article or service so identified is used in connection with the warranted product, and

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President’s Message: You Don’t Read the Newsletter? Well, Read This One Article

By Elli Albert

So, what’s the big deal about the NJALA’s business partner sponsors?  My friends, they are a very big deal.

As most chapters of the ALA will attest, business partner sponsors are the lifeline of our organizations.  Our business partner sponsors provide us, among other things, with funding that allows for our monthly meetings.  That includes showcasing high-quality and high-profile speakers (such as this past year’s Managing Partners’ Night speaker, Frank Abagnale), as well as the ability to offer our dinners, social events and educational workshops throughout the year at no additional cost to you.

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What Office Administrators Need to Know About International Process Service

By Jerry Colasurdo

International service of process is one of the less common tasks attorneys need to oversee, but you can be a valuable resource for your staff if you know how the process works and have an idea of what they can expect.  From extended timelines to increased costs to nuanced rules, serving someone internationally is an entirely different process than serving someone within our own borders.  Handling it properly can be the difference between a successful case and one that leaves your clients extremely unhappy, so it’s critical to take the right approach.

How is international service of process different from serving someone in the United States?

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Stationery Trends to Follow

By Anne Itri

It’s true.  Stationery and printed materials have declined.  However, print is still very much alive.  Shouldn’t your remaining printed materials differentiate and leave a strong impression?  If you agree, below are some of the trends in the industry that are making a big impact.

Trend 1 – Bright, Ultra White Paper Stock

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How to Bank Smarter with Escrow and Trust Accounts

By Monte Ehrenkranz

As a law firm, you have a variety of options available to you for the temporary holding of funds.  These options include escrow and client trust accounts.  In an escrow account, funds are deposited on behalf of the client in relation to business acquisitions or real estate transactions.  Then the funds are released as transactions dictate upon completion.  In a client trust account, client funds are held in trust by the attorney for the benefit of the client.  These types of accounts are commonly used for debt collection and to control administrative costs.  Funds can also be held in connection with a settlement.  It is common for a settlement check to be payable jointly to the attorney and client, covering payment to the attorney for fees and expenses, with the balance payable to the client.

Client trust accounts can also earn interest in two different ways.  The interest can be earned and payable to the client, annually issuing the client a 1099 form for tax return reporting, or the attorney can earn the interest in accordance with Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) procedures, which provide protection provisions for clients.

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Retirement Planning for Law Professionals

By ABA Retirement Funds

 Here’s a big word for you from the world of behavioral finance—hyperbolic discounting.  Hyperbolic discounting is a time-inconsistent model of discounting.  Ok, that didn’t help much.  Think of it this way—humans tend to value short-term rewards over longer-term rewards, even when, mathematically, the rewards are worth the same.  The farther away the reward, the more we tend to discount it.

How does it work?  Assume someone has the choice between $20.00 now or $100.00 tomorrow.  Most will wait a day and collect the $100.00 reward.  But what if I were to offer you $20.00 now, or $100.00 one year from now?  Turns out, many people will opt for the $20.00 now, discounting the value of a larger reward because it is so far into the future.  So expressed another way, hyperbolic discounting is a person’s desire for an immediate reward rather than a higher-value reward, at some point later.

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Raising Kids and Joining a Board of Trustees: Common Ground

By Elli Albert 

NJALA members say to me all the time, “Oh, I could never be president of NJALA.”  My response to them is always the same.  “Trust me, if I can do it, so can you!”

I often equate being president of a board of trustees to having children.  When I was expecting my first child, all I could think about was how I would ever be able to deal with a teenager!  I slowly realized something important.  Babies come out as infants, not as teenagers.  Raising a child is a cumulative process.  You learn things every day with your infant, who then becomes a child, who then becomes a teenager.  By the time children reach the teenage years, you have (usually) built up enough parenting skills to be ready for them and their challenges.  (I say that having survived the young adulthood of my two sons, now in their twenties!) 

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New Jersey’s New $15.00 Per Hour Minimum Wage: What Businesses Need to Know

By Andy Surtz

New Jersey’s governor, Phil Murphy, promised during his campaign, that he would raise the minimum wage in New Jersey.  As of February 2, 2019, this promise became a reality.  Governor Murphy signed a new law that would slowly raise the minimum wage for most hourly employees by the year 2024.  This bill will effectively raise the current minimum wage of $8.85 per hour to $15.00 per hour at an increment of approximately $1.00 per year.  Prior to this new bill, New Jersey raised its minimum wage by $0.25 per hour to accommodate a cost of living increase in January 2019.  Here is what you need to know about this new bill and how it will affect your business.

How Does the Minimum Wage Increase Work?

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Quality Maintenance Matters

By Gabriella Colasacco Hermey

Material selection and cleaning methodologies for floor surfaces have experienced many different trends over the years, but one truth always remains: quality matters.  Quality relationships, quality materials and quality maintenance contribute to a healthy bottom line and a healthy facility.
Stone and carpet are two of the most popular surfaces found in law offices.  There are key maintenance fundamentals and best practices every facility/office manager should know when selecting and caring for these materials.

Stone

Stone will never go out of style, and if properly maintained, this surface will last the life of the facility.  From marble and granite, to travertine and limestone, stone has been used for centuries for architectural finishes, on vertical and horizontal surfaces alike, due to its attractive appearance and durability.
Different types of stone may look beautiful side by side or throughout contiguous areas, but stone selections should not be made by aesthetics alone.  Stone surfaces, whether vertical or horizontal, interior or exterior, require different care based on material, traffic patterns and usage.  For example, it is not a good idea to pair marble and granite or marble and terrazzo together for several reasons, including variations of density and hardness, and incompatible maintenance requirements that could cause harm to the neighboring stone.  Choosing stone from the same family or stone with similar maintenance needs, such as marble and limestone, combined with a tailored routine surface care plan, will help ensure your stone floors last for centuries.
After the January 2017 effective date of OSHA 1910.21 subpart D, Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems), the trend to choose textured stone surfaces and finishes has increased.  The updated law is designed to “help prevent and reduce workplace slips, trips, and falls, as well as other injuries and fatalities associated with walking-working surface hazards”.  Under 1910.21, OSHA defines general industry workplaces walking-working surfaces as floors, stairways, steps and aisles, among other horizontal, vertical and inclined or angled surfaces.[i]
Stone floors, textured or smooth, are exceptional architectural finishes for just about all types of facilities; but, remember, choosing high-quality materials is only the first step in creating beautifully designed spaces.  Having an expert surface care consultant provide a long-term maintenance strategy, cost analysis and surface recommendations before a flooring investment is made is a close second, if not as important as the first step.  The same qualified consultant can provide a field assessment and offer recommendations for existing floors that may involve restoration as needed and an ongoing cleaning and maintenance plan.

Carpet

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Four Recruitment Strategies to Help Law Firms Succeed in A Candidate-Driven Market

By Micki Mersky

Today’s job market is the most competitive in a generation.  In this climate, providing a positive candidate experience is critical to attracting and hiring the best talent available.  However, many law firms are struggling to deliver without the right recruitment strategies.  A great candidate experience, from job posting to offer, does not only create excitement for one great candidate; it can also lead to higher quality applicants, more hires and new referrals.
As a result, it becomes clear how much the hiring process matters in providing a great first impression to new hires.  For employers who want to gain an edge on their competition, consider the following recruitment strategies to transform your candidate experience in 2019.

Portray a strong employer brand

According to The Execu|Search Group’s 2019 Hiring Outlook, 59% of job seekers spend thirty or more minutes researching a company throughout the hiring process.  Between websites, social media, press and employee review sites, every candidate has a strong impression of your organization before her or she walks in the door.
As a result, it is critical that law firms utilize these online platforms to reach out to those candidates looking for the right fit.  When a job seeker looks at your law firm online, he or she should be able to determine who you are, what you do and why you’re a great place to work.

Be flexible in your requirements

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Mail Fraud Tips

By Peapack-Gladstone Bank
In light of recent check thefts from mailboxes, the following are local law enforcement tips to avoid mail theft:
Bank online: Refrain from mailing checks, cash, gift cards or other negotiable items if possible.  Use online banking instead.
Use a gel pen: If you must send a check in the mail, use a gel pen to write out checks.   Ballpoint pen ink can be easily washed off a check.
Mail at post office: Take those checks to the post office counter to be mailed and record the name of the postal employee who takes those checks.
Use plain white envelopes to mail checks: Do not use return envelopes with the utility logo or municipality for tax payments on them.  These are easy targets for thieves.
Monitor bank activity: Check bank activity online and review bank statements as soon as they are received to check for discrepancies.
See something, say something: Call 911 to report any suspicious activity near mailboxes.
Report the theft: If you have been a victim of mail theft, call the U.S. Postal Inspectors Service at 877-876-2455 and choose option 4.
More tips from the U.S. Postal Inspectors website:
- Use the letters slots inside your post office for your mail, or hand it to a letter carrier.
- Pick up your mail promptly after delivery.  Don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight.  If you’re expecting checks, credit cards or other negotiable items, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.
- If you don’t receive a check or other valuable mail you’re expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.
- If you change your address, immediately notify your post office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.
- Don’t send cash in the mail.
- Tell your post office when you’ll be out of town, so they can hold your mail until you return.
- Report all suspected mail theft to a postal inspector.
- Consider starting a neighborhood watch program.  By exchanging work and vacation schedules with trusted friends and neighbors, you can watch each other’s mailboxes (as well as homes).
Consult with your local postmaster for the most up-to-date regulations on mailboxes, including the availability of locked centralized or curbside mailboxes.
Peapack-Gladstone Bank, founded in 1921, is a high-performing boutique bank known nationally for unparalleled client service, integrity and trust.  For more information on Peapack-Gladstone Bank’s leading wealth, lending and deposit solutions, please contact Terese S. Gardenier, SMD, Escrow Services, at [email protected].  
The Security Tips provided are for informational use only and are not intended for financial or investment advice.  Peapack-Gladstone Bank and its affiliates assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided.

5 Questions with…Bernie Merer

By Cathy Aveta
CA: What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?
BM: Miss Trudy, my wife.  We’ve been a team for over 50 years and I couldn’t live without her.
CA: What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
BM: I worked in a kosher butcher shop on the line pulling gall bladders out of chickens.  I saw so slow, the lady next to me had to both of our jobs.  Picture Lucy and Ethel on the candy line.
CA: What’s your favorite current TV show?
BM: Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley.  Lots of different segments, and there’s never a time that I don’t learn something new.
CA: What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?
BM: Neil Diamond in Philadelphia.  Kids bought Miss Trudy and I tickets to go.  Great show.
CA: What’s your favorite ‘90s jam?
BM: I don’t even know what you’re talking about!  I like Welch’s grape jam the best.  No jelly for me.  If you’re talking music…I’m a doo-wop guy.  Give me the Duprees, Drifters, Crests or Kenny Vance and The Planotones.
Cathy Aveta is the Director of Paralegal Services & Attorney Recruitment at Saiber LLC in Florham Park, New Jersey.
Bernie Merer is the Director of Human Resources & Facilities at Saiber LLC in Florham Park, New Jersey.

Smart Change Starts Here Tip Sheet: Five Solution Features to Consider

By Canon Solutions America, Inc.

Prioritize Document Control and Security

A law firm IT administrator needs to wear a lot of hats to be successful.  Network maintenance, third-party vendor management and data security are just a few of the administrator’s responsibilities.
Data security is a common top priority due to the volume and nature of information that is handled during legal review.  A workflow solution designed for document control and security can help law firms limit access to private client data without adding a lot of work to overwhelmed IT teams.
Choosing the right solution for your law firm can be time-consuming.  Here are five important features to consider when implementing a secure, easy-to-manage document control solution.

1. Documents are stored, managed and accessed within the perimeters of a secure ecosystem

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President's Message February 2019

By Mary Beth Donoghue

As I sit down to write this month’s message, Punxsutawney Phil has left his burrow to look for his shadow for the 133rd time and predicted an early spring.  A little more than one week later, the NJALA decided to cancel the February monthly meeting due to inclement weather!  It is a decision the board does not take lightly, as there are many components involved with cancelling our monthly meetings, including working with our venue, notifying our membership and business partners and, most importantly, working with our planned speaker about possibly re-scheduling the program.  Daniel Sean Kaye’s scheduled February presentation, “A Delicate but Crucial Conversation: Talking About Depression and Suicide in the Workplace”, looked to be a relevant and well-attended session based on our registrations. Unfortunately, we are not able to reschedule this session for this program year, but we look forward to hopefully scheduling Daniel to speak in the future.
So, as we ideally move closer to spring-like weather, I hope you all will join us for our March monthly meeting on March 12, 2019.  The March meeting will be held at a new location, the Bridgewater Marriott.  Our topic is “Ch-ch-ch-Changes: Taking the Challenge Out of Change”,presented by a fabulous speaker, Judy Hissong of Nesso Strategies.  If you have been lucky enough to hear Judy speak at ALA conferences or past NJALA events, you know that this will be an engaging meeting.  You may be wondering why we are having this meeting at the Bridgewater Marriott.  Let me tell you why.  The NJALA covers the entire state of New Jersey, and, if you did not notice, New Jersey is a long state.  The NJALA is very grateful that individuals from firms located in the middle and southern parts of the state have joined the chapter to receive many of the benefits that come with our membership, even if they cannot always physically attend our meetings in West Orange.  In past years, we have hosted some monthly meetings and educational sessions at locations closer to the middle of the state.  By choosing the Bridgewater Marriott, we hope that more members geographically located in the middle and southern parts of the state will join us for this terrific presentation.  If you have not yet registered for this meeting, please do so here.  If you happen to be one of the individuals who has difficulty making our meetings in West Orange, we would like to hear your ideas as we address being as inclusive as possible going forward with all our members across the state.
Also, at our March meeting, the Nominations Committee will present the slate of board officers and trustees for our next term.  Normally, the slate is presented at the February meeting, but due to the February meeting cancellation, this announcement will now take place at the March meeting, followed by a floor vote, and then the swearing-in of our new officers and trustees at our April meeting. 
Many NJALA members will be attending the upcoming ALA Annual Conference and Exposition in Grapevine, Texas from April 14, 2019 to April 17, 2019.  ALA annual conferences are not only an opportunity to hear amazing speakers (like Judy Hissong, our March speaker), but also a place to gain subject-matter knowledge and learn about the latest solutions in the legal management field.  You will have the chance to discover legal management tools of the future and alternative approaches to your day-to-day work from individuals with diverse backgrounds, work environments and responsibilities.  In addition, you get to network with peers from all over the country, as well as colleagues from Canada, Mexico, Australia and the rest of the globe.  Any board member would be happy to discuss with you the benefits of attending this event should you have an interest.  It is not too late to register for this incredible professional experience.
As you have heard many times over the last few years, our organization would not be what it is today without the support of our business partners.  Our Business Partner Relations and Advisory Committee has been working tirelessly throughout the entire winter preparing new materials and brochures for business partner sponsorship.  We hope you will take a moment to consider sharing NJALA business partner opportunities with vendors you deal with on a regular basis at your own firms.  Any member of our Business Partner Relations and Advisory Committee is willing to speak with you or reach out to any vendor you would like the NJALA to consider for business partner sponsorship.  We are excited to be launching even more new initiatives to promote the wonderful relationships we have with our esteemed business partners, so please keep an eye out for updates.
Finally, I would like to urge all of you reading this to reach out to myself or any member of the board if you have comments, questions, concerns or ideas related to our industry and the NJALA.  We are here to represent you and are eager to hear what you have to say.  On behalf of the entire board, I want to thank each and every one of you for your membership in our organization, and I encourage you to renew your membership before the March 31, 2019 deadline.  It has been both a privilege and a pleasure serving as your President over this past year.
Mary Beth Donoghue is the Administrative Office Manager of Day Pitney LLP in Parsippany, New Jersey.

Breach Response Checklist for Law Firms

By Stew Smith

These days, data breaches have become almost commonplace.  It’s no longer if you get breached, but rather when you get breached.  While prevention is still key, it is important law firms implement procedures to quickly detect breaches and contain the damage once confirmed.  Likened to fire preparedness in an office building, cyber-security should be a non-negotiable component of a responsible workplace, regardless of size.  Don’t have a plan in place?  Here is a checklist of items to get you started: 

  • Review your state’s data breach laws and make a list of entities you have to contact.
  • Contact law enforcement or consumer protection agencies, if your state law requires it.
  • Contact your data security specialist or IT consultant.  If you don’t have one, you may want to hire someone to perform an IT security audit so you’re less likely to experience another data breach in the future.
  • Reach out to your insurance company if you have cyber liability insurance.  Your cyber liability insurance provider will pay for some of the costs associated with responding to a data breach, including (depending on your policy) crisis management, credit monitoring and data breach investigation.
  • Investigate the breach, compiling information as to where it occurred and what data was lost.  (If you’re not particularly tech-savvy, hiring a security consultant to perform an audit may be wise.)
  • Repair any security weaknesses, but keep records and evidence of the breach (which you might need to turn over to law enforcement agencies later).
  • Contact a credit monitoring company about fraud and IT theft prevention services you can offer your customers.
  • Set up a telephone line or e-mail address to handle incoming questions and concerns from customers.
  • Post an announcement on your website about the data breach and how customers may contact you with questions.
  • Notify individual customers (via e-mail, telephone or mail, in accordance with state regulations).

Post Assessment & Planning

  • Assess gaps and evaluate effectiveness of plans, procedures and staff training.
  • Adjust security and response plans and processes; communicate and train accordingly.
  • Stay current; test your plan often and remain aware of changing threats and law.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.  Take some time to review this checklist and get the ball rolling on a response plan today.  Educate yourself on best practices, seek guidance on where you might be most vulnerable, patch any weaknesses and develop a strong security response plan for potential incidents and recovery.
Stew Smith, CISM is Vice President of Business Development at Business Machine Technologies, Inc.  A 21-year member of the BMT team, Stew helps new clients get the most from BMT’s arsenal of services.  A former Senior Network Engineer, and Operations Manager, Stew has authored many of BMT’s procedures and policies.  Stew may be reached at [email protected].

How Much Does VoIP Phone Service Cost a Small to Midsize Business?

By Vincent Finaldi

In the VoIP industry, one of the most common questions we are asked is, “How much does a cloud-based VoIP phone system cost?”  The answer is…it depends—primarily on three main factors.  To help you get a sense of how pricing is determined in the VoIP industry, we’ve openly and honestly discussed those three factors below.

VoIP Pricing: A History Lesson

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