The Cactus Quarterly Newsletter - 4Q Print

President's Report

By: Sharon Williams

Hello Arizona ALA. Hard to believe that fall is upon us and I am entering the second half of my term as President of this great Chapter. We recently sent out a survey on how we could better serve you and got some great feedback. Look for some changes based upon that feedback.  Remember these surveys are used as a tool to give you a voice in your chapter, please use it. 

We have had some changes to our Board this quarter. Some great people had to leave for personal or professional reasons and others stepped up in their place.  Thank you to Julie Skelton, Chris Phillips and Mary Ellen Winters for your hard work.  Welcome to Christine Stangl, Stacey Pynn and Holly Einspahr, thanks for joining the Board.  As I always say, the more the merrier and if you ever feel the desire to join us please do.  There is a chair right next to me open, sit on down. 

Big kudos to President-Elect Sonji Le Blanc and her team for an exceptional Arizona ALA Chapter Conference and Symposium. Early feedback shows that the majority of members and Business Partners loved the format and enjoyed the excellent educational opportunities presented.  If you haven’t given your feedback yet, please do so ASAP.  We would like to hear your comments, suggestions and constructive criticism in order to continue to make our chapter conferences and symposiums a worthwhile experience for you.  Arizona ALA gave back to the Guide Dogs for the Blind  a donation of $1,215!  Love those puppies!

Speaking of the puppies, this Community Connection project continues until April 2018. There is still time to have them come by your firm for some puppy love.  If you can’t bring them into your firm please consider a puppy fund jar.  If you have a plush puppy at your firm you could have the current contributor “adopt” them for the day.  You would be surprised how much fun it is for people to have a friend for the day to make them smile.

We were able as a Chapter to send several members to regional or a specialized series conference this year. I look forward to seeing what “aha” moments those members share in their articles.  I know I took away information nuggets from every session to bring back to my firm.  I also enjoyed being a session manager for the Dear Helga Returns HR session.

Our Business Partners Appreciation event is coming up this week at The Strand. I hope you will join us in showing our Business Partners how much we value them.  Remember, without them we wouldn’t have the learning or networking opportunities that we do.  I also look forward to seeing you all at some great educational sessions this quarter, our great Managing Partner Event with the inspiring speaker, Dominic Bartola, and of course our chapter's fabulous holiday party at Montelucia. 

In closing, as I said in my first article, “Oh the places you will go” but only with each and every one of you. With football season starting, we can think of ourselves as the quarterbacks for our firms, we need tacklers, running backs and occasionally punt kickers to get us where we need to go.  Reach out to your team ALA to score that touchdown.  Hut one, hut two, BREAK! 

As always, be safe, be well and be happy!

Back to top

Letter from the Editor

By:  Jacqueline McAferty

Thomas Jefferson voiced the right for our nation to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ in our Declaration of Independence. Note that he didn’t say the right to happiness, rather he said the ‘pursuit of happiness.’ Difficulties and challenges are part of our life and business experience. The difficulties don’t define us, but how we deal with them does define who we are (whether as an individual or as a business) and our state of happiness/success.

Henry David Thoreau said ‘Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”

What makes you smile during your workday? A few things that made me smile:

-A client who is a barbeque champion bringing in a sampling of her prize winning barbecue at the end of the day. So sad for those who left early that day – more for us!

-The client who orders a Ferrari in expectation of a substantial settlement. He’d rather look rich than be rich!

- A senior partner/owner who is gifted in being able to sprinkle Disney quotes into his conversation:

Preparing a witness for a deposition: “If you don’t think, then you shouldn’t talk.”[1]

In relation to working a case for a client: “There are no magical shortcuts to solving your problems.”[2]

Winning a complex litigation: “Even miracles take a little time.”[3]

As we manage the business of our law firm, let’s turn our attention to - improving the lives of our clients, our employees and our community. Thank you to Sharon for sharing the opportunities that are available to us as ALA members and to Katie for sharing the article on thinking like a scientist.

I am grateful to work with the good people in my firm, and to associate with the ALA board, vendors and members who are all working to make their part of the world a better place. I will share one more quote from Zig Ziglar to take you into the Thanksgiving season "Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for." Express appreciation to your family, your co-workers, your clients and vendors today.  You may find that happiness sits on your shoulder as you do that!

[1] March Hare, Alice in Wonderland

[2] Merida, Brave

[3] Fairy Godmother, Cinderella


Back to top


Elevate – Knowledge Bound

By Katie Bryant, CLM

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I receive a multitude of newsletters, blogs, articles, etc. I admittedly do not read every single one, but I do my best to at least peruse several and occasionally I’ll find one that really resonates with me and makes me think about how I can be a better leader within my organization.  As luck would have it, I received one the other day from one of my business partners, IST and received their permission to share with all of you.  I hope you find it a worthwhile read and use it to elevate your leadership role within your organizations.  Here it is.

7 Habits That Can Help You Think Like a Scientist by Chuck Gamble, IST Management Services

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." 

- Thomas Edison.

Many people believe that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. The truth is that he did not. It had been around for several years. In fact, there were more than twenty other inventors and scientists working on the light bulb when Edison started on his. What separated Edison from the others is that he was the first to achieve a light bulb that lasted for many hours. Edison succeeded by creating a vacuum inside the bulb and finding the proper filament to use.

Thomas Edison succeeded by repeatedly experimenting until he found the right solution. He made over 1,000 unsuccessful attempts until he did succeed. To Edison, those 1,000 attempts weren't failures, they were 1,000 steps toward success. By thinking and using habits like Edison and other great scientists, we can learn how to change our mindset and innovate new ideas. Here are 7 habits that can help you think like a scientist.

1. Expect Failure and Then Learn From It

You're rarely ever going to get something perfect on the first try. When you don't get it right, learn from it. Scientists treat failure as a data point. As a matter of fact, it's also how they treat positive results. Data points eventually lead to an answer. To a scientist, failure or any negative result is not a bad thing because proving something is wrong is just as useful as proving something right as long as you are learning along the way. Treat your failures as data points that steer you toward the correct answers.

 2. Approach Every Issue With A Goal To Find A Creative Solution

Albert Einstein once said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." Scientists believe that in order to solve a problem, you have to be able to stand back, observe it and define it. The next step is to then rephrase it. Ask how can you reword this problem to make it easier to solve. For example, don't ask yourself how to increase your productivity; instead ask how you can make your job easier. By using more simple ways of looking at a problem, it suddenly will become less daunting. Once you're able to change your way of addressing the problem, you're going to be more likely to find a creative solution.

3. Challenge Assumptions

Dictionaries define assumptions as something that is taken for granted. Scientists don't like to take things for granted. They like to challenge conventional thoughts and turn those ideas upside down. They do it by experimenting with the assumption and then testing it to see if the results prove it to be true. We should all do the same thing. Take basic assumptions you have about your work or personal life and then determine a way to experiment with them to see if your assumptions are really true. For example, one assumption in business negotiations used to be the opposing-parties model where each side lined up along a board-room table and faced off. But, that assumption was challenged and soon the concept of win-win in negotiations was created and businesses treated the other party they were negotiating with not as an adversary but as a partner instead.

 4. Eliminate Bias

When testing a hypothesis, scientists are taught to conduct experiments and research that are designed to minimize or eliminate any biases the scientist may have about the hypothesis. It's important to do this as well when you are looking for solutions in your own personal issues. If you have an idea for a solution, and you want to test it first, you must figure out a way that eliminates any bias you have toward that solution before you can get any true results.

 5. Constantly Ask Questions

One thing that curious young children always do with their parents is ask questions. "Why is the sky blue? Why does a dog bark? Why aren't there any more dinosaurs?" Kids do this because they want to learn. Scientists also constantly ask questions. You have to continue asking questions yourself if you want to keep learning. It's impossible to know what answers you're looking for until you know what questions to ask.

 6. Collaborate With Others

Scientists rarely work alone. Even the greatest ones of all time, like Einstein, Galileo, Marie Curie, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawking and Nikola Tesla all collaborated with others on their work. If some of the most brilliant minds in all of history were willing to happily collaborate with others on their ideas, why shouldn't you? Collaboration is the practice whereby individuals work together as a group with a common purpose to achieve a shared goal. Collaboration is how ideas are bounced off of other minds for feedback and suggestions.

 7. Communicate Your Results

For scientists, it's important to share the results of their findings. Scientists often find solutions after knowing the findings of other scientists' experiments. In business, by sharing your results with your colleagues, you are helping to better your organization because others can use that information to improve their results.

 If it's a breakthrough discovery, your organization may want to issue a formal report or a press release. Either way, information is best when it's shared with those who need to know.

Back to top

Member Spotlight

By: Marsha Kendall

Congratulations to past Chapter President Gina Sanfillippo who has been named a Distinguished Honorary Member of Arizona State University’s Chapter of The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS). This honorary membership is a formal recognition for Gina’s outstanding contributions to the academic community. As many of you will recall, Gina is the creator of the chapter’s BP Student Intern program which pairs ASU students interested in the business of law with firms and business partners for internships. The program first launched in 2015 and won the Chapter our first IDEA Award at the 2016 ALA Annual Convention.

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars is a national honors organization that recognizes and elevates high-achieving freshmen and sophomores who are in the top 20 percent of their class and have a minimum GPA of 3.4. Founded on The George Washington University's campus in 1994, NSCS boasts more than a million members and has a presence at over 300 universities nationwide. Other Distinguished Honorary Members include President Jimmy Carter, Senator John McCain, Nike Co-founder Philip Knight, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University Dr. Rakesh Agrawal, former University of Miami President Donna Shalala, U.S. Ambassador Robin Renee Sanders, Brandeis University Dean of Students Jamele Adams, award-winning UNC-Chapel Hill Professor Dr. Brian Hogan, Senator John McCain, University of Michigan President Dr. Lou Anna Simon, and numerous university presidents and chancellors, among others.

Congratulations Gina for this amazing recognition.

Back to top

Empowered to Conquer

By:  Kim Dudley, PHR

The 2017 West- Regional Legal Management conference was spectacular!

As a former HR Director and a National SHRM member for the past twenty years, I’ve attended my share of annual SHRM conferences. SHRM conferences are well planned, organized and designed to meet the needs of over ten-thousand HR professionals. I know what you’re thinking, this is not an article about SHRM. This is an article to express my complete satisfaction with the ALA Regional conference and to further state that compared to SHRM, the ALA conference exceeded my expectations. The conference was well organized, offered relevant educational content, and provided an opportunity to network with other Administrators and Business Partners.

As a newly appointed professional to the legal community and a first-time regional conference attendee, I was able to broaden my knowledge and increase my skills in several core competencies (marketing, finance, and technology) which enhances my ability to play a pivotal role in our firm’s success. Through networking and developing key vendor relationships, I now have the tools I need to meet or even exceed performance expectations.

From the pre-registration to the closing session (which was hilarious) this conference experience is one that I will always remember. Special thanks and appreciation to Sharon Williams and the ALA leadership team for allowing me the opportunity to grow as a professional in this industry.

Back to top

Tucson Member's Thoughts on our Education Symposium

By:  Anonymous

Tucson member’s thoughts on our Education Symposium:

After attending Karen Lisko’s seminar on “Productive Friction In Meetings”, I left the conference for a pre-scheduled meeting with my supervisor.  Along with other business discussions, the purpose I had for meeting was to ask for more money.  I found the seminar very timely.  One topic covered in the seminar explained a leading reason why females do not receive higher salaries. It is simply because they do not ask for it!  OMG! I needed to hear that…  it gave me an extra boost to have that difficult conversation!

As administrators we attend lots of workshops and trainings and over the years you lose a little of your “teachableness” and end up leaving conferences the same way we came in.  My purpose in attending was to leave with something.  Two of my take-aways:

Talking in front of a group

People are almost always nervous when speaking in front of a group, it’s a normal thing.  Nerves are adrenaline and adrenaline is good.  If you raise your voice or use hand gestures it will help release some of that adrenaline and at the same time make you less nervous.  Talk dynamically in meetings, not slowly or calmly.


A lil gem offered by another ALA member: While in meetings, remember the “WAIT” acronym: Why am I talking? 


Back to top

ALA Resources and Useful Links

Resources available on

Do you have to give a presentation?  See:

Do you want to boost your team’s performance?  See:




Back to top

Total Networks

Captivated and Inspired by Haben Girma: A Global Inclusion Leader

By Dave Kinsey, President Total Networks

In September I had the privilege of attending a keynote address delivered by Haben Girma at the Annual Clio Cloud Conference. Haben is the first deaf-blind person to graduate from Harvard Law School. She is deaf-blind, and she speaks with conviction and power. Haben “listened” to the audience with a digital braille device. It was wonderful to witness Haben’s response to audience applause and laughter.

Accompanied onstage with her guide dog, Maxine, Haben recounted her journey. She was born deaf-blind in the United States to refugee parents from east Africa. As an undergraduate at Lewis and Clark College, she requested dining hall menus in an alternative format. When the dining hall staff failed to accommodate her request, Haben insisted that they accommodate her or she would sue. The audience applauded (Haben responded to the applause with “I thought a room full of lawyers might like that story”). She had no idea at the time how she would sue, and this incident inspired Haben to become a lawyer.

Harvard Law admitted Haben and then explained, “They’d never had a deaf blind student, so that weren’t exactly sure how to accommodate her.” She responded “that’s OK, I’ve never attended Harvard Law before, so I don’t exactly how to be Harvard Law student.” Haben’s inspiring story of inclusion, persevering, adapting, overcoming and succeeding moved me and several others to tears.

At the conclusion of her presentation, Haben responded to a number of audience questions provided on a keyboard. I will never forget my experience with this amazing woman. For more information on Haben, please see

Her presentation also inspired me to action in one particular area. Haben demonstrated how technology is an important enabler for her. During the presentation, the importance of having a site that is ADA compliant was apparent. This includes using alt tags for all images, where you describe image in words. This is important for accessibility and will likely help SEO as well. There’s more to ADA Website Compliance than alt-tags and I’ve started my process of updating my site to improve compliance with ADA guidelines.

My website is on Wordpress (as are many sites) and I found a wonderful plugin called WP Accessibility. This plugin provides visibility when browsing the Media Library (where images are stored) to indicate if alt tags are in place for images. This greatly simplifies the image review process. Total Networks has begun a process of reviewing every image on the website to ensure that the alt tags are in place. As a bonus, this review of all images on our website encourages a healthy overall review of our site, while simultaneously doing the right thing for accessibility. There are a number of other items such as “skip-links” that the WP Accessibility plug-in helps automatically create. “Skip-links” allows keyboard enabled skipping to different sections on a page. Non-sighted cannot visually scan a page and then click or tap where they want to go. Skip-links are essential to enable reasonable keyboard navigation for non-sighted individuals. I’d encourage you to review the accessibility of your website as well. Do it for Haben!

Thank you Haben, for inspiring me with your wonderful stories and your indomitable spirit!

Dave & Stephanie Kinsey
Total Networks
4201 N. 24th St, Suite 230
Phoenix, AZ 85016
(2nd Floor of the State Bar of Arizona Building)

Back to top

Pacific Office Automation

Why Your Business Should Invest in Managed Print Services

Nearly all 21st century businesses require printing capabilities, but it doesn’t have to be as time-consuming or expensive as you might think. Managed print services are designed to take the extra legwork out of this office task, so you can focus on your customers and core business.

Did you know that on average, printing costs can comprise up to 10% of a business’ revenue? You probably want those dollars going toward growing your business instead of unnecessary print jobs. Printers and copiers are expensive, but managed print services can help you keep both your costs and workflow in check.

Managed print services offer several benefits to businesses large and small, including the following:

Equipment Monitoring

A print management system not only monitors your fleet, but it collects data over time to identify bottlenecks and help improve your productivity. It’ll delete duplicate print jobs, manage supplies, and Identify opportunities to eliminate underused equipment, if necessary.

Real-time monitoring also means that your printers can prevent and fix problems before they interrupt your workflow. And, if your printers do go offline, our technicians will be there within four hours to get the fleet back up and running.


With a printer that consolidates and streamlines print activity, you’ll also be able to minimize your business’ environmental impact by cutting down on resource consumption in the office.

By eliminating unnecessary print jobs, you can conserve paper and ink, so it doesn’t go to waste. Plus, when your printer notifies you that ink is low, we’ll ship your cartridges out for proper recycling.

Cost Savings

Printing can be expensive when done inefficiently. Luckily, managed print services do all the work for you, so you can sit back and watch your bottom line grow.

Consolidating print jobs and reducing paper consumption are just a few of the many ways you can cut printing costs with managed print services. One of our favorite features is setting a monthly printing budget for each machine, so you don’t get a surprise at the end of the month.

Problem Solved

Investing in managed print services today means improved productivity and fewer unexpected costs down the road. When your office needs a workflow upgrade, turn to Pacific Office Automation for smart, effective solutions.

Contact us today for a free workflow analysis that’ll help get your printing back on track.

T.J. Weisenburger
Field Sales Manager
Pacific Office Automation
Tel: 480-305-5500
Cell: 602-790-6881

Back to top

Access Information Protected

Protect Your Clients, Protect Your Firm – Information Governance is Key

As a legal professional, the importance of protecting your firm and your clients’ information is not a new concept. Lawyers have always been responsible for ensuring that sensitive client records are secured. However, in today’s increasingly digital world, the types of information that must be protected and how it can be done is continually evolving. Due to the confidential information that is shared between client and attorney, law firms have no choice but to stay up-to-date on the latest technology developments and information security risks.

For records managers in the legal industry, traditional document management is no longer the only responsibility. Today, they must protect all the sensitive information that is created, transferred or shared within their firm, regardless of the repository or format. This includes both physical and digital documents, as well as email messages, HR records, finances, collaboration tools, social media and eDiscovery systems. Not only do firms need clear rules in place for the creation and accessibility of this information, but they must also establish retention schedules and proper destruction that is enforced across the organization to ensure compliance with not just legal and regulatory mandates, but client mandates as well.

This requires a strategic information governance policy be put in place across the firm. All departments and employees, from HR and accounts payable to partners at the firm, must know how to properly create, format, access, store and discard of all information, regardless of document type. Information governance is critical to ensuring that every piece of information is compliant with today’s heavily regulated environment.

In addition to protecting all documents, lawyers must also protect client confidentiality throughout all their correspondences. With more information now created in an electronic format than a physical one, clients also want to transmit information to firms digitally. It is easier, faster and less expensive for them to do so. Unfortunately, it can open firms up to potential risks.

In the past, email transfers were commonplace, but often large attachments could be blocked and information security was out of your control. Information could easily be sent to an unwanted recipient and multiple copies could easily be created, winding up in the recipient’s inbox, deleted folder or worse. There was no way to establish and protect a secure chain of custody with emails. In order to protect client confidentiality, law firms must provide their clients with secure ways to transfer and access information. The solution they use must not only encrypt PII and other personal information but should also be password protected and have clear access and controls in place. 

In addition to transferring client information, attorneys also must frequently reference old case files and other legal documents. Depending on the retention schedules, many firms end up holding onto a vast amount of physical records for extensive periods of time. Rather than storing past casework and less frequently used documents onsite, law firms can save money and space by investing in a secure offsite storage solution. Of course, any offsite storage facility must ensure that the firm’s information is securely protected and compliant with all industry and government regulations. An offsite storage partner should not only be able to offer strict security protocols such as video surveillance and biometric fingerprint security, but should also be able to provide your firm with quick and easy access to all your information whenever you need it.

Rather than spending hours searching for documents or files onsite, an offsite storage partner will provide you with a clear chain of custody starting as soon as your files are indexed. Not only will you always be able to know where your information is, but you can request delivery of specific documents as needed and even receive secure, digital versions for urgent items or when an electronic copy will suffice. 

Establishing a secure chain of custody ensures that your information is always searchable, accessible and protected. When responding to any discovery or information requests, documents should be easy to locate and access. Firms should be able to establish where a piece of information is at all times, who it is with and how it is being used. Chain of custody accounts for a document from its creation through destruction, ensuring the integrity and authenticity of the information throughout its lifecycle.

Of course, firms must also protect company information that is unrelated to clients, which offers its own set of challenges. From onboarding lateral recruits to mergers and acquisitions, legal HR departments are responsible for much more than just the standard HR documents and verification. If your firm recruits attorneys from a competitor, you also must check their previous client files to identify any conflicts of interest or compliance issues. These files then must be integrated into your already existing records infrastructure. Mergers and acquisitions also come with an inherent amount of paperwork that must be integrated into your existing records management and information governance policies. A digital HR solution can help automate the typical HR processes and free your team up to take on these more strategic initiatives. It can also implement consistent retention schedules as documents and information are added, helping to eliminate excessive records retention which can not only cost your firm more money but can make it difficult to find the information you need quickly and increase your exposure to discovery risks. 

At Access, we offer a suite of digital document management and information governance solutions, as well as traditional offsite storage and shredding services that can help law firms manage and protect their information. Whether it’s onboarding new team members, securely accessing records stored offsite or establishing automated retention schedules for specific document types, our scalable services are available to optimize your schedule, space and budget while ensuring compliance.

Erik Rich
Access Information Protected
1511 South 47th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85043
Tel: 480-313-5432

Back to top


The Next Revolution in Real Estate: Using Big Data to Predict Space Needs

10 October 2017 by Tom Adelson & Erin McClure

A View from the Top

We live in an age of unprecedented disruption, where nearly every industry, from entertainment to hospitality, retail to finance, is forced to evolve or risk extinction.

It took Uber less than two years to disrupt the taxi industry in cities around the world. And the pace of change is increasing rapidly.

From 1950 to 1960, 15 percent of S&P 500 companies turned over each year. In the last seven years, that number has jumped to 65 percent.

But despite the ongoing shakeup of the corporate landscape, one industry has been particularly slow to change.

Business moves fast, but real estate has historically moved slowly. Until now.

The future of any business occupying space is less certain than it ever has been, creating an extreme need for a paradigm shift in the way we forecast demand for space and optimize supply.

A new, groundbreaking methodology not only helps take some of the slack out of the line for both property owners and corporate tenants—it has the potential to disrupt the real estate industry. 

With predictive analytics, CBRE is using a new approach with some clients that can help determine the best leasing options to suit a company’s specific needs, taking into account the volatility and uncertainty of its future headcount.


Planning a company’s space needs can be incredibly difficult. How fast is the company growing, and by how much? What new products will exist in the next few years that could disrupt your industry? How long of a lease should you commit to, and should you pay a premium for flexibility?

Here’s how the approach works: Instead of planning for what they think will happen, companies should plan for change, in order to create flexibility in their real estate that enables it to shift as their business does.

“You sign a lease for 10 to 15 years, usually, and it’s a large amount of space. Just think about the organization you’re in. What is it going to look like in two years, let alone 10 or 15 years? Space can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 per person per year. Put that in relationship to staff salaries. Overcommitting on space is a big deal,” says Christelle Bron, senior managing director of CBRE’s integrated transaction solutions practice.

Just think about the organization you’re in. What is it going to look like in two years, let alone 10 or 15 years?

Bron and her team members, Derek Chanler-Berat, managing director, Marshall O’Moore, director, and Rachel Hu, financial analyst, are working to build more flexibility into corporate real estate deals, helping clients manage risk and, ultimately, reduce occupancy costs.

A company looking for space in a major U.S. market can typically expect to sign a five-, 10- or even 15-year lease, often calculating the space they need based on growth forecasts that can become dated even before the ink is dried on the deal.

“Forecasting is embedded deeply into the way that managers operate. Most organizations plan for uncertainty by creating scenarios with high, medium and low probabilities. Then, all too often, they take the middle course. While we’re certainly not advocating an end to forecasting, we are suggesting that companies should recognize its limitations,” BCG Research wrote in a report published last year. 

In 2005, BCG released a benchmark study that found 41 percent of real estate executives described businesses’ projections of their space needs as being off by more than 100 percent. 

Twelve years later, not much has changed. In fact, the business climate is even more dynamic, with large-scale business disruption shaking up entire industries.

“They [companies] systematically underestimate how much uncertainty is involved,” says O’Moore.


The traditional way of doing things, according to Bron, Chanler-Berat and their team, essentially boils down to a real estate executive asking a business about its future space needs, which all too often results in imprecise estimates. 

For example, a company could say it expects its footprint to expand for the next three years at 5 percent annually. It might build in an 8 or 10 percent vacancy factor for growth. Essentially this amounts to an educated guess.

The new approach uses techniques that account for the uncertainty and help companies plan for change.

The new approach uses techniques that account for the uncertainty and help companies plan for change.

Imagine a company’s lease is expiring and it’s seeking a new space. Taking historical headcount data, industry growth data and business estimates, the team at CBRE creates a statistical forecast and then “stress tests” various leasing sizes and options against many different headcount scenarios. Thousands of different-sized leases, along with permutations that offer more flexibility, such as contraction options, are plugged into the algorithm. The professionals then tap market experts to ensure their solutions are actionable from both a business and market perspective.

A future proofing model, such as the one offered by CBRE, can be the middle ground between a company signing a 10-year lease for 100,000 square feet based on a best guess, and one willing to take significant flexible square-footage at a shared office space, at a premium.


These tools can become sharply more powerful in a choppy market.

In a down market, tenants will be able to achieve more optionality at a cheaper price. Some landlords might even consider offering a more flexible leasing as a product—one that does not widely exist today but for which there is increasing demand.

The demand for more flexibility in a lease could help landlords differentiate from their competition by offering a “product that few others are offering,” says Chanler-Berat.

This is the first step in an evolution. As companies have moved toward agile supply chains, software as a service and business process outsourcing, they will begin to apply these same principles to their real estate.

Tom Adelson
Executive Vice President
CBRE, Inc. | Tenant Representation
2415 E. Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Tel: 602-735-5585
Cell: 602-717-5585
CBRE, Inc. – Tom Adelson

Back to top