The Cactus Quarterly Newsletter - 1st Quarter 2021 Print

President's Report

Happy New Year and welcome to 2021. Of course, we all hope that this year will return to “normal” whatever that may mean. My hope is that we can see everyone face to face in the near future with the vaccine being rolled out soon.

We start out 2021 strong with the return of Michael Cohen, Attorney with Duane Morris to present three (3) one-hour zoom sessions focused on HR issues. January 14 with Managing Performance in 2021: In the Office or In The Home; January 21 with The World Has Changed: Harassment Prevention in 2021 and Beyond; and closing out the month on January 28 with the always enjoyable Dear Helga’s Back and You’re Not Going to Believe What the Employees Did This Time! If you haven’t already signed up, please do so and invite other members of your firm to join us. Register here.

We are still looking for volunteers to help with open Board and Committee positions. Getting involved with the chapter is the best way to get value out of your membership. We are working on networking and chapter events and will be sending out updates soon.

Here is to making 2021 a great year for everyone.

Stay Safe and Healthy!

Jerri Buchtel
President, ALA Arizona Chapter

Back to top

Business Partner Spotlight


Thank you for your continued support!

Back to top

Pacific Office Automation

Communicate Smarter with Elevate Unified Communications

This past year, we introduced a new suite of phone services products from Elevate Unified Communications to help our customers create a more fully-integrated office.

Advanced Productivity
When your lines of communication work, your people can work better. By integrating mobile communications with your main office network, your teams can more easily work from the road or wherever they need to be.

Similarly, with VoIP phone systems in place, it’s much, much easier for businesses to scale while retaining the same level of productivity as they grow. Rather than manually setting up and assigning new phone lines, your IT management team can quickly shift and reassign existing lines from one central interface.

Improved Reliability
Integrating all products under one reputable service means you’re likely to find better support when and where you need it. Using the Elevate suite of products paired with its backup on multiple datacenters, users can enjoy 99.999% uptime and thus less time spent waiting on unreliable systems.

Never worry about outages and downtime again. Cloud-based communications means that phone calls can be made across a variety of devices, working more like cell phones rather than landlines.

Reduced Costs
Once you set up an Elevate VoIP system in your office, you won’t need to install, upgrade, or replace the hardware, so you’ll be able to reduce infrastructure and operating costs. And, adding new users is easy; scale when it’s the right time for your company—and on your terms.

Elevate operates on flat, per-user rates and offers unlimited calling. No matter how many users you add to the system, you’ll be able to better estimate your overall costs, not to mention enjoy reduced costs without hidden fees.

Improve Your Business with POA
In addition to VoIP services from providers like Elevate, Pacific Office Automation offers customers a full suite of office solutions for workflow needs. Whether you’re seeking a more reliable communication system or robust data security measures, our experts are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about integrated phone services and more.

Back to top

Total Networks

Why Nobody Should Know Your Password

Your password is between you and your computer. There is never a good reason to share your password with anyone. This includes your IT provider, your boss, your colleagues, or your office manager. Your password is your personal authentication, and once someone else knows your password, you can no longer prove your identity. Giving out passwords increases chances of compromises that can lead to big costs to remedy.

Here are some suggestions on ways to control and manage passwords at your business:

  1. Use a self-service password reset and account unlock solution. This not only saves time but eliminates a security risk. Using a simple mobile app, employees can reset their work passwords themselves without calling IT for assistance. If you are relying on your IT to reset passwords, your IT should verify your identity before they can assist you. Resetting your password yourself saves time and reduces security risk.
  2. Use a password manager. This is a platform for safely and securely storing passwords. Business-grade password managers provide an environment where your administrator can control employee permissions and the ability to revoke access upon termination. Choose a platform that allows a manager to “share” a password, without the employee seeing the actual password (they only see ************). Password managers can provide robust reporting and auditing tools to enforce internal controls and maintain compliance standards.
  3. Use a different password for every login. If you are using a password manager, the tool will include a random password generator. Or you can type a bunch of random characters on your keyboard and let your password manager remember it for you.
  4. Use a long phrase for passwords you need to remember, such as your master password. Strong passwords are long; the more characters you have, the stronger the password. Total Networks recommends a minimum of 14 characters in your password. In addition, the use of passphrases (passwords made up of multiple words) is strongly encouraged. Examples include “footer rumbling renewal freebee” or “block-curious-sunny-leaves.” Passphrases are both easy to remember and type yet meet the strength requirements. Avoid using birthdates, addresses, phone numbers, or names of family members, pets, friends, and fantasy characters.
  5. Do not use the “Remember Password” feature of applications (for example, web browsers). The reason for this is if a criminal ever got access to your computer and browser, they would have the keys to the kingdom. Password managers require that you enter your master password first.
  6. Always use Two-Factor Authentication for Business Accounts. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) requires one factor, such as a password, to be com­bined with another factor such as a code texted to your mobile phone, or biometrics, such as your fingerprint or voiceprint identification or retina scan to gain access to your account. Multiple factors are generally: (a) something you know (password), (b) something you have (phone), or (c) something you are (biometrics).

You want your systems to be sure that it is really you and not a hacker pretending to be you. Following these tips will go a long way to reducing your risk of a breach.

Stephanie is the co-owner, CEO and CFO of Total Networks. The Total Networks team provides outsourced IT and strategic technology consulting to professional businesses. Their team is the first and only Arizona IT company to earn the CompTIA Security Trustmark, certifying that Total Networks meets or exceeds security best practices. For more information, email Stephanie at [email protected]

Back to top

Member Spotlight

Shout out to Katie Bryant for being appointed to the Committee on Alternative Business Structures by the Arizona Supreme Court! Congratulations Katie!

Back to top

Savills Studley

COVID-19 Accelerates Change in Law Firm Office Space Strategy

Serving as national advisors on hundreds of law firm office real estate transactions each year, the Savills Legal Tenant Practice Group (LTPG) has a front-row seat to nascent trends in the legal sector. During this period of accelerated change brought on by COVID-19, we have had a firsthand opportunity to observe the effects of the pandemic on law firm strategic planning efforts.

While each law firm is unique, we have sensed patterns in law firm internal planning efforts since March of this year. Initially, law firms were scrambling to send people home, performing real-time assessments of their leases (specifically their force majeure clauses), and questioning their obligation to pay for space they were unable to utilize. More recently, we have observed conversations turn to “how to do more with less,” most specifically whether there are cost saving opportunities to be had in veering away from the traditional “one attorney = one office” formula for office space design.

Executive management in many law firms has long been frustrated by seeing attorney offices sit empty as attorneys travel, visit clients, or work outside the office. Before COVID-19, many firms were asking themselves if there might be a way to break the traditional paradigm, save money on real estate, and still keep top talent productive and happy. Some  firms had experimented with new ways of working, and a select few had moved toward at least a partial implementation of day-officing, also known in the industry as hoteling, agile, or remote working (we aggregate these other terms collectively as “day- officing,” meaning an attorney or staff member works in a location not permanently assigned to them). The advent of COVID-19, which has often been referred to as “the great global experiment in working from home,” has greatly accelerated this trend, and exposed it to a broader number of firms interested in exploring the concept.

We observe that conversations about the idea of day-officing and its proper implementation dominate strategic planning efforts in many firms today. Much of what we hear, however, understandably amounts to speculation and questioning, as only a minority of firms are engaged in the real estate process or constructing space during COVID-19.

As these conversations unfold, we are often asked by our clients for benchmarking data to help them make sense of this idea, and to understand how it is playing out in the legal sector more broadly. In an effort to help quantify these conversations, we tapped the LTPG professionals within our firm and asked them to anonymously categorize the strategic planning efforts they witness unfolding in law firms they advise. In total, our advisors’ responses cover 200+ law firms, spanning every major market nationwide.

Key findings include:
42% of all firms are either already actively day-officing, implementing a day-officing strategy, or planning to implement a day-officing strategy in the future.

The largest contingent - nearly half of the firms (48%) - are interested in the concept of day- officing, but do not yet know whether it will fit their culture. It is important to note that this plurality is continuing to evaluate the approach, and further attention to how their decisions unfold will greatly gauge the prevalence of the trend.

The LTPG reported that only 10% of its law firms were currently rejecting the concept of a day- officing strategy.

With all signs confirming that day-officing has become a major consideration for US law firms, there exists an opportunity for firms to lease less office space in the future. The reduction percentage will vary from firm to firm based on many factors, including practice mix, the generational makeup  of the firm, market pricing of office space, and cultural considerations. To date we have seen as much as 20-30% reductions in major implementations, and we will continue to gather more data as the sample set grows and more meaningful trends emerge.

As this industry-wide discussion unfolds and firms learn more through trial and error, Savills Legal Tenant Practice Group will continue to monitor and report on best practices. For more insights, please visit The Legal Tenant.

Tiffany Winne
Vice Chairman, Director

Mike Catalano
Vice Chairman

Back to top

ALA Resources and Useful Links


The ALA Arizona Chapter website has a new tool call the “Forum.” The forum is a way to engage between members with discussion threads on the ALA Arizona Chapter StarChapter website. 

The “forum” is a drop down under the “Member Area” on the main website page, which is restricted to members only.

To post a thread, any member can go to “Member Area”, then “Forum”, then “Start A Thread”. A small pop-up box will ask for the member to provide a “Thread Title” and enter the “New Thread Content”. 

The person can then decide if they want to receive emails whenever a new post to the thread has been completed by checking the “Email me updates on this thread”.

To post a replay choose “Leave a Reply”
Please contact Teresie Zmyslinski, if you need assistance.

Back to top