The Cactus Quarterly Newsletter - 4Q 2018 Print

President's Report

Each year, our Chapter hosts a leadership lunch to show appreciation to our Managing Partners and firm leadership. This year Ryan C. Lowe will present on “Get Off Your Attitude and Make it Happen” on November 8, 2018 at FOUND:RE, 1100 N. Central Ave., in Phoenix.

It is a great opportunity for the Managing Partners to hear a great speaker, network with other managing partners and feel our gratitude for their support!

Ryan (our speaker) played a motivational speaker in the movie “The Big Short.” It is a movie based on the non-fiction 2010 book by Michael Lewis about the financial crisis of 2007-2008. The film stars Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt.

To register go to:

I will close with this quote: “No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” Alfred North Whitehead

The leadership lunch is an opportunity to thank you, the ALA Board, and the leadership in our firms that have made our success possible!

By:  Sonji Le Blanc

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Letter from the Editor

Celebrate Now!

Winning a football championship doesn’t happen from one day to the next. A successful team is made up of day after day of practice and training – and celebrating.  I watched my old school’s football game a few weekends ago.  They were the underdog and were the visiting team.  They kept making play after play and drive after drive.  They celebrated each success.  The players on the field did the ‘jump around’ between the 3rd and 4th quarter (the home team tradition).  It was a close game but our team won!  They had good reason to celebrate as they beat a team that was nationally ranked, and hadn’t lost a game at home to a non-conference opponent in years.

Change your mindset from ‘work’ to ‘celebrate’ and acknowledge the small ‘plays’ you and your team make as you’re ‘playing the game.’  You’ve determined what it is going to take to achieve the goal you want – and the small steps it will take to get where you want to go. Work on the plan with your team and start taking the small steps.   Acknowledge the small wins – don’t wait to celebrate!  Celebrating small wins will remind your team that they’re appreciated, that you’re a winning team and most of all - why  you’re taking the steps you are.

The holiday season is on its way and it is likely you are planning some office celebrations. In the spirit of not waiting to celebrate – here are some unholidays you can acknowledge now:

  • 10/18 no beard day (give some compliments out)
  • 10/19 evaluate your life day (report on a success for your team and have ice cream to celebrate, or, go for a walk at lunch)
  • 10/20 national nut day (what is something funny that happened at work?)
  • 10/27 make a difference day (neighbors helping neighbors, what can you do for a co-worker?)
  • 10/28 mother-in-law day (write a thank you note to a mother-in-law in your life!)
  • Etc. etc.

Set aside some time today to plan some rewards to celebrate what you and your team are doing right now!

By:  Jackie McAferty

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Underdog Mentality

In last quarter’s newsletter I wrote about mental toughness and it made me think about the mental toughness of underdogs. An underdog is 1) a person or team, etc., that is expected to lose a competition or 2) a less powerful person or thing that struggles against a more powerful person or thing.  Does this sound familiar to anyone?  I know I can name several situations over the last 18 years as a legal management professional where I was in the position of the underdog. 

One of my favorite underdog movies is Hoosiers because it rings very close to home for me.  For those who have never seen Hoosiers, it’s based on a small -town Indiana high school basketball team that wins the state championship against a big city Indiana high school team.  In 1970, my father was the coach of a small-town Minnesota high school boys’ basketball team, the Sherburn Raiders (population 1,091).  It was the last year in Minnesota when it was a single class tournament meaning only one Minnesota state basketball champion emerged from the state tournament whether it was a big school or a small school.  Although they were undefeated going into the state championship tournament, his team was the quintessential underdog during much of the tournament and undisputedly so in the final game against South St. Paul, which was a very large school.  And much like the Hoosiers who had a basketball loving quirky underdog sidekick played by Dennis Hopper, the Raiders had a similar underdog character of sorts by the name of George who would always see the team’s underdog status as an advantage and would provide an analysis of the opposing teams and their players, keeping the Raiders grounded and focused.  Consequently, the Sherburn Raiders, although being the definitive underdog from rural Minnesota, proved their skills by prevailing in the March of 1970, the final year of the single class era dating 1913 – 1970. 

I often think about my father’s team whenever I’m feeling like the underdog. Their story and accomplishment gives me hope and reminds me that being the underdog is not a position of weakness but rather it can be an advantage.  Here’s how:

  1. Showcase your strong work ethic.When you are the underdog, you will likely have to go through some struggles. For that reason, you will demonstrate your resilience, and an inner drive that pushes you to excel at whatever you do.  Put that enthusiasm on display when you’re given tough tasks, whether that means putting in extra time, quickly picking up new job skills or turning a project around on a tight deadline.
  2. Put your creativity and resourcefulness front and center.Underdogs are often more willing to try an unconventional strategy or take smart risks because they feel they don’t have much to lose. When challenges arise at work, your creativity could come in handy. Don’t be afraid to propose innovative solutions to your managing partner and executive committee members.
  3. Use your awareness of social nuances to gain an edge.As an underdog, you may have started your career outside of legal and find yourself working hard to fit in. That means you’ve developed strong observational and collaboration skills. You can assess a situation quickly and figure out how to work best with a diverse group of people. Put those abilities to work when your firm or organization is looking to win over new clients, you’re asked to lead a project that requires strong teamworkor you’re simply welcoming a new employee.
  4. Demonstrate gratitude.Because you’re an underdog, you’re less likely to take things for granted. You remember what it’s like to have few resources and little support. You tend to notice when people help you at work, so be sure to show your appreciation. Even a simple thank-you can go a long way toward building good chemistry with coworkers.

The next time you find yourself positioned as the underdog, ditch that self-doubt and think about the Hoosiers or the Raiders. Take on the mindset that you have nothing to lose and rise to the challenge.  Work harder and smarter putting in the extra hours to over-prepare and you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Pictured below are the 1970 Sherburn Raiders, Minnesota State Champions and their underdog champion George Packard.

By Katie Bryant, CLM

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Total Networks

How to Decide if Outsourcing IT Support Services is Right for Your Business

Nearly 70% of U.S. small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) work with an IT service provider for some or all of their IT needs (according to a 2016 survey by Clutch). There are many considerations for deciding what to outsource. Virtually every business manages some combination of internal and external IT resources. Firms with internal IT departments generally work with strategic technology partners or vendors. Even businesses that have completely outsourced IT must still manage their technology if only at a high-level.

Should you Outsource your IT Support?

Many businesses outsource their IT because:

  1. Technology is not your core business - Outsourcing is a strategy to rely on the expertise of a vendor who is solely focused on delivering highly effective technology.
  2. Reduce overhead costs - Building an IT department in your business is a big commitment and in more than just employees’ wages, benefits, taxes and hiring costs. Each technician will also need their own desk, computer equipment, and office space to accommodate them. While it may make sense depending on your firm size to have an on-site technician as part of your customer service team, an outsourced team of IT professionals only costs a regular subscription fee. They do not need healthcare, benefits, or catered lunches and they will never need to talk to HR about time off.
  3. Provide uninterrupted service - If your firm has an in-house IT Staff of one, it is difficult to provide continual service when that person is out of the office for vacation, sick time, or after-hours.
  4. Enterprise-level Monitoring and management tools - The ongoing infrastructure monitoring that managed service providers deliver can help firms avoid IT issues, data loss and downtime. Small business IT teams face budget and time constraints that make it difficult to deliver the level of monitoring that a dedicated IT provider can. This may be the most important benefit of working with an outsourced managed service provider, because IT downtime can completely derail a small business.
  5. Expanded resources and training - an IT outsourcing company will generally have a larger pool of resources, providing better coverage and economies of scale than internal IT employees. IT support organizations tend to have a larger focus on training, certification, and tools which results in higher efficiency.
  6. Improved Security and Efficiency - According to IT industry trade association CompTIA, the top reason SMBs adopt managed services today is to “improve efficiency/reliability of IT operations” (51%). Efficiency is a major pain point for businesses when it comes to IT. Network monitoring and maintenance is required if organizations want to maximize the security of their systems. Patches also need to be administered to all commonly-used applications, but this task is easier said than done. A small business with limited time and resources might forsake them altogether because they’re not immediately “necessary.” The problem with this lies in security, as unpatched vulnerabilities could allow online threats easy access to your critical systems. This process is made much easier with outsourced managed IT services.
  7. Increased peace of mind - some business owners have less anxiety knowing a team of experts is managing their technology versus a solo technician who may not have the resources or expanded perspective to provide the most secure and reliable environment.

What is Managed IT Services?

Outsourced IT Support means hiring an outside company to manage some or all of your business technology needs. Managed IT Service providers (MSPs) focus on proactive delivery of their services, as compared to reactive hourly support.

The core difference between managed IT versus the traditional break/fix method is that those who are managing the network (namely, the IT company) are treating it as if it was their own. By utilizing enterprise-level remote monitoring tools, carefully honed-in processes, and preventative maintenance, managed IT delivers a level of service far beyond what break/fix IT could provide. This improves the integrity of the network and all of the devices on it overall, while also identifying problems early before they cause a serious issue. Having the best IT staff is still essential, but improved automation allows managed service providers to provide more efficient support, focus more time proactively planning, and spend less time reacting to items that are broken.

Hybrid Approach

Generally no firm completely in-sources all technology support. There is almost always a mix of internal and external employees on a technology team. Once your company is large enough to require an IT department, it may make sense to in-source some of your IT staff. Understand the right mix for your firm. Firms with over 100 employees may often have a PC tech level resource to handle day-to-day support while being supported by a high-quality MSP to ensure that planning, security, and compliance are being handled correctly.

It is important to contemplate what types of partners you are working with. If your partners are focused on selling you hardware and software, you may end up purchasing equipment that is not needed. If you've got people focused on services, you may buy a lot of services. Understanding potential vendor partner philosophies and approaches is essential.

If you’ve never considered an IT managed service offering and are trying to manage your own IT, it’s worth evaluating if outsourcing would be a cost effective way to lift your IT burden. Or, if your current IT team is running ragged, perhaps you can offload some difficult IT tasks. A properly managed team will prevent avoidable setbacks such as down time, malware infections, poor performance, or failure to restore data from backup.

By: Stephanie Kinsey

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

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

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Access Information Protected

How to Build Your IG Program for the Future

Information governance (IG) is a discipline that is constantly evolving. From increasing regulations to the rapid output of information, businesses are creating more content while trying to comply with stricter rules surrounding data and privacy. As sanctions against those who fail to take proper precautions become more severe, it is imperative that businesses understand the important role that IG plays in relation to long-term growth and success. An organization that fails to comply with regulations can face hefty fines, litigation and may significantly increase the risk of a data breach.

Business leaders need to understand what an ideal IG program entails, why it is important and how to build your organization’s IG program for the future. Here are some things to keep in mind.   

What is IG?

Information Governance Initiative defines information governance as “the activities and technologies that organizations employ to maximize the value of their information while minimizing associated risks and costs.” Simply put, it is the management of an organization’s information.

This includes all physical and electronic data such as employee files, accounts payable records, websites, client data, emails, social media posts and more. IG covers the various policies, procedures, structures and processes that organizations must comply with when creating, managing and sharing information.

Why is IG important?

With 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day and 90% of the world’s information created in the last two years, regularly monitoring and evaluating your organization’s data is essential. Addressing all types of information created by the company will not only protect it from being breached, but will also improve efficiency and productivity.

As regulations in data privacy continually change for IG and eDiscovery, the struggle to stay compliant grows larger. A holistic IG program will help your organization manage massive content growth over multiple repositories, while also complying with increased enforcement of laws and regulations. Waiting for an audit or data breach to occur before taking action can be costly in terms of time, money and information. Focusing on current efforts to build a trust-worthy IG framework will protect your organization from internal or external security risks.

How to Build a Future-Proof IG Program

The future of technology is all about accountability and preparing your company for potential security risks, such as natural disasters, loss of data in a merger or acquisition, audits and other litigation. Though many organizations believe adapting to change as it comes is enough, this is not the case with IG.

Follow these steps  to future-proof your own IG program.

Conduct a records management audit. As technology continues to evolve at an exponential rate and the creation of data follows suit, planning ahead with the right strategy is key. But developing the right strategy for the future often requires taking a hard look at current processes. A records management audit will help your company identify the types of information handled and the appropriate policies and retention schedules needed to protect your business.

Convert paper files into digital format. As we move toward a paperless world, the need for a safe and compliant document management is a must. Converting your paper files into digital formats can help you keep track of and find information more efficiently. Digital documents are also important backups in the event of accidents or natural disasters such as fires or floods.

Centralize your document management processes. As changes and regulations continue to shape the future of IG, having a safe and secure document management system is more important than ever. Investing in document management software and systems will create efficiencies, save you time, and keep you compliant with the changing times.

If your organization needs help taking the first step in building a successful IG program for the future, Access can assist with our cloud-based employee document management system, CartaHR.

Erik Rich

Regional Account Manager

Access Information Protected


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All State Legal

Stationery Evolution – 3 Ways to Progress

It’s no surprise to anyone that with the popularity and ease of electronic communication, the use of stationery has decreased.  However, paper is not dead as was once predicted.  And stationery isn’t either.  It is simply evolving like other communication vehicles.

Stationery of Tomorrow

Stationery, in the broadest definition, includes letterhead, business cards, envelopes, note cards and other personalized materials.  It is used to make an impression, to communicate.  But did you know that it can also create a connection on a deep and meaningful level?  Sensory marketing, or marketing that engages more than one sense affects perception, judgment and behavior.  Simply put, giving a prospective client something that they can see, hold and interact with is more memorable than just sending an email.

There are many simple ways to join the stationery evolution and create the best impression.  Below are just 3.

  1. Stand Out with Great Business Cards

Many business leaders agree the practice of carrying and exchanging business cards is alive and well.  When you hand your business card to someone, that person is now interacting with you on multiple levels.  He or she is hearing you speak, maybe looking down at the card and back at you and possibly or just holding the card, flipping it over and playing with it.  With so many different senses being triggered, your meeting is sure to leave a lasting memory.

With all the production options today, your card can truly be an ambassador for your brand.  Creative designs, double-thick stocks, colored stocks, clipped or rounded corners, two-sided, vertical layouts…the list goes on and on for ways that you can make your business cards reflect your brand and still be professional.  Cards that stand out are memorable and get shared with others continuing to elevate your brand.

Pay close attention to the tactile feel of your cards.  Is the paper thin or does it have a nice heft to it?  When you run your hand over it, does anything stand out or is the paper and print smooth and flat?  The sensory impact of your card can create a lasting impression that will impact potential customers.

  1. Make Letterhead More Versatile

Gone are the days of black ink on cream paper with every partner’s name listed.  Firm names have shortened.  Brands are now more colorful with over 85% of firms having 2+ color logos.

Take advantage of the more modern, simple branding and letterhead design and create “masthead” letterhead.  This type of letterhead features just the firm logo and/or name.  You can now use your letterhead to send traditional business communications and use it in other communication vehicles such as proposals as attorney bios and marketing packets as practice area sheets.  By just featuring your logo, all the offices and all personnel can print using the same letterhead with different print templates with their specific information (phone, address and even name, title and email!).  It becomes a multi-purpose sheet that ensures the consistency of your brand with the flexibility of on-demand print.

  1. Send Snail Mail with Personalized Note Cards

Are you relying mostly on digital communication – online, email, social sites?  If you are like most modern businesses, you are.  And actually that’s great!  Digital communication is “cheap” and easy.  It also touches a mass of contacts at one time.  However, it can be hard and expensive to really target specific prospective clients electronically.  For those opportunities that require a more personal touch, sending a handwritten note card can send just the right message.

Be bold!  Your note cards don’t have to be 3 x 5 folded cards with just your name.  They can be configured in all shapes and sizes – flat or folded.  You can “flood coat” the back with your firm color and engrave the your name on the front.  Or even emboss your logo for an added touch of sophistication.  All of these little touches will encourage the reader to touch and feel the card – making their interaction longer, more meaningful and more impactful.

Plus, what says “you are important” and “I value our relationship” more than someone taking the time to find a pen and write a sincere note?

Join the Stationery Evolution

Contact your account manager today to discuss the many ideas on how to join the stationery evolution and see live samples of law firm brands, stationery and marketing materials.


Bob Yamami

Senior Sales Representative




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Arizona Office Technologies

Manage Print Services (MPS)

Law firms (local or national) will benefit from a more contemporary print strategy. Regardless of their size, vertical, or business scope, there is an undeniable need for companies to review their current print environment and understand the benefits of making the shift from an "unmanaged" to a "managed print environment." Listed below are just some of the many popular business outcomes that make our Managed Print Services Program a compelling business opportunity in today’s Law Firm Vertical

  • Cost visibility, reduction & expense control
  • Reduce strain on IT Department
  • Enhance Security & meet regulations
  • Proactive on-site service
  • Vendor consolidation & invoice reduction
  • Improve end user productivity
  • Auto supplies fulfillment
  • No capital expense
  • Ongoing Quarterly Business review


AOT – Xerox will reduce your print costs, while providing a high level of service and customer satisfaction. Please give me a call today and schedule a time to review our print assessment and MPS programs.

Andrew Belew
Major Account Executive
Arizona Office Technologies
Direct: 602-346-3043 | Mobile: 480-518-5590
4320 E. Cotton Center Blvd. #100 | Phoenix, AZ 85040

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ALA Resources and Useful Links

Do you need some help on your presentation skills?  See:

Want to listen to a podcast on getting your firm on board with workflow technology (Eric Wrangler of BigHand)?  Go to:

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