advice you can use — short and to the point — every Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday

Thursday, March 10th, 2016 technology  research  practice

A Practice Tip

  • Practice

♫ Go, go, go New Justice Team
Go team, go team, team team team
Who’s that newest Justice Team…♫

Music by Christopher Tyng, Lyrics by Ron Weiner, recorded by The New Justice Team.

lady justice

Changes are coming to SlawTips!  I would like to introduce our new enhanced team of practice tipsters.

Our team will now include:

  • Michael McCubbin, Vancouver
  • Andrea Cannavina, New York City
  • Stacey Gerrard, Halifax
  • Sandra Bekhor, Toronto
  • Mark Morris, Toronto
  • Elizabeth Mah, Vancouver
  • Bjorn (Barney) Christianson, Portage la Prairie
  • Ian Hu, Toronto

who will be joining Garry Wise and I in posting all the best tips that we can think of to assist you in practising law.

A little about each of our newest team members:


Michael McCubbin:

Michael McCubbin v2

Michael owns and operates a small firm with a broad focus on civil and administrative litigation and corporate-commercial law. In recent years, he has increasingly focused on regulatory compliance and risk management for businesses. He has run a paperless practice since its inception in the fall of 2011 and is a regular speaker on legal technology matters.

Michael says that the things that he would like to write about are:

  • Integration of practice technology with hearing preparation
  • Adopting business practices from outside the legal profession to improve service quality and efficiency
  • Remote working arrangements and business/employment structures
  • Jurisprudential “catch up” with technology (Equustek Solutions?!)


Andrea Cannavina:

Andrea Cannavina

Andrea Cannavina is the CEO and founder of LegalTypist, Inc. the premiere legal transcription, secretarial and administrative service to US based law firms. She helps attorneys and other service based professionals upgrade their business processes to digital in order to get more done with less – less cost, less time and less stress!

An executive legal assistant, Andrea worked in various sized law firms in and around New York City since starting her career in the 1980’s. Andrea has been a professional legal secretary/ assistant for 20+ years and a Virtual Assistant since 2001.   ALL Andrea has focused on since opening her virtual practice is help lawyers and other legal professionals upgrade to digital in all the right places.

Her site, specializes in providing experienced cyber secretarial services and has serviced law firms of 1-120+ attorneys along with private investigative firms, insurance agencies and other high volume reporting companies.

After putting together LegalTypist’s tech, people and processes, and speaking with 100’s of attorneys, law firm administrators and legal IT types, Andrea expanded her focus in order to help any size practice.  In 2005, her site went live to help larger firms looking to incorporate the web into their processes and solos looking for secure technology to use in their day-to-day practice.

Andrea is passionate about digital security and has frequently presented on this and other topics, including e-mail overload and etiquette, website how to’s, projecting a professional image and upgrading to a digital workflow.

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Andrea’s family moved to Long Island, New York during her teenage years. She graduated from Glen Cove High School, attended Nassau Community College and SUNY Old Westbury.

Andrea lives and works in Hicksville, New York, is married with two children, and has Rosie, the office dog as her constant companion. Along with making things work, Andrea enjoys camping, cooking and spending time with family and friends in the great outdoors.

Andrea says that she would like to write about:

  • Systems, processes and organization of the office – people and tech.
  • Law practice management.
  • Getting Things Done.
  • What’s it’s like being on the other side of the desk.


Stacey Gerrard:

stacey gerrard

Stacey Gerrard is a practicing member of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and joined the Lawyers’ Insurance Association of Nova Scotia (LIANS) as LIANS Counsel in 2010. Graduating from the University of Ottawa’s National Program with bilingual degrees in both Common and Civil Law, Stacey relocated back to Halifax and pursued her interest in civil litigation first in a private firm and then with each of the Federal and Provincial governments until joining the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society in 2008. In her current role, Stacey manages and handles assigned claims or potential claims against insured lawyers and provides professional support to the Risk and Practice Management program.


Sandra Bekhor:


Sandra Bekhor, MBA, BSc, is a professional practice consultant focused on growing and enhancing Canadian, small to mid-sized law, architecture, accounting, consulting, healthcare and other professional practices. A senior marketing professional since 1992,

Sandra has helped take leading entrepreneurs to a new level in the global marketplace with the introduction of business and marketing strategies as well as the enhancement of company structure and process. In September 2005, Sandra founded Bekhor Management with the intent to apply this acumen in a manner that would enable professionals to realize their vision for their practices.

Sandra Bekhor speaks, teaches and writes about practice development for various professional associations and publications, including: The Lawyers Weekly, The Bottom Line, Investment Executive, Interior Designers of Canada (IDC), Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND), Ontario Society of Chiropodists (OSC) and Canadian Vet.

Sandra says that what she would like to write about, basically, her area of expertise, would fall into these categories:

  • Marketing
  • Branding
  • Online marketing
  • Offline marketing
  • Firm level marketing
  • Personal marketing
  • Coaching
  • Management
  • Planning -strategic plans, succession plans, retreats, marketing plans
  • Performance management
  • Human resources management
  • Partner / management meetings
  • Communication
  • Delegation
  • Leadership
  • Coaching


Mark Morris:

mark moris

Mark began his career working as the Attorney General of Ontario’s Senior Policy Advisor. Following that, Mark founded Slatewood Retail Advisors, a retail consulting firm primarily focused on the restaurant and apparel market space. In that capacity, Mark transformed small local brands into national chain operations and worked to assist growing international businesses with their legal franchise work, their core branding and their operational workflows.

Presently, Mark is a co-founder of Axess Law, one of Canada’s leading retail law firms with 10 locations in the GTA. Last month, Axess Law was selected as one of the Top 5 Canadian Innovative Law Firms by the Financial Times newspaper.

Mark frequently lectures on Real Estate law and regularly teaches Real Estate Law Courses at the Ontario Real Estate College. In 2014, Mark was selected as one of Canada’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers and was recognized as one of the top 5 Legal Change Makers as rated by Canadian Lawyer magazine.

Mark was called to the Ontario bar in 2002 and has an M.B.A. from the Rotman School of Management, a Law Degree from McGill University and a B.A. from the University of Toronto.

Mark says he likes writing about how Law is changing as we move towards a volume based model of service delivery and about the new entrants that are making their mark on the practice.   On a purely legal level, he likes writing about consumer based legal services (developments in real property conveyance, wills etc) and ways that those changes affect consumers.


Elizabeth Mah:

Elizabeth Mah

Elizabeth Mah is the owner of Paperclip Law, a different kind of law firm that helps families and businesses make the best (and biggest) non-litigation decisions of their lives. In her life before her 2 little girls, she enjoyed cooking and eating hot meals, reading and running without interruption, and throwing darts at a map and then travelling to them.

Elizabeth says that since having her 2 little girls, she is  most interested in:

  • Time efficiency: in making my (and the team’s) time the most effective and productive that it can be
  • Business development/networking
  • Firm administration and strategy


Bjorn (Barney) Christianson:

Barney Christianson

Bjorn (Barney) Christianson is the managing partner of the Christianson TDS offices in Portage la Prairie, MacGregor and Gladstone, offices which have operated with the Christianson name since 1970. His current practice is focused principally on transactional matters in the areas of Farm Real Estate, Corporate, Commercial, Estates, Municipal Law, and litigation relating to those matters.

Bjorn frequently presents on practice management and office technology topics; some of the victims include the Law Society of Manitoba’s CPLED and MCPD programs, the Law Society of Upper Canada SSF Conference, the Lawyers Insurance Association of Nova Scotia, the Manitoba, Central and Western Manitoba Bar Associations, the CBA’s Skilled Lawyer Series, and the ABA TechShow. He provides practice management advice to the members of the Law Society of Manitoba in his spare time. Twitter @Bjornqc

Barney says that the topics that he finds interesting and wishes to write about are:

  • time management (many sub-topics)
  • creating impressions for clients
  • managing expectations
  • civility
  • importance of clarity in emails
  • breaking bad news
  • blunt a.o.t nice (and therefore vague)
  • planning to buy and replace tech
  • staffing issues
  • sharpening your axe
  • anything to do with running a law office.

Barney has named himself as the curmudgeon of the group; I am not quite so sure about that but I am looking forward to his wise postings!

Ian Hu:

Ian Hui

As the face of Claims Prevention and practicePRO at LAWPRO Ian speaks, writes and blogs about practice management, claims prevention and lawyering issues. His mandate is to help lawyers succeed in the practice of law and avoid malpractice claims. Having had experience in private practice under his belt with various sizes of firms, Ian has seen some of the trials and tribulations lawyers go through.

As a former Vice President of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers he has mentored young lawyers and advocated for hundreds of lawyers and students as a group. Ian also has an interest in promoting diversity in the profession and has sat on various advocacy committees.

Ian tells me that the things he is  interested in writing about are:

  • cognitive bias
  • happiness
  • new and young lawyers issues (being a professional, building career, soft skills, survival tips, managing time, etc.)

Of course Garry Wise and I will also be continuing as contributing authors and editors to this amazing team of thoughtful minds. I am very excited about this new phase in SlawTips and I (and I believe I can speak for Garry as well) look forward to seeing the thoughts, ideas and tips from our New Justice Team!

-David J. Bilinsky, Editor, Vancouver BC.

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