Face Your Fears

My definition of fear is the total of lost moments.

As we look back over our lives and take a hard look at the areas where we have been successful or unsuccessful, it is interesting to find that many times its fear that has prevented us from achieving our goals and creating a healthy reality for ourselves and those around us. It is the fear we face when we go back and look over what we have accomplished and find, perhaps, what we have created can be taken from us at any moment. We tend toward complacency and fall into that personal comfort zone which has a deadly impact on us as individuals, our employers and those around us.

There are six areas I feel are critical in dealing with our fears and moving on.

The first one is confidence. The way to feel confident is to know that everyone has fear. Everyone, even the most successful individual, has had their moment of fear. We need to know that the only failure is in not trying anything new.

We have to trust in ourselves that we can accomplish new horizons and we can stay focused on the task at hand.

It is important that we be honest with ourselves. We must admit when we have weaknesses instead of trying to hide them, strive to identify them, work with them and move forward.

Knowledge of ourselves is necessary to understand how we will react in all our endeavors. Then failure is a learning experience and becomes a future motivator.

Look for the courage it takes to continue to push forward and stay focused when the tide is against us.

Finally, of course, is drive. Drive is a very misunderstood word. It is a concept that forces us every day to continue to work harder and harder.

Fear comes in different containers. It is the
absence of fear that brings us to the doorstep
of comfort. When we reach this doorstep, we
choose to enter or return and confront our fears.

Everyone eventually reaches the level of belief that they have mastered their personality and abilities, but in reality, it is a focus that allows routine and presents the illusion of success. But we, as individuals, understand how critical it is to confront our fears so we can move forward. I refer to it as a point of “reaching our doorstep”. That’s where we come to the point where we have tried our best, but now face new hurdles and obstacles. We must take a moment, take a breath, turn and look at these fears, confront them, master them and move on. There is a secret to success, and that secret comes in establishing a winning environment. It was once said that it is important we not waste time nudging others, but focus on our own tasks and what we have to do to succeed. We have to obtain commitment, not only from those around us, but from ourselves. We must strive to out distance our former selves.

It is important to obtain a commitment from ourselves and those around us that we will strive with others to obtain our goals. Look at what your underlying fear is and try to deal with it on a day-to-day basis. We need to look for the origins of our fear. Is our fear from a long term struggle or the result of internal or external pressure? It is important that we make an active decision about our direction. If we find ourselves stumbling and find it difficult to continue, we need to stop and evaluate our position before we move on. We can obtain support and encouragement by talking to others about our fears and concerns.

Too Many Sellers, Too Few Buyers

It was almost a decade ago when the economy was hot and many more of us were busy with a strong roster of clients. It was like shooting fish in that old barrel. Today, the opposite is still playing-out for most sellers. From professional services to hamburger stands, we all have lots of well-qualified competitors taking very creative steps to differentiate them from us.

Let’s face it folks, if your strategy is built around bringing your old world back, that’s a fruitless dream that can only jeopardize the true options you do have.

Sure it is harder these days, but there are ways to succeed and even surpass the successes we enjoyed back then. However, it is not going to happen by applying the strategies of the past. Today’s formula is a holistic approach based on optimizing all the operating functions in your business. The core is a triad that includes a robust and sustainable customer finding process, a highly efficient and effective operational platform, and a customer-led culture.

Consider these ideas and methods in conditioning your business for the competitive challenges confronting you now:

  • Business Development – Nothing happens until you sell something
    Building a robust, sustainable process for finding and keeping customers assures a steady flow of prospects. Getting this critical process on a stable footing includes:assessments and improvements to the offering, provocative promotional programs, brand building and knowledge leadership. Continuing to employ grandpa’s old methods, or waiting for customers to call, “like they used to,” are not the building blocks of a sustainable process.Get some help to: Nail your value proposition, build on what satisfied customers might say about you and “stimulate” those with sales responsibilities. Develop a killer database/CRM of prospects, customers and friends of your company. Stay in touch with your “constituents” regularly, and be the resource they come to rely upon.But, what if the problem is not customer finding, but customer keeping?
  • Operational infrastructure – Fulfilling the brand promise
    After the marketing function has made commitments to its customers, the rest of the organization must deliver on these promises. Every process, line or staff must be examined to the finest detail, optimizing each to assure efficiency. Policies and procedures must be developed with specific accountability guidelines. Tackling operational weaknesses goes right to the bottom line. Assess your internal structure like a franchisor might; qualifying every step and procedure in pursuit of the most efficient protocols. You know this, it’s just not your priority verses getting the work out and getting the money in.
  • Team building and leadership development – Improving the culture
    Your people dictate whether you fly high or crash and burn. The more clear employees are on the ambitions of their organization and what their role is in reaching business objectives, the more engaged they are in the process.The key to unlocking untapped employee potential includes a clear process and achievable goals. Leading an organization-wide culture shift encompasses employee evaluations, team building, plus versatile recruiting and hiring tools that are an integral part of our programs.Note: In many cases the leader will need the most inspiration.

 

Vaccinating Your Brand

How to Protect Your Organization and Reputation from
Social Media Attacks Stemming from Employees and
Other Individuals or Constituencies

Perception by customers, business partners, vendors and the public at large is vital to any organization’s success. Studies have shown that businesses with a clear mission, record of compliance, and diversity, generally perform better.1 Yet, the task of defining and defending an organization’s brand has become increasingly difficult with a new frontier of threats evolving from social media, as attacks or adverse postings from customers, employees or the public are potential brand destroyers. As social media continues to evolve and expand, organizations must find new ways to protect their reputations. In this new world of social media, there is no single solution for every threat. Nevertheless, organizations can develop tools and strategies to appropriately respond to social media issues when they do occur.

I. WHAT IS A SOCIAL MEDIA ATTACK?

Social media threats include a number of tactics such as unauthorized social media accounts, content threats, hijacked accounts, and anti-brand causes (e.g., threats by activist organizations, disgruntled employees, and unsatisfied customers).2 Whether attacks are targeted, unintentional or incidental, they can damage a corporation’s brand.

Unauthorized Accounts

Unauthorized accounts are easy to create, and are the most common social media threat any organization faces.3 They detract from an organization’s credibility, confuse customers, and damage the organization’s reputation. A study examining 100 organizations revealed that more than 1,000 unauthorized accounts were created each week.4 A separate study found that 40% of Facebook accounts claiming to represent a Fortune 100 brand were unauthorized, and 20% of similar Twitter accounts were unauthorized.5 Considering the quantity of unauthorized accounts, and the speed with which these accounts appear and disappear, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to monitor all unauthorized accounts.

Unauthorized accounts, or impersonation accounts, are created by attackers who “footprint” an organization.6 Attackers may identify key employees within an organization, familiarize themselves with the organization’s tone or voice, replicate the organization’s logos and service marks, and establish some semblance of legitimacy by including the organization’s mentions and news items in their postings.7

1 Vivian Hunt, Dennis Layton, & Sara Prince, “Diversity Matters,” McKinsey & Company, Feb. 2, 2015.
2 Kimberlee Morrison, 40% of Facebook Accounts For Fortune 100 Companies Are Unauthorized, Adweek (Dec. 10, 2014), available at http://www.adweek.com/digital/social-networks-social-spam/.
3 McAfee Threat Center, “How Cybercriminals Target Social Media Accounts,” McAfee.
4 Mike Raggo, Anatomy of a Social Media Attack, DARK Reading, (Aug. 23, 2016), available at
http://www.darkreading.com/analytics/anatomy-of-a-social-media-attack/a/d-id/1326680
5 Nexgate, “The State of Social Media Infrastructure 2014, Part 2: Security Threats to the Social Infrastructure of the Fortune 100,” proofpoint, Dec. 2014, available at https://go.proofpoint.com/f100threats.
6 Raggo, supra note 4.
7 Id.

Content Treats

Content threats are accomplished when attackers hide malicious links in the comments section of an organization’s social media postings.8 Social spam has grown exponentially (a 658% increase in social media spam on branded accounts between July 2013 and June 2014),9 and 99% of malicious links posted to social media accounts led to malware and/or phishing attacks.10 Attackers post content threats for various reasons; attackers may want to damage a brand, manipulate the stock market, or execute some other self-serving purpose.

Hijacked Account

Hijacking an account is the most difficult attack to accomplish, but is often the most impactful.11 With access to an organization’s social media accounts, hijackers can infiltrate the company’s internal network (thereby exposing it to data breaches), and post inflammatory comments.12 A study revealed that 2.29 accounts at every Fortune 100 organization exhibited hijack indicators.13

Anti-Brand Causes

Social media can be particularly dangerous when it comes to anti-brand causes, such as threats by activist organizations, because of the absence of truth-filters and the immense potential reach of each message.14 Similarly, postings from employees and customers can be devastatingly disruptive. Recently, for example, an active wear company was forced to address a situation that stemmed from hateful comments by an online blogger. Upset customers destroyed apparel they owned, and shared images online of items burning, items in the toilet, and items in the garbage. The company was depicted in a negative light through no fault of its own, and quickly acted to protect its reputation.

II. AVOIDING A SOCIAL MEDIA ATTACK

Organizations should dedicate adequate resources and personnel to monitoring social media accounts, take appropriate measures to monitor their “comments” section, and have social media guidelines and/or a criticism-response plan in place.15 Preparing a defense does not ensure attacks will not occur, but successfully interacting with the public is vital to preventing attacks.

8 Morrison, supra note 2.
9 Id.
10 Nexgate, supra note 5.
11 Id.
12 ZeroFOX Team, Top 9 Social Media Threats of 2015, ZeroFOX, Jan. 20, 2015, available at https://www.zerofox.com/blog/top-9-social-media-threats-2015/#site.
13 Raggo, supra note 4.
14 As of December 31, 2016, Facebook had 1.86 billion monthly active users, with 1.5 billion of those accessing the site on their mobile devices. “Company Info,” Facebook Newsroom. As of April 2017, Twitter had 313 million monthly active users, with 1 billion unique visits each month to sites with embedded Tweets. “Company Fact,” Twitter.
15 Floyd Woodrow, How prepared is your company for a cyber-attack?, Guardian News (June 18, 2013), available at https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2013/jun/18/how-prepared-company-cyber-attack.

Dedicate Appropriate Resources, Including Verified Accounts

Organizations should use “verified” accounts.16 The presence of an active verified account may cause users to ignore unverified accounts, and an organization can more easily distance itself from impersonators. Some anti-brand incidents, for example, can be minimized by employing an effective Customer Relations Department responsible for monitoring verified accounts, and training employees who may otherwise become the subject of “viral” postings to take preventive measures.

“Comments” Section Policies

Social media platforms typically have their own “comments” policies and guidelines, but may leave it to an organization to report harmful or offensive comments.17 Instead of waiting for the platform to act, organizations can invest in moderators to control “comments” sections from harmful or abusive comments.18

Social Media NLRA Considerations

An organization must be mindful that social media policies attempting to control an employee’s ability to use social media may come under scrutiny from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Recent decisions indicate that provisions that appear facially harmless can often be viewed as violating federal labor law (e.g., policies that are seen as chilling an employee’s ability to engage in protected concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)).19 Similarly, basing employment decisions on an employee’s social media activity makes an organization vulnerable to suit and/or NLRB unfair labor practice charge.20 However, not all concerted activities are protected by the NLRA. Actions that are made with reckless disregard of the truth, or are maliciously untrue, are not protected.21 Similarly, a policy that prevents discriminatory remarks, harassment, and threats of violence or similarly inappropriate or unlawful conduct is lawful.22

An Example of a Criticism-Response Plan

A concrete criticism-response plan is useful to avoid roles and responsibilities becoming mixed during an incident, and minor criticisms becoming major issues. Guidelines help all organizations avoid

16 Raggo, supra note 4.
17 Paul Chaney, Managing Negative Facebook Page Comments, Practical Ecommerce (May 16, 2011), available at http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/2783-Managing-Negative-Facebook-Page-Comments.
18 Aaron Lee, How to handle negative comments on social media, Ask Aaron Lee (Feb. 16, 2012), available at http://askaaronlee.com/negative-feedback-social-media/ (Feb. 16, 2012).
19 Howard Bloom, Labor Board Prosecutor’s Social Media Report Concludes Common Policy Provisions May Be Unlawful, Jackson Lewis P.C. (March 2, 2012), available at https://www.jacksonlewis.com/resources-publication/labor-board-prosecutors-social-media-report-concludes-common-policy-provisions-may-be-unlawful (Mar. 2, 2012).
20 Howard Bloom & Philip Rosen, Firings for Facebook Comments Unlawful, NLRB Rules, Jackson Lewis P.C. (Sept. 8, 2014), available at http://www.jacksonlewis.com/resources-publication/firings-facebook-comments-unlawful-nlrb-rules.
21 Richard Greenberg & Philip Rosen, Third Guidance on Social Media Policy Issues from NLRB Acting General Counsel Includes Sample Policy, Jackson Lewis P.C. (May 31, 2012), available at http://www.jacksonlewis.com/resources-publication/third-guidance-social-media-policy-issues-nlrb-acting-general-counsel-includes-sample-policy (May 31, 2012).
22 Id.

those issues, but are not a substitute for discretion and business judgment; organizations must mold each response to each incident.

A successful criticism-response plan reacts to credible threats with urgency and expediency. Experts opine that organizations that avoid threats the most effectively typically engage with attackers quickly and directly.23 Those organizations’ responses are reactive, knowledgeable, and indicate a level of ownership and/or accountability.24 The responses that are typically the best-received are those that are transparent, include sources, and portray a tone that is reflective of the organization’s mission. 25

By way of example, one government agency created a “Web Posting Response Assessment” that evaluates comments, and offers moderators specific pre-generated responses.26 Other organizations have similar tiered approaches for identifying and avoiding potential attacks.27 The referenced Assessment Plan includes three phases of analysis: a discovery phase, an evaluative phase, and a responsive phase.28

The Discovery Phase

Organizations should consider actively searching social media to identify relevant messages. 29 Some corporations preempt the discovery phase by building internal mechanisms into their online presence.30 Those organizations aim to channel negative feedback internally, and build goodwill with the online community. This approach is reliant on engaging potential attackers before their frustration manifests itself in a public comment, and attracting other social media users to defend the organization, correct attackers, and direct attackers to the internal complaint system. One consumer electronics company created an online network where its customers shared and discussed developments in technology and technology-related products. The various community-driven sites allowed customers to share, vote and discuss ideas that would allow the company to improve. This model allows an organization to monitor criticism, and limits its exposure to social media attacks.

23 Matthew Gain, The 5 best ways to respond to a social media attack, Ragan (Apr. 17, 2012), available at https://www.ragan.com/Main/Articles/The_5_best_ways_to_respond_to_a_social_media_attac_44713.aspx.
24 Stephanie Marcus, How to Respond When Social Media Attacks Your Brand, American Express OPEN Forum (Apr.24, 2010), available at https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/how-to-respond-when-social-media-attacks-your-brand-1/.
25 360i, 3 Tips for Developing Your Brand’s Social Tone of Voice, 360i (Sept. 25, 2012), available at http://blog.360i.com/social-marketing/brand-social-voice.
26 Noah Shachtman, Air Force Releases ‘Counter-Blog’ Marching Orders, WIRED (Jan. 8, 2009), available at https://www.wired.com/2009/01/usaf-blog-respo/.
27 Ellyn Angelotti, How to handle personal attacks on social media, Poynter (Aug. 20, 2013), available at http://www.poynter.org/2013/how-to-handle-personal-attacks-on-social-media/219452/.
28 Id.
29 Josh Catone, HOW TO: Deal With Negative Feedback in Social Media, Mashable (Feb. 21, 2010), available at http://mashable.com/2010/02/21/deal-with-negative-feedback/#cRnMvDDaFiqn.
30 Prashant Suryakumar, Market Data Relevant: The New Metrics for Social Marketing, Mashable (Jan. 11, 2011), available at http://mashable.com/2011/01/11/social-media-metrics/#rd46xYYiFkqD.

The Evaluative Phase

After the discovery phase, the government agency’s Assessment Plan directs the moderator to proceed to the evaluative phase. The evaluative phase provides a moderator with a group of fixed categories into which an attacker’s message must fit. Some corporations refer to this phase as a “comment traffic system.”31 The evaluative phase is mechanical, but organizations must be mindful of being too rigid in any response. Flexibility is a tremendous tool when evaluating threats, and deciding how to minimize the likelihood of an attack.

In the evaluative phase, all messages are sorted into categories. The agency’s Assessment Plan categorizes messages into the following groups: messages that are factual and well-cited that disagree with your organization’s policy; messages that are factually incorrect; messages that bash and degrade your organization; messages that post rants, hateful comments, or inappropriate content; and messages from users who have had a negative experience. 32 Categorizing the message is critical to framing a response.

III. RESPONDING TO A SOCIAL MEDIA ATTACK

For generations, the typical response to many public relations issues, and threatened or actual litigation, was “no comment.” That may no longer be the case. Successfully responding to a social media attack largely mirrors avoiding the initial attack. Responding quickly with knowledge about the issue, taking ownership of the attacker’s criticism, and providing meaningful responses all are vital considerations.33 As a general principle, quick and personal responses are great tools for responding to a social media attack. Engaging the source is typically done via the same online medium in which the attack was presented. Responses should be personalized, but mindful that the attacker is seeking ammunition to incite his/her cause. In the case of an unauthorized user or a content threat, it is important to disassociate the organization from the user or content, and take visible measures to report the attempted attack. If an organization is subjected to an intentional or unintentional anti-brand attack (e.g., activist organization, disgruntled employee, unsatisfied customer), it is important to consider a prompt and transparent response. As in most situations, statements that are easily supported by verifiable facts and documents are often the best responses. Additionally, messages from users who have had a negative experience should be offered reasonable solutions, or a restatement of the organization’s position on the issue.

Unmasking the Attacker: Litigation as an Option

First Amendment rights are highly protected, even when the speaker engages in anonymous speech on the Internet.34 Those protections extend to “attackers.” Courts will almost always favor a person’s
31 Gain, supra note 22.
32 Angelotti, supra note 26
33 Angelotti, supra note 26.
34 See Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Found., 525 U.S. 182, 197-99; McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm., 514 U.S. 334 (1995); Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U.S. 844, 849-50 (1997).

right to speak anonymously over a company’s interest in limiting speech. Nevertheless, there are circumstances when an organization may want to consider taking legal action.

An organization considering a lawsuit to quash an attack or recover damages related to an attack is at an immediate disadvantage. Some of the challenges organizations face include: (1) demonstrating that the attacker engaged in unlawful behavior (criminal or civil); (2) proving that “unmasking” the attacker’s identity is the least restrictive means for investigating the offense; (3) establishing that the organization’s demand for information is not motivated by a desire to suppress free speech; and (4) evidencing that the organization’s private interests outweigh the attacker’s First Amendment Rights.

In 2001, a New Jersey court was tasked with deciding a lawsuit brought by an organization against anonymous users who posted criticisms on an online message board. 35 The company claimed the comments were unlawful.36 Before rendering its decision, the court elaborated on a number of issues organizations should consider before pursuing a lawsuit. 37 The Court recommended that organizations make attempts to engage attackers before bringing legal action, which includes providing attackers with notice that the organization will pursue a subpoena or other legal action if the attacks do not stop, or are otherwise remedied.38 Providing notice allows the attacker to respond to the organization’s concerns. From the Court’s perspective, notice affords attackers an opportunity to stop their actions before the matter develops into a lawsuit, or articulate a legitimate explanation for why their speech is protected.

Recently, the Trump Administration employed a similar approach when it attempted to unmask the person(s) behind a Twitter account that had been critical of the Administration’s plans and policies.39 The Administration served Twitter with a subpoena that instructed Twitter to reveal the person(s) behind the account.40 In response to being served with the subpoena, Twitter filed a lawsuit seeking to have the subpoena declared unlawful.41 Before the matter was decided by the court, the Administration withdrew its subpoena, and Twitter withdrew its complaint.

Social media attacks can lend themselves to multiple causes of action, including, breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, interference with prospective business advantage, and defamation. However, any organization bringing those claims faces obstacles prosecuting the matter, and obtaining and executing a judgment. Prosecuting the claim will be difficult because identifying the appropriate person(s) is problematic. For example, accounts are created and deleted with tremendous frequency, and attackers can create social media accounts without providing any identifying information. With respect to effecting change by bringing a lawsuit, the attacker can delete the account and create a new account with relative ease – thereby restarting the legal process. In addition to the procedural difficulties, an organization must prove its interests outweigh First

35 See Dendrite Intern., Inc. v. Doe No. 3, 342 N.J. Super. 134 (App. Div. 2001).
36 Id. at 146.
37 Id. at 141-42.
38 Id. at 141.
39 Susan Seager, Twitter Will Probably Win Lawsuit Against Trump Administration, Experts Say, The Wrap (Apr. 6, 2017), available at http://www.thewrap.com/twitter-will-probably-win-lawsuit-against-trump-administration-expert-says/.
40 Tony Romm, Twitter Is Suing The Government for Trying to Unmask an Anti-Trump Account, recode (Apr. 6, 2017), available at www.recode.net/2017/4/6/15211214/twitter-suing-government-free-speech-anti-trump-account-first-amendment.
41 Complaint, Twitter v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security et al., No. 3:17-cv-01916 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 6, 2017).

Amendment interests, and that it suffered damages attributable to the attack (depending on the cause of action). The standard is highly fact-specific, and is revisited on a case-by-case basis. In sum, litigation may be an option, but stopping an attack or recovering damages by way of a lawsuit will likely be a difficult and expensive proposition.

IV. CONCLUSION

Organizations and or messages about organizations can “go viral” and lead to great name recognition, and in many cases, explosive growth. Those same qualities make social media dangerous for organizations. As with all powerful tools, social media must be actively managed. It is imperative that organizations consider the threat of an intentional social media attack, or the possibility that information on social media negatively impacts its reputation and or operations. The consideration process leads to the development of preventive and responsive measures. It is equally important that each situation is evaluated; the situation should mandate the approach – not the other way around.

 

 

President’s View: Data is “Big” Business

By Anthony Russo

ON MARCH 16, 2017, the New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII) hosted the fourth Annual New Jersey Big Data Alliance (NJBDA) Symposium at CIANJ member NJIT’s Campus Center in Newark, New Jersey. The NJBDA is a consortium of New Jersey institutions of higher education addressing the challenges posed by the deluge of “Big Data.”

Chaired by NJII Executive Director and Chief Scientist Dr. Munir Cochinwala, the conference focused on the theme, “Big Data Connects.” The symposium attracted more than 200 participants along with industry, government and academic leaders who joined together to discuss the facts, statistics, demographics, customer data and market intelligence that drives smart infrastructure, law enforcement and healthcare.

One of the keynote speakers was Katherine O’Neill, executive director of JumpStart New Jersey, one of the largest angel investment groups in the New Jersey/New York region. She described why early investment firms are doubling down on companies that have Big Data as the basis for their business model.

“Data is money,” explained O’Neill. “Data is a commodity that can be sold and resold, and the impact of Big Data is everywhere, from the Internet of Things (IOT), to cybersecurity, financial fraud, healthcare, medical diagnostics and insurance. Data analytics has the potential to fundamentally change the way companies will do business.”

IBM Worldwide Product Leader for Big Data Technologies Dirk deRoos, another keynote speaker at the conference, issued a wake-up call to attendees.

“Every company needs to be a tech company, and everybody needs to be tech literate,” explained deRoos. “Advances in cloud and analytics technologies, combined with the right organizational policies, can make self service analytics possible for most organizations. It’s about working smarter— with the right algorithms.”

NJII’s Healthcare Delivery Systems i-Lab is focused on using the power of computing and Big Data analytics to support new business and clinical practices that lead to more affordable, more accessible and higher-quality medical care.

“In one application, our team is deploying data analytic tools that allow for the reliable retrieval of an individual’s medical records from all current and prior healthcare providers to deliver a complete an accurate patient history,” explains NJII President and CEO, Dr. Donald H. Sebastian. “In another application, we are guiding physicians to adopt patient-specific, outcome-driven procedures that lead to improved health results with faster reimbursement from payers. In a third demonstration, we will be using natural language processing and machine learning to aid in the early identification of medical conditions— even when symptoms may seem vague or ambiguous in their indication.”

For example, technology-enhanced hardware, software and electronic health records (EHR) are used in almost all aspects of patient and medical care at CIANJ member Holy Name Medical Center.

“Our highly customizable health information system—called WebHIS— was self-developed by our Information Technology Department,” explains Holy Name Medical Center President and CEO Michael Maron. “WebHIS is instrumental in assisting physicians, nurses and other staff in advancing and expediting the delivery of patient care, transforming workflow and improving outcomes. WebHIS helps us to facilitate communication among caregivers and assists in streamlining our operations.”

The power of Big Data is a game-changer because it means that businesses will need to go beyond upgrading their hardware and software to achieve long-term success. Their challenge is to transform their operations to compete in digital environments.

According to Professor Rashmi Jain, chairman of Information Management and Business Analytics at CIANJ member Montclair State University’s Feliciano School of Business, here are some key measurements of the growing influence of data: 6 percent of total retail sales are done online, increasing at 17.5 percent annually; U.S. eCommerce sales were $263 billion in 2013, approximately 2 percent of GNP; and from 2013 to 2020, the digital universe will grow by a factor of 10, from 4.4 trillion gigabytes to 44 trillion gigabytes.

Is your company ready for the revolution?

Annual Law Firm Managing Partners Roundtable: Growing Practice Areas

By Miles Z Epstein

ONE IMPORTANT WAY TO measure the economy and track changes in the market is to examine which law firm practice areas are growing the fastest, and to ask why. That’s exactly what COMMERCE did this month, by reaching out to the managing partners at New Jersey’s top law firms and asking the question: “What are your strategies for growing your practice areas and niche practices, and which ones are growing the fastest or changing the most to meet client needs?”

The following law firm leaders participated in our 2017 Annual Law Firm Managing Partners Roundtable:

● Capehart Scatchard, PA Managing Shareholder Mary Ellen Rose, Esq.;
● Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC Managing Member Daniel A. Schwartz, Esq.;
● Connell Foley LLP Managing Partner Philip F. McGovern, Jr., Esq.;
● Day Pitney LLP Parsippany (NJ) Office Managing Partner Paul Marino, Esq.;
● Dunn Lambert, LLC Managing Partner Richard Lambert, Esq.;
● Gibbons P.C. Chairman and Managing Director Patrick C. Dunican, Jr., Esq.;
● Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP Co-Managing Partner W. Raymond Felton, Esq.;
● McCarter & English, LLP Managing Partner Joseph T. Boccassini, Esq.:
● Meyner and Landis LLP Senior Partner William J. Fiore, Esq.;
● NPZ Law Group P.C. U.S. Managing Attorney David H. Nachman, Esq.;
●Sills Cummis & Gross P.C. Managing Partner Max Crane, Esq.

Capehart Scatchard, PA
By Mary Ellen Rose, Esq., Managing Shareholder

Capehart Scatchard has experienced sustained growth in its healthcare practice area, by responding to the comprehensive needs of our physician, group practice and other health-related clients. We counsel our healthcare clients with respect to the multitude of transactional matters, and regulatory and compliance requirements affecting healthcare delivery, including practice management issues; licensure and professional board matters; state and federal self-referral, anti-kickback, and fraud and abuse; electronic health records; and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The needs of our healthcare clients also transcend traditional “healthcare issues” and include both transactional and litigation services encompassing general corporate, real estate, zoning, mergers, joint ventures, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation and employment matters. The niche area of state and federal privacy, security and data breach also is addressed frequently. The extensive needs of these clients have driven our strategy for growing our firm’s established practice groups. We continue to enhance our corporate and employment areas to meet the needs of our growing healthcare client base. Whether our clients require assistance in constructing contracts or agreements, or providing business, regulatory, or tax advice, our attorneys are ready to offer knowledgeable guidance and counsel. Our primary mission has always been to sustain growth by adding depth where needed to satisfy our clients.

Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC
By Daniel A. Schwartz, Esq., Managing Member

CSG’s growth is attributed to the change in our clients’ needs and the industries in which they operate. In response, we are strategically focused on areas such as real estate and development, healthcare, intellectual property and corporate investigations resulting from increased regulatory oversight. We view our relationships, both with our clients and among our own attorneys, as paramount—as needs arise, we adapt through organic growth. Geographically, we have identified the New York City market as an area of tremendous growth in real estate, corporate transactions and commercial litigation, prompting CSG to open a new office at 11 Times Square in 2016.

Connell Foley LLP
By Philip F. McGovern, Jr., Esq., Managing Partner

Connell Foley has had great success in growing its practices organically through strategic acquisitions, as well as through the entrepreneurial spirit of our attorneys. Understanding trends in business as well as legal developments helps us not only in advising our clients but in determining where we should grow or develop practices. One niche area that we have focused on, our Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Group, has proven to be a timely investment. It is also a good example of a practice area that was developed based on the foreseen needs of clients across all industries, from those requiring cyber insurance policies to companies responding to a breach or others needing to prepare cyber incident response plans. As with most niche practices, this is a nimble group that is entrenched in the industry by serving on state task forces, leading bar association cyber groups and issuing authoritative articles. We strive to stay on top of the latest developments in this area, so as to advise clients in the most timely manner. With the ever-increasing role of data security in all businesses, this is one area we expect to continuously change.

Day Pitney LLP
By Paul Marino, Esq., Managing Partner, Parsippany, NJ Office

Our clients expect us to be knowledgeable about their businesses and the industries in which they operate. Thus, our approximately 300 attorneys strive to become subject matter specialists for each client. To best meet our clients’ evolving needs, we created Industry Teams. As an example, Day Pitney has numerous clients that are financial institutions for which we provide a variety of legal services, including those related to bank regulations, capital markets, M&A, securities, consumer finance, creditors’ rights, employment, executive compensation, family office, fiduciary advice, institutional finance, IT, investment management compliance, litigation and municipal finance. To best serve these clients, we created a Financial Institutions Industry Team, which is comprised of attorneys who are steeped in knowledge regarding the financial sector and who constantly endeavor to learn more about the industry and contribute as vital thought leaders and partners in the space. This team is also constantly looking for new ways to expand the scope of services that we can provide for financial institution clients, thereby growing the firm’s practice. We take a similar tack with other industries in which we excel as a firm, including real estate, energy and insurance, to name a few.

Dunn Lambert, LLC
By Richard Lambert, Esq., Managing Partner

Business partners can fall out of love with each other just like spouses, often with devastating consequences. More than 20 years ago, we became involved in helping business owners extricate themselves from bad partnerships. At the time, this practice area did not even have a name. Over the years, as this practice area grew, we began to call it “Business Divorce,” and to market it as such. One of the things we learned is that there was a dearth of information available to business owners who wished to form a partnership or obtain a business divorce. To bridge this gap, we recently announced the formation, with Jeri Quinn, CBC, of the Business Divorce Institute, and the release of our new e-book, The Business Divorce Institute, From Prevention to Finalization. The Business Divorce Institute is the first multi-disciplinary forum created to support business partners—from the decision to take a partner to creating a solid foundation for the partnership to continuing the partnership through constructive communication to separating from a bad partner to obtaining a business divorce.

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