As we come to the end of another fantastic year at Mills & Mills LLP, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our clients, colleagues in the practice of law and our service providers who work with us for their trust and confidence in us. I wish all of you the very best of the holiday season.
This year was a year of transformation as we invested heavily in our people and our infrastructure. We were thrilled to unveil a new work space for our dedicated and professional staff and I thank them for their tireless dedication and excellent support. We also unveiled a new look for our website that better reflects our culture and philosophy as trusted advisors to our clients.
Our physical space was not the only reflection of our change. We also spent some time this year identifying and strengthening our core principles, captured in our Mission, Vision and Values. At M&M LLP, we know that our six key values – Integrity, Competence, Initiative, Cooperation, Respect and Care, not only define us – they inform every interaction we have with our clients, our staff and our community. For us, there has always been no better question than “How Can We Help?” and we are proud to continue this legacy into 2016 and beyond.
We continue our long tradition of adding value to our local community. In November, several senior members of our estates practice hosted a number of representatives from charitable institutions, for a legal information session on matters that affect charities named as beneficiaries. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive as attendees left with a clearer understanding of how to protect their interests as estate beneficiaries.
Investing in our people is a key differentiator for Mills & Mills LLP and we have been able to build our resources internally to serve you better. We were delighted to welcome Kaneez Jaffer in the new role of HR & Operations Manager, in July this year. Having previously worked in investment banking in New York and Toronto, Kaneez now uses her considerable expertise to add tremendous value to our internal systems and processes.
Our civil and estates litigation department also welcomed Aly Virani, our newest associate this year, who joins us from a reputable Bay Street law firm. Aly continues to act on behalf of estate trustees, beneficiaries and other clients in complex disputes through mediation, arbitration and court proceedings.
Our family law department has grown significantly this year under the leadership of Kristen L. Woods, with the addition of Patricia N. Gordon, who served her articles with us last year and was invited to return as a lawyer in 2015. We are also delighted to announce that Kristen will become a Partner on January 1st, 2016.
It has been another busy year in our LegalShield department, with our lawyers consulting upon more than 30,000 matters in 2015, averaging over 130 new and re-opened cases per day. In early 2016 we will have provided legal advice for our 300,000th case since becoming the provider firm for what was then Prepaid Legal in 1999.
Our customer service staff and our lawyers regularly receive annual awards on excellent service and this year was no exception, with our clients rating us the highest in customer service in 2015.
The year closes with mixed feelings as we say a fond farewell to Ronald R. Rudan and James B. Kutcy who retired this year. Ron joined Mills & Mills LLP as an articling student in 1963 and was invited back as a lawyer a year later. He became a Partner at the Firm in 1971 and was appointed as Queens Counsel in 1979. Jim was called to the Bar in 1973 and was invited to return to Mills & Mills LLP in March of that year, going on to become Partner in 1979. On behalf of our clients, lawyers and staff, I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their decades of dedication and hard work and for being the embodiment of the unwavering professional integrity that is the hallmark of Mills & Mills LLP.
With renewed vigour and growth, we approach 2016 and we look forward to hosting the International Lawyers Group Annual General Meeting late in the year.
To all of you, from the partners, lawyers and staff here at Mills & Mills LLP, I extend best wishes for a wonderful holiday season with your families and a happy New Year.
David A.S Mills