Favaloro Law

Favaloro Law The Favaloro Law Offices provide legal help to victims of personal injuries and catastrophic events For the past 32 years, Mark Favaloro, an AV rated lawyer, the highest rating attainable from Martindale Hubbell, has been trying cases in the trial courts of the Commonwealths of Virginia and Massachusetts, as well as the United States District Courts and Courts of Appeal in the First and Fourth Circuits.

FAVALORO LAW OFFICES had its roots in Massachusetts, being formed in 1992 and serving clients until Mark, his wife and 5 children moved to Virginia Beach in 2007. Mark practiced with a medical malpractice defense firm, followed by practicing at a plaintiffs' medical malpractice and personal injury law firm before reestablishing FAVALORO LAW OFFICES, with its principal offices in Virginia Beach, an

FAVALORO LAW OFFICES had its roots in Massachusetts, being formed in 1992 and serving clients until Mark, his wife and 5 children moved to Virginia Beach in 2007. Mark practiced with a medical malpractice defense firm, followed by practicing at a plaintiffs' medical malpractice and personal injury law firm before reestablishing FAVALORO LAW OFFICES, with its principal offices in Virginia Beach, an

Operating as usual

03/10/2021

Greetings all:

We hope that 2021 is off to a good start, with hints of a better year blooming all around us.

Here are some 2020 observations, courtesy of Virginia Lawyers Weekly.
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Takeaways from 2020 to carry into 2021
By: Lauren Dixon January 18, 2021

2020-2021-new-year

While many of us would love to say goodbye and good riddance to 2020 and all of its challenges, we’ve all learned a few valuable lessons from this tough year. Like resiliency, epidemiology, cutting hair, turning off the mute button and how to get through the day without baked goods in the break room.

So as we have closed the book on 2020, here are some takeaways we should carry with us into 2021:

Engagement rose as we rose to the occasion.

A Gallup survey shows employee engagement increased during the early months of the pandemic. I don’t have empirical evidence as to why, but I suspect the “we’re all in this together” aspect led to a greater sense of belonging and camaraderie. Being part of the shared solution as we devised ways to keep projects moving likely deepened connections to the company’s purpose. And simply being challenged to do new things in different ways seemed to boost engagement and excitement. Going forward then, the lesson might be: Don’t underestimate your teams. They will surprise you with their desire to overcome obstacles to “make it happen.”

Hybrid workplaces are on the horizon.

Long before the pandemic, the ability to work from home a few days a week showed up on employee satisfaction surveys. It has become a top priority for many job seekers, with some even saying the option to work remotely is more important than salary. And a recent Bloomberg survey reports the majority of employees want to continue working from home at least two days a week after the pandemic passes — but only 26% want to work from home full time. To continue to recruit and retain top talent then, many of us will need to implement a hybrid situation when we return to the office.

Working remotely can lead to overworking.

Without clear boundaries between work and home, people tend to work longer hours. At the same time, they are often reluctant to take time off or even sick days. But working from home doesn’t eliminate the need for rest. To avoid burnout, we need to encourage people to take breaks — and help them make the space to do so. Google recently started giving employees an additional two days off a year and launched “no meetings weeks.” The aim is to make it easier for people to rest and get away. Or simply clear time to focus on their most rewarding, meaningful projects.

Autonomy is an accelerator.

Fear of the unknown is powerful, and some managers were afraid their employees would slack off while working from home. Some companies went as far as installing software and other devices to measure productivity. And most were quickly reassured their people were as productive, if not more so, as when they were on site. This proves that in most cases, team members do not need to be under watchful eyes to stay motivated.

Conversely, those who were monitored were less productive and more stressed. Worse, they lost trust in their leaders and satisfaction in their jobs, because being trusted and empowered to manage how and when you work is a huge motivator. Teams are more innovative and collaborative when they have the freedom to adapt processes to what’s best for them. Individuals grow, stretch and thrive when given new challenges — and the autonomy and support to achieve them.

The late Zappo’s founder Tony Hsieh abolished all metrics for his call center staff, allowing them to spend as much time as they want on customer calls, even giving them the power to “fire” customers who are disrespectful. So once we’re back in the office in some fashion, let’s not slip into micromanaging patterns. Encourage and train your supervisors to act like mentors and coaches. Give people opportunity and confidence to spread their wings, take risks, strive and thrive.

Virtual commutes can bridge our worlds.

Now that I’m not driving back and forth to work and meetings, I’m missing the news I used to get on my car radio. But that’s a small thing compared to what many of us are missing: the clear definition between work and home. While we shouldn’t have to leave our entire identities at the door, it would be naïve to think there is no separation between our personal and professional selves. And most of us need a little time to transition from one to the other.

So even if your commute is only to the next room, consider scheduling a 15-minute “mental commute” at the beginning and end of your work day. Use this time to ease into and out of your professional and personal mindsets. Maybe prioritize your to-do list, exercise, grab a coffee or call a friend. Ultimately, this will help you wind up and down and hopefully put a clear stop to your work day, so you don’t continue working into the evening. To make it easier, Microsoft Teams plans to launch a “virtual commute” feature next year to help you schedule your “drive to nowhere.”

Mental health is on our minds.

I think one of the positive, lasting outcomes of the pandemic will be an increased awareness of our responsibility toward our team members’ mental health. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports more than 50% of adults have experienced a decline in their mental health since the beginning of the pandemic. In response, employers are addressing and talking about mental, emotional and behavioral health more than ever before.

We’re normalizing conversations, openly discussing what used to be “taboo” issues. Proactively checking in and asking, “How are you, really?” Learning to recognize the signs of depression, anxiety, addiction and isolation. And working to reduce the stigma and promote each other’s holistic well-being. This is long overdue and we should continue to provide the time, support and connection to resources long into the future.

Clear expectations build confidence.

Remote working opens a Pandora’s box of unwritten rules and expectations. And if new people have joined your team in the past nine months, they may be especially confused about what’s OK and what’s not. They might stress about things like: If my dog can’t wait until lunchtime for a walk, can I take my break at 11 a.m. instead of noon? If my office doubles as a kindergarten classroom, can I turn my camera off on a video call? Do I have to take PTO or get permission from my supervisor to zip out to pick my child up at school?

These cultural and emotional unwritten norms may be non-issues for many, but they could cause anxiety for others. Either way, when you clarify expectations, you give people confidence and security. So maybe in your routine pulse surveys, you can ask people if there is anything they would like to clear up, and then address it as a follow up.

Younger team members may need extra attention.

My biggest worry about working remotely is for our younger team members. I think back to my 20s and how much I learned from my more seasoned colleagues almost by osmosis, but also by popping into their offices. Seeing what they were working on. Watching them do what they did. Soaking up their advice and expertise. I think we lose some of that when working remotely.

Additionally, for younger people, much of their social life often revolves around work friends. And studies show those under 25 are the most eager to return to the workplace, citing feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety about their career growth. So encourage your senior team members to reach out and take younger colleagues under their wings. It doesn’t need to be a formal mentorship, but casual sharing of experience. And when it is safe to return to the office, consider emphasizing or even requiring your younger team members to be on-site at a least a few days a week.

Working parents are everyday heroes.

It’s always been difficult for working parents to juggle the demands of work and home. There’s a problematic disconnect between the hours of the work day and the school day, sports and activity schedules, summer and school vacations. And then came the pandemic! While it can be nearly impossible for some parents to get work done while their children are attending school remotely, the silver lining is that COVID-19 put parents’ challenges right before our eyes, literally.

Going forward, the Biden administration plans to push for alignment between the work and school day. At our workplaces, we can continue to provide the flexibility, accommodations and compassion we’ve offered during this period. And we also need to be flexible with expectations. Because by allowing parents to pause when their kids come home from school, for example, we risk causing them to work past midnight after everyone goes to bed.

So consider postponing, reducing or redistributing tasks that are not time-sensitive, like certain types of training or paperwork. Or limiting expectations and pressure to take on extra assignments like mentoring, organizing events or serving on committees. Doing so frees parents to focus on higher-value projects during their limited hours — and hopefully prevents overworking.

Gratitude will get us through.

Early in the pandemic, even I, a die-hard optimist, had moments where I struggled to stay positive. A friend suggested I begin each day by saying out loud five things I am grateful for. As I reflect on the past year, I’m grateful for the valuable lessons that have come out of the difficult circumstances. They present opportunities to make our great workplaces even greater — wherever we’re working. And that’s a great way to stay positive and hopeful during the home stretch.

Lauren Dixon is board chair of Dixon Schwabl Inc., a marketing communications firm with offices in Rochester and Buffalo, New York.

10/28/2020

From Virginia Lawyers Weekly.

The emergence of telecommuting as the norm, rather than the exception, highlights the need for secure communication between co-workers, clients, patients, and the office.

Work-from-home creates new cybersecurity risk
By: Melinda Rizzo October 12, 2020

Is your business information secure?

Now that many employees are out of the office and working from home cybersecurity takes on a new dimension with a workforce environment never before imagined.

“On the one hand it’s great we have all the technology and capability to do this, [because] no one planned for this,” said Daniel P. Lopresti, professor of computer science and engineering at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

While IT professionals know the domain of the businesses they need to protect – the physical and cyber boundary around it, they and can take measures to make sure security is in place.

Remote access to data and information adds another layer of complexity to protecting sensitive information accessed outside of the workplace physical and cyber campus footprint.

“We’re in a wild, wild west world right now,” Lopresti said.

Since quickly deploying a remote workforce employers need to plan and adjust for how the work-from-home landscape creates new challenges for IT professionals.

“This exposes tremendous potential for risk in the cyber realm,” Lopresti said.

According to the CPA Practice Advisor website, “remote desktop protocol,” or RDP, hacks are up a whopping 330% since the coronavirus shutdowns in March. Lopresti recommends minimizing that potential for data and information hacks by buying a new computer or having the employer buy or provide a work-dedicated device.

Keep the company work on a separate laptop or computer from personal or children’s school activities, and be aware of the vulnerabilities exposed on video conference and virtual sharing platforms and applications such as Zoom Bombing. Zoom Bombing refers to unwanted and disruptive participation in Zoom calls by those not invited to the call.

The Zoom hack that leaked data from an estimated half million users, illustrated the weaknesses in the platform’s security, he said.

Beyond use, passwords are a critical piece in protecting information, and not just on laptops, tablets or cell phones. Lopresti said change the default password, and make new passwords on home network and WiFi connections regularly to prevent security threats while working remotely.

“At home the user is responsible for the home network such as changing passwords regularly…because those can be compromised, too,” he said.

And powering devices down at the end of the work day is among the simplest solutions to foil hackers. “Shut the computer down every night…that reduces the risk. A machine that is shut down can’t do any damage,” Lopresti said.

Know the risks

Education is among the most important tools in the cybersecurity kit, according to Sondra Lorino, president and owner of Parallel Edge Inc., based in Philadelphia. She said educating clients about cybersecurity is paramount to protecting, their data regardless of whether the job takes place in the office, or in a remote home office set up.

“Especially right now employees are more vulnerable,” she said.

Whether a remote worker is sharing a computer with another family or household member or have “children running around,” remote employees need to be savvy about scams or emails while using their home equipment on company time. [An] employee is the main way hackers get into a system,” she said.

Which comes back to educating employees about their cybersecurity hygiene. Lorino said about 99% of security breaches happen – not because a hacker figured out the way in, but because an employee inadvertently shared access by providing information.

“They [employees] are the first line of defense,” she said.

Older equipment, along with outdated or older software versions for virus protection, ups the ante for security breaches. By replacing older equipment, updating software and making sure security patches are consistently loaded businesses can minimize the cyber risks to their data and information while employees are working remotely.

Add in multi-factor software authentication – where layers of protection are in place and the security gets tighter around sensitive digital material.

“Multi-factor authentication on Office 365 and other apps that allow it, [means] if you do get hacked and someone gets your password for Office 365 or Google apps, they need the next level [advance],” Lorino said.

This kind of protection makes it harder for hackers to navigate and strike gold by successfully entering a system.

Secure virtual private networks, or VPNs, are mainly used to access remote computers and have multi-factor or dual factor authentication, Lorino said. She stressed authenticating users with appropriate software or apps is a key to better cybersecurity from remote offices, or when accessing information or data on a server from remote locations.

While phishing and ransomware attacks are higher since coronavirus shutdowns, there are lots of ways to minimize the risk for remote workers and their employers.

Lorino expects more businesses will make use of cloud services and software programs such as Office 365, a subscription service offered by Microsoft where documents will be stored, and employees can share, access and collaborate on projects.

“Right now it’s pretty expensive to put a server or workstation [in the cloud], but I think those prices will start coming down, and we’ll start to see more of that,” Lorino said.

Work in the cloud

Another option is to log into a workstation that is in the cloud, while using monitors as a window into the workstation there. “It’s more secure for a remote workforce because you have more control over that environment,” she said.

Concerns about current antivirus software and regular backup maintenance – that may be unknown on a home or remote system setup – can be eliminated in the cloud, where the employer has control over those elements.

“I think more and more people will operate that way,” she said. “Its new technology and not a lot of people are using it yet.”

Because companies are seeing the value of hybrid and remote work options for their employees, Lopresti expects the work from home movement will continue well into a post COVID-19 world.

“These safe and secure practices in home work environments have to become part of our everyday life, because [work] has changed forever,” Lopresti said.

Friends:Below is a reprint from Virginia Lawyers weekly.  Amidst this pandemic, where face to face communication now see...
09/15/2020

Friends:

Below is a reprint from Virginia Lawyers weekly. Amidst this pandemic, where face to face communication now seems to be the exception, not the rule, this post seems especially salient. let us know if you agree or disagree with the points being made.

Have a good week-

Favaloro Law
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Nine passive-aggressive email phrases you are probably using

You might have noticed some of your bosses and colleagues and friends getting somewhat, well, downright testy during this coronavirus time. No wonder! Huge changes, disruption of business and home life, financial woes, uncertainty about the future, little or no social contact and that stay-at-home confinement we are all getting tired of.

What I noticed is the effect this crazy upside-down time is having on our emails. Yes, our emails. I noticed that more and more, emails are getting somewhat, if not totally, passive-aggressive. Based upon what I recently found out, I am willing to bet $.25 (I never go more than $.25) that all of us have been at least a little PA at some point.

Expressing anger in the office today is taboo and practically a crime. Yet, anger is a natural emotion and is bound to eventually come out somewhere. More times than we want to have happen, we find plenty of angry emails in our inbox. According to a 2018 survey by Adobe, there are nine extremely annoying email phrases all of us have most likely used. Adobe surveyed 1,928 workers asking for their most annoying email phrases. Truthfully, I was not aware that any of these phrases were considered annoying, let alone passive-aggressive.

While the Adobe survey calls theses phrases, “annoying,” Psychology Today magazine labels them passive-aggressive. To be truthful, I can’t tell you how many emails I have sent over the years containing practically all of these phrases. Who knew?

Over 75% of the respondents said that email was the preferred way to communicate around the office. Most said they spend anywhere from one to two hours to a half day reading and responding to emails.

Top nine email phrases considered passive-aggressive:

Not sure if you saw my last email… Really? Come on. Are you sure you’re not sure? Ninety-nine percent of the time (not based on any evidence), this is simply a lie. What this actually means is: “I know you saw my last email. I know you ignored it. So, I’m sending it again. I demand a response RIGHT NOW.”
Per my last email… Does anyone use the word “per” except to sound superior and official? Would you use it in a conversation? I doubt it. “Per my last email” roughly translates to “I notice you haven’t responded to my previous email and want to point it out to everyone in this email chain with my legal-sounding speak.”
Per our conversation… Similar to the above but with an added twist. “Per our conversation” is used when you’ve had a chat about something contentious or you want to lock something important in and ensure it’s documented just in case, of course, it all goes wrong. It’s generally called a CYA. (If you don’t know what that means, just email me.)
Any updates on this?… Here we go with: “I still haven’t heard from you about this important matter, so I’m going to chase you down until you give me what I want.”
Sorry for the double email … Here’s the classic: “Sorry but not really sorry” mentality. This phrase can mean either, “I’m going to send you two similar emails to really hit hard that I need a response,” or “I was so busy writing a tome in my first email that I neglected to add additional information.”
Please advise…. This is the epitome of passive-aggression. “Please advise” is usually shorthand for “I’ve done my part, now you do yours.”
As previously stated… Wait, wait! Maybe this phrase is the core of passive-aggression. Why not write: “I’m having to repeat myself because it’s obvious you are ignoring me.”
As discussed… This phrase loosely translates to “I’m putting our conversation in writing so you can’t misinterpret what’s expected of you. Be sure to get this right.”
Re-attaching for convenience… I rarely see this. However, it is a nice way of saying, “I’m reattaching a file you say that you never received (when I know you did) because it’s easier than having to sort through my sent emails to prove that I did, indeed, send it.”
Interestingly, the phrases “Per my last email” and “Per our conversation” came in second and third in the survey with “Not sure you saw my email” as number one.

Do not send an email starting like this: Whether you’re speaking with your supervisor or contacting a client, 37% of respondents said starting an email with “To whom it may concern”as a terrible greeting. “Hey” (28%) and the corny “Happy [insert day]!” also ranked poorly.

The most annoying email cliches are:

Just looping in… 37%
As per my last email…33%
Just checking in…19%
Confirming receipt…16%
Thanks in advance…7%
Hope you’re well…6% No, you don’t! Frankly, you are probably just trying to sound polite or have no original ideas for another opener.
The style you use can also be annoying:

Using capital letters for whole words or sentences – 67%
Using kisses or ‘x’ – 65%
CC’ing people who don’t need to be involved – 63%
Using slang, eg ‘OMG’ – 53%
Using too many exclamation marks – 52%
Sending an email without proofreading – 50%
Sending very long emails – 29%
Using emojis – 29%
Not having an email signature – 23%
Double emailing – 22%
Using smiley faces – 22%
Using colored fonts – 21%
Another recent study found that keeping emails on the pithy side can go a long way. Emails with a subject line containing just one word were found to be 87% more likely to receive a response. It was also found that emails 50 words or less boosted reply rates by more than 40%.

What does work: More than half of the respondents said receiving no greeting (53%) was absolutely the worst for a work email. Starting an email with a greeting such as “Hi” was received the most positively by respondents with nearly half agreeing it was the perfect greeting. “Kind regards” was found to be the best way to sign-off (69%). “Good morning” and “Good afternoon” also ranked highly as nice ways to address recipients.

A much better way to communicate: All cattiness aside, each of these phrases have something in common: a need to get information quickly. Almost everyone finds these email expressions annoying, boring or trite, yet most of us frequently use them. This suggests that something needs to change to make information sharing more pleasant and responses more plentiful.

According to Psychology Today, here are three steps to handle passive-aggressive emails:

Step 1: Know what you are dealing with. See beyond sugarcoated phrasing and recognize hostility. When you see the patterned wording as cited in the Adobe study (e.g., “As previously stated” or “Please advise”), red flags should go up and you need to ask yourself if the sender is harboring some hidden anger.

Step 2: Refuse to engage. Resist urges to mirror the sender’s hostility. Any time covertly hostile email is responded to with overt hostility, the passive-aggressive person succeeds. Rather than mirroring passive-aggressive behavior and increasing the overall hostility, defuse the hostility with emotionally neutral, bland responses. For example:

Passive-aggressive phrase: “Not sure if you saw my last email…” Siphon off hostility by starting with, “Thanks for the reminder.”

Passive-aggressive phrase: “Re-attaching for your convenience…” “I appreciate that you re-sent the document.”

Passive-aggressive phrase: “As previously stated…” Don’t take the bait. A simple, “Thanks for the recap” will go a long way in keeping a friendly working relationship and rises above someone else’s covert anger.

Passive-aggressive phrase: “Any updates on this?” Offer a polite response such as, “I don’t have any updates yet,” or even better, “I don’t have any updates at this time but I will email you as soon as I do.”

Passive-aggressive phrase: “Please advise.” Offer the advice they are seeking. For example, “Yes, please proceed with your idea,” or “We have decided to move in a slightly different direction. Please hold off on making any decisions.”

Step 3: Acknowledge the anger. If you feel like a coworker is chronically hostile and consistently using passive-aggressive communication, respectfully acknowledge their anger. For example, “It sounds like you may be feeling angry,” or, “From your email, I’m wondering if you are frustrated about something.”

Nine times out of 10, passive-aggressive people will automatically deny that they are angry — and that’s OK. Your respectful acknowledgement marks changing dynamics. The passive-aggressive person now knows that you will not run away from resolving conflict. Ultimately, you will suffer less and get better, more productive responses.

Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing and co-founding member of the Organization of Legal Professionals. © 2020 by Estrin Legal Staffing. Reprinted with permission.

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For the past 37 years, Mark Favaloro, an AV rated lawyer, the highest rating attainable from Martindale Hubbell, has been trying cases in the trial courts of the Commonwealths of Virginia and Massachusetts, as well as the United States District Courts and Courts of Appeal in the First and Fourth Circuits. FAVALORO LAW OFFICES had its roots in Massachusetts, being formed in 1992 and serving clients until Mark and his family moved to Virginia Beach in 2007. Mark practiced with a medical malpractice defense firm, followed by practicing at a plaintiffs' medical malpractice and personal injury law firm before reestablishing FAVALORO LAW OFFICES, with its principal offices in Virginia Beach, and a satellite office in Reading, Massachusetts. For the past 14 years, in addition to his practice, Mark has served as a lecturer on issues of law to practicing attorneys, as well at to physicians and healthcare providers on issues relating to medical malpractice claims. From the outset of his practice, Mark has focused on helping injured plaintiffs, and those who have been neglected, and have suffered because of it. Delta Theta Phi. Member, Scribes. Editor-in-Chief, New England Journal of Prison Law, 1980-1981. Member, New England Legal Services Project, 1979-1980. Member: Community Planning and Development Commission, Town of Reading, 1987-1990, Clerk, 1990, Chairman: Reading Master Plan Advisory Committee, 1987-1991. Chairman: Reading Legal Services Selection Committee, 1991. Member, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, 1991-1994. Chairman, Reading First Baptist Board of Trustees, 1990. Lecturer, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Series, 1991, Lecturer Virginia CLE and NBI, 2012- Pesent Member, I'Anson Hoffman Inn of Court, 2013- Present, Member Norfolk Portsmouth Bar Association, 2012 Present, Member, NPBA CLE Committee, 2010-2014, Member, Virginia Beach Bar Association, 2010 - Present, Member, American Association of Justice, 2012 - Present, Member Virginia Trial Lawyers Association 2011- Present.

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