And we’re back! This was our second annual dental outreach program in Jamaica. And it was a HUGE SUCCESS! A large group of us went down from September 3-12, 2016. Our volunteer group included Ontario dentists, hygienists, dental students, Henry Schein representatives, dental lawyers (myself and Jonathan Borrelli) and support staff.
The 2016 Dental Outreach Program Volunteers
Now, in this blog, and the next 4, I’m going to get into some of the things that happened when we went down and also when we came back (what Papa Joe calls ‘reverse culture shock’). In blog #2, I’ll talk about the clinic set up, equipment failures and how we adapted to keep going. In blog #3, I’ll talk about working hard and playing hard. In blog #4, I’ll talk about some shock and awe. And in blog #5, I’ll talk about reverse culture shock (when we got home) and some parting thoughts.
Now that we’re all back, I can say without a doubt, it was the best 10 days of the year for me (and likely many other volunteers). Everyone misses each other; the patients; the patties! But before I get started, I’m very happy to report that Oral Health Office magazine will be publishing an article I wrote exclusively for them in the October / November edition of their magazine. I’ll be touching on some of the stories that I couldn’t really get to in that article in these next few blogs… so shall we begin?
1 Year in the Making
When I returned home on September 6, 2015 from our first Jamaica dental outreach program, we got to work on promoting the success of that year’s program, as well as recruiting for our 2016 program. We were featured in the Toronto Star on December 26, 2015 (HERE). An article I wrote (HERE) about the experience was published in Oral Health Office. Ontario Dentist magazine acknowledged some of our volunteers who were featured in the media, as well as Dr. Tim Milligan (whose speech at the U of T Gala motivated me to start the whole program) (which you can read about HERE). And then we went on the road… talking to dentists and dental students about the program. I figured the hardest year was behind us and we could do a much better job recruiting and preparing volunteers the second time around. I was right…
Sending Down Supplies
The first year, we hit a couple of snags when it came to sending down supplies. Some dentists sent supplies down. Some brought them down with them. We also got a sizeable donation from Henry Schein, Patterson Dental, and K-Dental which we shipped down. We didn’t really know how to deal with all the logistics of getting our supplies down to Florida and then to Jamaica. There were delays. We had to spend weeks figuring out all the paperwork. It cost us a lot of money too. But at the end of the day, we got our supplies down there.
This time around, we got even more supplies. 20 large rubbermaid containers full. Plus, Dr. Monica Dinca – Toronto; Dr. Calvin Pike – Endo; Kitchener-Waterloo; and Dr. Joseph Da Costa – Toronto all donated sundries and equipment… and they weren’t even able to volunteer! I was shocked by their generosity.
Thankfully, we managed to use a different shipping company to get everything down and it arrived punctually right before we did!
Dr. Monica Dinca (General Dentist – Toronto) poses alongside her donation of equipment and sundries.
Notice the chair here in Jamaica? It came from Dr. Monica Dinca’s office!
Dr. Calvin Pike (Endo – Kitchener Waterloo) and his wonderful team pose next to their donation of sundries. Who’s car is that?
This was MOST BUT NOT ALL of the stuff that we packed up at DMC LLP to ship down to Jamaica. It took a few days to get it done.
In terms of preparing to go down, we were better this year than last. Thanks to Dr. Christina Bodea and her husband Stefan Atalick, we were able to put together a preparation guide (which you can see HERE) about what to expect when going down. It was reviewed / edited by myself and Papa Joe and Salli Jo and the end result was this: everyone had a better understanding of what to expect for the week. Having done the program twice, I think there’s definitely room for adding more. I also sent out a series of e-mails throughout the months leading up to our departure to discuss things like: airplane tickets, paperwork, meeting up for a photo-op at our ASM after-party, and how to avoid getting bitten by mosquitos and sand fleas.
Some of our volunteers met up at our ODA ASM After-Party to get this shot. Oh Stefan!
I know you’re very interested in the whole ‘how to avoid getting bitten’ part, so here is the email I sent out (for the record, everyone commented about how little they were bitten throughout the trip because of my tips ;-):
Sand Fleas – also known as “No See Ums”
In terms of next steps, I will likely send out one (1) more email before our trip so you can can be best prepared for our 10 day trip. But I did want to mention something important – preventing bites from Sand Fleas, also called “No See Ums”. The Caribbean beaches are plagued by sand fleas. You can’t see them. You won’t know when you’re bit. Typically, you’ll wake up the next morning with a rash somewhere and think there are bed bugs. That’s them! And they likely bit you the day before. They bite your feet and ankles and legs while you’re sitting on the beach working on your tan. And their bites are rash-like, itch and swell and don’t go away. Last year, some volunteers didn’t follow my advice and ended up getting bitten pretty bad (needing to see the nurse and getting some injections). Those volunteers would say something like: “Oh, I never get bitten”. My suggestion to have a an enjoyable trip: put your egos away and follow my advice (I tend not to get bitten by mosquitos or sand fleas when I’m travelling through the Caribbean):
Following my suggestions should result in a comfortable trip where you can enjoy the beach. You won’t be trying to scratch your legs while you’re trying to pull out a tooth at one of the clinics 😉
Think about it like this: I have to take a team of 10-15 strangers per clinic and get them to make a temporary dental office work for 5 full days. Things will break down. That’s guaranteed. The working conditions are harsh (hot; humid; fans blow hot air at you; low light; mosquitos; etc.). And there’s a huge demand for dental treatments and cleanings (hundreds of people lined up outside). So you’ll definitely need a positive attitude. And then you need to make sure that the team members get along throughout it all. Make sure you have dominant / leadership personalities paired up with detail-oriented worker bees, social butterflies, and highly-structured steadies to keep everyone together. You can’t have too much of one personality (particularly dominant personalities) or else there will be drama. And that’s the worst thing ever when you’re down there: when you’re not having fun anymore because of internal bickering. Thankfully, we didn’t have any this year at our 2 clinics. I was so happy it worked out.
In the next blog, I’ll talk about what happened when we actually got to Jamaica…
Who knew golfing could be so much fun? Just ask anyone in our group – namely, Tom “Mauricio” Pizio (K-Dental), Martin Houser (Harris Sheaffer LLP) and Dr. Samantha Amaro (White Willow Family and Cosmetic Dentistry). We ate, drank, joked around, took some great pics, etc. And I’m going to go out on a limb here and say… we also played our best golf to date! And it was all for a very good cause: altogether, about 150 golfers and sponsors (including DMC LLP, Henry Schein and K-Dental) raised close to $25k for Holland Bloorview! Here are some pics from this wonderful event. For those who came, I’m sure they’ll say it was a very well organized event with great silent auction prizes, gifts for the winning team AND the most honest, and we couldn’t (that’s right: “could not have”) had better weather. It was supposed to rain (per the weather man, earlier in the week), but it turned out to be the best weather possible for a long day of golfing. Thanks God!
Here are some pics:
This is a follow up to a previous blog about completing our 2015 Jamaica dental outreach trip and how our new goal is to establish a free public dental clinic there (we need to raise $1-million!). In fact, I’ve written 5 blogs about our trip and you can read them here: (1) Mission Accomplished + New Mission, (2) PICS from the Week, (3) What Transpired, (4) Stories From The Clinic, (5) Final Thoughts.
I’m also pleased to announce that Oral Health Office will be publishing an article about the trip in the Fall. Now, in this blog, I’ll take a break from writing (don’t worry, it’s a small break). They say that a picture is worth a thousand words; and I’ll leave my thousand words for another blog. These pictures summarize our program from my eyes over the course of 10 days. In case you’re confused about what’s happening in some of the pictures (e.g. what’s with the hand sign that looks like a “P” with three fingers up high or why I’m happily covered in white powder), all will be explained in future blogs… So without further adieu:
The idea of giving 10% of the sale of your practice to someone sounds like a tough pill to swallow. So DON’T: if you engage DMC LLP to represent you in the sale of your practice, you only have to pay our normal fixed fees. No commission! No finders fee! No success fees! No hidden fees! We’ve sold a number of practices on www.DentalPlace.ca already (some for over 130% of appraised) and we’re saving dentists ~$465,000 in commissions so far!
And let me tell you something else: there are others out there – namely consultants and accountants – who will tell you that THEY can sell your practice and find you a buyer. Yes, there’s a fee involved. We have seen it range from 7% of the purchase price to a flat finder or success fee (e.g. $30,000).
But here’s the kicker: only lawyers and real estate sales persons can engage in trading in a dental practice under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002. That right: it is illegal for anyone else to assist you in selling your dental practice for a percentage or success / finders fee.
Finally, ask yourself: why would you want or need anyone other than a law firm to represent you in the sale? They can take care of your incorporation (to take advantage of the lifetime capital gains exemption), help put your team members on contract, deal with your lease to make sure it will be acceptable to a buyer, market your practice online (on this website and www.DentalPlace.ca) and offline (e.g. open houses, being present during due diligence, etc.), and actually put the deal together and follow it through to completion. Click here and here to learn more about what we do for sellers.
After it’s done, we can actually make sure other things are taken care of for you legally as well, such as completing your Wills and Powers of Attorney. Can anyone else do all of these things? No.
If I were in your shoes, I’d consider it a no-brainer: if you deal with us, it’s a 1 stop shop. You get educated, you get protected, and you save thousands of dollars. And if you want to know what other dentists have said about dealing with us, just click here to read close to 50 testimonials (and growing).
Here is the article that appeared in today’s Globe and Mail about us. You can click on the image below or scroll down to read the full article:
Ivor Tossell, “Tech-savvy law firm caters exclusively to dentists”, The Globe and Mail, November 10, 2014.
With a hint of self-deprecation, but maybe only a hint, Michael Carabash notes that he wanted to be the number one criminal lawyer in Toronto, but for the fact that everyone else wanted the same thing too.
Just a few years out of law school, and with an MBA and a handful of law-related online ventures under his belt, Mr. Carabash found himself looking for a saleable niche. “I was doing everything under the sun as a general practitioner – and I was just spinning my wheels,” he says.
It was when he found himself with a dentist in his lawyer’s chair that he hit upon an idea for a novel practice that could fly with the help of some canny online marketing: A law firm that caters to nobody but dentists.
“He said you should only work for dentists, and I thought he was nuts,” says Mr. Carabash. “There’s only 9,000 dentists in Ontario, and people thought we’d starve.”
But they didn’t. Three years later, Mr. Carabash says his curiously-focused three-person practice DMC LLP – the only one he knows that caters exclusively to dentists – is set to double in size in the next year. It’s a testament, he says, to the way the web can help a firm dominate a niche market.
Dentists need lawyers, and not just for the reasons you might suspect. Mr. Carabash’s practice doesn’t do malpractice at all. “Just the happy stuff,” he says. “Buying and selling.”
Dentists are small business owners like any other, and have practices to buy and sell, properties to manage, and employees to hire. But they also have to deal with the particularities of working with their provincial college and its regulations, which might confound a generalist commercial lawyer.
Part of Mr. Carabash’s approach is to blend online DIY with in-person legal review. On his site, dentists can have legal forms for things like contracts and practice sales drawn up automatically after filling in a questionnaire. Their responses are fed into a template, which is then reviewed and finalized in person by the firm’s lawyers. Mr. Carabash says it’s a win-win: The client has their legal fees slashed to the tune of two thirds, and the lawyers are spared the dreariness of managing repetitive questionnaires by hand.
“We separate out the labour we don’t want to do, so we can focus on the more complicated areas of law we’re interested in,” he says.
(The dental legal forms service is an outgrowth of a general-purpose legal forms venture he started in 2012, called the “Will-O-Matic,” which does more or less what it sounds like it does.)
But part of Mr. Carabash’s approach involves a good, old-fashioned content strategy.
Dentistry is a tight community, with a finite number of trade publications and industry events. So, with an eye to dominating the search results for people looking for dental law (because really, how many could there be?), he started blogging, pumping out post after post on his given topic, even as David Mayzel, his more traditionally-minded partner in the practice, looked askance.
But for every 100 articles he’d put up, he’d gain about 1,000 unique visitors a month. And as the new firm started attracting clients – he says they now serve up to 100 a year – he found that almost half had found them through their website.
Soon, Mr. Carabash started playing a game with his doubting partner, quizzing him on whether any given new client had arrived via the blog. Invariably, they had.
“He hates that game,” says Mr. Carabash.
David Mayzel is your legal risk manager. He is a trained courtroom lawyer and has spent many years resolving disputes both in and out of court. He knows how to prepare documents and execute transactions in a way that avoids or mitigates legal risks. He can be reached at 416.528.5280. or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Carabash is your business law adviser. He is an entrepreneur at heart who helps you see the big legal picture. He drafts clear and effective agreements that protect your rights while promoting your interests. He can be reached at 647.680.9530. or email@example.com.
Ljubica Durlovska is your transition lawyer. She helps you with staff and associates, maintaining your corporation, and other business matters. She can be reached at 416.443.9280, extension 206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jonathan Borrelli is your employment lawyer. He helps you with staff and associates matters, including hirings, terminations, switching staff to written contracts and resolving disputes. He can be reached at 416.443.9280, extension 204 or email@example.com.
Benjamin Kong is an experienced business law clerk. He assists David and Michael with corporate matters and purchase / sale transactions. He can be reached at 416.443.9280, extension 207 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Whitehouse is an experienced business law clerk. She assists David and Michael with corporate matters and purchase / sale transactions. She can be reached at 416.443.9280, extension 203 or email@example.com.
David, Michael, Ljubica, Jonathan, Ben and Julie are a truly dynamic team. Their diverse knowledge, skills, and experiences will help you get the best deal possible while promoting your interests and protecting your rights. You can read dentist testimonials here.