Strategic Plan Update — Q3

Goal #1 — Define Identity

Define a clear, compelling organizational identity that reflects who/what the association represents and that effectively focuses its programs, services and activities.

  • Defining Our Identity Initiative: ALA continues to work to develop a clear, compelling and well-recognized organizational identity. The Association is using several initiatives to get membership’s thoughts on what ALA means to them. They include:

    • Six focus groups were conducted at the 2017 Annual Conferences & Expo, facilitated by ALA Board of Director members.
    • Whiteboard towers were stationed in the Exhibit Hall at the 2017 Annual Conference & Expo for members to write in the words that exemplify what ALA means to them.
    • An online survey is being deployed July 24 to all members providing the opportunity to gather large scale data and information on ALA’s current and future identity. The survey will be open for three weeks. For questions on the survey, or to receive a link to the survey, please email
    • Chapter discussions; particularly, Regional Representatives will be visiting individual chapters and use the online AnswerGarden tool to get more in-depth answers from members, by asking a series of three questions on ALA, who we are and what we do.
  • Product and Services Review Committee: This committee is responsible for reviewing ALA’s current inventory of products and services as well as any prospective products or services using a strategic process to ensure timely, necessary and valuable tools are being provided to the membership. The committee is currently evaluating ALA’s inventory of products, services and benefits including cost/benefit analyses and time spent (staff & volunteer members) on projects. This analysis will continue through Q3.

Goal #2 — Increase Member and Business Partner Value

Develop relevant, actionable, timely, responsive resources to increase value of ALA to members, business partners and other legal management professionals.

  • Website: Part of the new ALA website includes a feature wherein members can customize their online profiles with pictures, added details on their career and expertise and other updates that were previously unavailable to each member. Other new features include:

    • Better navigation
    • Better integration of single sign on
    • Enhanced online resources

  • ALA Philadelphia Chapter Video: The ALA Philadelphia Chapter features a new video on its YouTube page that highlights its scholarship winners discussing their experience at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference & Expo in Denver. The "price" for winning a scholarship is that the recipients agree to participate in a video! Watch it here. This chapter also did a video with testimonies from its business partners talking about their experiences working with the Philadelphia Chapter.

  • ALA Capital Chapter Video: For the past two years, ALA has done a 60 Seconds of Fame contest. Participants are asked to use their personality, unique ideas, and creativity to produce a video testimonial telling ALA why they value their membership or relationship. The ALA Capital Chapter won its 60 Seconds of Fame for the second year in a row. Here’s the entry.  

  • Online Communities: ALA’s Online Communities are a place for members to have discussions and network with one another on daily business questions. The conversations grow organically and often include samples and checklists that other members provide.

    • A new function for connections includes: My Network – Connecting and Following — There are a couple of ways to connect with people. First, you can see who is in your network by clicking on MY NETWORK under MY OPTIONS at the top of the community page. This is where you can manage those connections.

      The way to invite someone to follow you is to follow them first. You can do this easily by searching for the person you want to connect with by selecting MEMBERS in the green bar. Find the person(s) you want to connect with and click on the person – you will be taken to their ‘MY PAGE.’ On the left side, you’ll see this icon: online community icon

      Click on it, and you can either ‘connect’ or ‘follow’ them. If you connect and they accept, you are connected. If you follow, they are given the opportunity to follow you too.

      Another way to connect with people is within the Forums. If you see a post by someone you want to follow, click on the post and under the poster’s name, you will see an option to ‘follow’ this person. This also triggers an option for them to choose to follow you.

    • Top searched terms in the Online Communities include: “job descriptions,” “retention” and “bylaws.” 

  • Reference Library: The Reference Library continues to grow with content that Regional Representatives updated from the old ALA Management Encyclopedia. In the coming months, ALA will be adding additional checklists, forms and job descriptions to the site so members can easily access them. You can easily find the Reference Library in the Online Communities.
  • ALA business partners, current and prospective, can find all the information they need related to ALA events and marketing opportunities at the ALA Business Partner Portal. The ALA Business Partner Portal recently was awarded the 2017 Gold Excel Award by the Association Media & Publishing, recognizing the best, and the brightest in association media and publishing.

  • Legal Marketplace: ALA's free, one-stop resource for business solutions and services is visited more than 2,700 times each month by members seeking a competitive edge for their legal organization. Legal Marketplace features enhanced business partner profiles, interactive content, and easy-to-navigate solution categories like “Exhibitors”, “business development,” “finance” and “human resources.”

Goal #3 — Enhance Thought Leadership

Become recognized as a thought leader in the legal industry by conducting critical industry research and developing new ideas, innovations and solutions to guide the legal management industry.

  • 2017 Compensation & Benefits Survey: ALA’s 2017 Compensation & Benefits Survey and Large Firm Compensation Survey opened June 22 for participation and will be open through the end of July. The 2017 survey reports are currently available for presale at the conclusion of the data submission process. The 2017 survey reports will be completed and distributed in late September. Each year, the survey gets great participation (more than 1,000 responses) and covers 50+ positions, with dedicated sections for metropolitan areas with sufficient participation. The 2017 report will include additional information on partner capital contributions and succession planning.

  • AC17 Virtual Conference: For the second year in a row, ALA has offered its Virtual Conference at the Annual Conference & Expo. This year’s featured sessions included:

    • HR30: Marijuana in the Workplace
    • LI32: Alternative Approaches to Secretarial Support
    • FM34: Financial Reporting Checklists Every Firm Should Be Doing

 Just a few of the testimonials include:  

“I have attended many national conferences in the past and they are so beneficial. I was not able to attend this year, but attended the virtual conference because I was interested in all 3 topics. The format was so well done that I felt like I was attending in person!”

“While I prefer to be at the conference, the virtual conference was a great way to participate, as I was unable to attend this year. I was very impressed with the easy of use and the audio/visual quality. It truly was the next best thing to being there!” 

“Convenient and valuable content delivered.” 

Learn more about how to access the Virtual Conference recordings.

  • ALA UPBMS: ALA is collaborating with Catherine MacDonagh, JD, of the Legal Lean Sigma Institute, and an ALA member, to create case studies incorporating the UPBMS. Catherine is conducting a pre-conference workshop prior to both the East and West Regional Legal Management conferences where the UPBMS case studies will be developed and incorporated into the learning.  ALA will continue to integrate the case studies into other relevant learning.

    • ALA has partnered with the Legal Marketing Association to create the SALI Alliance (Standards Advancement for the Legal Industry).  This is a complementary effort to ALA’s UPBMS and focuses on developing new standards to address the needs of more sophisticated buyers (clients) and service providers. Goal is to develop consistent definitions of the types of work lawyers do (dispute resolution, transactional services, etc.)  

  • Legal Management Magazine:

    • “Best of Legal Management Annual Guide”
      • ALA has published its first printed Legal Management Annual Guide. The content is a compilation of the some of the best articles from recent issues of Legal Management with current industry facts and stats.
      • The guide mailed out to all members, and ALA shared copies at its Chapter Leadership Institute and other industry conferences.
      • Seven business partners purchased an ad in the guide including: Thomson Reuters, Pitney Bowes, Konica Minolta, ABA Retirement Funds, Research Associates Inc., Traveling Coaches, Rippe and Kingston.

    • Legal Management print PDF: At the beginning of the year, ALA redesigned the digital version of Legal Management with some big updates. Since the publication became digital, many members have requested the ability to print out a full PDF of the issue. Now they can download a fully designed print PDF. Each issue has average 250 downloads of the PDF.

    • The Legal Management Talk podcasts continue to average 250-300 listens each time they go live. The podcasts feature speakers from ALA conferences, Legal Management articles, and business partners. Moving further into 2017, the publications team will be looking at new themes and speakers for the podcasts to continue the momentum.

  • Diversity and Inclusion Resources: ALA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee presented at the Chapter Leadership Institute and shared what they currently have in the works:

    • They’ve beefed up their social media presence considerably, utilizing Hootsuite to post new content several times per month on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
    • The IILP Review was published in May featuring the Diversity Toolkit and a profile of their tactics that earned them the Idea Award in 2016.
    • The new Culturally Competent Leadership presentation, the second educational offering developed by the committee, is ramping up and has been presented to the Orange County Chapter in June with additional presentations scheduled for July in Ft. Worth and August in Los Angeles.
    • The committee has submitted an article, “Let the Games Begin – Using Gamification to Uncover Unconscious Biases,” for publication in Legal Intelligencer

Goal #4 — Advance Legal Management Professional Development

Advance the knowledge, skills and leadership of legal management professionals and strengthen the role of legal management professionals in the legal industry.  

  • Certified Legal Manager (CLM)® Program: A new CLM study guide is in development. Subject matter experts are currently developing specific modules and ALA has engaged an adult learning and certification expert to assist in completing the study guide. We are also working on increasing the visibility of the CLM program with the creation of press release templates for firms to use to congratulate successful certification candidates. We’ve also enhanced our communications to managing partners and chapters when candidates pass the exam.

  • eLearning: ALA’s eLearning program provides education through 6-week, instructor-led, online courses. The spring and summer courses have focused on Financial Management with an option for individuals to earn a Legal Management Finance Specialist certificate. Lisa R. Dasher, CLM, CPA, is teaching Financial Information & Analysis and Lisa Waligorski, CLM, is teaching Law Firm Accounting.

  • Webinars: ALA is offering 32 webinars this year. Users can listen to them live or on-demand. These one-hour sessions allow listeners to received continuing education (CE) credits to put toward their education. The webinars take place twice a month and three in the longer months.

  • Continuing Education (CE) Courses: Legal Management has produced its second Continuing Education course; the subject matter is on Ethics and a second one on Substance Abuse. Readers need to complete reading the article and finish a quiz at the end to earn a CE credit. To date, almost twenty people have completed and passed the Legal Management CE courses.

  • BOLD Bites archives: Past issues of ALA BOLD Bites electronic newsletter are now available in archive form starting with the 2016 issues. We’ll continue to archive each issue as it goes out. Please note that access to the archive is available through the BOLD Bites landing page on the ALA site.

  • Job Bank and Career Center: Along with the newly designed website, ALA recently rolled out a new and improved Job Bank and Career Center. It's easier than ever for members to search and find job postings — and they are! ALA's Job Listings page is the second-highest visited page, with more than 26,000 views during May and June, and almost 100 jobs posted during that time period. 

Goal #5 Build Community and Engagement

Build a stronger sense of community and shared purpose and increase engagement among members, chapters, business partners, and other stakeholders.

  • Bylaws and Governance Update: The ALA Board of Directors spent a great deal of time analyzing the Association’s Bylaws, which were initially drafted over 40 years ago. The Board took a good look at the voting process — wherein each chapter had only one vote and complicated things because small chapters had the same vote as large chapters.  Some members questioned why independent members did not have a voice. Many questioned why each individual ALA member did not have a vote. Changing the voting process to one member/one vote was the impetus for the most recent Bylaws change.

While making that change, the Board felt it was also time for a comprehensive review to ensure compliance with current legal requirements, as well as best practices in association management. With guidance from the Association’s legal counsel, who works primarily with professional associations, a Board-appointed task force drafted revised and restated Bylaws, which were approved by the Board in January. Prior to the Board vote, the draft Bylaws were sent to ALA members in August 2016 for a review and comment period. As required, the amended and restated Bylaws needed to be ratified by a majority of the Chapter Presidents voting on the amendments. The Presidents voted on behalf of their chapters.

Based upon the votes cast by the Chapter Presidents, the revised and restated bylaws have been approved by a majority vote of the chapters that cast a vote. The new bylaws can now be found on the ALA website.

  • Annual Conference & Expo Schedule: The Annual Conference Planning Committee is well underway in planning the 2018 Annual Conference & Expo, to be held May 3-5 at Gaylord National Harbor, Washington, DC. Some key notes on the event include:

    • 2018 event has a different day pattern – Thursday through Sunday (instead of Sunday through Wednesday)
    • The event will begin Thursday morning with the Keynote (instead of Sunday evening with the Welcome Reception)
    • Exhibit Hall opens Thursday evening with the Welcome Reception

  • Regional Legal Management Conferences: ALA’s Regional Legal Management Conferences provide identical education in two locations, and include networking opportunities and roundtables based on region. The high-caliber educational content is geared toward the needs of legal management leaders and functional specialists.

West (Regions 4, 5, 6) 
September 7–9, 2017
Venetian Las Vegas 
Las Vegas, Nevada

East (Regions 1, 2, 3)
October 12–14, 2017
Renaissance Nashville
Nashville, Tennessee 

  • Specialty Conferences: ALA’s three Specialty Conferences are co-located this year in Chicago. The IP, HR and Finance Conferences for Legal Professionals will share a keynote speaker and then attendees will break off to attend their respective conference’s education sessions. All three conferences will share an Exhibit Hall.

Intellectual Property Conference for Legal Professionals
October 5–6, 2017

Human Resources Conference for Legal Professionals
October 5–7, 2017

Finance and Law Practice Management Conference for Legal Professionals
October 5–7, 2017

  • Volunteer: As with any association, volunteers are the heart of ALA. It is because of the dedication and expertise of more than 100 volunteer leaders that ALA is able to provide its members with the high-level education, networking opportunities and resources needed to effectively manage law firms. ALA looks for ambitious members who are interested in serving on one of its many committees or in a leadership role. Every position has a different level of responsibility and time commitment. Check out the various roles and activities for the standing committees, conference committees and leadership roles. ALA encouraged self nominations this year, too. 

  • ALA Winner of 2017 When Work Works Award: ALA has been recognized with The When Work Works Award for the second year in a row! The award is part of When Work Works (WWW), a research-based initiative in partnership with SHRM and the Families & Work Institute, which highlights how effective and flexible workplaces can yield positive business results and help employees succeed at work and at home.

  • ALA Social Media Channels: ALA’s social media channels can keep you up to date on the latest in industry trends, education opportunities, chapter news and member events. Be sure to follow us, tag ALA in your posts and use #ALABuzz.


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