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The Foundation of the Association of Legal Administrators
Are you new to the Association? Start here to make the most of your membership.
Over the past 40 years, ALA has been at the forefront of the legal management profession. Since its inception in 1971, legal management
professionals have turned to ALA as their connection to knowledge, resources and networking.
As ALA celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2011, you are invited to take a brief tour down “memory lane” and look back on the profession
and how it, and the association, have changed and evolved over the last four decades. Following is a selection of photos and images, broken down by the
decades, of important ALA milestones and events from the last 40 years. We hope you will enjoy looking at them and find them interesting as well as
informative. Look closely, you might see yourself or some friends along the journey!
A special thank you to the following members who have been with us since the beginning:
The 70s were an interesting time, the Viet Nam war was ending, the Watergate scandal had brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon –
and ALA was founded by Bradford W. Hildebrandt, Robert I. Weil and Mary Ann Altman to provide support to professionals in the management of law
firms, corporate legal departments and government legal agencies..
Incorporated in Pennsylvania, the first officers and staff of ALA were:
Bradford W. Hildebrandt, President
Marvin G. Winter, First Vice President
Madge D. Stone, Vice President
Charles G. Aff, Vice President
Harry J. Rome, Vice President
Mary Ann Altman, Editor
Take a look at ALA’s very first newsletter and you will see how ALA
was formed and the plans that were in the works for the future. Other highlights from this timeframe include the very
first ALA Annual Conference held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in March, 1972,
drawing 151 administrators and 10 exhibitors. In 1972 ALA’s first chapters were formed. We also conducted our first compensation survey, reporting
that the mean total compensation of managers in private law firms was $17,450 per year!
The 70’s was also a time of technological revolution with a power-typing seminar at the 1973 Annual Conference, a special exhibit of the
latest power-typing equipment and the introduction of the brand-new IBM Magcard II Typewriter.
Additional key 70's highlights include:
The 1980s saw a great deal of change and challenges: the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the Middle-East was in turmoil, Mt. St.
Helens erupted, and the space shuttle Challenger disaster among other noteworthy events.
For ALA the 1980’s were also a time of continuous change as we adopted a new Professional Code of Ethics in 1980. In 1981 over
750 members attended the 10th anniversary conference in Dallas, Texas, and 1982 saw the first issue of Legal Administrator which later
became Legal Management.
Additional key 80's highlights include:
The last full decade of the 20th century and the 2nd millennium ushered in a new age of communication with the Internet, saw the collapse of
the Soviet Union, the Middle East was still in turmoil, the United States led an international coalition against Saddam Hussein in Gulf War I,
Nelson Mandela was released from prison, the United States experienced its longest period of economic expansion and NAFTA (the North American
Free Trade Agreement) is signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
For ALA, the 1990’s represented its 20th anniversary as we celebrated at the 1991 Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee with over
1,500 registrants and 165 business partners. 1992 saw a major restructuring of ALA. Some of the changes included consolidating 11 Regions
into 6, each with a Regional Director, and a new Mission Statement and Goals adopted by the ALA Board.
Additional key 90's highlights include:
The new Millennium begins, and with it comes more change. The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. take place, the second Gulf War begins,
the Middle East is still in turmoil, the space shuttle Columbia disaster takes place and Hurricane Katrina devastates New Orleans and several other gulf
states. But for the membership of ALA the news is good.
In 2000, ALA debuted the Learning on Demand Program allowing members to take educational courses 24 hours a day, and the first Career Center was unveiled
at the 29th Annual Conference. The next year ALA introduced the Business Skills Curriculum for Law Firm Associates. In 2002 Erin Brockovich
gave an extraordinary general session presentation at the 31st Annual Conference, and ALA released Volumes II and III of the Management Encyclopedia.
In conjunction with the AndersonBoyer Group, we also introduced a new member service – The Client Satisfaction System.
In 2003 the ALA Management Encyclopediasm
moves online. We also introduced the Legal Management Resource Center, a powerful, Internet-based tool for searching answers
to legal management questions.
2005 was a milestone year in that ALA achieved 10,000 members, and also spearheaded the creation of Professional Legal Management
Weeksm (PLMW) along with sister organizations in the legal management profession. ALA celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2006 at the Annual
Conference in Montreal. During the conference, Brad Hildebrandt, one of ALA’s founders, gave his insights and thoughts regarding the Association and the
legal management profession.
Additional key highlights include:
21st Century & Counting