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Innovation, Development, Engagement and Advancement (IDEA) Awards

ALA’s IDEA Awards program seeks to recognize initiatives which model Innovation, Development, Engagement and Advancement in the legal community.


Focusing on the entire legal community, the award is open to ALA chapters, ALA committees, ALA regions, ALA members, law firms and ALA business partners.  There are no predetermined categories, thus allowing participants to “think outside the box” in terms of initiatives they submit.  The program is designed to recognize unique programs, services and events which improve the legal community and advance the business of law.

How do we define innovation?
A new practice (or a new approach to a traditional practice) which delivers great value and transformational impact through an innovative approach.  The initiatives can be complex and involved (requiring large amounts of resources and commitment by dozens of individuals) OR simple and easily implemented (with little or no cost or other resources).  The main focus is on the IDEA involved.

The initiatives submitted by the five inaugural recipients of the IDEA Award demonstrate the definition of this recognition best. For example, the ALA Greater Los Angeles Chapter was recognized for their submission “Professional Legal Management Global Summit — Brazil and Beyond.” In this program ALA members spoke before a Brazilian national conference on the United States' legal management best practices. This event required coordination and contact between different countries and the assistance of dozens of members of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter.

By contrast the ALA New York City Chapter’s submission — “Foot in the Door” — was a creative solution on how to get Business Partners to connect with Chapter Members.  The creative solution involved chocolate and incentives that hit the sweet spot with everyone!  While New York City is a large Chapter the idea is one that could be implemented by chapters of any size.

What did last year’s recipients have to say?
2014 Recipient Jean Jewell, Greater Los Angeles Chapter member, said there is a distinct message behind the program that led to her chapter’s IDEA Award recognition: Be receptive, listen and try to help. “That’s the message and core of what ALA does,” she says. “I thought very strongly that this was the biggest message of this IDEA Award.”

Former Region 1 Director Janine Book agrees. “The IDEA Awards really celebrates the innovative side of our members, our chapters and our business partners,” she said, “and how they are producing initiatives, events [and] activities that are really focused on innovation and moving our association forward. After seeing the ALA Regions 1 & 3 Conference Planning Team: ‘Transgender Insights & Perspectives’ submission at the Awards ceremony I approached the Diversity Officer at my firm and we are planning on hosting a similar program in our firm.”

Check out the profile story in Legal Management for more highlights.

Submission Criteria and Eligibility Guidelines

Submissions will be accepted through January 12, 2015 and will be reviewed by the IDEA Awards Committee.

Chapters, Committees, Regions:  The person submitting must be an ALA member.

Individuals, firms and legal organizations: The person submitting must be an ALA member.

Business partners: The business partner must have advertised or exhibited with ALA or one of its chapters within the past 12 months.

The IDEA Awards Committee will collectively decide which entries will receive an IDEA Award. Entries will be evaluated based on:

  • Innovation
  • Impact and results
  • Creativity and originality
  • Success of project
  • Significance
  • Long-term impact

Terms & Conditions

  • All submissions are final. No additions or changes are permitted to the entry after receipt by ALA Headquarters.

  • All entries become property of ALA.

  • ALA may reproduce, reprint or highlight the entry either in full or in part in its communications and/or at its events.

  • ALA reserves and exercises the right to verify the accuracy of the entry. Supplying inaccurate information may lead to disqualification.

  • Awards will be presented only to entrants in good standing.

Questions regarding this program can be directed to .

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