Thanks to all the attendees and business partners that made the ALA 2013 Annual Conference & Exposition a huge success.
See the Conference in action by browsing the photo gallery and reading about the many educational sessions, amazing events, and the sensational Exhibit Hall.
Wednesday, April 17
The final day of the ALA Conference & Exposition began with the annual David W. Brezina Memorial General Session. This year's speaker was Andrés Tapia, whose presentation, The Inclusion Paradox, was sponsored by the Foundation of ALA.
Tapia made note of the distinction between performance issues and cultural preference in the workplace. "What happens when diversity walks in the door and we see behaviors we don't understand?" he proposed to the crowd. "When people do what is opposite of what we think is right, we think they are incompetent. Those judgments are problematic. In law firms, that judgment is even more problematic as that becomes codified in performance reviews and trails a person's reputation."
Tapia also discussed diversity in terms of personality, pushing law firm leaders to look beyond obvious diversities and focus on cultivating conversation between extroverted and introverted staff. "There is a bias toward extroverted leaders," he said. "The problem is half the room is introverted, leaving 50 percent of them out of the conversation."
He also touched on the tremendous buying power of minorities, reminding attendees who their clients are and to be self-aware. Before heading to the Exhibit Hall for a book signing, he closed encouraging the audience to adopt the following mindset: I need your differences, and you need mine.
On the other side of the Exhibit Hall, the Silent Auction came to a close as well, with many attendees rushing to place last-minute bids on big-ticket items. The afternoon was filled with high-level education, including a seasoned administrator session, Strategic Leadership: Application of Leadership Frameworks. Speakers James Bailey, Ph.D. and Carl Leonard, JD, delivered a powerful presentation, imparting many takeaways to strengthen leadership skills. "Leaders are in the spotlight, and if they are nervous, you are nervous. Emotion is contagious, so be very careful about what you do and say," said Bailey. "That's the burden of leadership walking in and storing it at the door. Leadership is emotional labor; that's where we're being drained. You give other people positive energy all day and you absorb their stress. Positive energy puts people in a good mood, and it makes them more effective and creative. It makes people want to come to work." This session, like many throughout the Annual Conference, equipped law firm managers with motivation and plenty of takeaways. "We don't lead organizations, we lead people," said Bailey. "Good leaders aren't for their followers, they are their followers. You are who you lead."
The conference education ended with Ben Schorr's presentation of 60 Tech Tips in 75 Minutes, which highlighted some great free apps and plenty of Outlook tricks to improve efficiency.
After several days of looking ahead and focusing on the future of their firms, ALA members had a chance to take a walk back through history during the final networking event of the 2013 Annual Conference & Exposition. On Wednesday night, the Grand Finale Event held at the Smithsonian's National Museum of History granted members exclusive entry to the museum and the opportunity to take a close look at important developments and symbols from America's past.
A view of Dorothy's ruby slippers and Michelle Obama's inaugural dress were the highlights for some ALA members. A live band brought crowds to the dance floor, and bars and buffets were available for everyone to enjoy.
Every year, the Annual Conference offers the opportunity for ALA members to close out their trip with an experience that is unique to the conference city, and Wednesday night's event definitely highlighted many segments from American history that are unique to the Washington, D.C. area. For those members who couldn't celebrate with us in our nation's capital and in National Harbor, Maryland, consider joining us in 2014 for a unique ALA experience in Toronto, Canada. Hope to see you next year!
Check out the photo gallery from Wednesday's events.
Tuesday, April 16
Tuesday was filled with education, Business Matters sessions and a Networking Reception in the Exhibit Hall. But the noteworthy event of the day was the annual Association Luncheon recognizing the many members who comprise ALA's leadership corps, honoring outstanding volunteers and serving as an inauguration of the new ALA President. Conference Chair Karen Glowacki opened this year's event, which was sponsored by Office Depot. She welcomed the many international attendees and recognized the Conference Committee and local arrangements team.
Before handing over leadership to 2013-14 President Paul Farnsworth, Steve Wingert, CLM gave a remarkable closing speech. "Today I stand here with tremendous respect and pride for what this Association has accomplished, gratitude for the support I have received and great optimism for the future that lies ahead," Wingert said. "Collectively, this board was able to see what was invisible and develop and commit to a vision for ALA that will position us as the undisputed leader for the business of law, focused on the delivery of cutting-edge management and leadership products to the global legal community. We must understand and solve the strategic and operational needs of members and customers, both today and as we prepare for the opportunities and challenges of tomorrow. And embedded in all of this is an expectation that we strive for excellence, not just competence."
ALA Executive Director Oliver Yandle commented on the future of the profession, as well, stating, "The world is changing at a rapid pace and nowhere is that more true than in the legal industry, particularly in the last five years. Never before has the role of legal administrators been so vital to the success of law firms and law departments. Your job isn't just a job it's a profession. You aren't managers you're leaders. Legal administration isn't about payroll, and tech support, and human resources it's about creating high performing teams, business development, innovation and leadership. As your role has grown, evolved and become more complex, so must your Association." With that Yandle announced ALA's digital initiatives, including the conference app, which launched this year, and a forthcoming digital transition of Legal Management magazine.
Finally, service awards were presented to those completing committee terms, and two ALA members received the prestigious Outstanding Association Volunteer Awards: Debbie Piker Sanders, CLM and Shari Tivy.
By far, the most moving moment of the Association Luncheon was the Spirit of ALA Award the Association's highest honor and given only to those whose leadership and contributions are extraordinary. This year, the Spirit of ALA Award recipient was Susan L. French, a former ALA President who passed away in January. Accepting the award in her honor were her parents, Ed and Bobbie French. Recognizing her dedication to ALA, her father moved the audience to tears with his speech. "You lost a friend and a leader, and we lost our little girl," he told the crowd.
His touching words brought everyone a little closer as we reflected on a 2012-2013 term filled with both emotional challenges and professional achievements. Reminding us of French's sense of humor, Wingert inspired us to look up, creating a positive outlook for the new leadership term and the rapidly changing profession ahead.
By evening, attendees made their way to the Exhibit Hall for a Networking Reception with business partners. Members who stayed at the 2013 Annual Conference hotel were eligible to participate in a drawing to win one of three complementary registrations to the 2014 Annual Conference in Toronto, Canada. During the reception, members crowded near the ALA Bookstore to hear the winners announced by Karen Glowacki, Chair of the 2013 Conference Committee. Congratulations to Jeff Talcott, Linda Galloway and Wendy Crane, and thanks to those who supported ALA. For more, visit the gallery for photos from Tuesday's Association Luncheon and Networking Reception.
Take a look at the photo gallery from Tuesday's events.
Monday, April 15
It's no secret that law firms have been going through changes. When it comes to billing, technology, behavior and even just the way law firms do business, change is a force that our administrators have been reckoning with for quite some time.
During this morning's Keynote Address at the ALA Annual Conference & Exposition, speaker Peter Sheahan, CEO of ChangeLabs, addressed this topic, guiding ALA members on how to tackle change and tackle it well as a leader. "Effective leadership in times of change starts not by trying to predict the future, but by making better quality assumptions about what is right in front of you today," Sheahan said.
Introducing Sheahan's session was Conference Chair Karen Glowacki, ALA President Steve Wingert, CLM and session sponsor Thomson Reuters. Sheahan is known internationally for inspiring innovative business thinking and creating lasting behavioral change. "The most powerful thing to transform when business faces change is behavior," he said in his session, which energized attendees for the week ahead packed with education targeting leaders in the business of law. The afternoon featured sessions on strategic leadership, legal project management, mentoring and social media.
Monday was also opening day in the Exhibit Hall, with book signings and plenty of time spent with business partners. After a busy day of education and resources, attendees made their way to the annual Chapter Awards Program, sponsored by Quill, Cushman & Wakefield and ABA Retirement Funds. The Chapter Awards Program allows ALA the opportunity to honor the volunteer leaders and chapters who contribute so much to the Association. Congratulations to Trent Corken, who won the prestigious Quest Award, which recognizes a new member who is involved in a number of Association activities. The Quest Award recipient demonstrates traits from a successful quest and from the ALA Code of Professional Responsibility. Also, congratulations to the many ALA chapters that won awards for everything from diversity initiatives to business partner relations. Be sure to view all the award winners and take a look at the photo gallery from Monday's events.
Sunday, April 14
Greetings from the 2013 ALA Annual Conference & Exposition in National Harbor, Maryland! The Conference kicked off Sunday with our inaugural C-Suite Summit, a one-day conference for senior executives and a collaborative effort hosted by the following organizations:
- American Association of Law Libraries (AALL)
- Association of Legal Administrators (ALA)
- International Legal Technology Association (ILTA)
- International Paralegal Management Association (IPMA)
- Legal Marketing Association (LMA)
- Legal Sales and Service Organization (LSSO)
- The Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP)
The day began with an inspiring keynote address presented by James W. Jones, Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. and Mike McNamara, U.S. Managing Partner of SNR Denton. The duo covered everything from alternative fee arrangements to strategy and retention. "It is more important than ever for law firms to be strategic," said Jones. "If you look at reasons laterals leave, yes, sometimes it's because of compensation, but it's not the real reason. They leave because they've lost faith in that firm's vision and strategy."
McNamara's sentiments aligned, encouraging attendees to be effective leaders and inspire their teams. "Think about innovation in a different way," he said. "Create a culture where risk taking is not punished. Help us think about how we can take risks in our business." The C-Suite Summit blended presentations, panel discussions and interactive problem-solving for the remainder of the day.
For ALA Conference attendees, hugs were abundant, as members reconnected with friends old and new. The ALA Annual Conference & Exposition is the one time of year when legal administrators from all over the world can get together to exchange ideas, handshakes and business cards. The first day of Conference, in particular, is a prime time for this, as most of the day is geared toward networking and meeting members from other chapters and regions.
On Sunday, April 14, ALA members had opportunities to not only mix and mingle, but to sit down with one another in a roundtable format during an Idea Exchange. Chapter leaders from all six ALA Regions participated in one of two exchange conversations. From strengthening chapter relationships with state bar organizations and business partners to improving chapter websites and member recruitment, the Chapter Leaders Idea Exchange covered an array of topics focusing on how to make chapters better for ALA's most important assets its members.
In the evening, two networking opportunities welcomed members to National Harbor, Maryland, starting with a Leadership/Newcomers Reception for first-time Conference attendees, who spent time getting to know Chapter Presidents, Regional Officers and ALA Annual Conference Committees. During the reception, Regional Leadership Teams awarded scholarships to several lucky winners before moving onto the evening's Welcome Reception for all Conference attendees overlooking the Potomac River.
Even though only a few won prizes through the raffle drawing, there were still some special guests waiting to welcome all Conference attendees to the nation's capital at the Welcome Reception George and Martha Washington. Check out photos from Sunday's events to see our historic visitors in action!