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New! Finance Conference for the Legal C-Suite

Sunday, May 17, 2015
Registration: Opens @ 7:30am
Breakfast: 8 - 9am
Sessions (including luncheon): 9am - 4:15pm

Preceding ALA’s 2015 Annual Conference & Expo

ALA’s new Finance Conference for the Legal C-Suite will specifically focus on issues and challenges facing those responsible for firm financials and profitability. This conference will offer advanced level educational sessions and expert speakers specifically focused on law firm financial management.

Supporting the educational sessions during this one-day event, will be the latest technologies, best practices and innovations from our business partners targeting the financial management aspects of the legal industry.

Who Should Attend?

  • C-Suite leaders
  • Am Law 100
  • Am Law 200
  • Executive directors in large law firms (100+ attorneys)
  • Legal professionals in small to mid-size law firms

Educational Topics/Presenters — will be updated as speakers are confirmed

All the Ps — Pricing/Project Management/Profitability 9:00 am — 10:15 am

Confirmed speaker:

Pam Woldow, The Edge Group

Firm Leader’s Perspectives: Aligning Partner Compensation and Firm Strategy 10:45 am — 11:45 AM

Compensation is a very powerful (and potentially toxic) topic. Conventional wisdom, as well as economic theory, tells us that the more of something we have, the less of it we want. But according to new research by Stanford Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, that is not the case with money — money raises the bar and leaves people always wanting more. Join this candid (and maybe difficult) discussion to re-evaluate what the firm should recognize, measure and reward. With a heightened client focus on cost and value; greater lateral movement combined with partner compensation guarantees; and a growing recognition that the only way to grow is at some other firm’s expense, how do we incorporate those considerations into reward systems while retaining alignment with the firm’s values, goals, objectives and strategy?


Examine how and why to re-evaluate the firm’s strategy on compensation systems.

Determine how to lead your firm to align compensation systems with firm strategy without losing top talent.


Attendees should have a working knowledge of financial management compensation strategies.

60 Minutes * CPE Field of Study: Finance * Audience: I


Patrick J. McKenna, McKenna Associates, Inc., is an internationally recognized author, lecturer, strategist and seasoned advisor to the leaders of premier law firms. He is the author of eight books, most notably his international best seller, First Among Equals. His consulting expertise was acknowledged in 2008 when he was identified by Lawdragon as “one of the most trusted names in legal consulting” and his three decades of experience led to his being the subject of a Harvard Law School case study entitled: Innovations In Legal Consulting (2011). McKenna is currently in his third year serving as a special advisor to the General Counsel and legal department at John Hancock Financial.


Ben C. Adams, JD, Chairman at Baker Donelson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, helps his clients with estate planning and corporate law matters, with extensive experience drafting wills and trusts, working with families and closely held entities and implementing sophisticated planning techniques. Among his many honors, he was named “Most Innovative Managing Partner” by Law360 in 2012 and was a recipient of the award, “CEO of the Year,” by MBQ: Inside Memphis Business in 2013. He holds many civic positions, including acting as Chairman of Memphis Tomorrow, an association which fosters economic prosperity throughout the community.

Matt Burnstein is the Chairman of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP, which has more than 200 attorneys among offices in Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee, Birmingham, Alabama and Austin, Texas. In that capacity, Matt is responsible for implementing the Firm’s strategic plan and setting and communicating Firm strategy, as well as day-to-day executive management. He maintains a law practice representing large and small companies growing through acquisitions or emerging companies seeking capital funding, principally in healthcare services and healthcare IT. Chambers USA recognizes Matt as a leader in Corporate/M&A work, and Best Lawyers lists him in the category of Corporate Law.

Todd Rolapp is Managing Partner of Bass Berry. Prior to his election to that position in 2013, he served as Chair of the Corporate and Securities Practice Group and the Executive Compensation Practice Group where he advised public companies on a wide range of matters, including mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, corporate governance and SEC reporting. Rolapp is an active participant in Lex Mundi, the world’s leading network of independent law firms. He continues to represent a small number of international corporate clients in U.S. merger and acquisition transactions.

Rational Growth: Are Mergers the Answer? 1:15 PM — 2:30 PM

The ‘grow or die’ mantra has been a given for many law firms over the past 25 years during which the demand for services in the marketplace grew at an unprecedented rate. But that demand has flattened and in many instances begun to decrease since the recession. There continue to be legitimate rational reasons and avenues for growth, but law firms should embrace a more fact-based strategy and more rigor in developing their growth objectives. Simply saying that we want to grow to be “x” number of lawyers is perilous. This program will delve into the development of rational growth strategies, set forth methods for profitable growth and determine the best avenues for your practice group or firm to grow.


Determine rational reasons for combination strategies including mergers and acquisitions.

Prescribe how to save time and energy by determining when to say “go” and when to say “no go” to combination opportunities

Discuss the components of effective due diligence

Examine the three necessary attributes of effective growth

Analyze the CFO’s role in helping establish strategy, action items for growth and combinations, appropriate metrics and integration strategies


Attendees should have a working knowledge of profitable growth strategies in the legal industry.

75 Minutes * CPE Field of Study: Business Management & Organization * Audience: I

Speaker and panel moderator:

Thomas S. Clay is a principal of Altman Weil, Inc. With 30 years of experience consulting to the legal profession, he is an acknowledged expert on law firm management principles and is a trusted advisor to law firms throughout the U.S. and Canada. He heads consulting assignments in strategic planning, law firm management, organization, law firm mergers and acquisition, and is a thought-leader on the key issues of law firm practice group strategy and leadership. Clay has been named as one of the “100 Legal Consultants You Need to Know.”

Confirmed panelists:

Kevin L. Cash, Chief Financial Officer at BakerHofstetler and a member of the Firm’s Operating Group. As Chief Financial Officer, Kevin is responsible for directing the operations of the Firmwide Finance Department and overseeing the Firm’s financial systems to support strategic and operational business planning and growth.

Douglas M. Doerfler, CPA, is the Chief Financial Officer with Stinson Leonard Street LLP, a 540-attorney firm, where he manages a staff of 48. Doug oversees the firm’s accounting, billing, partner compensation, financial analysis, payroll, pricing, practice management, legal project management, and business analytics functions. His team also manages all accounting system applications and third party integrations. Prior to joining Stinson 15 years ago, Doug spent seven years in public accounting, three years in banking, and nine years as CFO with two other large Kansas City law firms.

Joe Wood is Executive Director at Bradley Arant 

Corporate CFO’s and corporate counsel relationships 3:00 PM — 4:15 PM

Confirmed speaker:

Steve Petrovich, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Ardent Health Services has served in this position since the Company’s formation in 2001 and was general counsel to Ardent’s predecessor company, Behavioral Healthcare Corporation, since 2000. Prior to joining the company, he clerked for the Honorable Harold L. Murphy, Federal District Judge for the Northern District of Georgia. After clerking he worked in private practice concentrating in litigation, employment and healthcare regulatory work before becoming litigation counsel for Charter Behavioral Health Systems. Mr. Petrovich graduated from the University of Georgia where he was Editor of the Georgia Law Review and received his undergraduate degree from DePauw University.

Registration & Hotel Information

Member $749
Nonmember $1,025

  Make Hotel Reservations

Arriving early? On Saturday, May 16, 7:00 p.m. please join us for dinner at a local Nashville restaurant for an additional $75. Sunday evening your Finance Conference registration includes the 2015 Annual Conference & Expo Welcome Reception, being held May 17 from 5:15-7:15 pm at the Music City Center. Come and see ALA colleagues and business partners from around the world, and enjoy live music and dancing celebrating the great city of Nashville.

Interested in attending the entire 2015 ALA Annual Conference & Expo? Save $100 by attending both! After you register for Annual Conference, you’ll receive a code with your email confirmation. Use that code when you register for the Finance Conference for $100 off your fee.

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