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Educational Sessions

Sunday, May 17, 2015
9:00 AM - 10:15 AM  
  FM01 - Attached at the Hip: Pricing, Profitability and Project Management

For law firm CFO's, legal project management (LPM) is not just an abstract term somehow relating to legal processes and methods. Used well, LPM is a practical, essential tool kit – a vehicle not only for providing efficient and predictable service delivery, but also for controlling pricing, budgeting and monitoring so that each matter produces acceptable profits. LPM pioneer Pamela Woldow will discuss how – like outside clients – law firm financial managers should press for better pricing, predictability and cost control. In this candid presentation, learn how LPM affects the bottom line and review how pricing, profitability and project management are inextricably intertwined.


  • Discuss what legal project management is and why law firm CFOs and Finance Directors should be ardent supporters
  • Analyze how LPM fosters accountability for the profitability of matters through better scoping, staffing, budgeting and management of legal matters
  • Determine how LPM methodology contributes to increased understanding of the cost of legal tasks as well as continuous improvement in pricing those tasks and overall matters

Audience: Attendees should have a working knowledge of legal project management. No advance preparation is required.

  • 75 Minutes
  • CPE Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
  • Audience: Intermediate


Pam Woldow, named a "Legal Rebel" by the American Bar Association in recognition of her pioneering work in transforming law department-law firm relationships, is Principal and General Counsel with the global legal consulting firm Edge International. A former large firm litigator, General Counsel of a public financial services company, Pennsylvania Deputy General Counsel, and law professor, Woldow has earned a powerful global reputation for her expertise in innovative alternative fee arrangements, legal project management (LPM), law firm selection and performance evaluation, and lawyer-client communication.

10:45 AM - 11:45 AM  
  FM02 - Firm Leader's Perspectives: Aligning Partner Compensation and Firm Strategy

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

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

  • 60 Minutes
  • CPE Field of Study: Finance
  • Audience: Intermediate


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 and Chief Executive Officer at Baker Donelson, 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.

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.

John Tishler is the immediate past Chairman of Waller Lansden's Board of Directors. As Tishler has re-acclimated himself back into private practice, he has used his skillset of developing relationships to gain new clients on a consistent basis. Tishler has more than 25 years of experience with offering strategic planning advice that does not come from a playbook. His focus is on corporate insolvency/board advice, creditor's rights, and financial services. Best Lawyers recognizes him for his work in the Business/ Corporate arenas as well as the Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law and In Litigation - Bankruptcy.

1:15 PM - 2:30 PM  
  FM03 - Rational Growth: Are Mergers the Answer?

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

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

  • 75 Minutes
  • CPE Field of Study: Business Management & Organization
  • Audience: Intermediate


Douglas M. Doerfler, CPA, is the Chief Financial Officer with Stinson Leonard Street LLP, a 540-attorney firm. He manages a staff of 48 individuals, 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. Doerfler speaks frequently on financial topics including financial analysis, profitability, mergers, partner compensation, pricing, and business analytics, as well as non-financial topics such as face reading and body language.

Kevin L. Cash is Chief Financial Officer at Baker Hostetler and a member of the firm's Operating Group. He 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. Among his many accomplishments, Cash developed the firm's profitability and cost model used in pricing negotiations, evaluation of alternative fee arrangements and in the analysis and evaluation of existing client relationships.

Joseph P. (Joe) Wood, CPA, serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP. Wood is an accomplished administrator with more than 20 years of law firm financial and administrative management experience. Most recently, he served as Chief Operating Officer of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP in Philadelphia, a firm of 675 attorneys. He began his career in the legal industry with Baker Botts LLP in Houston, before assuming senior management positions.

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 is the co-author of Altman Weil's highly-regarded annual industry survey, Law Firms in Transition.

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM  
  FM04 - Corporate Counsel and Law Firm CFOs: Reaching Common Ground - Alignment Around Value

As market forces continue to reshape the legal landscape, corporate counsel and law firms are focusing on cost, predictability, outcomes and value. But while law firms have made significant progress in meeting client demands, have firms taken the essential next steps and assessed the underlying problems? Do they know what to do in response? Join our panel of corporate counsel and law firm CFOs as we discuss the in-house and law firm perspectives, the ACC Value Challenge, the best methods for aligning law firm and client objectives, and how to address the change management hurdles. On the upside, these pressures also provide opportunities for law firms to build stronger and more sustainable relationships with their corporate clients.


  • Determine the expectations of corporate counsel and what law firms can do to meet those expectations
  • Identify some of the inherent problems of the current business models, and what might be done instead
  • Determine the three targets of the ACC Value Challenge and what firms can do in response
  • Discuss the importance of process, project, financial and knowledge management in client relationships
  • Implement best practices and resources to enhance client relationships while helping assure the firm's long-term sustainability

Audience: Attendees should have a working knowledge of financial management in the legal industry. No advance preparation is required.

  • 90 Minutes
  • CPE Field of Study: Management Advisory Services
  • Audience: Intermediate


Steve Petrovich has served as Ardent's senior vice president, general counsel and secretary 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. Petrovich graduated from the University of Georgia where he was Editor of the Georgia Law Review and received his undergraduate degree from DePauw University

Reggie Hill is chief compliance officer for LifePoint Hospital, where he brought a wealth of experience in the public policy arena, as well as significant knowledge about regulatory and compliance matters, transactional issues, financing trends, and physician and provider alignment strategies. Hill spent three decades at Waller, where he was a partner and former co-chair as well as head of the firm's health care industry group. He has been senior counsel to a number of publicly traded health care companies, has helped take others to the public markets or sell to private-equity firms and has advised boards on corporate governance matters such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Michael Roster is the steering committee co-chair of the Association of Corporate Counsel's Value Challenge, a project that is promoting fundamental reforms in how law firms and in-house counsel serve clients. He teaches at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law and is involved in several nonprofit entities. Roster brings to these roles more than 35 years of experience as a law firm partner, a general counsel and a client. He was formerly managing partner of Morrison & Foerster's Los Angeles office, co-chair of the firm's Financial Services Practice Group worldwide and a member of the firm's policy committee

Frederick J. Esposito, Jr, CLM, Executive Director for Rivkin Radler, LLP in Uniondale, NY, has more than 20 years of law and accounting firm experience. He is a frequent speaker and author of articles on a wide range of topics and best practices, including finance, key performance indicators, knowledge management, profitability, attorney compensation systems, alternative fee arrangements, project management and strategic planning. He was recently inducted into the National Speakers Association and named CFO of the Year by Long Island Business News. Esposito is Chair of ALA's certification committee and the only CLM on Long Island.

Lisa Dasher, CLM, CPA, is the Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer at Wicker Smith O'Hara McCoy and Ford P.A. She is a 30-year veteran of the firm responsible for the overall financial management and execution of firm policies, as well the management of multiple firm functions including human resources, technology, vendor relations, marketing and special events, facilities management, client service satisfaction and strategic development. Since becoming a member of the South Florida Chapter of ALA in 1993, she has served in various capacities on the Board of Directors from 2003-2014.

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