CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — The Association of Legal Administrators’ (ALA) 2018 Annual Conference & Expo took place in National Harbor, Maryland, from Thursday, May 3, to Sunday, May 6. The event hosted nearly 1,000 attendees, more than 160 business partners, and speakers and legal industry experts covering every aspect of the business of law.
"This year's conference was yet another example of the stellar professional development and networking connections that ALA provides," said Richard J. Nigon, CLM, Chair of the 2018 Annual Conference Committee. "It was a pleasure seeing so many attendees and business partners get value out of what we spent so many months organizing."
On Thursday, May 3, keynote speaker John Quiñones, ABC News correspondent and host of the television show What Would You Do?, explored the dilemmas that leaders, employees and organizations face in this new world of transparency. He examined what legal management professionals would do if business and ethics crossed. And he engaged the audience in a discussion about how it all comes down to doing the right thing.
"What do you do — what should you do — when you witness an injustice or something disturbing and that little voice in the back of your head says 'do something'? Do you step in, or do you step away?" Quiñones said. "So much of [this event] is designed to deepen relationships and learn from each other, so I don't have to ask you guys 'What would you do?' — you're already doing the right thing. And that is bringing together legal professionals and business partners with diverse backgrounds, experiences and job responsibilities so that we might be able to better appreciate and understand one another."
On Friday, May 4, during the Association Lunch, ALA Executive Director Oliver Yandle, JD, CAE, detailed the latest enhancements to ALA’s Certified Legal Manager (CLM)® program, including the new Study Guide for the CLM Exam. The guide fills a need to help individuals preparing for ALA’s certification to have comprehensive materials to review prior to the exam. In addition, ALA will be surveying CLMs to identify needs and improve benefits, define the program’s impact on career advancement and firm success, and enhance the awareness of the program among employers.
Yandle also gave attendees an overview of ALA’s participation in a Global Legal Hackathon earlier this year that focused on practical application of ALA’s Uniform Process Based Management System (UPBMS).
"Our entry focused on automatically capturing task data that can be used to improve the efficiency and profitability of delivering legal services," Yandle said. "Our prototype, LEXI, incorporates ALA’s Uniform Process Based Management System — or UPBMS code set — for use in in Slack, a modern messaging system already in place in many legal organizations, to capture data that can be predictively coded, thereby structuring the data, to the UPBMS standards."
During the lunch, Yandle also discussed ALA’s role in the SALI Alliance. SALI, or the Standards Advancement for the Legal Industry, is a nonprofit organization comprised of legal industry professionals from legal operations, law firms and solution providers with the goal of developing open, practical industry standards for efficient and innovative legal services.
"We are thrilled to partner with the Legal Marketing Association in the development of a modern common language (an open standard), unique for the legal industry, to define the services lawyers provide," Yandle said. "Just last month, the SALI Alliance announced endorsements from the Association of Corporate Counsel, Citi, Shell, GlaxoSmithKline and law firms Baker Donelson and Greenberg Traurig, among others."
On the final full day, Saturday, May 5, ALA wrapped up another successful Silent Auction that benefits the Foundation of the Association of Legal Administrators. Using a web-based service, attendees and non-attendees were able to bid on more than 70 items each day. To further the momentum of the Silent Auction, ALA added a new raffle component to this year’s auction. In total, the Foundation of ALA raised more than $26,000. The Silent Auction furthers the Foundation’s mission, including fostering and promoting active engagement by ALA members in providing pro bono administrative services, resources and training to legal services organizations. Two pro bono organizations nominated by the 2018 Annual Conference & Expo Co-Host Chapters, Capital and Maryland, will divide half of all auction proceeds to aid their work.
Building on the momentum and success from this year’s conference, ALA announced its 2019 Annual Conference & Expo destination. Next year’s conference will take place April 14 to 17 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. For details on this event and other upcoming events from ALA, visit alanet.org/events.
ALA’s Annual Conference & Expo provides access to knowledge, connections and market-ready solutions that transform change into opportunities. Whether new to the legal management industry or a seasoned professional, each attendee has the opportunity to learn from thought leaders and solve problems with their peers.
About the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA)
ALA is focused on the delivery of cutting-edge management and leadership products and services to the global legal community. It identifies and provides solutions to the most critical strategic and operational challenges its members and customers face today, and prepares them for the opportunities and challenges of tomorrow. For more information on ALA, visit alanet.org.
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