December 13, 2013

Look for ALA Currents next Thursday
This Issue Sponsored By

Steelcase offers an extensive range of services and products — interior architecture, furniture and technology solutions — founded in a research methodology that focuses on how people work and how great spaces can help. ALA Members now will receive exclusive discounts on Steelcase Inc. products.


Member focus

Meet Your 2014-2015 ALA Leadership Team
Although they won't start their terms until they are sworn in during ALA's 2014 Annual Conference & Exposition, the 2014-2015 Board of Directors and Regional Officers have already been chosen. Click through to find out which of your peers and fellow members have been selected to represent ALA across all six geographic regions.
View the 2014-2015 leadership roster.

Last Call for Member Volunteers!
In case you missed this announcement in recent issues of Your ALA News, ALA is seeking applicants for a few highly strategic volunteer roles – and is the last chance to apply! If you're ready to make a difference at the association level and beyond, then consider getting involved. Don't delay!
Apply now.


Association news

Legal Management Goes Digital!
Say hello to the all-new online Legal Management magazine. Get instant access to our top go-to resource from your iPad! Download your free app, and start interacting with our digital preview issues right away. Specially selected content from both our October/November and December issues is currently available in the app. Keep an eye out for the Android tablet version, coming later this month.
Access the iPad app..

Toronto Beckons! Snag the Super Early Bird Rate – NOW
Why wait? ALA's 2014 Annual Conference & Exposition registration is now open – but the super early bird rate ends December 31. The conference website has several new enhancements for your review, among them a comprehensive daily schedule, travel information (including airline booking discount codes) and complete descriptions for our 90-plus educational sessions, now sortable by category or date/time.
Save $300 on registration by signing up by Dec. 31.

How Big Was YOUR Innovation? Tell Us!
ALA members, chapters, law firms, committees, regions and business partners – you all have great ideas. But some of you have great, INNOVATIVE ideas that have raised the bar. Tell us about it! You could be in the winner's spotlight at the ALA 2014 Annual Conference & Exposition.
Submit your IDEA Awards entry before Jan. 27.

ALA’s December Book of the Month
Question: What's the biggest untapped resource at your firm?
Answer: Your paralegal. Find out how to leverage qualified paralegals to grow your firm, enhance revenue and save precious time. Paralegals, Profitability and the Future of Your Law Practice – just in time for the new year!
Buy Paralegals & Profitability now.


Committee corner

Takeaways from the 2013 Large Firm Principal Administrators Retreat
By Jeanne Schehl, Ed.D., Director of Professional Development and Meetings

Never use your competition as a benchmark; instead, make it irrelevant by making a leap in value for your clients and your firm. Citing innovations in businesses ranging from the circus to automobile manufacturing, W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne insist this is possible in every industry in their bestselling business strategy book, Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant.

How does the concept apply to law? Wharton School professor and world-class speaker Roch Parayre, Ph.D., and legal industry expert James W. Jones led discussions and exercises examining blue oceans (products and services not in existence today) and red oceans (the known market space that has been bloodied by fierce competition) at the Large Firm Principal Administrators Retreat held September 26 - 28, 2013. The Retreat took place at the spectacular Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Parayre — described by one participant as "phenomenally engaging, humorous and knowledgeable" — explained blue ocean strategy concepts and provided tools for analyzing firm strategy in a daylong workshop titled, "The Blue Ocean Strategy Alternative." The next day, Jones's session, titled "Applying Blue Ocean Concepts in the Law Firm Setting," helped participants identify ways to lead their firms in thinking differently about markets and competition. Key takeaways included:

  • The concept of value innovation is the central tenet of blue ocean strategy. When it comes to creating new markets, successful companies reject the commonly held belief that they must choose between differentiation and low cost. Successful blue ocean companies break the value-cost tradeoff by pursuing value for the customer and low cost for the company at the same time.
  • Cost structure can be lowered by eliminating or reducing factors the industry competes on but buyers do not value highly. Value is increased by offering products or services that did not previously exist.
  • It's not about technology innovation. Blue ocean innovators often use existing technology to develop something new that customers value.
  • You don't have to sail into distant waters to find blue oceans. Firms can find blue oceans within their core business and make customers out of noncustomers.

Retreat participants were introduced to these core tools of blue ocean strategy:

  1. The Pioneer, Migrators, Settlers Map — Used to find the most promising possibilities of growth in a portfolio of offerings
  2. Value Curves — Graphical depictions of how a company can package its offerings to deliver more value than its competitors
  3. Six Paths Framework — A framework for discovering new ideas that can lead to future value curves

After experiencing lively lectures, peer-to-peer discussions and case study practice, retreat participants left with some ideas that could be implemented immediately and others that would require long-term commitments from their firms. Either way, they generally agreed they had been challenged to think differently and lead differently.

With the generous support of sponsors First American Legal Finance, FSO, Intelliteach and Ricoh, attendees and their guests also enjoyed delicious food, golfing, and networking with peers and business partners at the retreat. The event was planned by the 2013 Retreat Education Planning Committee of the Large Firm Administrators Caucus. The Committee, chaired by Nolan Kurtz, COO, of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, also comprised Dan Anderson, COO, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, Atlanta, Georgia; Gary Goodwin, Executive Director, Bond Schoeneck King, PLLC, Syracuse, New York; Anastasia Hiotis, COO, Carlton Fields, PA, Tampa, Florida; and Paul Kruse, COO, Steptoe Johnson LLP, Washington, D.C.

Be sure to save the dates for next year's event, scheduled for September 18-20, 2014. The event's location will be announced early next year.

Copyright © 2013 by the Association of Legal Administrators. All Rights Reserved.