Strategic Plan Update — Q2

Goal #1 — Define Identity

Define a clear, compelling organizational identity that reflects who/what the association represents and that effectively focuses its programs, services and activities.

  • Defining Our Identity Initiative: ALA staff has been working to develop variations of potential brand positioning statements. The work began with development of a matrix to capture an overview of potential target audiences, their different wants and needs, the benefits being provided, and the brand delivery systems. The work is based on the cumulative quantitative and qualitative feedback gathered across multiple audiences and outreaches.

  • In following Step 5 in the DOI strategic plan, the brand positioning options are ready for input from ALA audiences. At the end of the 2018 Annual Conference, we will have conducted four focus group discussions to begin gathering feedback on three brand positioning options. Based on these discussions and collected data, we may make adjustments, and ultimately develop a method for taking positioning statement options to chapter and individual member levels for feedback during the 3rd quarter.

    After analyzing and reporting on results, we will move in to
    • Step Six, “Brand Strategy & Platform Development” (Q3), and
    • Step Seven, “Brand Name & Identity Development” (Q4)

    Due to the very small size of the pilot group, data to predict member behavior and assess how it correlates with future program performance projections will be gathered separately via a survey. The pilot program has demonstrated that ALA infrastructure can accommodate a group membership as currently developed.

  • Membership Renewals: 2018 renewal campaign officially ended on March 30 with 1,309 members dropped. Overall, ALA has reached its target goal, exceeding an 85 percent renewal rate. Statistics related to reasons for nonrenewal note that retirements (38%) and job changes (18%) account for a total of 56%, representing the bulk.

  • Group Membership Pilot: The group membership pilot program, approved in November 2017, counts a total of four firms participating, with a fifth soon to be added upon request of the Membership Development Committee, creating a tie with a member of that committee. A brief poll is underway with program participants to gauge their experience thus far and gather more information on how the program might be improved.

Goal #2 — Increase Member and Business Partner Value

Develop relevant, actionable, timely, responsive resources to increase value of ALA to members, business partners and other legal management professionals.

  • Job Description Toolkit: ALA has designed a format for a toolkit to assist legal management professionals and their employer organizations in the writing of job descriptions using the UPBMS Taxonomy classifications/codes that will be integrated into developing job descriptions. The team is in the process of picking several job descriptions that will be created as examples to be included into the toolkit. There will be multiple stages of this project, leading to the final goal of an online tool to generate job descriptions using the UPBMS Taxonomy classifications/codes.

  • Website: In the weeks following 2018 Annual Conference & Expo, we will be exploring the development of “sponsored content pages” within The creation of these pages would allow for business partners to provide articles, white papers, reference materials, etc. for members to access. The “sponsored content pages” would clearly delineate the uploaded content from original, ALA-curated education materials and content.

  • Newsletters: The second phase in the revised email communication strategy is moving forward. The new strategy, and resulting templates, are meant to create standard content topics for each day, so that audiences will learn to expect specific information (education, or events, or leadership, etc.) on set days during the week. The new strategy is targeted to launch in the second half of the year.
  • White Papers: The first 2018 white paper, “The Changing Role of the Legal Secretary,” has been published, and can be found here. The whitepaper offers a definitive role-based solution that can be applied across the entire legal community, resulting in a more efficient and successful workforce that can be recruited across firms. You can also find related ALA content from webinars, previous conference sessions, Legal Management articles and podcasts. Readers will be able to see all the things that ALA has available on this topic.

    Our second 2018 white paper is in development. The next installment will cover project management. The paper is targeted to publish in June.
  • Online Communities: ALA’s Online Communities are a place for members to have discussions and network with one another on daily business questions. The conversations grow organically and often include samples and checklists that other members provide. Another way to connect with people is within the Forums. If you see a post by someone you want to follow, click on the post and under the poster’s name, you will see an option to “follow” this person. This also triggers an option for to follow you. Top searched terms in the Online Communities include: “job descriptions,” “retention” and “bylaws.”
  • Reference Library: The Reference Library continues to grow with content that Regional Representatives updated from the old ALA Management Encyclopedia. In the coming months, ALA will be adding additional checklists, forms and job descriptions to the site so members can easily access them. You can easily find the Reference Library in the Online Communities
  • ALA business partners, current and prospective, can find all the information they need related to ALA events and marketing opportunities at the ALA Business Partner Portal. The ALA Business Partner Portal was awarded the 2017 Gold Excel Award by the Association Media & Publishing, recognizing the best, and the brightest in association media and publishing. 
  • Legal Marketplace: ALA's free, one-stop resource for business solutions and services is visited more than 2,700 times each month by members seeking a competitive edge for their legal organization. Legal Marketplace features enhanced business partner profiles, interactive content, and easy-to-navigate solution categories like “exhibitors,” “business development,” “finance” and “human resources.”

Goal #3 — Enhance Thought Leadership

Become recognized as a thought leader in the legal industry by conducting critical industry research and developing new ideas, innovations and solutions to guide the legal management industry. 

  • Compensation & Benefits Studies:  Participation for the 2018 Compensation and Benefits Survey is set to open May 9 and will last through July 18. The 2018 Survey Reports are targeted for release on September 4, which is one month earlier than the previous four years. The marketing plan will once again utilize state-targeted emails and heavy promotion in BOLD Bites and social media to drive participation, followed by report sales. The marketing team will also be looking to partner with more ALA chapters to extend usage of the survey, as well as Managing Partner Forum extensions.
  • UPBMS and SALIThe Standards Review Committee is working on final revisions to version 2.0 of the UPBMS. Changes and updates include some reclassification of tasks and processes and new and revised definitions of processes and substantive areas. ALA’s IT staff is developing expertise in building APIs for the UPBMS, which should help encourage adoption of the code set. Staff and volunteers (Teresa Walker and Bill Mech) have had conversations with representatives of Big Hand and the Accord Project on how the UPBMS might be useful in their respective initiatives.

  • SALI was officially launched on April 11 in conjunction with LMA’s Annual Conference in New Orleans. An integrated payment system has been brought online and it is now actively taking memberships. It has received endorsements from the Association of Corporate Counsel, GlaxoSmithKline, Microsoft, Shell, Citi, Allen Matkins, Baker Donelson, Greenberg Traurig, Honigman, Perkins Coie, Intapp, Prosperoware and Foundation Software Group. SALI currently has seven paid memberships, including ALA and LMA.

  • Information Assets Management Survey: 306 responses to the Information Assets Management survey were received. Top line analysis of the results confirmed that information management is extremely important to firms with 71 percent of firms confirming that information management to be important to their business. The findings also show that firms’ information management practices are having a detrimental effect on performance with 56 percent indicating that they could lose clients and 65 percent potentially suffering a loss of reputation if they can’t find information easily.

    Nevertheless, more than half of firms acknowledge both that they don’t know where to look for information and that there are too many places to look for information. The survey quantified that firm staff can waste 31 minutes per day searching for information and even more time recreating documents. In total, the findings show this wasted time has a negative impact of more than 20 percent on business performance. Reports for individual firms are being finalized and presentations of the summary results will be shared at AC18 and as a webinar. 

  • Legal Management magazine: The second annual print edition of Legal Management is underway, and will be published and mailed in early July. More than 80 percent of the publication with be original content. ALA staff is writing a feature covering the effects of the #MeToo movement on HR policies, and the remaining original content will come from a variety of sources, including ALA’s PDAC and business partners.
  • Sexual Harassment Survey: The survey closed in March with 461 responses. The raw data analysis is almost complete, and results indicate that ALA members welcome an ALA leadership role along with more education and support around this issue. Further analysis/utilization, and communications activities are planned to share these results in future.

  • VIP Programs: ALA has welcomed its newest VIP business partner: NextPath Legal, a joint venture between Affinity Consulting and GLJ Benefits Group. NextPath provides succession planning services exclusively to ALA members. Through hands-on collaboration, NextPath Legal (NPL) provides each firm a proven 360-degree, all-inclusive, written succession and contingency plan tailored to meet the needs of the four most important constituents of a solid firm plan:
  1. The Partners
  2. The Clients
  3. The Successors
  4. The Firm

This benefit is exclusive to member firms of five-plus attorneys with an additional 5 percent discount for Certified Legal Managers (CLMs)®.

Goal #4 — Advance Legal Management Professional Development

Advance the knowledge, skills and leadership of legal management professionals and strengthen the role of legal management professionals in the legal industry.   

  • Preconference Workshop Added: Legal Lean Sigma ® and Project Management White Belt Certification Course will be offered again this fall. It is scheduled for Wednesday, September 26, in conjunction with the Intellectual Property Conference for Legal Professionals in Washington, D.C.

  • Continuing Education (CE) CoursesLegal Management offers a continuing education course in two issues of the magazine per year. There are currently three published courses, and a course on RFPs is planned for Fall 2018. Members and nonmembers can read the article, then log in to take a test. If you pass with at least 70 percent, you will earn one CE credit hour. The credits apply to CLM recertification, but also count toward SHRM, HRCI or CPE credit.

    • Click here to read “How to Ethically Oversee Trust Accounts,” and to earn one credit hour in financial management.
    • Click here to read “Confronting Addiction in the Law Firm,” and to earn one credit hour in substance abuse.
    • Click here to read “The Ever-Evolving World of Legal Ethics,” and to earn one credit hour in ethics.

  • Chapter Education Database: We are expanding and enhancing the chapter education database to include speaker contact information, session format details, and accreditation details. We are also planning to make session ratings visible to members, to assist education planners in selecting the best presenters.
  • Certified Legal Manager (CLM)® Program: The Study Guide for the CLM Exam is available! The study guide is a new tool that potential CLMs can use to gain further insights into the type of knowledge they’ll need to pass the test. The guide includes chapters covering financial management, human resources management, legal industry/business management and operations management. Each chapter has additional resources and practice quizzes. It concludes with “Terms and Concepts You Should Know,” an index and “Preparing for the CLM Exam.” Download the Study Guide for the CLM Exam through the e-store.

    The first phase the Certification Program update has started. As previously presented, we are starting with internal process improvements that mainly consist of implementing the iMIS certification module and moving all CLMs to a digital certificate. A new CLM certificate is currently being designed by our marketing team and will roll out in May 2018 to all CLMs and all candidates that pass the exam
  • e-Learning: ALA's e-Learning program provides education through 6-week, instructor-led, online courses. The spring and summer courses are focused on Financial Management with an option for individuals to earn a Legal Management Finance Specialist certificate.
  • Webinars: ALA is offering 42 webinars this year. Users can listen to them live or on-demand. These one-hour sessions allow listeners to receive continuing education (CE) credits to put toward their education. The webinars will take place several times per month.
  • Job Bank and Career Center: ALA rolled out a new and improved Job Bank and Career Center. It's easier than ever for members to search and find job postings — and they are! ALA's Job Listings page is the second-highest visited page, with more than 26,000 views during May and June, and almost 100 jobs posted during that time period. 

Goal #5 Build Community and Engagement

Build a stronger sense of community and shared purpose and increase engagement among members, chapters, business partners, and other stakeholders.

  • Annual Conference & Expo Schedule: Highlights, photos and award winners from the 2018 Annual Conference & Expo will be showcased on, BOLD Bites newsletter and Legal Management following the event.
  • AC18 Virtual Conference: For the second year in a row, ALA is offering its Virtual Conference at the Annual Conference & Expo. This year's featured sessions include: 

    CM20: Building Trust and Respect in the Law Firm Through Understanding Behavior Styles
    Speaker: Michael Nash

    OM22 – Why Today’s Impatient, Impulsive and Intolerant Clients Are Leaving Your Firm
    Speaker: David Avrin

    HR26 – Accommodations and Leaves of Absence: Law Firms Confronting the FMLA and ADA
    Speaker: Michael Cohen

  • Regional Legal Management Conferences: REGISTRATION IS OPEN! ALA’s Regional Legal Management Conferences provide identical education in two locations, and include networking opportunities and roundtables based on region. The high-caliber educational content is geared toward the needs of legal management leaders and functional specialists.

East (Regions 1,2,3) 
September 13-15
Palmer House Hilton 
Chicago, Illinois

West (Regions 4,5,6)
October 18–20
Hilton Austin
Austin, Texas 

  • Specialty Conferences:

Large Firm Principal Administrators Retreat
August 2-4, San Diego, Hotel Coronado

Law Firm Management Essentials
September 12–13, Chicago, Palmer House

Advanced Finance Administration for Legal Management Professionals
September 12-13 and October 17–18 (before each Regional Legal Management Conference)

Intellectual Property Conference for Legal Management Professionals
September 27–28, DC, Capital Hilton

  • Peer Consulting: New evaluation forms have been created for both volunteer consultant and participating member to gather more information on how the program is utilized. Additional volunteer categories have been added to the Share My Expertise profile tab: In addition to Peer Consultant (390 volunteers), members may now indicate interest in volunteering as an Author (5 volunteers), Forum Moderator (3 volunteers) or Speaker (7 volunteers).

  • Website: ALA staff is working to get members to input and submit positive testimonials in ALA's Google review page. Members can help build ALA's online presence; with the amount of exposure Google reviews receive during search results, these testimonials can enhance SEO and strengthen ALA's reputation in the legal industry.
  • Leadership Development Task ForceA board task force has been examining how we develop, select and train association leaders. The first step was re-engineering the leadership selection process to streamline processes. Members now have the ability to update their profiles to include information about their skills, interests and abilities relative to volunteer opportunities. This will provide year-round, on-demand information to support the full range of volunteer opportunities, including micro-volunteering.
  • Foundation of the ALA: The Administrative Pro Bono Program matches the needs of legal services organizations (LSOs) with the skills and expertise of our members, business partners and firms. Participants can offer HR, financial, IT, marketing and other expertise that these organizations need. The Foundation is in the early stages of the planning process and would like to understand better the level of interest from our members to assist in determining how we should structure the program.
  • Volunteer: As with any association, volunteers are the heart of ALA. It is because of the dedication and expertise of more than 100 volunteer leaders that ALA is able to provide its members with the high-level education, networking opportunities and resources needed to effectively manage law firms. ALA looks for ambitious members who are interested in serving on one of its many committees or in a leadership role. Every position has a different level of responsibility and time commitment. Check out the various roles and activities for the standing committees, conference committees and leadership roles. ALA encouraged self-nominations this year, too. 
  • ALA Social Media Channels: ALA’s social media channels can keep you up to date on the latest in industry trends, education opportunities, chapter news and member events. In 2018, ALA is emphasizing increased engagement on all social media platforms. Be sure to follow us, tag ALA in your posts and use #ALABuzz.


Twitter - @ALABuzz


Legal Management Magazine:

Twitter- @LegalMgmt