The ALA Executive Committee hosts regular town hall sessions to allow a forum in which ALA members and business partners can ask questions of the Association's leaders. These sessions also provide ALA leaders an opportunity to share information regarding the latest Association activities.
These sessions are held on the Zoom videoconferencing platform, usually on the first Thursday of the month at 11 a.m. Central in the months of January, April, July and October. Though registration is required, town hall sessions are open to all ALA members and business partners. A recording of each session will be posted on this page for those unable to attend the live events.
May 6 Town Hall Q&A
NOTE: All questions below were submitted by ALA members and appear in the form in which they were submitted.
Q: We're all expecting many firms to go under during this time. That could leave a lot of members unemployed. Due to the lack of legal administration jobs, for many members that unemployment will extend past the six-month cutoff for membership. Will the ALA BOD be extending that grace period so these valued members of our organization don't lose ALA membership when they need it most?
A: At its April meeting, the ALA Board of Directors voted to amend the Membership and Dues Policy’s Financial Hardship section to include Unforeseen Catastrophic Circumstance. Under this new section, the Board may implement a temporary, one-time dues payment postponement, dues reduction and/or dues forgiveness on an individual case-by-case situation, based on need, and/or implemented during a specified term, as approved by the Board. In addition to adding this section to the Membership and Dues Policy, the Board also voted to enact the newly amended portion of the policy focused on unforeseen catastrophic circumstance due to the economic impact of COVID-19. Financial hardship policies and applications are reviewed and administered by the ALA Senior Director, Member Experience.
Q: Did you like serving as President, James?
A: If I had a theme song for my time as President, it would have to be “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” … come on and sing along with me! Sincerely, I enjoyed the time as President and am honored to have served my fellow members. I truly did have the time of my life.
Q: What new protocols for cleanliness and safety do you envision putting in place once offices reopen?
A: Our members’ firms appear to be following guidelines established by local authorities and their building’s management, all while taking into account the safety and health expectations of their employees and clients. ALA has gathered several resources on this and other COVID-19 matters on the Coronavirus Response webpage.
Q: What are firms doing regarding PPP loans and other COVID funding?
A: Based on the networking conversations on our various member platforms, it appears that each firm is managing this aspect differently, from accessing funds from federal programs to foregoing such funds due to internal firm decisions and the optics of public opinion. Members are encouraged to network with each other on the ALA Online Communities to learn how other firms are handling the situation.
Q: What are some ways to show value to our business partners during the pandemic?
A: ALA is working closely with our business partners to create opportunities that fit both their goals and the needs of our members. Business partners have essential information about how to handle the impact of coronavirus on the workplace and a webpage has been created outlining some of the ways they can assist in this ever-evolving landscape.
Q: How are we addressing business partner sponsorship when we can't meet in person for the foreseeable future at many chapters? How are chapters engaging BPs to make sure they are getting equal value for their sponsorship costs?
A: The Chapter Resource Team has hosted roundtable discussions regarding the impact of COVID-19 on chapter activities, and it anticipates additional sessions in the future as events continue to be rescheduled. Providing value to business partners is a common topic in these discussions. A schedule of future sessions is available on the website, along with recordings of past sessions.
Q: How are firms planning on reopening after the pandemic? How will the “new normal” look?
A: This has been a very hot topic on all our member networking platforms, with our members sharing a wide range of responses. Most of the plans appear to depend on and account for local and state guidelines, honest conversations and feedback with employees, and the needs of the clients of the legal organizations. ALA has gathered several resources on this and other COVID-19 matters on the Coronavirus Response webpage.
Q: In your estimation, how will COVID-19 and working from home change the face of the legal industry?
A: Based on the observations we’ve seen from our members and their organizations, COVID-19 has created an opportunity for the legal industry to reimagine how it operates and how legal services are delivered. ALA has gathered several resources on this and other COVID-19 matters on the Coronavirus Response webpage.
Q: Will the non-in-person education CLMs are getting now count toward CLM recertifications that come due in 2021 like they are being accepted for 2020 recertifications?
A: It is true that ALA has temporarily removed the 12-credit cap on self-study and passive learning experience credits. This means that anyone recertifying in June or November 2020, and anyone applying for the November 2020 exam, can earn all needed credits via self-study or passive learning experiences. However, at this time there is no plan to extend this waiver into 2021. If anything precludes you from fulfilling recertification or application credit requirements, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].
Q: Given how technological we are all getting, will we be opening up future conferences to be presented “live” virtually (at same cost as live attendance)?
A: ALA is experimenting with virtual and hybrid (in-person and virtual) conference concepts, including appropriate pricing. We are excited to roll out ALA Today: The Virtual Conference on June 25 and details will soon be published once everything is finalized. This will be a good way for us to gauge interest and viability.
Q: Is Interim Executive Director April Campbell, JD, a candidate for the full-time Executive Director role?
A: Due to the confidential nature of the process, we are not at liberty to provide information regarding candidates for this role. The Executive Director search process is being led by ALA's Search Committee, with assistance from Sterling Martin Associates, a national executive search firm. We continue to seek nominations and candidate submissions and have posted a full position description for review. Our search will be exhaustive and inclusive, with a focus on identifying the best candidates that can lead ALA today and into its future. If you or anyone in your professional network is interested in learning more about the position, please feel free to contact David Martin, Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Martin Associates, at [email protected].
Q: Any chance Annual Conference & Expo comes back to Salt Lake City in the near future?
A: Locations have been identified for ALA Annual Conferences through 2026 and negotiations are in progress. Dates and locations will be posted to the website once contracts are finalized. We did have a very nice working relationship with Salt Lake City hospitality teams, though, so you never know!