Why Become a CLM?

The CLM program allows a qualified legal management professional to demonstrate, through experience and coursework culminating in the examination process, a mastery of core areas of the body of knowledge identified as essential to the effective performance of a principal legal administrator.

Legal administration professionals must deal effectively with financial management and accounting, human resources management and development, office services management, information systems management, and trends in the legal industry. By completing the CLM process and attaining CLM certification, the legal professional will have demonstrated proficiency in these core areas.

Persons passing the CLM examination should have the depth and breadth of knowledge and management skills that would enable them to visit any 30- to 50-attorney law office, review practices and procedures, and be conversant about, and offer advice in, each of the areas listed in the Body of Knowledge without relying on others.

But don't just take our word for it. Watch the video below to hear from other CLMs about the value of the program, or read more member testimonials.

Earning the CLM designation is the crowning achievement that, combined with my education and years of experience, provides confirmation of my mastery of those competencies needed to be considered among the top professionals in the legal management field. Not only has acquiring the CLM increased my own confidence, but it has also provided me with increased appreciation, recognition, and confidence of the partners in my firm. I believe that having the CLM designation gives legal managers a competitive advantage over those with equal experience and educational backgrounds.” —Dawn Kowalski, CLM, Firm Administrator at Smith Bigman Brock, PA, in Daytona Beach, Florida
Working toward my CLM certification was the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long time. The wide range of knowledge that you will cover while studying for this exam makes you feel like you can take on any task, even if you have never done it before. It was a lot of work but well worth it.” —Dorothea M. Downey, CLM, Legal Administrator at Bass Doherty & Finks, PC, in Brighton, Massachusetts
Studying for the CLM exam was a great experience for me. I was able to use my business management background outside of the legal field and combine it with my experience at my current firm to pull together a solid picture of what it takes to be a principal administrator. It gave me a greater appreciation for all aspects of law firm administration, which makes me a better management team member.” —Virginia Zingg, CLM, Director of Administration at Kell Alterman & Runstein, LLP, in Portland, Oregon
Having already earned the CPA designation, my financial capabilities were well-established and never questioned by my firm. Once I earned the CLM designation, it demonstrated my knowledge in areas where I had not received formal education or extensive training, such as human resources, information technology and facilities management. The CLM addresses all of these and lends additional credibility to my abilities.” —Travis Armstrong, CLM, CPA, Chief Operating Officer for English Lucas Priest & Owsley, LLP, in Bowling Green, Kentucky
Preparing for the exam helped me to learn many new things while adding clarity to the things I already knew. My specialty was finance, but I ended up taking a position that utilizes my new CLM skills. I’m thankful that the CLM properly prepared me for it.” —David Glicksman, CLM, CPA, Director of Finance at Lester Schwab Katz & Dwyer, LLP, in New York, New York
Although the process was a long and stressful one, I do not regret my decision to pursue certification. Even if I had not passed the exam, I learned a great deal throughout the process that has benefited me in my day-to-day career. In addition to the certification, I met several chapter members that I otherwise may not have had the opportunity to get to know.” —Heather McConnell, CLM, MBA, SHRM-CP, Executive Director for Romano & Sumner in Sugar Land, Texas
Becoming a CLM is one the most rewarding accomplishments I have experienced, both on a professional and personal level. It has provided me with a sense of confidence, pride and renewed excitement for my career and the legal profession. I am grateful for the support, encouragement, and assistance I received throughout the process from my friends and colleges in ALA, our local chapter and my firm.” —Barbara J. Paige, CLM, Regional Director for Dorsey & Whitney LLP in Seattle, Washington
Passing the CLM exam was not easy. But that makes the CLM designation even more valuable. When I received my ‘congratulations’ letter, I couldn't have been more thrilled. I think I grew 2 inches taller that day. The study material tied together all the areas of law firm management for me, areas that are typically handled by our firm's HR, finance, marketing and technology departments. I'm proud of my CLM designation and don't regret a minute of study time. This process made me a better law firm administrator.” —Cheryl Igler, CLM, Administrator at Guilday Simpson West Hatch Lowe Roane, PA, in Tallahassee, Florida


Benefits to CLMs

Benefits abound for CLMs, their employers and their pocketbooks. Here are some of them:

Benefits of certification to the individual:

  • Increases knowledge of all areas of legal administration.
  • Increases your value to your organization.
  • Increases respect and recognition in the industry.
  • Increases opportunity for upward mobility.
  • Increases marketability and ability to compete in the job market.
  • Increases remuneration and job benefits.
  • Increases professional credibility.

Benefits of certification to the employer:

  • Increases the level of competency of the individual to manage a law office or department.
  • Encourages and improves job performance.
  • Increases client confidence knowing the firm or legal department is being run by a certified professional.
  • Provides the opportunity to acknowledge an individual who has developed a high level of professionalism.
  • Serves as an aid for retention and recruitment.