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Ahead of the Curve

October 2018

PURPOSE

The Professional Development Advisory Committee’s (PDAC) purpose in providing you this communication is to further its goal of periodically sharing topical information regarding the legal industry. Our hope is that one or more of the updates will provide a spark of insight to assist with your work on behalf of ALA as well as within your firm or legal department.


    

"2019 RETIREMENT PLAN LIMITS ANNOUNCED"

The IRS has released its 2019 retirement plan limits. Read this article by Forbes to see what's changing.

Read more.

Resource: Ashlea Ebeling, Forbes


"JUSTICE SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR ANNOUNCES SHE HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH DEMENTIA"

Tragic, but this is not an uncommon problem amongst lawyers and judges because they just love the law and just don’t quit. Her announcement is nothing less than honorable, as she continues to lead by example. Senior lawyers and judges need to take heed, acknowledge the prevalence of this awful diagnosis and recognize when it’s time to step down with dignity. 

Read more.

Resource: Ariane de Vogue and Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN


"IMPORTANT TAX ELECTION FOR PARTNERSHIPS"

Beginning with the 2018 tax year partnerships that are audited by the IRS will have tax computed at the partnership level and assessed against the partnership for any deficiencies uncovered in the audit. Previously audit changes were passed through to the individual partners with tax computed on their individual returns. The amount of tax assessed to the partnership obviously ignores the tax attributes of the individual partners and may result in a higher overall tax being paid. You can elect out of this treatment; learn how in this article.

Read more.

Resource: Matthew Cooper, JD, The Tax Advisor


"COULD 80 % OF LAWSUITS BE RESOLVED ONLINE?"

This mediator thinks that in five to seven years most disputes may be resolved through "online dispute resolution."

Could 80 percent of cases be resolved through online dispute resolution?

Read more and listen to the podcast.

Resource: Angela Morris, ABA Journal


"ETHICAL OBLIGATIONS RELATED TO DISASTERS"

The ABA has issued guidance for attorneys affected by disasters as concerns their responsibilities to their clients.  An analysis by Louisiana legal ethics professor Dane Ciolino.

Read more.

Resource: Dane S. Ciolino, Louisiana Legal Ethics


"THE FUTURE OF LITIGATION FINANCING"

Litigation financing is evolving and attracting more investors than ever.

Read more.

Resource: David Lat, Above the Law


"FAILED THE BAR EXAM? THAT MAY ONLY BE THE BEGINNING OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL TROUBLES"

A law review study correlates the number of failed bar exam attempts with increasing risk of attorney discipline and sanctions later in an attorney's career.

Read more.

Resource: Kathryn Rubino, Above the Law (requires a free subscription)


"LEGAL BUSINESS: 10 STEPS TO TAKE TO AVOID A LAW FIRM FAILURE"

Good tips for good management in every law firm.

Read more.

Resource: Jaliz Maldonado, The National Law Review


"CAN YOU REQUIRE THAT EMPLOYEES ATTEND SOCIAL FUNCTIONS?"

Consider legal and employee-relations risks.

Read more.

Resource:  Lisa Nagele-Piazza, J.D., SHRM-SCP, SHRM Online


"BREAKING DOWN BOUNDARIES IN THE C-SUITE"

Human Resource Professionals can expand their roles within the company. Their knowledge of people can transfer across disciplines and departments very well. "Often, according to both experts and HR leaders who’ve broken down some of the old barriers, success navigating the C-suite and taking on important new missions depends on the vision and understanding of the CEO and his or her views on the importance of HR within the business. But leading consultants say that companies that cling to a 20th-century vision of HR as a narrowly defined department, grappling only with quotidian problems like benefits management, are missing out on how savvy people management can make the difference between profits and losses."

Read more.

Resource: Will Bunch, Human Resource Executive


"13 THINGS YOUR FIRM MUST DO TO ATTRACT & RETAIN TOMORROW'S LAWYERS"

“Let’s just get it out on the table. It’s true what they say about today’s young lawyers. For the most part, 'millennials' are wired differently than their senior counterparts.”

Read more.

Resource: John Remsen, Jr., Managing Partner Forum


"EPLI: PROTECTION AGAINST BAD ACTORS AT WORK"

Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) can offset the cost of defending claims of sexual harassment and other bad behavior in the workplace.

Read more.

Resource: David Tobenkin, SHRM


"THE TROUBLE WITH ORIGINATION CREDIT"

A prominent partner at a large East Coast law firm recently issued a series of complaints to me.

“I hate to admit this, but who I take to a pitch meeting is frequently impacted by our origination credit system and how much credit I will have to share,” they said. “Our credit system sometimes influences my decision as to who will work on my client projects,” they added.

Read more.

Resource: Blane R. Prescott, The American Lawyer (requires a free subscription)


"WHAT LEAN LAW REALLY MEANS"

"Lean Law principles are about improving operations and the overall experience for your client — not just reducing overhead. And it requires a change in thinking."

Read more

Resource: Julia Shapiro, Evolve the Law


"IS IT TIME TO UPGRADE YOUR ENGAGEMENT LETTERS?"

"Wouldn’t legal services as a whole and the client relationship in particular benefit from more expansive, specific, individualized engagement letters? It seems like engagement letters might be another of the canned forms that law firms and corporate general counsel have accepted as a formality, like templates for interrogatories or document requests..."

Read more.

Resource: Mike Quartararo, Above the Law

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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Jennifer Colwell, CLM, MBA — McGill, Gotsdinger, Workman, & Lepp

Kevin Costello — Holland & Knight LLP

Tammy Cowser, PHR, CP — Foley & Lardner LLP

Lisa Dasher, CLM, CPA, CGMA, Chair — Wicker Smith O'Hara McCoy & Ford P.A.

Rick Hellers — nQueue Billback LLC

Lana McGinnis, CLM, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Vice Chair — Sturgill Turner Barker & Moloney, PLLC

Teresa Reiner, CLM — Gislason & Hunter LLP

Teresa Walker — Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP

Stephen Wolf, CLM, CPA — Deutsch Kerrigan, LLP

ALA Board of Directors Liaison to Committee

Michael Bumgarner, CLM, CPA, CGMA — Flaherty Sensabaugh Bonasso PLLC

ALA Liaison to Committee

Patricia S. Carrera, JD, CKM, CPLP — ALA's Sr. Director, Member Experience

pcarrera@alanet.org; 847-267-1252