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Ahead of the Curve

March 2019

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.


    

"PUT DEPARTMENT OF LABOR OVERTIME STANDARDS BACK ON YOUR RADAR"

Remember the changes that were supposed to go into effect at the end of 2016 to raise the threshold salary for FLSA overtime exemption? Derailed last minute by Texas judicial injunction and not a priority of the Trump administration, the 2016 rule changes faded into obscurity. But now they are back under a Notice of Proposed Rule Making issued by the Department of Labor on March 7 of this year. Under the proposed rules up to 1.3 million workers would be eligible for overtime who were previously exempt. The amounts are different and the rules are not final but now is the time to review your payroll and plan ahead.

Read more.

Resource: United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division


"INSIGHT ON THE LIFE CYCLE OF AN EQUITY PARTNER"

"In Biglaw, you'll do good work, be in demand, and stay busy — until you age."

Read more.

Resource: Mark Herrmann, Above the Law


"THIS FIXABLE PROBLEM COSTS U.S. BUSINESSES $1 TRILLION"

"A trillion dollars. That's what U.S. businesses are losing every year due to voluntary turnover. And the most astounding part is that most of this damage is self-inflicted.

Here's how it breaks down for an individual organization:

  • The annual overall turnover rate in the U.S. in 2017 was 26.3%, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee's annual salary — and that's a conservative estimate.
  • So, a 100-person organization that provides an average salary of $50,000 could have turnover and replacement costs of approximately $660,000 to $2.6 million per year.

Fifty-two percent of voluntarily exiting employees say their manager or organization could have done something to prevent them from leaving their job."

Read more.

Resource: Shane Mcfeely and Ben Wigert, Gallup


"STATES IMPOSE PAID FAMILY LEAVE AS CONGRESS WEIGHS NATIONAL POLICY"

"Twenty-five years ago, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was passed, requiring large organizations to offer workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a new baby or sick family member. Today, U.S. employers face a growing patchwork of state paid-leave laws, while momentum is building for federal paid-family-leave legislation."

More and more firms are evaluating their paid-leave policies and making changes related to the work force today. There is a growing trend for a federal paid-leave initiative that could affect all of us.

Read more.

Resource: Stephen Miller, CEBS, SHRM


"HOW MANAGERS CAN EXCEL BY REALLY COACHING THEIR EMPLOYEES"

"The answer to that simple question may have a profound impact on how employees are managed, now and into the foreseeable future. It's certainly a question that front-line managers will have to answer if they want to get the most out of today's workforce. The problem is, recent Gallup research finds that only about one in four employees "strongly agree" that their manager provides meaningful feedback to them — or that the feedback they receive helps them do better work. Even more alarming is that a mere 21 percent of employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work."

Read more.

Resource: Ben Wigert and Annamarie Mann, Gallup.com


"INCENTIVES IN THE AGE OF ATTRITION"

"With unemployment at record lows and workers having plentiful opportunities to seek greener pastures, many organizations are struggling to keep employees from jumping ship. Never before have we had a workforce with such access to the world of information, access to other opportunities and access to a large network of people working at other organizations." With all of this happening it is important to identify those incentives that will attract great talent and allow employers to create an environment where people want to stay. 

Read more.

Resource: Julie Cook Ramirez, Human Resource Executive


"EMPLOYERS FIXING HEALTH CARE"

Cutting edge ideas on how employers can partner with health care providers to eliminate waste and provide quality health care at an affordable cost.

Read more.

Resource: Lisa Woods, Jonathan R. Slotkin, MD, and M. Ruth Coleman , Harvard Business Review


"HOMEWORK ON HIRES"

"We’ve all read about the disappointing results many firms have had with lateral hiring, with failure rates as high as 60–70% according to some reports. The cost and distraction associated with a bad deal can be devastating, especially for smaller and mid-size law firms. This article looks at what BigLaw is doing to improve its batting average in this area:

  • Sixty percent (60%) say they prepare formal business plans for lateral hires before they join. Another twenty percent (20%) say they prepare such a plan within 30 days.
  • Seventy-five percent (75%) have a formal performance review at least quarterly.
  • Ninety percent (90%) cite “business development issues,” while two-thirds encounter issues around “cultural fit.”
  • Thirty-five percent (35%) of firms report a malpractice issue of some kind within five years.
  • Many firms admit to routinely by-passing credit, criminal and backgrounds checks on lateral hires.

Our advice to leaders of smaller and mid-size firms? Conduct adequate due diligence on prospective lateral hires. In addition, develop an agreed upon written integration plan and check-in monthly to make sure it is being implemented."

Read more.

Resource: Hugh Simons and Michael Ellenhorn, Managing Partner Forum


"IT'S TIME FOR LAW FIRMS TO PLACE BOLDER BETS ON THEIR DATA"

I've often thought about the amount of knowledge we have siloed in our law firm's data and how difficult it is for the average firm to access this treasure. #PDAC members urge you to explore how you can find the keys to access this treasure chest and aggregate it for analysis purposes! 

Read more.

Resource: Jennifer Roberts, The American Lawyer


"GREAT CHALLENGES FOR CFOS IN 2019"

The role of a CFO is ever changing and in today's world CFOs face broader effects of the current economic outlook.  The responsibilities of today's CFO include being experts in enterprise risk management and understanding all risks of the company your work for. Not to mention the need to understand the impact technology can have on reducing costs of the finance department.  The ripple effects of new imperatives and big data add to the complexity of the list of responsibilities.  The article outlines some of the key challenges that CFOs will face this year.

Read more.

Resource: Ramona Dzinkowski, Strategic Finance


"WHERE ARE ALL THE WOMEN IN LEGAL TECH?"

The ABA Women in Legal Tech Summit underscores an industrywide need for more collaboration among women shining a light on diversity issues in the legal tech sector.

Read more.

Resource: Erin Harrison, Legaltech News (requires a free subscription)


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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