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Sessions By Education Track


Not sure which sessions to attend? You've come to the right page! To provide the breadth of content you need to stay current on legal administration and management, conference sessions are classified by five tracks:


Featured Sessions

Dr. Catherine Sanderson’s talk, The Science of Happiness, presents both surprising and not-so-surprising information on the science behind happiness. What role do money, marriage, friends, children, weather, age and religion play in making us feel happier? Is happiness stable over time? How can happiness be increased?

Dr. Sanderson will describe cutting-edge research from the field of positive psychology on the factors that do (and do not) predict happiness and provide participants with practical — and relatively easy! — ways to increase their own psychological well-being.

Dr. Catherine Sanderson
Manwell Family Professor of Life Sciences (Psychology)
Amherst College

In Danelle Umstead’s session Living the Impossible, she shares her remarkable story of losing her vision, losing her mother and discovering her life’s passion. Through skiing, she found healing, her husband and a lifetime of high-speed adventure.

During her presentation, which is delivered with powerful storytelling, Umstead touches on overcoming adversity, teamwork, communication and elite performance.

Danelle Umstead
Blind Professional Skier
and Three-Time Paralympic Medalist

Kevin Hines is an award-winning brain and mental health advocate, suicide prevention activist, entrepreneur, filmmaker, author, educator and speaker who reaches audiences all over the world with his story of unlikely survival and his strong will to live. Hines will share his process for wellness, resilience and recovery.

You’ll come away with knowledge of how to build your own toolkit for maintaining your mental wellness, as well as the wellness of your colleagues and loved ones.

Kevin Hines
Brain Health Advocate and Storyteller


Communications & Organizational Management

Looking to elevate your impact as a leader? As a professional, you work throughout your career to build your reputation around your expertise and competence. However, your ability to truly lead others often lies in other skill sets. This session will provide a leadership framework that inspires people to work with you, not because they have to but because they want to. It also will reveal specific tactics that you can employ to raise others’ perceptions of you around five core traits for great leadership.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Discover the five leadership skill sets to elevate your impact
  • Identify your personal authentic leadership success factors
  • Understand which leadership skills matter most to law firm leaders today and in the future
  • Learn how to utilize four mindset shifts that will unlock your leadership potential and influence

Alycia Sutor, MBA
Managing Director
GrowthPlay

Brianna Leung, MBA
Principal Consultant
GrowthPlay

Stress and depression have reached epidemic levels within the legal profession. The latest research shows that negativity costs organizations millions of dollars through increased turnover and underperformance. Your firm can overcome these statistics. Through the power of story and interactivity, this session highlights the latest research in industrial/organizational psychology, social psychology and positive psychology to reveal tactics and benefits of creating a workplace culture of kindness. Get ready to rethink how you view workplace conflict, empathy and the incredible power each individual has to impact the bottom line.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Understand how every individual has the power to impact their environment
  • Learn how to stop compromising and start collaborating—and win as a team
  • Understand the Baader-Meinhof Effect and how to retrain your brain to focus on the positive
  • Recognize the power of empathy and how to use it
  • Identify your preferred conflict management style and how to adjust styles situationally

David Shar, MPS - I/O Psychology, SHRM-SCP
Human Capital Consultant
Illuminate PMC

Excellent communication skills are crucial for all employees at any level within any organization. Communicating can be effortless and drama-free if you invest thought and effort into your style and that of others. When problems are not properly managed, they lead to decreased engagement, productivity and morale. In short, they suck the life out of your day and drain your energy. This session will walk you through a series of engaging and revealing activities to help you improve your approach to conflict and communication and quickly move toward a more productive work environment.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Become more aware of your communication style and that of others
  • Gain confidence in your ability to communicate effectively and with impact
  • Explore the cultural implications of communication that unnecessarily lead to conflict and how to overcome them
  • Walk away with key strategies for getting ahead of conflict, no matter what the communication challenge

Pamela J. Green, SPHR, PCC, ICC
Chief Collaborator
Pamela J Green Solutions           

Now more than ever, law firms must realize that clients are no longer just talking about inclusion and diversity — they are putting their money where their mouth is. Both public and private clients are requiring that firms, attorneys and staff assigned to their matters be more diverse. You’ll gain a new perspective on zero tolerance and how it results in the loss of both potentially longstanding clients and good and valuable employees.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Learn about client inclusion and diversity demands— including staffing requirements on matters and the effect on the law firm as a whole
  • Take away tips on how to change hiring and promotion practices to effect real change
  • Participate in a workshop on drafting a diversity and inclusion (D&I) statement
  • Gain other resources and tools to respond to client inclusion and diversity initiatives
  • Examine how to implement and utilize D&I committees and employee resource groups to enhance your initiatives

Michael G. Stephens, PHR, SHRM-CP
Director of Human Resources and Diversity
Alston & Bird LLP

Jessica Mazzeo
Chief Operating Officer
Griesing Law LLC

        

When rolling out a new information governance (IG) program or legal technology project, you’re bound to generate apprehension, angst and fear. You need to ask: “How can we — as project champions — add empathy as a line item to be addressed within the information governance requirements checklist to ensure a successful project outcome for all?” You’ll learn a novel and empathetic approach to working with clients that will help you tackle your technology implementation and IG challenges. Discover how to improve both your technical requirements gathering and your user participation/adoption processes simply by incorporating a kinder and gentler approach to your change management.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Learn how to identify and enlist project champions
  • Develop strategies to include all employees and ensure adoption
  • Make marketing moments to promote the success of the project deployment
  • Ensure that requirements and processes remain on track
  • Explore a proactive approach that focuses on the “cultural/human” aspects of team members

Ann E. Gorr, IGP
Legal Technology Consultant
Ann Gorr, LLC

        

Learn how different functional areas are increasingly interdependent and how consistent decision-making, based on strategic planning, leads to increased revenue and profit margins. Join this discussion of the impact that defined decision trees and implementation of common objectives have on revenue, profit, culture, internal processes and client experience, as well as lawyer and staff recruitment, engagement and retention. Then, look at firms that have built sustainable competitive advantages and overcome disruption using these methods. Leave knowing how to shake the money tree by planting for the future now.

Attend and you’ll  

  • Gain a solid understanding of how strategic planning and defined decision trees help increase revenue and profit margins
  • Gather concrete ideas on how to start or build on the strategic planning process at your firm
  • Create a vision statement to add focus to your efforts
  • Take away materials to keep you on track

Brandi M. Hobbs, MPS, ALP
Client Service and Strategy Director
Poyner Spruill LLP

Chandra Storrusten, MBA
CEO and Chief Value Creation Officer
Visible Value

        

Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter described strategy as “deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value.” Strategic thinking skills aren’t utilized as frequently as others, providing a challenge in advancing them and understanding how and when to bring them forward. Law firms are embracing the need for strategic planning as a differentiator in a competitive marketplace, and as a result, professionals who advance this skill are more valuable – in their firms and the marketplace. In this session we will break down the fundamentals of strategic thinking and discuss how to practice and play with these skills to advance you, and your firm.

Objectives:

  • Understand divergent and convergent thinking, and how to move between them
  • Differentiate strategic and conventional thinking, and how to apply each
  • Explore how to elevate strategic thinking in your firm

Judy Hissong, CLM, PCC
President
Nesso Strategies

        

Need to reduce costs? Increase productivity? Implement new business processes and best practices? Driving success requires change management. This session will provide a detailed, pragmatic approach to leveraging change management throughout the life cycle of a technology implementation and ensuring a successful outcome.

  • Learn team structuring and communication best practices for change management
  • Examine how to secure and maintain key stakeholder and project team buy-in
  • Hear how legal teams used the tools and processes provided in this session to lead and achieve successful technology implementations

Colleen McMahon Kendzior, MHRM
Organizational Change
Fulcrum GT

        

Take this opportunity to reflect on the evolution of law firm leaders and what the law firm leader of the future will look like. You’ll also address the changes happening in law firms and how leaders at all levels can adapt to these changes. Leave with solutions you can implement as a law firm leader to remain competitive in the changing marketplace.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Discover why these changes have happened
  • Reflect on what makes a great leader and how to foster leadership in an organization
  • Understand what law firms can learn from the Big Four Accounting firms in terms of innovation
  • Gain tools to hire and retain top talent in the changing marketplace
  • Feel more confident about creating change in your organization

Jennifer Hill
President
JHill’s Staffing Services A Division of Marcum Search

        

It’s widely known that physical threats trigger a “fight or flight” response in the brain. But science has only recently uncovered that social threats trigger the exact same response. When this happens, you lose your ability to think critically, strategically, creatively and collaboratively — all the things needed to do your best work. In this session, learn the five critical drivers of engagement and performance and discover practical steps to bring out the best thinking, collaboration and innovation in yourself and your team.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Clearly understand the impact and importance of a healthy work environment
  • Gain a guide for evaluating the health of your current work environment
  • Adopt specific strategies to enhance workplace climate and drive performance and engagement

Abbey Louie
Leadership Trainer + Coach
Mintify, LLC

        

Have you heard about design thinking but not clear what it entails? Do you enjoy collaborating, sharing and learning with your peers to get new ideas and inspiration to apply at your firm? Do you benefit from learning by doing? Then this fast-paced, highly interactive session is for you as you will be taken through an accelerated design thinking lab to learn and apply the process of design thinking while you work with colleagues to re-imagine the future of your law firm leadership efforts. Specifically, this workshop will help you to:

  • Understand the five stages of design thinking to guide improved problem solving
  • Access tools and best practices that can be used to lead others through the design thinking process
  • Identify ideas and possibilities to deepen engagement in the firm’s innovation initiatives
  • Focus and refine your ability to holistically identify ideas and solutions to challenges and problems

Debra Baker, Esq.
Managing Director
GrowthPlay

Brianna Leung, MBA
Principal Consultant
GrowthPlay

        

Seventy five percent of people struggle with public speaking. Do you? This limited participant session focuses on your presentation skills and includes two one-hour pre-conference Zoom programs to discuss how to develop content, awareness of your presence, and engaging the audience. The conference in-person session is dedicated to practice and play, feedback, and building comfort with your delivery.

Objectives:

  • Understand the most important facets of speaking
  • Uncover the fear you have about speaking
  • Create and deliver a talk to a live audience of your peers

This program is for seasoned professionals and in particular prospective Chapter Leaders. Due to the pre-conference Zoom programs, this session is limited to twenty participants, on a first-come first served basis. To register to participate in this program, please email Kristy Perkins at K.Perkins@alaannualconf.org

Judy Hissong, CLM, PCC
President
Nesso Strategies

        


Finance Management

Thinking about taking the spring Certified Legal Manager (CLM)® exam? Don’t procrastinate. Regardless of where you are in your career, certification adds a valuable dimension to your professional development. This session is for you, whether you’re beginning the application process or you just want a better idea of what to expect.

Join the Greater Chicago Chapter’s CLM Study Group for their Financial Review Session in preparation for the next exam and gain a broad overview of financial terms and processes that every legal manager should know.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Gain a general understanding of the overall financial management of a law firm
  • Understand the content and materials you’ll need to study to successfully pass the CLM exam as it relates to the finance section
  • Learn general accounting terms and procedures used in law firms
  • Appreciate the importance of financial information and analysis, including how it is used and why

Michael D. Hill, CPA
Controller
Gould & Ratner LLP

Successful pursuit and collection of a law firm’s past-due receivables adds cash and increases the realization rate of attorneys’ efforts. This session will explore the tools and methods available to collect past-due balances while avoiding the related pitfalls, such as counter claims, malpractice claims and ethical violation claims. You’ll learn how to avoid involuntarily extending credit to clients through consistent and regular invoicing and collection techniques that help reduce your accounts receivable. Plus, you’ll discover how to establish collections policies that will improve the aging of your open receivables while obtaining buy-in from attorneys and key leadership.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Learn how to improve cash flow, increase the realization rate of attorneys’ billing and reduce past due accounts and write offs
  • Find out how to successfully maintain and improve client relationships while collecting receivables
  • Identify the practice areas and attorney(s) that may need additional assistance and training in billing and management of retainers
  • Avoid counterclaims, potential malpractice claims and ethics complaints
  • Identify when to cut ties and pursue the claim through a third party

Jeffrey S. Nicolet, Esq.
Shareholder, Attorney
Wagner, Falconer & Judd, Ltd.

It’s not a question of if but when the next recession will hit — will your firm be ready? The recession of 2008 took most firms by surprise and changed the legal research status quo. With millions of dollars in play, what can law firms do now to best position themselves for the next downturn? A good place to start is in this session, where you’ll develop a recession road map for your legal information budget. Join in and learn how to help your firm develop a strategy that aligns with your culture and goals.

Attend and you’ll:  

  • Evaluate the current state of the legal information market
  • Delve into lessons learned from the 2008 downturn
  • Identify key components of a recession strategy
  • Review current best practices for a firm’s legal information
  • Hear experts forecast the future for a successful recession roadmap

Michael Feit
President and Founder
Feit Consulting, Inc.

Alex West
Senior Vice President
Feit Consulting, Inc.         

LawVision and Iridium Technology teamed up to conduct the “Biggest Law Firm Profitability Survey Ever”! The survey included more than 60 questions covering both strategic topics and the “nuts and bolts” of law firm profitability. With more than 100 participants, the survey provided a great data set for deep analysis. In this session, you’ll hear the key findings regarding law firm use of profitability metrics, data transparency and report distribution. In addition, you’ll learn the responses to the nuts and bolts questions about how firms are calculating profitability, designing allocations and running multiple scenarios for profitability analysis.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Delve into how widely firms are distributing profitability results and what tools they are using
  • Recognize factors preventing law firms from getting wider acceptance of managing to increase profitability
  • Identify best practice strategies for reporting on the profitability of all slices of firm data, including partner, working attorney, department and client/matter.
  • Gain insights into profitability calculations, such as the most popular allocation methods and common exceptions, and how to handle partner compensation in the calculations

Tom Jones
CEO / President
Iridium Technology

Mark Medice, Esq., MBA
Principal
LawVision

This session covers the important aspects of securing business, retaining clients and securing financial operations. It will also address the requirements of modern billing practices and collections, how to use technology to improve and secure income, and the financial elements and requirements of modern fee agreements. What are the five most common problems faced in today’s law office? How can you avoid fee disputes and claims? Find the answers here.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Learn how to interview and establish realistic goals and expectations
  • Examine how to set fees and payment expectations for success and avoid common mistakes
  • Explore office practice, cybersecurity and mandatory communications
  • Adopt successful billing and practice
  • Hear how to simplify Payment Card Industry Compliance
  • Recognize the correct use of client trust accounts

 

Claude Ducloux, Esq.
Director of Ethics, Education and State Compliance
LawPay

Stephen Perez
Vice President of Custom Solutions
LawPay

We have all been told how artificial intelligence (AI) will change law in the future. Hopes are high, but unfortunately, details are light. We are left to ruminate on an uncertain future, shifting dichotomously between the cataclysmic (with robots running the world, we all will be out of work) to the faddish (anyone remember Google Glass?).

What is hype and what is reality? This session will lay out precisely what AI means in practice. You will hear practitioners using AI explore practical applications of the technology in today’s legal market. You will learn the future applications they are developing to fully exploit this robust, new technology.

Attend and you’ll learn: 

  • How AI works in its simplest form and why there is so much hope for its future
  • Ways AI has already improved legal practice, running largely in the background
  • How AI eliminates the routine through prediction and how that changes time keeping, conflicts, client updating, pricing and budgeting
  • How AI helps run your “Data Conscience”: the ultimate risk manager working to assure attorneys are professionally spending enough time on a matter, spending enough time supervising junior attorneys, predicting future budgeting and compliance issues, and regularly updating their clients
  • How AI creates a powerful “Opportunity Bloodhound,” continuously predicting opportunities to enhance rates, improve pricing through alternative methods, identify new strategic markets for your practice and track market events to identify corporate actions or press releases that become marketing opportunities
  • How AI can be used to build your “Decisioning Sparring Partner,” suggesting resource capacity enhancements, HR decisions, case budgeting, and outcome probability assessments

 

Dean Arfanis
Chief Operating Officer
Rosenberg and Estis, PC

Adam Nelson
Chief Operating Officer
Ogden Murphy Wallace PLLC

Moderator:
Tom Obermaier, Esq.
Chief Executive Officer
Rippe & Kingston

The traditional law firm business model rewards inefficiency and inexperience, and forces lawyers to compete on price rather than with experience. However, progressive law firm leaders are heeding the market’s call to better demonstrate experience and efficiency, and are investing in continuous improvement programs, innovation, alternative profit models, and progressive pricing. In this interactive session, we will explore several case studies in which law firms have successfully launched new initiatives to gain, or regain, a competitive and profitable market advantage by exploiting their experience, not their billable hours. This session is for those who grasp the need to adapt, but need assistance overcoming organizational resistance and inertia to improve partner and client adoption.

Learning objectives: 

  • Be able to understand and explain the financial drivers of the new law firm business model to skeptical lawyers who believe long-term profits come primarily from billing more hours
  • Explore the most common impediments to change, from incentives to governance models to financial reporting systems, and how law firms have addressed and overcome these obstacles
  • Review alternative approaches to change management, eschewing the typical “full consensus” or its opposite “just do it” law firm models and instead building long-term stakeholder support by combining firm values with economics.

 

Timothy Corcoran, MBA
Principal
Corcoran Consulting Group, LLC

Clients have delivered a detailed roadmap for law firms to succeed in today’s market. However, law firm partners are reluctant to change because doing so will likely impact their compensation, and law firm leaders are reluctant to change because they don’t know how to adjust incentives while minimizing disruption. In this interactive session, we will review the how and why of the most common trends in partner compensation. We’ll delve deeply into the impact of adjusting different compensation levers, and the risks and benefits of doing so. We will also explore how law firm leaders have implemented new incentive schemes while maintaining workforce and financial stability.

Learning objectives: 

  • Understand the latest trends in partner compensation, from the underlying strategic intent to the tactical implementation
  • Explore the most potent obstacles, including inflexible financial systems and incomplete profit analysis, resistance from influential partners, and clients who send mixed messages about how they value legal services
  • Model the relative impacts of adjusting partner incentives, from both a short- and long-term perspective
  • Examine the lessons learned by law firm leaders who have successfully, and unsuccessfully, pushed through changes to partner compensation

 

Timothy Corcoran
Principal
Corcoran Consulting Group, LLC

While a W-2, 1099, and K-1 all serve similar purposes, to provide income earned during a time-period, they each have unique intricacies to be aware of from a reporting and statutory requirement. This session will go over the major questions surrounding the forms and situations in which each would apply. The tax effects of each situation can vary a great deal, so this is not an area to look over. 

 

Thomas C. Whittaker, CPA, MBA
Leader, InsightsOfficer
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP


Human Resources Management

The legal industry is facing challenges from many different directions. The most significant are the silent killers — legal’s #MentalHealthCrisis. During 2019, the industry continued to slowly reveal the impact of alcohol and drug (both illegal and prescription) abuse, sexual assault, discrimination, stress and burnout, which, at times, leads to suicide. No one in the legal industry is left out, and many needlessly suffer in silence. In this session, you’ll look at how to take a stand, raise awareness and fight back without regard to the damage to profits and reputations that could result.

Attend and you’ll:  

  • Develop a resources tool kit to prepare for when, not if 
  • Identify and follow the signs and validate your suspicions 
  • Convince your managing partner (we are always in denial) 
  • Develop and execute intervention and ongoing follow-up plans 

Kathleen T. Pearson, SPHR
Chief Human Resources Officer
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Teresa Walker
Senior Advisor, Chief Operating Officer Emeritus
Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP

As Administrators, HR professionals and managers, we’ve all said it more than we care to admit: “Ugh. My employees! I would write a book, but who would believe these stories are true?” Unfortunately, many of the tales are far too real! Well, Helga is back to talk through some new and even more complicated issues confronting the law firm workplace. While it is not clear exactly what Helga will confront at this year’s conference, there has been a lot of attention paid lately to substance abuse testing in light of the new cannabis laws, the rebound effects of the #metoo movement and other cutting edge concerns. This fast-paced session will focus on uncommon HR issues and examine practical, businessfocused solutions that you can use immediately to solve those problems.

Succession planning is not just for managing partners. It applies to senior executives and administrative management professionals, too. Unfortunately, in the legal industry, succession plans are generally discussed and created for the firm’s rainmaker. This session will address the leadership qualities, management skills and other attributes you need to identify and develop before institutional knowledge walks out the door and your risk of business disruption increases. Join in this exploration and discussion of leadership development tips and tricks along with best practices for developing a succession plan for your law firm administrators.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Understand the importance of and how to use data analytics in succession planning
  • Discover the advantage of having a succession plan before one is needed
  • See illustrations of the risk involved when institutional knowledge is lost and client service requirements are not fulfilled
  • Complete a worksheet you can use to apply what you learn to create or enhance your firm’s succession

Cynthia Thomas
Executive Manager
PLMC Associates

Hiring the best applicant is imperative in law firms and doing so without creating a legal liability is essential. In today’s demanding environment, it is necessary to take the time upfront to do things right. Learn how! This session will focus on what you, as Administrators, HR professionals and managers, can and cannot do during the hiring process. It will examine the entire hiring process, including: (1) taking appropriate precautions even before the first interview is conducted; (2) avoiding unlawful questions during the interview; and (3) documenting the decision making process. The use of behavioral interviewing, the dangers associated with the use of social networking websites, proper documentation and other necessary pre-offer recruitment techniques will be discussed during this session.

Join a discussion of trends and best approaches to telecommuting policies and practices. Hear insights from a law firm flexibility benchmarking survey report and talk about innovative ways organizations have been implementing remote work. Next, you’ll consider how to make the business case to adopt these policies. How can you use firm data to link policies to retention, recruitment, satisfaction and diversity and inclusion? Engage firm leadership in the rollout? Effectively communicate these policies to your workforce? This session also will cover best practices and training tools to optimize remote work for both telecommuters and supervisors.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Develop, revamp and implement effective telecommuting/remote work policies consistent with best practices 
  • Launch new and expanded telecommuting/remote work policies successfully
  • Utilize telecommuting/remote work policies as a recruiting, retention and flexibility tool
  • Train remote work employees on how to telecommute successfully to maximize their professional development and career advancement and gain flexible work benefits
  • Train supervisors on how to manage remote work employees successfully and reduce unconscious bias 

Manar Morales
President & Chief Executive Officer
Diversity & Flexibility Alliance

Broaden your firm’s perspective on differently abled employees. Your law firm will soon compete most effectively by leveraging the unique capabilities of employees carrying a “dis” label — as in disabled. While the legal industry will one day hone recruiting strategies for neurodiverse profiles, firm leaders and human resource professionals must recognize that such labeled people are already on your payroll.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Become more aware of, understand and appreciate traditional and nontraditional employee benefit offerings
  • Find out how to rein in health care costs while increasing employee financial security and responsibility
  • Identify best practices for employee benefit communications

Jack Duffy
Health and Welfare Consulting
Gallagher

Broaden your firm’s perspective on differently abled employees. Your law firm will soon compete most effectively by leveraging the unique capabilities of employees carrying a “dis” label—as in disabled. While the legal industry will one day hone recruiting strategies for neurodiverse profiles, firm leaders and human resource professionals must recognize that such labeled people are already on your payroll.

Lawyer leaders of all walks will:

  • Learn what neurodiversity is and its remarkable competitive advantages
  • Identify current employees and/or encourage employees to self-identify
  • Recognize lessons learned from other industries , including recruiting and work environment tips to target and retain neurodiverse hires

M. Suzanne Hartness
Chief Operating Officer
GSRM Law

John D. Bowers
Chief Operating Officer
Patterson IP Law

A new normal for recruiting continues to emerge, but there is little practical discussion about how to retool recruiting and development to meet the evolving challenges that companies face. With the unemployment rate in the United States at 3.7% as of July 2019, attracting and retaining the right candidate has become more challenging than ever. In this session, you’ll learn how to strategically attract and — just as important — retain high-quality candidates. With the median tenure for workers aged 25 to 34 being fewer than five years, you’ll learn here if long-term retention is even possible anymore.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Learn key pitfalls in hiring and how to avoid them
  • Discover the impact of future trends on hiring and retaining employees
  • Examine why development and inclusion should play an important role in attracting and retaining employees
  • Walk through the steps to retool your recruiting practices and build a strategic recruiting and retention plan
  • Discover how analytics can improve employee recruitment and retention

Vaveca L. Moss, DDI
Director of Employee Relations and Talent Acquisition
Shook Hardy & Bacon

In this panel presentation and Q&A, legal management professionals from different decades and various backgrounds provide an on-the-spot glimpse of today’s hot topics. You’ll gain a new perspective on important issues as they share differences and similarities in their world views and management styles along with legal insights.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Be challenged to rethink generational stereotypes
  • Be better able to demonstrate empathy and understanding to improve intergenerational communication and interactions in your workplace
  • Gain a better understanding of the forces that shape the generations working together in the multigenerational workforce of today

 

Sarah Antonello
Office Administrator
Husch Blackwell LLP

Sarah Didrickson
Practice Support Manager
Nilan Johnson Lewis PC

Karen D. Griggs, CLM
Executive Director
Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice LLC

Michael E. Keatts
Regional Office Administrator
Bowman and Brooke LLP

Moderator:

Debra L. Elsbury, CLM
Office Administrator
Threlkeld Stevenson

Wellness programs have been around for a while. But recently, they’ve grown from being a perk to a necessity. The benefits to you include reduced health costs, higher employee engagement, improved productivity, higher job satisfaction and retention, reduced absenteeism and a better company culture. Want to recruit new talent and keep current employees happy? Wondering how to get employees engaged? Tired of the same old walking challenges or weight loss programs? Need reasons why management should support this? Join this interactive discussion of wellness programs at law firms.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Learn how wellness is not a one size fits all—it includes physical, emotional and professional wellness programs
  • See concrete examples of successful wellness efforts as well as benefit from creative ideas shared by session participants
  • Examine wellness benefits/programs through insurance carriers directly and how they can save you money and time 
  • Delve into sample wellness surveys that reveal what employees want versus what employers offer

Robyn Henry, MBA
Director of Administration
Conrad O’Brien PC

Mary E. Zove, CLM
Director of Administration
Kleinbard LLC

We’re all talking about marijuana these days. More than half of the states in our county now allow for either medical marijuana cards and/or legal recreational use. And the trend is increasing. On the flip side, the use and possession of marijuana remains a violation of federal law – for now. Where does all of this leave employers who are trying to establish and enforce drug-free workplaces? And pot’s not our only issue, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) estimates that 70% of Americans that use illegal drugs are employed. That’s a scary statistic for employers.

Join us for a timely and informative session that will review the current marijuana laws across the U.S., discuss the legal implications of marijuana-related policies and testing programs, and provide some practical advice for employers wrestling with this complex and controversial topic.

This session will provide lots of information but is intended to be thought-provoking and interactive, as we brainstorm together from a practical HR perspective on how to manage in this challenging and evolving landscape.

Learning Objectives:

  • Current state laws on marijuana in the workplace
  • The conflict between federal and state marijuana laws
  • The challenges of coming up with an effective drug testing program
  • The potential ADA and other disability law implications related to marijuana policies and practices
  • A practical “to-do” list for HR professionals on how best to advise executive management

Lauraine Bifulco
President/CEO
Vantaggio HR, ltd.


Legal Industry/Business Management

According to research, 70% of first-generation firms do not survive their founding partners. And only 31% of law firms have a formal succession planning process. Learn how one firm founded in 1969 has managed to navigate the future in a highly competitive and relatively small marketplace and was awarded in 2019 by clients with a quality satisfaction index of 5/5.

Attend and you’ll:

  • View succession as part of strategic planning
  • Address the key elements for the client’s relationship transition in a culture of excellence
  • Look at mentoring programs and how to implement them in a multi-generational environment
  • Understand the fundamentals of successfully managing knowledge and change management
  • Recognize the importance of written policies and procedures

Angelina Angelov, CLM, MBA
Office Manager
Russin, Vecchi & Heredia Bonetti

Statistics show that 81% of entry-level associates leave law firms within five years. And their top complaints are often related to inadequate professional development tools and training. This session will focus on the important role legal management professionals play in supporting and developing attorneys in their first 10 years of practice. Find out best practices for supporting attorneys in years 0-3, 3-6 and 6-10. You’ll help them thrive and increase their retention, growing them into successful partners and, ultimately, future rainmakers.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Identify techniques for supporting attorneys at various stages in their journeys, in spite of common constraints they may be up against
  • Look at the five biggest networking mistakes associates make and how to combat them
  • Gain tools to increase associate productivity and instill confidence in your attorneys
  • Learn what it takes for associates to develop and maintain key relationships
  • Adopt specific strategies to best help young attorneys navigate these critical years  

Stephanie R. Hanna, Esq.
Owner
The Other 85

Surveys indicate that a staggering number of partners are moving to new firms. Yet only 28% of managing partners believe lateral hiring is “highly effective.” At the same time, reports indicate that significantly more than 50% of all lateral hires will fail within five years. Those failures will cost the largest law firms over $9 billion per year. In this session, you’ll examine the current state of the lateral hiring market, look at growth trends and challenges, and assess the specific risks law firms face as they compete in the legal talent markets. You’ll leave with effective and immediate solutions to increase the success of your firm’s lateral hiring efforts.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Gain a comprehensive briefing on the state of today’s lateral hiring market
  • Understand the inherent legal, business and financial risks associated with lateral hires
  • Examine key pointers on utilizing more effective strategies to combat risk in the lateral hiring process
  • Take home an accessible “how-to” on ensuring lateral partner success
  • Identify important strategies for improving lateral partner integration

 

Michael Ellenhorn
Co-CEO and General Counsel
Decipher

Karoline E. Jackson
Partner and General Counsel
Barns & Thornburg LLP

Changing market conditions, generational differences impacting hiring and retention, the use of technology to communicate, collaborate and process information. Last year, the ALA Large Firm Administrators Caucus participated in a two-day future-casting intensive to address these and other big issues facing law firms. In this session, you’ll hear the results and uncover practical strategies you can put in place now to start to minimize the impact in your firm.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Learn the 10 critical path issues facing law firms
  • Participate in an interactive crowdsourcing exercise to build on the Caucus’ work in four priority areas:
    • Talent Retention and Development
    • Change Management
    • Technology Implementation and Innovation
    • Compensation
  • Identify practical strategies you can use to advance conversations at your firm

Debra Baker
Managing Director
GrowthPlay

Frederick B. O’Malley
Chief Operating Officer
Shutts & Bowen LLP

It’s not always love at first sight. The merging of two law firms often elicits emotions and change long before their union. This session will explore how your administrative and legal support teams can best prepare your people, reduce the stress of unknowns and uncertainties, and support firm leadership through the many phases leading up to the combination of two firms. Learn about the due diligence and transition plan happening behind the scenes and what it takes to set two firms on the path to happily ever after.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Learn how mergers can open doors to new opportunities and responsibilities
  • Explore responses to questions like, “Am I going to lose my job?”… “Are our benefits going to change?”… and “What are we going to do with all these files?!”
  • Find out how to integrate employees before the big day and keep the celebration going

Amber James, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Human Resources Manager
DLA Piper LLP

During this session for managing partners, chief operating officers (COOs) and administrative managers and directors, you’ll learn from someone who has been on the inside of multiple mergers and served as a merger consultant for two recent, successful law firm mergers. You’ll gain insights into the merger process that will be invaluable, no matter the size of your law firm or whether your firm is acquiring or being acquired. Let someone who’s been there prepare you, your attorneys and your staff for the merger process and integration.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Know exactly what goes on during merger negotiations
  • Learn how one firm is always the acquirer and how will you know?
  • Discuss the critical importance of new firm culture and how to impact it
  • Overcome the #1 stumbling block in merger discussions (financial inequities is #2, and yes, you can overcome that one too)
  • Leave with a step-by-step merger plan

Douglas M. Doerfler, CPA
Chief Operating Officer
Rouse Frets White Goss Gentile Rhodes

What are the nonlegal skills that all lawyers need to create professional success? Through this session, you’ll assemble a customized toolkit with specific activities to take back to your law firm for implementation. Learn basic skills and observe real-life illustrations of social competence, client development and law firm management.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Discuss personal marketing tactics including how to create an elevator speech and work a room, as well as simple business etiquette
  • Look at generational conflicts and succession planning issues, how to create a positive culture and update your mentoring programs, best practices for leadership development and knowledge transfer
  • Delve into value migration and the dynamic forces reshaping client expectations, disruptive technologies, the competitive marketplace, and critical operational improvements and leadership transition

Michael Moore, JD, Esq.
Founder
Moore's Law LLC

Explore how your law firm and legal department can incorporate assessment models using psychometric and other predictive tools to hire and build successful, effective and diverse legal teams. In this session, you’ll review two case studies illustrating how to use psychometric and assessment tools to stand up a new practice specialty and address deficiencies in how legal departments manage client engagement.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Understand the science of psychometrics and predictive behavioral assessment and how to use these tools when hiring and developing teams
  • Learn how to assess individual and team talent, based on interest, behavior and motivation and against the organization’s goals and objectives for success
  • Find out how to select the right psychometric and assessment tools based on desired outcomes and organizational culture

Terri Hartwell Easter
Principal
T.H. Easter Consulting LLC

What constitutes a good framework for client acceptance in a law firm? EVERYTHING — especially the processes you have in place! Protecting your firm is the foundation of any good client acceptance process. You may know the typical life cycle of a matter. But when do you decline or even stop the representation? How much due diligence is necessary? And how do you close your matters? After this session, you’ll have the answers and be able to establish a whole-house process for client acceptance that will be beneficial to your firm.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Identify how work comes to your firm
  • Determine the typical life-cycle of your matters
  • Establish a clear path for client acceptance
  • Improve collections and speed-up the cash cycle
  • Implement best practices when concluding a matter

Chris Sims, CPA
Director of Finance
PirkeyBarber PLLC

The new challenges of the industry have brought about structural changes in the law firm business management model. New challenges and complexities are driving change in the set of skills and abilities required for non-lawyer professional managers and leaders. Historically, these positions tended to be more focused on functional implementation, but now they are increasingly becoming relied upon to lead and drive strategy. your firm.

This panel of Executive Directors and Chief Operating Officers will discuss:

  • The emerging roles and expectations of the new C-suite
  • Levels of skill and expertise sought to lead these new innovative roles.
  • How effective are they in driving change

Michael C. Blanchard
Managing Director, Law Firm Advisory Team
Aon

George J. Wolf, Jr.
Managing Director, Law Firm Advisory Team
Aon


Operations Management

Explore the process of brand and culture discovery, what the process yields and how to use that information to create brand loyalty and attract clients and talent. Find out how RFIs and RFPs are requesting information about culture, diversity and inclusion. Attend this session and you’ll share thoughts, tips and concerns related to brand and culture awareness and articulation for client and staff loyalty and strategic growth.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Explore how a healthy culture directly correlates to your bottom line
  • Examine why cultural alignment tops the list of more and more businesses choosing partners
  • Collect best practices

Terry M. Isner
Chief Executive Officer/Owner
Jaffe

Gain insights and tips to help you integrate complementary marketing, public relations and business development tactics into a business development plan. In this session, you’ll set a course of action that offers effective tactics and time frames to increase visibility, promote thought leadership and grow awareness of your firm, practice group and individual attorneys.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Discover why communication tactics work better together
  • Break down communication silos for better sale results
  • Learn the nuts and bolts of an integrated business development plan
  • Uncover public relations tactics that enhance business development activities
  • Delve into messaging for communicating the value of an integrated business development plan to leadership

Terry M. Isner
Chief Executive Officer/Owner
Jaffe

Are you leveraging the digital tools at your fingertips? Application software and social media abounds in today’s legal industry. How do you make sense of it all and use these tools to work smarter? This session will introduce several law-related and not-so-law-related apps and social media tools that will help bring your firm (and task list) into 2020. While ideal for administrators of small- to medium-sized firms, the insights gained will be relevant for any administrator interested in how apps and social media can provide an edge.

Attend and you’ll:  

  • Uncover the “hidden gems” you aren’t using (but already have in your toolkit)
  • Take the first steps to implementing a new app
  • Evaluate five apps to help you increase efficiency at your desk
  • Understand how social media is more than a marketing tool for law firms

Anna Cates Williams
Executive Director
Walker Lambe, PLLC

The retirement or departure of a primary-relationship attorney is a leading reason why law firms lose key client relationships. Yet most law firms continue to struggle with how to introduce new talent into client relationships to protect their business from client attrition. Traditional approaches to law firm succession planning have proven woefully inadequate because they focus on what’s good for the firm. In this session, you’ll learn a business continuity approach that instead focuses on what is good for the client.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Understand the distinctions between succession planning and business continuity
  • Adopt an approach to business continuity that is focused on the client's best interests
  • Develop a practical plan for implementing client centric business continuity in your own firm

Holly Barocio
Senior Consultant and Managing Director
GrowthPlay

Tasneem Khokha, Esq.
Managing Director
GrowthPlay

Data-driven management is becoming the norm across sectors. Leaders are looking for actionable business intelligence insights to make the right decisions at the right time. Firms that replace gut instincts and suspicions with metrics and measurements will quickly gain a strategic advantage as they measure and showcase efficiency and top- and bottom-line contribution. How can you take your law firm through the journey of becoming a data-driven business? In this session, you’ll address data governance, people, process and technology aspects. You’ll leave with a clear strategy on how to become a data-driven business.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Discuss key challenges to consider before your firm starts the journey and how to build the business case for change
  • Assess the components of a data-driven culture: access, use and thinking
  • Establish a roadmap that includes the right starting point for creating a culture of innovation and improvement with the right data insights

Pedro Campos
Chief Executive Officer and Founder
Opex Legal - Operational Excellence for the Legal Sector

 

Sexual harassment and assault, #MeToo, lawyer suicides, depression, anxiety: How often do we consider what happens to individuals who experience a traumatic or stressful event? In this session, you’ll examine behavioral response to stressful incidents or crises and what actually happens in the brain. You’ll break it down into psychological stages that help to explain why individuals react in certain ways as they experience trauma. This session will help those involved in crisis management, incident response and crisis communication understand the human factor in a crisis and prepare your firm, lawyers and staff for situations that could affect your reputation.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Examine factors that can affect a firm’s reputation         
  • Identify the types of exercises and training that prepare law firms and crisis management teams to ensure the safety of all
  • Learn how to create an incident response and crisis communication plan and thorough policies and procedures to address any situation that may arise

Kathryn N. Scourby, CBCP
Principal
KNS Consulting

 

With the help of technology, you can now do more with less (time, resources and people). But there are so many different applications and technology tools in the market. Which one is right for you and your firm? This session will provide you with an overview of the trending technology for law firms, actionable guidance in identifying where technology will help your legal operations the most, and a how-to guide on selecting the right technology for your firm.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Gain an overview of trending technology for legal operations
  • Identify the most valuable technology for your legal operations
  • Learn tips for selecting the right technology for your firm

Tiffany Ho
Director of Operations
Rogoway Law Group

 

Information governance and the protection of corporate data are top concerns of clients — and a vital component of your client service initiatives. This should come as no surprise as GDPR enforcement is ramping up in the European Union, CCPA has been introduced in California and more privacy regulations are soon to come — all with substantial financial penalties. In this session, you’ll walk through the essential steps you must implement to evolve your information governance processes to excellence and a differentiating component of client service.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Connect information governance strategy and client service
  • Learn how to implement an integrated, electronic-first workflow
  • Explore how to create digital onramps for document conversion
  • Examine terms and conditions in records storage contracts for optimal results
  • Define a cost-effective destruction policy and apply a records retention policy

Robert Mattern
President
Mattern, LLC

 

Outsourcing, when done right, aligns a law firm’s business, financial and operational objectives. But what makes a successful outsourcing partnership and contract? The structure of your contract plays a huge role in your outsourcing triumph. But it is not the only detail to look out for. This session unlocks the top three items that will improve your outsourcing situation and give you the upper hand in your contact negotiations. Whether your firm is currently outsourced or you’re considering outsourcing some aspect of your backand middle-office operations, this session is for you.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Discover how to create a flexible and firm-friendly contract for services, including penalty-based service level agreements
  • Acquire a comprehensive understanding of effective monthly reporting and how to implement it
  • Examine the how-to’s of contract monitoring (for compliance and committed delivery) for the term of the agreement
  • Learn from peers through law firm success story case studies

Robert Mattern
President
Mattern, LLC

 

Moving your applications to the cloud is a great way to address cybersecurity threats and improve your business practices and client service. Cloud providers offer a wide range of security controls and productivity enhancements, but not without risks. This session will show you how to evaluate cloud vendors. You’ll learn how to assess your firm’s minimum security requirements and the universe of options available to you. You’ll better understand your risks specific to each application, service provided and vendor. In addition, you’ll determine what you want to do better through thoughtful, guided discussions with firm leaders and practitioners before being told what you need by vendors.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Understand client data security in the cloud
  • Recognize business and client service opportunities offered by the cloud
  • Review how business strategy and process improvement drives technology adoption
  • Find out how to show management the importance of a data governance plan
  • Learn how to identify and change bad behaviors and practices

Christopher Zegers
Director of Consulting – Legal
IVIONICS

 

Gain a better understanding of the most current trends in law firm space design. Occupancy costs are the second or third largest budget items for law firms, which means well-designed and efficient space is critical. You’ll learn how good law firm design is a combination of both efficiency and effectiveness. And you’ll explore how to find the balance between space savings and the creation of inspiring space.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Learn how to plan for administrative support space that can support a 6-1 or greater attorney to secretarial ratio
  • Identify strategies to reduce space utilization by 15 to 25 percent
  • Consider how meeting and teaming space is evolving in law firms
  • Adopt strategies to minimize the cost of space for administrative support staff, including housing them in less costly buildings or markets

Erik Hodgetts, AIA, LEED AP
Principal
IA Interior Architects

Russell Manthy
Principal
IA Interior Architects

Mark Santiago, CMC, CPA
Managing Partner
SB2 Consultants

 

Technological advances continue to create an unparalleled array of third-party vendors you must work with to accomplish both business development and matter management goals. In this session, you’ll explore how providing access to your firm’s files, digital marketing channels and other data creates risks and surprisingly serious ethical issues. This session will cover recent ABA Model Rules changes, which rules are most often involved when working with third-party vendors, examples of real-life dilemmas and tips for avoiding ethical landmines.

Attend and you’ll:   

  • Learn about the types of vendors lawyers work with and their roles
  • Identify important questions to ask vendors during the hiring process
  • Find out how to ensure outsourced vendors comply with attorney ethics rules
  • Assess which items and what access vendors will need to be successful
  • Discover how to provide helpful feedback to optimize the working relationship

Stacey Burke, Esq.
Attorney / Owner
Stacey E. Burke, P.C.

 

One of the next frontiers for law firms will be shared office space for attorneys who leave their offices vacant for extended periods of time. Across many law firms, opportunities exist to utilize vacant space that will promote a more mobile and dynamic culture in the office while shedding unnecessary square footage throughout the floor plan. In this session, you’ll discuss possible sharing scenarios that accommodate privacy and confidentiality while offering potential savings on real estate expenditure.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Discover ways to identify if your culture is a good fit for a shared office plan
  • Explore layout scenarios of shared office plans
  • Discuss strategies for successful implementation and maintenance of a shared office plan
  • Measure potential real estate cost savings

Marty Festenstein
Practice Leader, Legal
Nelson

 

More and more companies, including law firms, are being hacked and suffering the devastating consequences of security breaches, ransomware encryption and exposed data. Your clients are rightfully concerned about their data security when handing over sensitive documents to your firms, and they may be demanding proof of your technological competency. How can you train your firm to be technologically competent and prove your worth to clients? How do you convince others in your firm that this is vitally important? Join this session to learn the risks of incompetence and how your firm can develop a culture of learning that delivers both technological competency and client trust.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Hear about some of the industry’s most notorious breaches and how they could have been avoided
  • Examine case studies of firms that faced client demands for “proof of technological competence” and how they delivered
  • Learn how to engage even your most resistant attorneys in a rewarding learning culture
  • Discuss ways to prove to your clients that you have a team of highly tech-competent professionals who will protect their data

Doug Striker, MBA
Chief Executive Officer
Savvy Training & Consulting

IT has revolutionized the way your law firm conducts daily activities, interacts with clients, secures your most important assets and much more. But how prepared is your organization to thwart a cyberattack? While many law firms have implemented some security measures, like virus protection, few feel prepared enough to handle a cyberattack due to the constantly evolving threat landscape. Learn how to boost your IT security while there’s still time.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Examine cyber risks your firm needs to be aware of, including the most likely threats to impact your firm
  • Explore the “right” IT to have in place and how to implement and utilize it
  • Consider policies your firm should establish and how to enforce them
  • Look at the role the cloud can play in increasing security and efficiency for your law firm
  • Discuss additional measures for preventing a cyberattack and what to do if your firm is hacked

Darragh Fitzpatrick
Partner and Executive Vice President
Tabush Group

The cloud has arrived in the legal industry. More and more law firms are augmenting or replacing their local on-premises infrastructure with cloud infrastructure and services. While there is much to be gained and the promise of this new paradigm are enticing, the reward does not come without risk. This session will address common concerns and questions that legal organizations have about making the transition, and it will reveal the enormous potential for law firms to reduce overhead and maximize productivity with cloud “as-aservice” solutions. You’ll learn common pitfalls to avoid and leave more confident about mapping out your firm’s cloud strategy.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Consider the real-world benefits of utilizing cloud resources
  • Identify where you can and can’t reduce cost by moving to the cloud
  • Evaluate common pitfalls and risks 
  • Understand what workloads may not be right for the cloud
  • Identify resources and methods for testing cloud services

 

Dominick Ciacciarelli
Practice Group Leader
Kraft & Kennedy, Inc.

“Clouds” come in many shapes (like email, file storage, security, apps), sizes (like Microsoft Azure and Amazon) and prices (per user, per gigabyte). It’s a near certainty that your firm is using something “cloud-based” and that someone is telling you that you should be doing more in the cloud. How do you know if they’re right and what in the cloud your firm should use? Moving or not moving isn’t merely a cost consideration.

We’ll look at a couple of firms of different sizes and evaluate their processes to determine what to move to the cloud and why. Finally, when finished, you’ll understand more than just the technical and cost considerations and have tools to help you decide what’s best for your firm.

Attend and you’ll:

  • Evaluate various levels of cloud uses for your firm
  • Dissect the cost and saving factors involved in your firm’s various uses of the cloud
  • Know what security questions to ask of the cloud provider and why
  • Learn how to protect your data if the cloud provider goes out of business, goes down for a period of time or loses your data

James R. Gast, Jr.
Chief Executive Officer
SpliceNet Consulting

 

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Copyright © 2019 by the Association of Legal Administrators. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2019 by the Association of Legal Administrators. All rights reserved.

8600 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 400N, Chicago, IL 60631 TEL: 847.267.1252

8600 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 400N, Chicago, IL 60631 TEL: 847.267.1252