It’s Time to Start Preparing for ALA’s
2021 Annual Conference & Expo
September 13, 2021
First, if you’re anything like me, think back to make sure that you are registered and that you booked your hotel and airfare. Once that is done, consider some of these tips to make this year’s conference a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
Identify your goals. Make this conference all about you! Perhaps you’re searching for innovative ideas to cultivate change or looking to build a larger network of change agents. Plan your agenda now to focus on what you want to accomplish. Strive to attend sessions that pique your interest (but not ones you could teach yourself).
Schedule plenty of time in the Exhibit Hall. Consider prescheduling meetings with business partners you want to get extra time with. Make sure to connect with ALA’s VIP business partners to secure deeper savings and unique offers just for being an ALA member.
Update your social media. Use #ALAConf21 when being social before, during and after the event, participate in conference discussions, and connect with new contacts.
Check the Attendee List to start connecting and networking today. Be sure to step outside of your comfort zone and meet new ALA members. Follow up with new contacts within 24 hours and include a comment from your conversation to jog memories.
Have an arsenal of conversation starters and lots of business cards. Where are you from? Enjoying the conference so far? How are you liking today’s sessions? Don’t be intimidated to walk up to a stranger. Or boost your confidence with a visit to the Exhibit Hall — everyone there is eager to talk.
Know your limits! It is easy to get sucked into doing everything. Make sure you breathe and set aside time to regroup.
Be on the lookout for more news about the conference in the coming weeks. I’ll see ya in Austin this October!
Laura Thompson Sears, CLM
Chief Administrative Officer
Gould & Ratner LLP
Vice Chair of the Business Partner Relations Project Team
Learn, Grow and Cultivate New Ideas at #ALAConf21
July 28, 2021
Friends … colleagues … trusted advisers … leaders in their field … great resources … supporters. Who are these amazing people?
Our ALA business partners, of course. And where else are you going to find them in one place at one time other than ALA’s 2021 Annual Conference & Expo in Austin, Texas? Over 60 business partners are gearing up to showcase their vast array of services and products — you won’t want to miss it!
We learn from them, we utilize their services, we grow with them,
we cultivate ideas and benefit from their information sharing.
As a member of ALA and a longtime conference attendee, I know the value of having all of these services and products in one place. If you are a business partner, what better place to showcase your organization and connect (and reconnect) with ALA members and other exhibitors to foster relationships and grow your business?
The Exhibit Hall is the place to connect with and learn from experienced professionals
who know what’s going on in the legal industry.
Before the conference, be sure to check out the list of everyone who is exhibiting and begin to plan your strategy …
Make sure to block out enough time so that you can take full advantage of this invaluable resource center!
Austin is going to be epic. I can’t wait to see all our business partners again to share how we’re doing personally, as I’ve known some of them for years. I also can’t wait to meet new business partners and to learn what’s new, what’s hot and how I can partner with them.
Take advantage of all opportunities to engage with our business partners — they make it possible for us to lead our firms and support ALA in meaningful ways.
For more information or to register, visit ALAannualconf.org or contact us at 1-888-593-7243 or [email protected]alconf.org.
(Your registration code is B00-690-690CX11.)
See you in Austin!
Laura Thompson Sears, CLM
Chief Administrative Officer
Gould & Ratner LLP
Vice Chair of the Business Partner Relations Project Team
Lasting Connections, New Ideas and Good Times at #ALAConf21
July 12, 2021
ALA’s Annual Conference & Expo is a treasure trove of experiences. With the variety of topics covered by the educational programming, the keynotes, the dedicated time for social interaction and an Exhibit Hall filled with ways to make your day-to-day easier, you are sure to come away with valuable takeaways!
But that’s easy for us to say, so we polled the 2021 Annual Conference Planning Committee for real-life perspectives. Here are their most memorable moments from conferences past:
Arthur P. Bernstein
Tucker Ellis LLP,
Representing the Large Firm Administrators Caucus
“I’ve attended more than 20 of these conferences — clearly I find them to be of value. I made friends at conferences decades ago and we’re still in touch, sharing ideas, commiserating, laughing at some of the odd occurrences in our profession.”
“I remember the time I first heard Michael Cohen and his ‘Dear Helga’ questions session. It was so funny and so true and so helpful to me to get some great answers to seemingly weird and odd issues, but frankly I had most of those same problems and issues too! I try not to miss Michael’s presentations — it is so much more fun to get great information and excellent answers and advice AND be laughing with all your peers and friends while doing it.”
Terri J. Oppelt, CLM, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Armanino LLP, Los Angeles, CA
Representing the Professional Development Advisory Committee
Elyssa A. Goldstein, CLM, PHR, SHRM‑CP
Rebenack, Aronow & Mascolo, LLP, New Brunswick, NJ
Representing the Membership Development Committee
“I have been a regular Annual Conference & Expo attendee since 2014. What I always recall most fondly upon returning home is the time spent between the educational and social/networking events, i.e., the time where I can catch up with old friends and make new ones, get advice about things pertaining to my career and beyond, and remind myself how lucky I am to be a part of this organization.”
“Annual Conference is so awesome, and I have met so many wonderful people there. Annual Conference is an intense learning opportunity but also has many fun spots as well. I remember one session [where] the presenter was going to talk about preparing presentations that matter, and he asked for a volunteer to help him run the ‘PowerPoint.’ As it turned out, he had an overhead projector and overhead slides that were taped together [and] went on for about 12 feet! The volunteer had to manage the slides when he said next slide. It was quite the challenge. It was hilarious!”
Gail P. Semonian, CLM, MBA, PHR
Office Administrator, Matis Baum O'Connor
Representing the Certification Committee
“My favorite memories are of all of the friendships I have made from across the globe. ALA colleagues that taught me to volunteer, invest in myself and rise to leadership, and always reach out when in need. My first Annual Conference, Orlando 2011, was the turning point when ALA colleagues changed to ALA friends. I think my ALA mates learned a lot about me too. … I always seem to snap a picture that will appear randomly throughout their life when they least expect it.”
“I have so many amazing memories and experiences from each conference I attended. One thing I can say is the more involved I became in the leadership of my chapter and at the national level, the more I got out of each conference. GET INVOLVED!”
Lisa A. Sterritt
Representing the Product and Service Review Committee
Davis Agnor Rapaport & Skalny LLC, Columbia, MD
“My favorite memories center on networking. I always make it a point to meet new people. Many of them become permanent contacts and some have become long-term friends!”
“John Quiñones delivered an absolutely amazing keynote at the 2018 conference at National Harbor, Maryland. Mr. Quiñones shared his very personal journey filled with poverty and racism. His story was one of incredible perseverance and he shared how he used his own fought-after privilege and platform as a newscaster to share the stories of so many more who were fighting horrible acts of poverty and racism. I don’t know that I recall a keynote being filled with so many tears and laughs. It was incredibly emotional and inspirational. It will go down in the books for me as one of the most moving keynotes to date.”
Ellen R. Clinton, SHRM-SCP
Kutak Rock LLP,
Representing the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion
Get ready to build your network of peers, learn something new and make your own memories with us October 3-6 in Austin, Texas.
ALA’s 2021 Annual Conference Committee (ACC)
The Annual Conference Planning Committee Invites You to Austin
June 28, 2021
There’s nothing quite like getting together and we’re looking forward to connecting in person at this year’s Annual Conference & Expo in Austin, Texas, October 3–6.
Watch this video of the Conference Committee talking about what they are most looking forward to:
Take a moment to download the full agenda. We’ve carved out spots for every topic you could possibly imagine … legal project management, data breaches, litigation financing, law firm M&A and much more. Add in two dynamic, insightful featured speakers and an Exhibit Hall full of solutions to make your life easier, and this year’s thought-through program addresses the needs of all our members regardless of their present career journey.
Plus, most of the education sessions can be used for recertification credits. You can even earn all your credits to apply for the Certified Legal Manager (CLM) ® exam at the conference this year.
We hope to see you there!
Kara M. Brostron, CLM
Director of Operations
Lashly & Baer, PC, St. Louis, MO
Chair of the 2021 Annual Conference & Expo Planning Committee
Message from the Chair
June 10, 2021
It’s not been what I would call a typical journey as Chair of the Annual Conference Planning Committee because of the events of the last year, but I would never have had the privilege to witness firsthand the relentless spirit of ALA’s members and share their eagerness to once again meet safely in person. The Annual Conference & Expo is our yearly opportunity to celebrate ideas, swap stories and revel in the shared enthusiasm for our profession.
My fellow committee members and I are proud to bring you an exceptional, fresh education schedule with topics spanning the legal industry/business management, operations management, finance, human resources and communications and organizational management. This year’s programming offers dynamic new ideas and some essential, evergreen topics, and it tackles some emerging challenges for our profession. Plus, you can obtain the continuing education credits you need and still have plenty of time to connect with your peers and scope out the latest innovations from our business partners.
And, after pivoting throughout 2020, our biggest goal for Annual Conference is to CELEBRATE … celebrate ALA’s 50th Anniversary and what makes our community truly great—the varied perspectives, experiences and knowledge that ALA members have grown to love. ALA is the embodiment of the principle that we are better together. Better prepared to face the next hurdles, armed with the success stories of our peers. Better able to overcome our challenges, supplied with solutions road-tested by other firms and our business partners. Better equipped to expertly guide our firms through any environment.
I cannot wait to welcome you all to Austin in October for this much-needed gathering of knowledge, innovation and community.
2021 Annual Conference & Expo Programming Update
May 10, 2021
Can you believe it is already May and the conference is coming up in October? It will be here before you know it! So register now and book your hotel and airfare — it’s time to plan a trip to Austin, Texas.
I have never been to Austin, but I know a few things. I know it is the capital of Texas. I also know it is the home of the University of Texas. I know a professor by the name of Matthew McConaughey might be there, so I’ll be taking a college tour this October in hopes of running into him on the quad.
Austin may be an alluring location, but the Annual Conference Committee has also been working diligently to create an exceptional educational schedule with topics spanning the legal industry and business management, operations management, finance, human resources, and communications and organizational management.
We are ensuring that this year’s education hits it out of the ballpark. Based on the education we have selected so far, I am not sure how I will be able to attend everything I want to. We know that this conference will be cutting-edge. For instance, one session will answer what we should know about litigation finance and when our firms would want to consider it.
Another hot topic that will be a session: What about the ABA Model Rule 5.4 regarding law firm ownership? Currently, reforms in this area only affect California, Utah and Arizona, but they’re expected to grow rapidly in other states — kind of like recreational marijuana. Be educated when your partners come knocking on your door.
Beyond the innovative education sessions, be sure to schedule time in the Exhibit Hall with ALA’s business partners to see what new products they offer to help you move your firm forward.
The committee will continue to provide news about the conference in the coming weeks. Be on the lookout!
See ya in Austin!
2021 Annual Conference & Expo — Something Big Is Coming This Fall…
February 1, 2021
While the world works to distribute vaccinations, our work continues to confirm a location and new conference dates for this fall. As with many things in recent months, this isn’t how I pictured my journey as Chair of the Annual Conference Planning Committee. However, I’m heartened by the relentless spirit of ALA’s members and share their eagerness to once again meet safely in person to celebrate ideas, swap stories and revel in the shared enthusiasm for our profession. It’s coming — and it’s going to be just what we all need!
The Planning Committee has been poring over your feedback from past conferences, developing fresh and energizing content and discussing some dynamic new ideas. The 2021 Annual Conference & Expo will still be full of sessions for every level of legal management and continue to offer you the continuing education credits you need. And the conference agenda will offer plenty of time to connect with your peers in an inclusive environment and scope out the latest innovations from our business partners.
The programming will take a fresh look at some essential, evergreen topics and tackle some emerging challenges for our profession. And, after tumultuous months spent apart in so many ways, our biggest goal for Annual Conference — which will celebrate ALA’s 50th Anniversary — is to bring together the varied perspectives, experiences and knowledge that makes our community truly great. For we legal managers are better together: Better prepared to face the next hurdles, armed with the success stories of our peers. Better able to overcome our challenges, supplied with solutions road-tested by other firms and our business partners. Better equipped to expertly guide our firms through any environment.
On behalf of the committee, I thank you for your patience and continued support. Please stay tuned through BOLD Bites, your inbox and ALA’s social media channels for more updates in the coming weeks.