Big Ideas ALA President’s Letter

The Unpredictable, Rewarding World of Legal Management

Hey ALA! Those of you who attended our Annual Conference & Expo in Grapevine, Texas, last month witnessed a full gamut of weather put on display by Mother Nature. Springtime in Texas definitely involves an element of erratic weather — sudden and strong thunderstorms, dramatic swings in temperature followed by warm sunshine and perfect blue skies. And that’s all in the span of an afternoon!
James L. Cornell III

In many ways, spring weather is like legal management — variable, wonderful, occasionally stormy, subject to change in an instant and never ordinary. I have come to think of what we do as legal management professionals as an adventure full of surprises. As unpredictable as our day-to-day professional lives can be, I am comforted knowing that membership in ALA means I have a dependable, responsive and relevant toolkit to go to in time of crisis or calm.

In this month’s Legal Management, you will find plenty of what you need to prepare your legal organization for whatever the industry or an unforeseen force of nature may throw at it. Our cover story provides insights on the hard and soft skills that personnel throughout your organization need to remain competitive and provide outstanding client service. Communication, collaboration and empathy are the key attributes for everyone from the front desk to the corner office. These are some of the core skills of leadership. That’s where our Association really shines by offering opportunities to further and continuously develop this skill in our members.

Another feature article describes six strategies that you can use to attract top talent in a tough hiring market. With unemployment at the lowest it’s been in 50 years, getting the right people in the door is crucial. These strategies are also excellent for retaining your talented team once you’ve hired them, so you can keep them engaged and evolving — which is key for futureproofing your legal organization during this dynamic time.

ALA recognizes that our greatest opportunity and strength isn’t with products, services or projects — it’s with our members.

Lastly, I hope you will check out the coverage from Annual Conference. This year’s conference featured keynotes from three amazing women, along with stellar education, ample networking with members and business partners, and our first-ever “Ask Anything” town hall session with April Campbell and Executive Director Oliver Yandle — along with the usual fun that comes when you mix ALA members, a dance floor and music together! We also had a peek into the future of ALA (provided by yours truly) that included an open invitation to join the journey and be a part of creating the Association we want to be and see. It was an amazing week that was not dampened or deterred in the least by those unpredictable spring storms!

If you were not able to join us at Annual Conference, don’t worry — you haven’t missed the bus. Jump on board at the next station and be a part of what we are doing and the journey forward. I’m excited about the future and what it holds for us! This year we will begin development of our next strategic plan, focus on enhancing the membership experience, and add more curated content and value for our members as the premier professional association connecting leaders and managers within the legal industry.

Leadership studies pioneer Warren Bennis wrote, “Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself.” ALA recognizes that our greatest opportunity and strength isn’t with products, services or projects — it’s with our members. It’s with empowering and enabling our members to lead the business of law.