Big Ideas ALA President’s Letter

The ALA Connection

As we draw closer to the end of my term and as I sat down to write my last column for Legal Management as ALA President, I found myself reflecting on the past year. 
Michael T. Bumgarner, CLM, CPA, CGMA

I am seeing things return to normal little by little — as far as activities inside and outside of work go. People are getting together again. I think about friends we have lost to COVID-19, the increasing challenge of mental health issues, and the new global crisis that has emerged in Europe. It is a great deal to try to cope with while trying to take care of ourselves and others each day. The one thing I want to encourage you all to do is be kind and help one another as we continue our journey. Reach out to your friends and family and make sure they are OK. And, quite frankly, make sure to develop your own self-care plan.

The one thing I want to encourage you all to do is be kind and help one another as we continue our journey.

Over the last month, I have been fortunate enough to attend and speak at several ALA in-person events across the country. The energy of ALA members and business partners being together again, some for the first time in two years, was incredible. The ability to meet and network in-person after being apart was visibly positive in so many ways. Meeting new people and seeing old friends again means so much, and it reminds me how important networking and education is to our ALA membership and to our self-care.

I find this incredibly significant, especially as it relates to one of ALA’s strategic direction goals of more meaningful, accessible and personalized member value. These relationships we build and strengthen at retreats and conferences are what make us more interconnected and help energize us to keep moving forward.

The pandemic began two years ago, and it’s been interesting how legal organizations have adapted to change faster than they had in the past — largely because of the necessity to continue to keep the doors open and take care of client needs. To keep up with these changes, we were able to rely on our networking and education from ALA to help lead our firms and our colleagues. Now it appears we are shifting to a different point in the pandemic, one that will open up more opportunities for us to resume in-person meetings, network with other legal management professionals and use more of the resources available to us through our ALA membership. And we can keep building on ways to drive the strategic direction that ALA adopted last year, which focuses on member value; diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA); education and professional development; and influence in the industry.

I look forward to seeing everyone this May in Kissimmee, Florida, at the 2022 Annual Conference & Expo, where we will continue to build our network of support!