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2024 Annual Conference Coverage


Discovering the Difference in Aurora: ALA’s 2024 Annual Conference & Expo Brings Industry Leaders to Colorado

A BIG thank you to the more than 1,000 attendees and over 160 exhibiting companies at the 2024 Annual Conference & Expo in Aurora, Colorado! We hope you walked away with plenty of inspiration, new connections and cutting-edge solutions to enhance your career and put into practice at your law office.

With the close of the conference, new volunteer members officially join ALA’s standing committees, the new Chapter Resource Team and the Board of Directors. President Amanda R. Koplos, CLM, CPA, and the 2024–2025 ALA Board of Directors took office. We’d also like to give a special thanks to the 2024 Annual Conference Planning Committee for all the work they did to make Aurora a huge success!

See below for more highlights!


The 2024–2025 ALA Board of Directors

From left to right: Sarah E. Cramer, Director; Jessica L. VanTroost, Director; Elyssa A. Goldstein, CLM, PHR, SHRM-CP, Director; Daniel P. Atcheson, Director; Travis C. Armstrong, CLM, CPA, President-Elect; Geoffrey M. Williams, CLM, MBA, MDiv, Immediate Past President; Amanda R. Koplos, CLM, CPA, President; Eryn Carter, CAE, ALA Executive Director; Clara E. Onderdonk, CLM, Director; Angelina Angelov, CLM, MBA, Director; Jerry G. McPeake, MSLA, Director; Terri D. Moore-Natal, SPHR, Director; Ken Koehn, CLM, CPA, CMA, Director  



2024 Annual Conference Planning Committee

From left to right: Amanda R. Koplos, CLM, CPA, ALA President; Summer S. Jurrells, PHR, SHRM-CP, Chair; Domicka L. Max, CLM; Dawn M. Donham, CLM; Andrea C. Stitt; Roberta A. Bauer; JaNae D. Martin; Geoffrey M. Williams, CLM, MBA, MDiv, ALA Immediate Past President







The Foundation’s Board of Trustees

From left to right: Kira L. Hansen, Vice President; Karen Michelle Beasley; Kristie Lynn Manning, CLM, SHRM-CP, President. Not Pictured: Eryn Carter, CAE, ALA Executive Director; Monique N. Mahler, CLM, MSLA, SHRM-CP, Secretary; Julie S. Logan, SPHR, SHRM-SCP; Travis C. Armstrong, CLM, CPA, ALA President-Elect; Frederick J. Esposito, Jr., CLM, MBA, Treasurer.




Congrats to Our 2024 Award Recipients 

On May 20, conference attendees gathered to honor ALA’s award recipients at the Association Awards Gala. We appreciate all these members do to advance the legal management profession and our Association. Congrats to all!

Spirit of ALA Award

While many ALA members contribute tremendous amounts of time and effort to the growth of the legal management profession and the success of ALA, recipients of the Spirit of ALA award are individuals who have in their careers demonstrated all of the following in extraordinary, consistent and significant measure: an unswerving commitment to professionalism; exceptional dedication to the advancement of law firm administration; a record of service to ALA that far exceeds normal expectations and also provides a model and inspiration for participation and involvement of others. This year’s recipient is Debbie Elsbury, CLM. Debbie has been an ALA member since 2003, and in her 21 years of membership, she has held 41 different volunteer roles across the globe, from humble beginnings in her local chapter to the old regional structure, and ultimately as ALA President. Debbie is the President we only knew from the neck up because she led the Association during the pandemic, a time when all in legal leadership took on the role of safety director. Her innovative approach and commitment to member well-being showed what we already knew: she is a true leader. Through her leadership, members were able to virtually collaborate, have seamless communication and accomplish major goals that hadn’t been done before. Debbie’s presidency always gave a voice and opened the floor for ideas and brainstorming with intrepidity, but she also left room for wild and wacky. Her leadership and counsel extended to each board member to listen and guide best practices in such a way they felt appreciative of the time spent. Debbie’s impact has left an indelible mark on ALA and has set a new standard for adaptability, empathy and success in the face of adversity. Thank you, Debbie, for everything you’ve done!


Elevate ALA Award

The Elevate ALA Award recognizes up to three recipients whose efforts in professional development, networking and visibility demonstrate advancement in the areas of educational content, member-to-member and member-to-business-partner relationships, and ALA’s prominence in the legal community. 

The first recipient was the group of the East Bay, Golden Gate, Orange County and Silicon Valley Chapters. These four California chapters joined forces to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) by hosting in-person and virtual sessions on Legal Workplace Transgender 101: Changed Genders, Changed Perspectives led by trans activist and author Ellen Krug.




The final recipient was the Gateway Chapter, which implemented a joint ALA Gateway and Strategic Alliance Legal Forum and Business Partner Showcase, connecting their Strategic Alliance Partners with Business Partners and members. Congratulations to the Elevate ALA Award winners for their outstanding achievements!




Chapter Award

ALA’s Chapter Awards are designed to recognize chapters that have created innovative initiatives and experienced success in various areas: in member value; in diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA); and in business partner relations. This year, awards were separated into small chapter and large chapter categories. 

This year’s small chapter recipient was the Raleigh-Durham Chapter, in the area of DEIA. The Raleigh-Durham DEIA team unveiled a new DEIA mission statement, hosted a presentation on how to create sustainable and inclusive system-wide culture changes, and committed to choosing minority-owned and women-owned businesses when purchasing chapter gifts. Raleigh-Durham also focused on student outreach by deepening relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and bringing awareness to both their Diverse Student Membership Grant and the Foundation of ALA’s Student Legal Career Scholarship. 



The large chapter award in the area of business partner relations went to the Boston Chapter. They created “Pop-Up” Socials, which were informal gatherings at a chapter member’s office for business partners and other members. They also continued to hold monthly “Coffee Connections” open to all members and business partners. As a result, Boston added approximately 20 new sponsors in 2023 — a growth of approximately 25% and $100,000 in financial resources for programs and education. We salute your efforts in building long-lasting legal industry relationships.




The large chapter award for DEIA went to the New York City Chapter. This past year, ALANYC held an event called The Gathering, designed to be a meaningful discussion based upon the simple traditional concept of sharing a meal and engaging in diverse conversational topics. From that one concept, ALANYC has evolved its DEIA programming into three meaningful approaches: discussions over a meal; a book club purely discussing DEIA topics; and highlighting members and business partners in sharing their untold stories. Thank you for continuing to set a high standard in DEIA efforts.




The Puget Sound Chapter was the large chapter recipient in the area of member experience. Their PSALA Connections Program was borne out of a need for community building and member-to-member networking. That program — now in its second year — creates connections, promotes belonging, and increases membership value for their members and business partners. Thank you for your outstanding dedication to your members! 



Ambassador Excellence Award

New this year, the Ambassador Excellence Award recognizes members who have provided an exceptional mentorship experience to an ALA member through the ALA Ambassador Program. 

The first-ever recipients of this award are Anna Scarpa and James L. Cornell III (not pictured). Anna’s mentee said this about her: “She always had uninterrupted time for me and was willing to stay on the topic of the meeting or handle an emergent issue that I was dealing with at the time. She guided me through the [Certified Legal Manager] process, which was very new to me and other ALA offerings that will help me in my new career. Anna is a true mentor as she is a coach, cheerleader and pushes you to become a better leader in your new role.”

James’ mentee offered these words: “His passion for sharing and gaining knowledge was infectious, and he was able to articulate the value of belonging to ALA in a way that resonated deeply with me. His dedication, knowledge and kindness have made a significant impact on my professional development and my involvement within ALA.” Thank you to Anna and James for their willingness to mentor and welcome new members!  

Outstanding Association Volunteer Award

Each year, the Board of Directors identifies members who have made significant contributions to the Association. This year, the Outstanding Association Volunteer awards went to Stacey J. Ransleben, CLM, and Kara M. Brostron, CLM

Stacey is actively involved at all levels of the Association and within her numerous local chapters, and she is quick to jump in where needed. She has worn many hats, from Chapter President to Membership Ambassador to serving on the Annual Conference Committee last year, and even serving in short-term positions such as virtual roundtable moderator.

As a member of the Gateway Chapter, Kara has gone above and beyond. Without judgment, Kara challenges the chapter to think of all the different impacts of a decision. Kara is also the Chair of ALA’s Product and Services Review Committee, offering her time and effort to ensure ALA is providing the best tools to our members. Thank you both for being such valuable leaders at ALA!




NextGen Leader Award

The NextGen Leader Award recognizes individuals who demonstrate conviction, dedication, and the relentless pursuit of personal and professional excellence through their engagement, advancement and influence in early interactions with ALA.

The first recipient was Erika A. Leavitt. In her first ten months as the Houston Chapter’s Social Media Chair, Houston’s social media posts, engagements and interactions increased significantly and, as a result, so did the value of social media for the chapter. This past summer, she led a resume writing workshop and met one on one with each of the five Houston ALA Diverse Intern Scholars to provide input on their resumes to help prepare them for success. Erika is friendly and welcoming to all who interact with her and has had such an impact on the Houston Chapter that in December 2023, she was recognized as their Member of the Year.


The second award winner was Juleana Piper, FRP. Juleana joined the JaxALA Board in 2021 and is the current 2023-2024 President. In her short time at ALA, she has served the Jacksonville Chapter on the Quarterly Charity Committee, Business Partner Committee and Education Committee. Under Juleana’s tenure, the Chapter won its very first Elevate ALA award for their social media efforts. Whether it is conducting board or chapter meetings, engaging their business partners, or making sure their chapter stays on course, Juleana has done a tremendous job organizing and keeping JaxALA on the road to success.



The third award went to Ryan Hill. From the moment Ryan joined the Golden Gate Chapter, his dedication and proactive approach were evident as he spearheaded numerous engaging finance programs that resonated well with our members. As Co-Chair of the Finance Education Committee for the 2023–2024 Board, Ryan has demonstrated exceptional initiative and expertise in advancing the chapter's financial education goals. His strategic vision has been instrumental in creating and executing programs that enhance the knowledge and skills of our members in financial management. 


Presidents’ Award of Excellence

Named in honor of ALA’s Past Presidents, the Presidents’ Award of Excellence is a performance guideline used to encourage chapters to take effective and collaborative action in support of the Association’s mission to promote and enhance the competence of legal management professionals; improve the quality of management in law firms and other legal service organizations; and represent professional legal management and managers to the legal community and to the community at large. ALA recognized 41 chapters that have achieved this honor thanks to their hard work throughout the past year. They and their chapter leaders deserve a tremendous amount of credit and respect.

Central FloridaChicagoColumbus 
CyberDallasEast Bay
First StateGatewayGolden Gate
Greater Kansas CityGreater Los Angeles Houston
IndependenceJacksonvilleLas Vegas
MarylandMetropolitan DetroitMexico
Middle TennesseeMile HighMinnesota
New JerseyNew Orleans New York City
Orange CountyOregonPhiladelphia
PittsburghPuget SoundRaleigh Durham 
RichmondSan Diego Silicon Valley 
South FloridaWisconsin 

Foundation’s Silent Auction Raises Over $18,000

The Foundation of ALA continued its Silent Auction at the 2024 Annual Conference to benefit the programs it supports throughout the year. Because participants were so very generous with their donations and Silent Auction bids, the Foundation raised over $18,000 this year!

These funds will be used to provide quality inspirational speakers at future David M. Brezina Memorial Sessions, the Susan L. French Emerging Leader Fellowship Program and a scholarship for students furthering their education in the legal field.

To learn more about the Foundation, visit