Unwrapping ALA’s New Strategic Direction
It’s hard to believe that we’re already approaching the holiday season and 2024 is right around the corner. If you’re like me, that means you’re probably busy assessing and celebrating all that you’ve accomplished this year and planning your priorities for the upcoming year.
AI, the Frog in the Kettle, Captain Picard and the Business of Law
When I was a child in the late 1970s, I played chess against the computer and honed my skills. I got better through practice. Instead of having to rely on finding superior players to teach me or practice against, I could practice against a computer that knew all the gambits and chess moves that it had stored as algorithms to emulate the best chess players in the world. (And I could do it at 1 a.m. if I wanted to.)
How ALA HQ Is Working for You, Our Members
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” These profound words attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt neatly encapsulate my approach toward the challenges I face as a leader and that ALA faces as an organization.
ALA’s Got Talent
NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” At first glance, there may not be many similarities between the world of basketball and the world of legal administration. But at ALA headquarters, this adage rings true in a significant way.
We, All of Us, Are ALA
The world is changing. Again. Challenges to the legal industry that legal management professionals must overcome have emerged. Again. And the ALA community is here to help. Again.
Power of One Networking
“Behind every successful person there are many successful relationships.” – Joe Apfelbaum The power of one is a concept I hold near and dear to my heart. My power of one principle lies in my belief that all great things start by just one small action. One person stretching out their hand to introduce themselves. One person raising their hand to volunteer. One conversation that spurs action. One interaction that sparks inspiration.
The Benefits of In-Person Networking
In her book The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters, author Priya Parker says, “The way we gather matters. Gatherings consume our days and help determine the kind of world we live in, in both our intimate and public realms. Gathering, the conscious bringing together people for a reason, shapes the way we think feel and make sense of our world.”
Embrace the Power of Mentorship
“Mentoring should be a fulfilling relationship between somebody with more experience and somebody with less, with the goal of helping both individuals become elevated versions of themselves.” – Janice Omadeke
Ordinary Actions Making an Extraordinary Impact
There is a quote attributed to the world-renowned scientist George Washington Carver of Tuskegee Institute that says, “When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”
Learning to Lead with Questions, Not Answers
I was recently asked how my management style has changed throughout my career. When I stopped and thought back to my first office administrator position and how I approached my job, my answer was A LOT.
There Is No “I” in Team, but There Is a “U” in Volunteer!
Volunteering has always been a part of my life. I cannot think of a time in my career when I was not giving of my time and talents in the pursuit of helping others or participating in something to impact the change I wanted to see.
What Is Your Story? Answering This Question Can Help Find Your Authentic Self
For the coming months, members of ALA’s volunteer leadership will be taking turns writing the Executive Director’s Big Ideas column. We hope you enjoy the fresh perspectives they’ll be sharing.
Gratitude Is the Best Attitude
“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.” – Brené Brown
Connecting with Others to Reenergize
As this issue of Legal Management is hitting inboxes, members and business partners are converging on Kissimmee, Florida, for this year’s Annual Conference & Expo. I find it the perfect way to reenergize and connect with friends (as well as make some new ones!). It’s not always easy to carve out the time to get away to reinvest in myself like this, but I make it a priority because every time I attend conference, I see the value in it.
Leadership — It Never Goes Out of Style
As you may know, one of my guilty pleasures is shoes. No matter how many I have, it seems like new styles and colors always grab my attention.
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.
Planning 2.0: Future-Minded Leadership
Future-minded leadership can have positive effects on those who practice it.
ALA Is Ready to Get 2022 Started
ALA has some exciting things in store for the year.
Making an Impact in a Whirlwind of Change
As the year winds down, I am trying to reflect back and actually remember what happened in 2021. Forget every day feeling like “Blursday” — this entire year went by in a flash, and I can barely differentiate between 2020 and 2021.
The CLM Journey — It’s Just as Important as the Destination
Adding this credential to your name can open new career opportunities.
My Volunteerism Made Me a Better Conflict Manager
This month’s feature article on conflict management got me reflecting on an annual activity we conduct at ALA that is happening now: our call for volunteers for the Board of Directors, Chapter Resource Team and our standing committees and project teams. What do the two have in common, you may ask? Well, for me, one helped me conquer my fears of the other.
Looking Through a New Lens
As we appear to be coming to the other side of a pandemic that, in my lifetime, I never thought I would experience, it has me considering all that I do and what I’m going to do differently moving forward.
Connected Through ALA
I’m just a week into my role as ALA President, and I can’t begin to tell you how much of an incredible honor it is.
Automation Is Crucial to Improving the Client Lifecycle
I onboard clients, dive into the matter and sometimes forget to tie up the loose ends when it’s done. It’s not intentional neglect — sometimes it’s just me holding onto the hope that the matter might rekindle. But the aftermath is a muddled conflict check process brimming with half-forgotten client names.
Grow Your Practice with Automation Using Legal CRM
In the evolving legal services landscape, law firms are constantly seeking innovative ways to manage and expand their practices effectively. One proven method is using a client relationship management (CRM) system.
Financing Can Help Create the Firm of the Future
In the ever-evolving corporate world, law firms are leading the way in developing workspaces that not only foster collaboration but also inspire creativity and enhance productivity.
5 Ways Practice Management Aids Law Firm Compliance
Maintaining compliance with various laws, rules and ethics requirements is a critical aspect of running a law firm. But ensuring that your law firm is fully compliant can be a costly and time-consuming task.
How to Protect Your Firm from the 4 Most Dangerous Cybersecurity Threats
It was a tempting offer contained in that October 2021 email that looked like it had been sent from the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton to clients with money to invest. All a recipient needed to do to learn more about the supposedly golden financial opportunity teased in that email was review, sign and send back the conveniently attached nondisclosure agreement (NDA) via return email.
Quit Overspending on Legal Research
No one would choose to overpay for any service, ever. But now especially is a time when firms should be applying extra due diligence regarding overhead expenses.
Flexibility Is Key to Managing Staff Headcount
“Behind every successful person there are many successful relationships.” – Joe Apfelbaum The power of one is a concept I hold near and dear to my heart. My power of one principle lies in my belief that all great things start by just one small action. One person stretching out their hand to introduce themselves. One person raising their hand to volunteer. One conversation that spurs action. One interaction that sparks inspiration.
Winning the Top Talent Tug of War
The first step to winning the tug of war for top talent is admitting this very basic fact: Talent has the upper hand.
Make Sure Your Firm’s Cybersecurity Insurance Policy Stays Active — and Enforceable
Cybersecurity breaches have become an all-too-common occurrence at all types of businesses, including law firms. Many firms have cybersecurity insurance, but they don’t realize they can lose their policy if they do not maintain compliance with its requirements.
Rethink the Tools You Use in the Hybrid Workplace
If recent reporting by The New York Times is any indication, the jury is still out as to when a full return to office will occur.
Why Data Discovery Should Be the Priority for Law Firm IT Staff
Anyone doubting whether data is the lifeblood of today’s law firms should try to lead a new system upgrade or conversion project. That will quickly reveal the importance of knowing the state of a firm’s data — and how haphazard data management practices can be.
Keeping Your Firm Cyber Secure
With all the sensitive data law firms store, it’s no surprise that law firm cybersecurity threats are at an all-time high. But while cyberattacks against law firms are not new, the rate of incidence and year-over-year growth is staggering.
How Legal Ops Is Redefining the Role of the Legal Team
The onset of COVID-19 accelerated the pace of change for corporate legal departments, requiring many to work more efficiently and with an increased focus on cost control. Expect the pace to only accelerate as the legal operations movement steps into the spotlight.
Keeping Score: Why Legal Organizations Should Develop a Risk Scorecard
The business of running a law firm or corporate legal department has many challenges, but in an environment where cyber threats run rampant and the regulatory landscape is seemingly evolving by the day, managing the risk around sensitive information has to rank as a top priority.
E-Discovery Contracts: Managed Service vs. Master Service Agreements
Engaging a new discovery vendor or starting a new discovery project can be a hectic time for many in this industry. Then at the end of it, your discovery vendor asks you to sign a contract. You think, “Great! I am in legal; and I’ve got this. I work every day with fixed-price contracts, cost-plus contracts, bilateral/unilateral contracts, adhesion contracts, aleatory contracts and more.”
Ransomware: Is Your Firm Vulnerable?
It’s one of your worst nightmares: You turn on your computer and there’s a ransom note on the screen. While you worked from home, an attacker used your computer to gain access to the firm’s entire network, resulting in a complete lockdown.
Five-Alarm Warning: Modern Data Threats Are Too Hot to Handle
Most legal management professionals require a hat rack to hold the caps of their various roles: accountant, marketer, recruiter, HR director, IT coordinator, drill sergeant, therapist, confidant ... and, of course, fire marshal.
Law Firm Pricing and Budgeting Trends for Optimized Profitability
In August 2021, BigHand gathered 800 responses to an industry survey from senior legal finance roles, managing partners and legal pricing managers in firms of over 100 lawyers in North America and the United Kingdom.
E-Discovery in the Modern Workplace: What Law Professionals Need to Know
The many digital ways we communicate are complicating e-discovery.
How Staff at Small Law Firms Can Balance Legal Work and Mental Health
Legal professionals aren’t immune from the effects of isolation, burnout and an uncertain future.
How to Spot the Early Signs of a Ransomware Attack — and Take Action
Ransomware will cost the economy $20 billion in 2021 — and the legal industry is not immune from this threat. In fact, lawyers, legal staff, law firms and court systems are rich targets for cybercriminals because they are trusted with a significant amount of sensitive data.
7 Factors Legal Professionals Should Consider When Choosing Records Retrieval Support
Records retrieval is a complex process, but these tips can make it easier.
Examining the Employee Benefits Landscape
Well, my friends, I think we can all agree the last 18+ months have been a whirlwind of uncertainty. While I am sure we all hope to never live through another year like the last, some of the changes and adjustments we’ve had to make have set the course for new opportunity.
Navigating the Risks and Rewards of External Partnerships
Engaging an outside company to manage internal change ― systems, processes or people ― requires effective leadership and collaboration. For law firm administrators, the task is especially involved considering the demands of the legal profession.
A Pandemic Silver Lining: Firms Accelerate Digital Transformation
There's no stopping the shift from paper-based processes.
How to Offer a Successful Long-Term Care Insurance Benefit
Long-term care insurance (LTCI) products and enrollment have gone through many twists and turns in the past 10 years. The question many law firms ask is “How do we successfully offer an LTC benefit?”
Playing the Fame Game: How to Amplify Your Lawyers’ Reputations to Stand Out from the Rest
In the competitive landscape of legal services, how can your lawyers stand out? As someone who has worked with more than 10,000 lawyers for three decades, I’ve come to understand that it’s not just about being a good lawyer — it’s also about being recognized as one. In an industry teeming with skilled lawyers, the question isn't just about who has the best credentials, but also who shines the brightest. It’s a game of being the tree in the forest that makes a lot of noise when it falls.
Turning Client Service to Client Matters
Lesser lawyers sometimes win work we feel we should get. Not because they out-lawyer us — but because they out-service us. So, while our lawyers must care deeply about delivering a great legal result, they must also care deeply about crafting a great experience during the client’s journey interacting with us.
Taking “Measure” of Your Lawyers
You’ve probably heard versions of the phrase “What gets measured gets managed, and what gets managed gets done.”
It‘s Time to Get ‘Cross‘ with Your Lawyers
Your lawyers are leaving tons of money on the table, and you’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.
Communications and Organizational Management
Staffing Models That Meet the Moment
Many firms are looking to modernize their support models to adapt to a post-pandemic world.
How to Build a Meaningful Pride Campaign (And Why It’s Important)
Ready to make your firm’s Pride campaign have more meaning this year? Here’s how to put some extra value into it.
Want to Create a Better Firm Culture? Fine-Tune Those EQ Skills
Developing your interpersonal skills can help increase engagement overall. Think back to the challenging job experiences you’ve had. There’s a high chance your dissatisfaction came from a manager or leader who lacked, shall we say, finesse in their interactions. Perhaps it was a lack of empathy when a personal emergency came up. Maybe it was the way they delivered feedback or criticism. Whatever the case, over time, it chips away at your morale, leaving you uninspired and looking for the exit door.
Managing Conflict in Divided Times
With such a polarized society, disagreements will inevitably spill over into the workplace. Here’s how to preempt any repercussions.
Are Your Internal Communications Up to Par?
The way leadership shares information with staff can enhance engagement and build connections. In the mix of marketing activities in law firms, internal communications often have taken a backseat. In fact, 52% of respondents to a recent survey conducted by ContactMonkey reported they do not have a long-term internal communications strategy in place.
Why Am I Avoiding This? (And What to Do About It)
These tips can help you work through your procrastination problem.
Finding the Positives in Challenging Times
After nearly two chaotic years, firms have found a greater sense of community, improved communications and social awareness.
Getting to the Bottom of Burnout
If you’re seeing signs of employee burnout, these tips can help you cut it off before it becomes a bigger problem.
Give the Gift of Inclusion This Holiday Season
As the holiday season approaches, it is difficult to fully reflect on everything we have been through the last few years. Just as we thought that the pandemic was over and our lives were evolving into a “new normal,” along came the threat and reality of a serious recession, loss of jobs and the inability for some families to have the money to feed their children.
Using Your Employees’ Preferred Pronouns Helps Build Your Firm’s Inclusivity
If you’ve watched The Crown on Netflix, you were likely awed by Emma Corrin’s portrayal of the late Princess Diana. On the heels of that performance, Corrin started a conversation about their personal journey and relationship with gender.
Creating a Culture of Belonging by Implementing a Robust Onboarding and Integration Strategy
Imagine attending a party that you were invited to where the host is too busy to come over and say hello. While you walk around, mingle with other guests and manage to have a good time, you don’t feel welcomed.
Measuring Your Firm by DEI Standards
It’s a typical Sunday afternoon. You stroll down the aisles at your local grocery store to stock up for the week. Walking down the bread aisle, the shelves are fully stocked with everything your heart desires to put on a piece of warm toast. My personal favorite is peanut butter: It reminds me of my childhood, and my first introduction to the American culture as an immigrant child.
4 Ways to Nurture — and Retain — a Diverse Team of Associates
Having a diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible (DEIA) work environment is a core value that can and should become part of a law firm’s DNA.
Address Bias When Determining Resource Allocation and Performance Management
Unconscious or implicit biases can affect our behavior and decisions in the workplace without us even realizing it. It’s natural to have biases — and we all have them. But there are major consequences if we remain unaware of them and let them affect our decision-making in life and in the workplace.
Keep Your Firm’s Diversity Initiatives on Track in the New Year
The discussion surrounding diversity goals and initiatives has been one of the most rapidly growing topics among human resource professionals in law firms within the past five years.
We Are Not OK: The Syndemic Impacting Legal Community Well-Being
Law firms throughout the country have created wellness and well-being programs in their offices to address ongoing concerns about lawyer and legal professional mental health challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these challenges, often disproportionately by gender, race, family status, economic status and even geographic location.
Diversity Efforts Also Must Include Development for Legal Support Staff
The legal industry is booming. But it’s also an employee’s market, which means legal organizations — just like other industries — are struggling to hire. When looking to retain support staff — such as paralegals, administrative assistants and marketing professionals — firms should first lift up and learn from those within their own ranks.
4 Ways Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Helps Firms Prosper (and How to Achieve It)
Within the legal industry, organizations are taking steps toward making their workplaces more diverse and putting a greater emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). In fact, major firms have recently voiced a desire for more personnel diversity, including creating positions such as chief diversity officers.
Diverse Talent Pathways to the Business of Law
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” “A law firm administrator,” says no one ever.
The Power of Mentorship in the Workplace
Mentorship programs are not only critical but also good for business.
He/Him, She/Her, They/Them: Why Pronouns Matter
It’s becoming increasingly common for individuals to state their pronouns. It’s cropping up in everything from LinkedIn profiles to email signatures as just one simple way to illustrate inclusivity. There’s also another place this should be appearing — in your recruitment efforts.
5 Tips for Connecting to the Hispanic Community
Businesses are likely to realign their strategic plans with this growing population and start prioritizing the Hispanic market, and legal organizations should not fall behind.
Tips from the Trenches: Women in Law Firm Leadership Share Their Wisdom
This past June, a group of women managing partners and legal thought leaders came together virtually to share their wisdom and experience. The pandemic has prevented many of these meetings from taking place in person; the online format did not deter participants and their willingness to share from their hearts.
Why Your Firm Should Be Partnering with a WBENC-Certified Business
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are hot topics these days, and that likely has you looking at ways your firm can improve upon its D&I efforts.
Becoming an Antiracist Legal Organization
One of the most important questions we can contemplate about our firms is not whether racism exists, but rather how can we actively seek out all of the ways in which it manifests.
A New Take on Client Collections
The pandemic led to a variety of billing and payment process changes — which some law firms are continuing to embrace as they move forward.
Solving the Overtime Puzzle
Law firms grapple with new wage and hour challenges.
3 Insights We’ve Learned After a Decade of Alternative Fee Arrangements
AFAs have become a more common pricing method in the legal industry, but what have law firms learned — and what’s changed about their use?
Solving the Law Firm Succession Puzzle Through Compensation Systems
Addressing outdated matter origination can give firms the push they need to make a long-term plan.
Human Resources Management
Retooling Your Firm for Gen Z
Understanding what motivates this incoming workforce will be key to attracting (and retaining them) at your firm.
Keep Employees from Leaving by Providing What They Need
Find out how to effectively retain qualified workers by offering the job experience they want.
6 Strategies to Revamp Your Performance Reviews
As the workplace evolves, your performance reviews should, too.
Highlight Your Firm’s Assets to Attract the Best Associates
Setting associates — and your firm — up for success starts with your hiring process.
5 Ways to Fairly Allocate Work to Paralegals and Associates
Ensuring fairness in work distribution can keep burnout at bay.
Maximize Your Health Insurance Plan ROI
With prior consideration and planning, law firms can guarantee both employees and the firm will get the most out of the coverage they offer.
Struggling to Build In-Office Culture? Look to Intrinsic Motivations
There is value to being in the office. Here’s how to convince resistant employees.
Are Part-Time Attorneys the Staffing Solution You’ve Been Looking for?
Some firms are turning to temporary help instead of adding new employees to the payroll — which can potentially offer several advantages.
Understanding and Enriching Neurodiversity Hiring
Recognizing unseen talents can truly add value to your firm. The brain really is a wonder. In any given day at any given moment, it’s sending signals throughout your body to do everything from breathing and talking to helping you think and process the information you are reading in this very article. All these actions are the results of signals passing through neurons. With so much at work, it’s not at all surprising that some signals pass through differently for some humans.
Welcome to the Era of No-Limits Hiring
Now that law firms can employ attorneys and staff members from literally anywhere, how can your firm benefit? Operationally, the legal industry, like many sectors, has experienced a paradigm shift since the COVID-19 pandemic.
How to Magnetize Your Firm for Business Leaders
In a competitive job market, the battle for legal talent extends beyond attorney recruitment. In the legal industry’s battle for the best, most of the firepower has been directed toward attracting top-level associates and lateral hires. But there’s another, less visible, struggle going on for the hearts and minds of business service professionals. Where are the super candidates for positions in IT, accounting, marketing and administration? And are law firms even on their radar?
Staying One Step Ahead of Talent Demands
Vital position suddenly opens up? Be prepared with these passive recruiting tips.
Defining Your Staff’s Path for Development
Career trajectory for young attorneys and legal staff isn’t a straight line. These ideas can help employees find their path.
Fighting Change Fatigue
Change doesn’t have to be tiresome or scary when it’s done right.
6 Tips for Designing Effective Associate Evaluations
Consistent feedback can help employees learn and improve.
Tracking the Elusive Health Insurance Plan
Finding affordable coverage can be a slog — but these tips can help.
Recruiting Revamp: How Benefits Can Help You Hire — And Keep — Top Talent
Firms facing talent shortages should look to their benefits and policies as a recruitment tool.
Embracing a Holistic Approach to Employee Development
Law firms are using consultants, printed materials and other resources to help firm members reach new career heights.
Best Practices for Making Your Law Firm More Inclusive for People with Disabilities
These four tips can help you make sure your diversity policies don’t fall short when it comes to accessibility. Creating an inclusive workplace for people with disabilities should be a top priority for law firms — especially considering how many individuals in the firm may be living with a disability or may develop one in the future. Unfortunately, many law firms overlook this critical demographic when crafting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies and programming.
When Pandemic Effects Are Disproportionate, How Do We Move Forward?
We look at how legal organizations are continuing to address diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the aftermath.
The Big Quit
How to keep the Great Resignation from visiting your firm.
Does Your Firm Know When It’s at Risk of Losing Employees?
As employees gain the upper hand in the job market, watch out for these warning signs of departure.
How Legal Organizations Can Restructure Their Culture and Adapt to Changing Norms
Employees are driving the industry to make positive shifts in the work environment.
Finding Common Ground
We’ve got advice for managing conflict in your legal organization.
How to Tackle Unconscious Biases
Everyone has these biases; here’s how you can keep them from seeping into your hiring process.
Silence Is Not an Option
Law firms have worked to increase efficiency and cut costs — but have been less successful at letting clients know about it.
6 Keys to Effective Paralegal Professional Development
Investing in your paralegals’ success is vital to the success of your firm.
Weed in the Workplace
Legal organizations grapple with evolving marijuana regulations and growing social acceptance of recreational use.
How to secure proprietary information when staff members jump ship.
Raising the Value of Employee Reviews
Follow these 6 tips for effective performance management at your law firm.
Ensuring Resilience: How Firms Can Bounce Back After a Cyberattack
It has finally happened. Despite implementing cybersecurity solutions and training employees on how to avoid phishing emails and other infiltration methods used by cybercriminals, your firm has been successfully attacked. What do you do now?
Artificial Intelligence and ChatGPT in Legal Practice: Navigating the Pros and Cons
There’s a reason tools like ChatGPT, Bing Chat and Google Bard are on the radar of the majority of legal professionals: Generative artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform the legal industry and usher in a new era of AI-powered legal workflows.
How Firms Can Assess Behavioral Tendencies to Drive Training and Revenue
Your firm spent $50,000 sending 20 attorneys to a conference with little new business to justify the investment. Sound familiar? That’s probably because only 5 of the 20 attorneys enjoy networking.
The Facts on Long-Term Care
These are the facts: The need for long-term care is real, and most individuals aren’t aware of their risk or what pieces of their insurance, retirement and wealth arsenal can be deployed to pay for it.
Why Law Training Is Critical for Your Administrative Staff
In the legal industry, we often talk about training as if it is only meant for lawyers. From continuing education to adoption of new business management and technology tools, there is often pressure on attorneys to keep up and adapt. This can be frustrating — not only to the lawyers who are struggling to learn the latest technologies or operational procedures, but also for the other legal staff who are often charged with helping the business move forward by implementing new policies and processes.
Sliding into Your DMS
They say that nothing in life is certain except for death and taxes, but legal organizations can add another truism to the stack: Ransomware and other types of cyberattacks will only continue to increase in frequency and severity.
Find the Legal Tech Your Organization Needs
The tech transformation within the legal industry is exploding. The global AI legal technology market alone is poised to generate over $37 million by 2026, according to Zion Market Research, up from only $3 million in 2018.
Weathering the Storm: Lessons and Thoughts in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ian
As we began to prepare for Hurricane Ian in Southwest Florida, we kept a close eye on the forecast. There was consensus among most forecasters that the massive, Category 4 hurricane was headed north, to Tampa, where it would cause unprecedented, life-threatening flooding and wind damage. The predictions were that it would take quite some time to recover.
The IT Refresh Imperative
IT spending across all industries is expected to reach $4.5 trillion this year. As our reliance on technology grows, rethinking traditional IT asset management is imperative to outpace the competition.
2023 HIPAA Privacy Rule Changes Will Impact Medical Record Retrieval
The Achilles’ heel for plaintiff litigation and personal injury cases is obtaining medical and billing records. Attorneys and the clients they serve wait too long, expend too much effort and pay too much for records, denying justice and delaying restoring an injured person’s life. Now for the good news: Changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule in 2023 will address these issues.
Leasing and Financing Can Work to Your Advantage in an Inflationary Economy
Everyone has their eyes on the state of the economy. With the inflation rate reaching 8.52% in July and pandemic-related slowdowns continuing to affect the supply chain, people are feeling the squeeze just as they’re looking to resume their pre-COVID lives.
Studying for CLM Success
With the Certified Legal Manager (CLM)® exam again just around the corner this November, it’s time to start hitting the books and ramping up your studying. But you may be asking, what is the best way for me to study?
Cash Flow Can Help Your Firm Grow
Being a legal manager at a firm startup is exciting. Law schools don’t teach lawyers how to run a business, so this is where you can really dig in and play a vital role in the firm’s success.
Removing the Brick and Mortar: See How One Firm Operates Exclusively Remotely
About three years ago, I spent a year living and working remotely from Europe. That was unique and interesting enough that I was featured in a series called Digital Nomad Life in Croatia. Of course, many people had been working remotely for years, but it hadn’t really become mainstream, especially in legal.
How High-Growth Law Firms Achieved an Average Growth Rate of 37% in 2021
Despite last year’s hopeful release of functional COVID-19 vaccines, full economic recovery has evaded many law firms. But that’s not the case for every legal services industry firm. A select group of high-growth law firms still managed to achieve a high growth rate in 2021.
6 Legal Workflows Worth Automating
The pressure is on legal organizations to be more digital and automated than ever. But that’s not exactly easy to do in a legal industry still operating in a world of paper documents, legacy systems and siloed data. Needless to say, the move to hybrid or remote offices brought on by the pandemic has accelerated a transition to an “anywhere-operations” model.
Lessons Learned from a Complete E-Discovery Digital Transformation
Transforming the digital processes surrounding a law firm’s platform for the review and production of electronically stored information (ESI) is no easy feat.
6 Tips for Creating a Healthier and Happier Workplace
You are in a position to set the tone for how your organization handles difficult situations.
Embrace Legal Technology: Avoid the Cost of Doing Nothing
Law practices today are required to do and know more than just the law or latest court rules. Firms — and their legal management professionals — are expected to manage the business of law: finding new clients, troubleshooting IT problems and mastering accounting systems.
Protecting Employees: The Rising Need for Personal and Home Cyber Protection
Law firm professionals have the opportunity and even the responsibility to help protect your employees against these devastating risks.
How Encryption Can Protect Your Clients’ Confidential Data and Intellectual Property
Encrypting your data is another line of defense against hackers.
Prepping for the CLM Exam? Ops in a Box Can Help
When I first started out in legal management in 2007, ALA was my first home in the legal operations profession.
Improve Client Experience and Retention with Nonfinancial Metrics
Attorneys practice law every day, but most clients do not. Oftentimes, clients might be coming to the office with negative emotions: anger about an accident, sadness about a divorce or fear about creating a will. If you add to that a chaotic experience, you’re less likely to have a satisfied client — which means fewer referrals and repeat business. A client who knows what to expect — and gets it — happily pays their fee, refers others and calls you every time.
The Transformation of Legal Administration with AI — and Why Law Firms Have Nothing to Fear from the Change
Have you heard of the robot lawyer? Readers of any North American news publication can most likely say yes. The legal chatbot created by tech upstart DoNotPay caused a stir at the beginning of this year when its creator Joshua Browder tried to bring it to court.
How AI Can Help Your Firm’s ESG Reporting
Nearly two-thirds of consumers say a business’s environmental and social impact influences their buying decisions. Almost 90% of investors incorporated environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into their investing approach last year. Given these statistics, it’s clear ESG policies are a business need.
Automation Revolution: How Law Firms Can Use AI Tools to Drive Profits
The legal industry is seeing a shift in tech adoption as artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platforms such as ChatGPT. These tools continue to show numerous benefits for streamlining operations and automating processes.
The Right Generative AI Is a Legal Professional’s Friend, Not a Foe
As generative artificial intelligence (AI) grabs headlines, many legal professionals are skeptical about its capabilities in the legal space. While not all algorithms fit the bill, the technology has significant potential to reshape legal practices.
Is Your Firm Ready for Smart Collaboration?
You and your colleagues know you need to collaborate to generate better outcomes, but don’t know how to start. Or you think you know how to proceed, but this approach isn’t grounded in data (our research indicates this is a very common problem).
How Legal Administrators Can Get a Seat (and Voice) at the Strategy Table
It’s an annual ritual. Around this time, an executive or strategy committee meeting is held to discuss priorities for the year ahead. As a legal management leader, you’d love to be in that session.
AI Can Make Your Hiring Process More Inclusive
Law firms often lack clarity around which candidates to hire, relying on intuition, resume data and preconceived notions about what makes someone successful. Attrition and burnout persist while efforts to promote diversity remain slow to progress — all of which cost firms cash and drag down morale and efficiency.
Tech Tips to Operate More Efficiently
The pandemic and changing industry dynamics are forcing law firms to innovate their way onto solid footing. In other words, the time is now for law firms to explore and leverage the full capabilities of legal technologies to remain competitive.
Law Firm IT Customization: Approach at Your Own Risk
“You can fully customize this to suit your needs” is something law firm managing partners, innovation managers and IT directors often hear during legal tech vendor presentations.
Keeping Pace with the New Law Firm Work Environment
The outbreak of COVID-19 around the globe has forced businesses to innovate and change the way they conduct their work. Offices have become less important and work from home has become the norm. This sudden need for work from home is driving the digital transformation of the workforce and the evolution of the work environment at an unprecedented speed.
New Design Thinking for Law Firms’ Digital Mail and Records Operations
At its core, design thinking is a human-centered process for creative problem-solving that encourages organizations to keep a focus on the key stakeholders the current problem involves. If implemented correctly, design thinking leads to more innovation. Better products, services and internal processes are the intended outcomes.
What Is ESG and Why It Is Important?
You know the individual words: Environmental. Social. Governance.
What Every Legal Manager Needs to Know About the Digitalization of Planning, Reporting and Forecasting
Automating processes for these can assist in achieving real-time insights.
IT Strategy for a New Era of Business
As we move into a future where COVID-19 is more manageable, legal organizations must think more strategically about their IT investments to achieve long-term success
Legal Industry/Business Management
What’s on Deck in 2024 for Legal
Continued conversations on mental health, artificial intelligence and progressive recruitment will continue to be top of mind for the legal industry in the new year.
How Innovation Is Revolutionizing Client Service
Law firms are increasingly implementing — and creating — technology that’s enhancing operations in new, inventive ways.
5 Steps to a More Efficient Office
These are the areas to optimize your processes and practice to make positive changes.
7 Steps to Secure Institutional Knowledge
When experienced staff leave, they take with them their best practices. Here’s how to prevent it. The Great Resignation brought on by COVID-19 and new expectations of work-life balance have drawn greater attention to a persistent problem for legal entities and business owners: how to maintain institutional knowledge in the face of record turnover.
Step into the Innovation Lab
To stay competitive, some firms have created these formal innovation labs to merge tech, client collaboration and new product development. Traditionally, legal organizations have focused on finding client solutions that have involved a cautious, measured and analytical process.
5 Essentials for Your Business Development Toolkit
How chief operating officers, administrators and executive directors in small and midsize firms handle the magic act of running a law firm is nothing short of miraculous. You’re expected to be a master of major firm management roles, and challenging markets can make those responsibilities even tougher.
Navigating a Path to the C-Suite
As law firms continue to hire C-Suite professionals to drive business operations, earning your CLM designation will help advance your career.
Where Firms Are Falling Short on Business Continuity
Is your firm prepared for sudden employee departures, natural disasters and other unforeseen circumstances?
Legal Ownership Gets Innovative
As more states follow Utah and Arizona, career opportunities for legal professionals grow.
Investing in Our Profession’s Future
The Foundation of ALA is supporting students as they work toward careers in legal. In 2020, Monique N. Mahler, CLM, SHRM-CP, MSLA, was enrolled at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law. Already a member of ALA, she was receiving the Association’s emails. One day, an email came into her inbox that especially intrigued her. “I saw the scholarship mentioned in one of the emails and thought, ‘Why not take a chance?’”
How to Ease Time Tracking Struggles
These tips can make sure timekeeping is not only done on time — but done accurately.
Business-Based Firm Management Brings Fresh Perspective
Legal organizations make the move toward professional management to leverage the expertise of their attorneys.
8 Tips for Creating Effective Modern Legal Assistant Pools
Changes in the legal profession have made it vital to take a dynamic, thoughtful approach to legal assistant pooling.
5 Ways Law Firms Can Prep for a Recession
Economic dips are inevitable, but these tips can help your legal organization stay ahead.
Certify Your Career
Earning your CLM designation can give you the edge over your competition.
Maximizing Your Knowledge Management Reserves
From enterprise-wide support roles to constantly updated archives, find out how firms are tackling proprietary information oversight.
Shaking Up the Law Firm Management Structure
Alternative business structures are allowing non-lawyers to share in law firm profits.
Keeping Clients Informed About Value
Law firms have worked to increase efficiency and cut costs — but have been less successful at letting clients know about it.
Best Practices for Adopting Client-Driven Practice Tools
As legal tech continues to rise, how you approach these platforms is more important than ever.
9 Quick Tips for Writing Content that Gets Read
Law firms regularly send out blog posts and alerts, but few readers make it past the first paragraph. In general, good marketing writing causes the reader to notice your material, feel compelled to read it, then act on it.
4 Steps to Get Your Lawyers on Board with Your Marketing Ideas
Here’s a sentence I’ve often heard marketers say: “When I want to get the lawyers on board, I always make it their idea.” I’ve never cared for that approach — that’s not respecting the lawyers as intelligent adults.
For Successful Legal Marketing, Focus on What You Can Control
Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Chatbots. Lately, there’s been a lot of press about OpenAI’s new ChatGPT artificial intelligence (AI) system, which, hypothetically, I could instruct to write this column for me.
Punch Above Your Weight: The Do’s and Don’ts of Small and Midsize Firm Marketing
Many small and midsize firms feel inadequate when competing against the big guys with big money behind them. So how can a smaller firm compete effectively?
Marketing Tips to Weather Economic Headwinds
Here‘s some nonbreaking news for you: The law is a challenging and competitive profession.
7 Law Firm Website Design Tips to Attract More Clients
Gone are the days when firms can rely on a good reputation and word-of-mouth to attract clients. Clients want to research you first. Your website will be the first point of contact they have, so it needs to make a statement.
The Power of the Smartphone for Video Marketing
Video marketing is perhaps today’s most beneficial way to increase awareness and grow your business. But instead of splurging for fancy cameras and audio equipment, you may be holding the key to successful video marketing in the palm of your hand — your smartphone!
In Marketing, When You Have the Facts, Use Them
Hollow puffery is easy. Marketing with evidence is effective.
Get Clients to Notice You: 8 Tips for Creating Quality Content
Content marketing can help lawyers attract new clients and increase their business. When done correctly, content marketing can increase traffic and search engine optimization (SEO) rankings.
Very Simply, THIS Is Why Lawyers Need LinkedIn
“I have a LinkedIn. But I don’t know where it is.” – Actual quote from a law firm senior partner.
Recruiting Is Today’s Hottest Marketing Topic
Recruiting is the legal profession’s hottest topic today and, if you think of it, recruiting is marketing ― just with a different target audience.
Drafting a Nonbinary and other LGBTQ Lawyer’s Biography
Pronouns are key to making sure staff bios embrace diversity.
It’s Good to Have Giveaways
Studies show that offering giveaways can create an amazing amount of brand loyalty.
PR Exposure Can Glean Big Exposure on Small Budgets
I was teaching marketing at a special Small Business Administration class for new women entrepreneurs. I started by asking how many had a marketing program, or at least a budget to start that work.
Post-Pandemic Priorities: Reassess Your Target Markets
Yay! At long last we are finally seeing light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. With increasing vaccinations, many law firms, technology companies and service providers are slowly moving back from remote work to in-person environments. But are we really going back to normal?
Does Your Organization Need a Legal Operations Manager?
Find out why firms and departments could potentially benefit from having a legal ops professional oversee key initiatives and functions.
A Practical Guide to Generative AI
When used responsibly, artificial intelligence remains a promising tool for enhancing the legal industry’s productivity and profitability.
6 Critical Moves to Make When a Data Hack Occurs
As firms face increased and sophisticated cyberattacks, ensuring you know what to do in the face of an attack is paramount.
It’s About Time
Time management strategies are crucial to ensuring your employees are productive, especially during hybrid work.
7 Ways to Get Ahead of Hackers Targeting Personal Devices
Accessing work info from personal devices on the go is a perk, but firms should make sure they have security measures in place.
All Hands on Tech
Find out how industry members are utilizing instruments that incorporate emerging technologies — ranging from natural language processing to machine learning.
5 Tips for a Successful Tech Implementation
Get advice on how to make new tech operations run more smoothly.
For a hybrid office situation to work, people need to want to come back to the office. Here’s how some firms are successfully luring them back.
Lets Make a Deal
Law firms are in the driver’s seat at lease renewal time.
Law Firms’ Evolving Take on Sustainability
Today’s firms are giving clients a front-row seat as they work toward their intended environmental goals.
Want to Move Tech Forward? Make It Part of Your Strategic Planning
A strategic approach to implementing new technology offers the best chance of success.
AI’s Unknown Role in Legal Operations
Legal industry members are using the technology in ways you — and some of their employees — might never guess.
Balancing Tradition with Progress
Law firms juggle digital efficiencies with the human touch.
Robot Lawyers? ChatGPT May Soon Make It Possible
You don’t have to be a techie to have heard about a curious new technology called ChatGPT. We’ve been hearing about it for a while, and now it seems like everyone is talking about it. So, what is it?
The Coolest Gadgets We Saw at CES 2023
The long drought is over. For over a decade, we have consistently made our way over to Las Vegas the first week of January each year to attend the world’s largest consumer electronics expo, CES. Due to the pandemic, however, we have not been able to attend the show in person for the past three years.
Can the Metaverse Be the Legal Tool of the Future?
The metaverse has emerged as one of today’s most talked about legal trends, but many people still don’t know what it is or how it can be used to help the legal industry.
Thinking out Cloud
Be Prepared for When the Cloud Goes Down
Today more than ever, legal organizations are relying on applications that live in the cloud for many of their day-to-day business functions. And while these cloud-based applications are often more secure than on-premises servers, even the largest providers are not immune to occasional outages. As a result, many law firms will experience a rare outage, so it is important to expect them and be prepared.
Tips and Trends
Why Law Firms Must Act Now to Address Platform Fatigue
Accounting software. Practice management systems. Email. Zoom. Slack. Teams. As technology continues to evolve, the legal industry has seen significant advancements in software and platforms aimed at streamlining processes, enhancing collaboration and improving overall efficiency. From case management systems to virtual meeting tools, the number of software tools attorneys and staff use every day has mushroomed in the past several years.
Protecting and Growing Revenue Streams: Client Retention Takes Vision and Execution
Competition in the legal market is cutthroat, and today clients have more information at their fingertips than ever before — meaning they can easily find a reason (or no reason) to go elsewhere. Securing revenue by retaining clients has become one of the most important tasks in any firm.
Unleashing Flexibility and Efficiency: The Benefits of A La Carte Software for Law Firms
The legal tech landscape has evolved significantly since our 40-lawyer firm adopted practice management software in 2002. We hoped that this all-in-one software would offer a comprehensive solution, transforming our workflows like the automation we saw in the tech and manufacturing sectors.
The Secret to Scaling Your Law Firm? Hire Virtual Legal Assistants
Hiring a qualified assistant can make or break a law firm’s ability to thrive amid a period of exciting growth. In a business’s cycle, there is a certain point where the growth means it is no longer sustainable for the business leader to run everything.
3 Things to Know About Employee Engagement
Employee engagement. We often hear these buzzwords used, and it can be hard to cut through them to reach a working, useful definition.
From Remote Work to Remote Firm: Are We Going to Keep Doing This Forever?
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we all assumed temporary, remote measures were short-term. Remember when we all thought this would only be for six weeks?
Why Leasing Equipment Is a Smart Move in an Uncertain Economy
As the Federal Reserve continues its efforts to slow the economy and fight inflation, it is not a surprise that interest rates are expected to increase throughout 2023. What may come as a surprise, however, is that despite rising rates, investment in capital expenditures (CapEx) is on the rise as well.
Key IT Services to Succeed in Today’s Competitive Legal Landscape
From managing confidential data to providing secure client communication, technology is essential to law firms. Yet, many legal organizations lack the necessary IT resources to succeed in today's competitive legal landscape.
Has Knowledge Management’s Moment Finally Arrived?
After more than 100 meetings over the last six months with law firms of all sizes in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, I noticed a pattern. When leaders talked about their biggest worries — whether competitive threats from the Big Four or elsewhere, the relentless battle for talent or an uncertain economic future — I found what consistently worried them was more fundamental: unleveraged knowledge.
8 Strategies to Promote Mental Health and Wellbeing at Your Firm
No one said being a lawyer was easy. Pop culture depicts attorneys as overworked, competitive individuals who feed on adrenaline and stress. This persona is fed by expectations to work long hours and bring in new clients. And now, with the promulgation of work-from-home arrangements, the demarcation line between work and family is blurred, if not obliterated.
Traveling Back on for Trials? Here’s How to Book Smarter
The U.S. court system basically ground to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic. Judges hustled to hold some hearings via phone and videochat, but the overwhelming outcome was gridlock.
A Blueprint to Brace for a Recession
It appears that a recession is coming. Even if the Federal Reserve manages to engineer a “soft landing” to reduce inflation without causing a recession in the near future, these periods of prolonged significant economic decline over months or even years are an inevitable part of the business timeline.
8 Strategies for Climbing the Law Firm Leadership Ladder
Last night, I plumb ran out of sleep. Here I was, snoozing away, not particularly dreaming about anything, when I woke right up. I found myself worrying about a legal professional who had come to me to find ways to get promoted in her firm.
E-A-Ting Up Search Engine Optimization
Here’s a random test: Use a search engine (Google, Bing, etc.) and look for a practice area. Now look at the top organic results (the ones beneath the ads). If you click on any of the top links, you will most likely see one common feature: most or all will have a blog or a news section. Further, each of these blog or news sections probably will have entries created within the last month.
Absolute Interoperability Can Make Your Firm More Efficient
It’s now common practice for law firms to have a number of different systems for various business functions. However, there’s a disparity between firms that have integrated the art of systems and the data they hold — otherwise known as absolute interoperability — and those that haven’t. Those that haven’t either work in siloed systems or only use their business information in isolation despite the applications themselves being integrated.
Strengthen Your Internal Communications to Fortify Your Law Firm’s Future
Prior to 2020, law firm colleagues communicated in hallways and conference rooms, on coffee breaks and during desk-side chats. Building and maintaining connections was built into our everyday routines.
How Tech Can Enhance the Employee Experience
Forward-thinking human resource (HR) leaders are taking a broader approach to employee development. They are recognizing that the best way to achieve an engaged and thriving workforce is to focus on building a positive employee experience (EX).
4 Tips for Sound Financial Practice for Your Tech Spend
Law firms increased their technology spend by 7.1% in 2021, the second largest overhead expense increase of the year, second only to recruiting increases as a result of the unprecedented war for talent. This uptick comes as no surprise as the pandemic transformed how and where work is performed — and is powered by — technology.
Digital Marketing Trends and the Power of Video
Video is a great way to communicate online, in emails and even through text messages. According to Yans Media, people retain about 95% of the information given in a video compared to only 10% when read.
People Science: The Missing Link in Performance Management
While I was the Head of Human Resources at Covington & Burling LLP, the management committee hosted a dinner for the administrative leadership team. Many of my global colleagues had never met these senior leaders, and you could feel their anxiety.
The Shadow Pandemic: How Firm Staff Can Show Up for Struggling Employees
In the past two years, humans have had a collective moment when it comes to mental health and well-being.
How an Internal Focus Fosters Growth
During these past two years, a key learning point at Ball Janik LLP centered around our culture — including how to connect our Oregon and Florida teams.
“I Like Your Organization. Now, About Your Carbon Footprint …”
Gen Z is entering the workforce and they want workplace that match their values.
How Emerging Technology Is Evolving the Legal Administrative Assistant Function
A new wave of technological innovation within firms is creating another inflection point legal administrative assistants.
The Adoption of Artificial Intelligence for Law Firms
AI is not just a buzzword, but a true sign of modernized, agile processes.
Navigating Cybersecurity Threats for In-House IT Teams
Like a city police force, your in-house IT support works tirelessly to maintain peace and tranquility within your firm’s digital environment. But are they equipped to tackle the hidden world of cybercrime?
Mastering the Deluge: How Legal Professionals Can Overcome Information Overload
In the tumultuous waters of today's fast-paced digital world, legal professionals are caught in a relentless tempest of information.
Protect Your Firm from International Travel Risks
Operating an international firm can be a risky endeavor, especially given the volatile political and security environments in many countries.
The LSAT and Its Lack of Relevance to Lawyering
In November 2022, the American Bar Association voted to eliminate the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) requirement for law schools, effective 2025.
How to Say “No” to the Boss
In a law firm, the managing partner is the face of your business. It’s hard enough to say no to the person signing your paycheck, but even more so when their name is the same as the firm’s.
Beyond the Bar Exam: Competence Frameworks for Associate Development
You’ve probably heard about the tidal wave of anger and frustration besieging the bar exam lately. Accusations that the exam is outdated, unvalidated, irrelevant to practice competence, systemically racist and sexist, and callously administered seem to come faster and more furiously each year.
6 Ways to Boost Time Management Amid the Legal Services Boom
The saying goes, nothing succeeds like success — except when you fail to capitalize on opportunity.
Engaging with Empathy: How to Help Employees Through Challenges
As we reformat the new normal for the pandemic era, you may have wanted to tell your team, “It’s going to be fine. Cheer up!”