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Legal Industry Association Announces 2016 Awards Recipients

  • Jun 27

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — The Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) is pleased to announce the winners in its 2016 Awards Program, presented at its Annual Conference & Expo in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 25.

Outstanding Association Volunteer Award

Each year the Board of Directors identifies members who have made significant contributions to the association. The first Outstanding Association Volunteer award went to Janine Book of Pepper Hamilton LLP in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Janine joined ALA in 1996. In addition to serving as President of the Pittsburgh chapter, at the international level she has served as Regional Officer, Director, Annual Conference Committee member and – most recently – IP Retreat Planning Chair.

The second Outstanding Association Volunteer Award went to Paul Farnsworth of Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP in Rochester, New York.  Paul joined ALA in 1994. He quickly became involved with the former Rochester Chapter, and has since held multiple roles both locally and at the international level. He served on ALA’s Board of Directors for more than five years, and he served as ALA President. When he left the Board in 2015, he immediately became the Chair of the International Relations Committee.

Spirit of ALA Award

Several years ago, the ALA Board of Directors created an award to recognize individuals for special and unique achievement – the Spirit of ALA Award. The traits and qualities that this award recognizes are leadership, commitment, tenacity and dedication. The Board felt this award should be the Association’s highest honor and given only to those whose leadership and contributions are extraordinary. In fact, the Spirit of ALA Award is not an annual event but rather an honor that is given on occasions as rare as the individuals who receive them. 
This year’s Spirit of ALA recipient has served ALA tirelessly at the chapter level, through committee service, as a Regional Officer and on the ALA Board of Directors. The Award went to the Chair of the Professional Development Advisory Committee, Steven M. Morris, CLM, SPHR, of Allen Matkins Leck Gamble in San Francisco, California.

Quest Award

The Quest Award recognizes a new member of ALA for his or her conviction, dedication and relentless pursuit of personal and professional excellence. There were more than 500 eligible candidates this year, 11 of whom were nominated by their chapters for this recognition. This year’s recipient is truly an inspiration. While still fairly new to her role in a prestigious Miami firm, she attended a local event looking for opportunities to give back to the profession. It just so happened that ALA’s South Florida chapter was a sponsor of the event, and there the connection was made.

This year’s Quest Award winner is Shundrallah A. Covington of Murray Law, PA in Miami Lakes, Florida. Shun joined ALA and immediately became involved in chapter activities. During a lunch with a board member, the idea for the chapter’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee was born. Being new to the organization, Shun was reluctant to lead this committee but instead served as a member. Her enthusiasm and passion led to the coordination of a half-day diversity seminar as well as a diversity spotlight for each chapter meeting. To challenge herself even further, Shun joined a Certified Legal Manager (CLM)SM study group and became an advocate for the group.

IDEA Awards

ALA’s IDEA Awards program, now in its third year, seeks to recognize initiatives that model innovation, development, engagement and advancement in the legal community. Awards are presented to ALA chapters, committees, regions, individuals, firms or organizations (including business partners) that create unique and innovative programs, services and events.

  • Armstrong Teasdale, LLP saw an opportunity to increase the level of interaction between young associates and firm leadership, in order to help them elevate their status in the firm and get on the partnership track. Their program enabled associates to meet six key lawyers outside their practice area for lunch or a beverage, improving morale and increasing internal referrals and cross-selling opportunities.
  • ALA Greater Phoenix-Valley of the Sun Chapter created a six-week internship program where students would be paired with business partners and member law firms to gain working knowledge of the business of law. They were able to undertake this initiative after ALA passed the bylaw amendment allowing college students to join. The chapter recruited students from Arizona State University’s Undergraduate Law Association, as well as business students at the university. The chapter received 79 submissions for 25 spots in the program!
  • ALA Committee on Diversity and Inclusion created a “60 Tips in 75 Minutes” presentation to provide a better understanding of the dimensions of diversity; to educate members about updating current policies within their firms; to teach best practices for hiring; to provide resources; and to explain why this is all so important.
  • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP Skadden Chicago’s "30 Acts of Giving" took a new approach to public service by organizing a series of projects that together made a greater impact than any single project might, raising over $165,000 and contributing more than 1,500 hours of service. The series of pro bono service and fundraising initiatives addressed poverty, hunger, health, diversity, education, veterans’ care, the environment and the arts.
  • ALA Greater Los Angeles Chapter sought to develop a unique interactive learning experience in a short, dynamic format based on current reality TV shows. In their workshop "Sharks Rank," legal management professionals present a Challenge Project and a solution to that challenge to a panel of three law firm industry experts, or Sharks. All attendees benefit from the insights expressed by the three participants and the audience.

ALA’s 2016 Annual Conference & Expo provides access to knowledge, connections and market-ready solutions that transform change into opportunities. Whether new to the legal management industry or a seasoned professional, each attendee has the opportunity to learn from thought leaders and solve problems with their peers.

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