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Legal Industry Association Announces 2018 Awards Recipients

  • May 6

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — The Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) is pleased to announce its 2018 Awards Program winners, presented at its Annual Conference & Expo in National Harbor, Maryland, on Saturday, May 5.

Outstanding Association Volunteer Award

Each year the Board of Directors identifies members who have made significant contributions to the association. In most instances, these contributions extend over several years’ time and at more than one level of our organization. The first Outstanding Association Volunteer Award went to Richard Nigon, CLM, of Robins Kaplan LLP in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Richard joined ALA in 1989 and has served in many volunteer roles. He began at the chapter level in the late '90s, became a Regional Officer in 2001, joined the ALA Board of Directors in 2003 and served as ALA President from 2006 to 2007. He was the recipient of the Spirit of ALA Award in 2009, and he has also served on the Foundation of ALA Board of Trustees and on the Annual Conference Planning Committees since 2016.

The second Outstanding Association Volunteer Award went to Eric Hightower, CLM, SPHR, of Davis Agnor Rapaport & Skalny in Columbia, Maryland. Eric joined ALA in late 2001. Not long after, he joined the Maryland Chapter’s Board and became Chapter President in 2010. From there, he served as a Regional Representative on the Professional Development Advisory Committee. This week marks the beginning of his role as Vice Chair of the Standards Review 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 our Board of Directors. The Spirit of ALA Award went to International Relations Committee member Kathy Scourby of KNS Consulting, LLC.

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 800 eligible candidates this year, 13 of whom were nominated by their chapters for this recognition. This year’s recipient is truly an inspiration.

This year’s Quest Award winner is Northern Virginia Chapter member Megan Pfeifle, PHR, SHRM-CP, of Cook Craig & Francuzenko in Fairfax, Virginia. A newer member of the legal management profession, this year’s recipient joined ALA in late 2015. Within the first year of her membership, she stepped up to serve as the chapter’s website chair and soon thereafter proudly accepted a nomination to serve as Chapter President. Megan has attended nearly every chapter-sponsored event and actively promotes chapter involvement to both members and business partners. She has coordinated business partner events, planned education sessions and is an active participant in a statewide retreat planning committee. Fellow members commend her leadership skills as well as her unwavering support of ALA at all levels.

IDEA Awards

ALA’s IDEA Awards program, now in its fourth 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.

  • ALA Minnesota Chapter (ALAMN) wanted to improve awareness of the chapter’s mission among their members, and boost recognition of those who help fulfill it. The chapter created a simple, meaningful and tangible item: the ALAMN Challenge Coin. Challenge coins are commonly used in military and law enforcement communities to identify membership and recognize achievements. Once the coins were manufactured, chapter board members were encouraged to hand them (and accompanying thank you notes) out to members and business partners who the board determined have helped improve, promote or represent ALAMN. After 10 months of this initiative, the chapter has found that members are better able to verbalize the mission, that engagement in membership and leadership has improved, and that recipients displaying the coins have made more attorneys and staff aware of ALA. To date, 75 coins have been awarded and a new batch of coins — with a new look for the new year — has been rolled out.
  • Inspired by ALA headquarters’ BOLD Bites newsletter, the ALA Northern Virginia Chapter (NOVA) created a customizable weekly educational newsletter known as the Friday Fast Five. The newsletter delivers chapter-relevant industry news and professional tips in a quickly digestible format to help members with their specific firm challenges. Accrisoft, a business partner of the Northern Virginia Chapter, developed the online database for historical archiving by date and industry. Chapter volunteers source the newsletter content from fellow members, ALA business partners, other industry vendors and news organizations. The Friday Fast Five is now distributed to three of the four chapters in Virginia as well as Region 2 Directors. The Northern Virginia Chapter is proud to provide educational resources to members, while simultaneously boosting exposure for business partners.
  • ALA Wisconsin Chapter (WALA) developed its Big Hearts Campaign to make over the Wisconsin Chapter’s annual main event, for which attendance was dwindling. A premier event committee composed of chapter members and business partners conceived the competition, which pitted the East (Milwaukee) against the West (Madison). Each team included a premier-level WALA business partner to assist the team captains and help raise money for its respective honor-flight charity, which sends veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit memorials. After a kick-off event featuring networking and a business-partner expo and education, the teams started their fundraising initiatives. The Big Hearts Campaign wrapped up at the November Fall Social, where chapter members and business partners interacted with the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight and Badger Honor Flight members and American Legion members. The campaign had raised $13,314 total — enough to sponsor 14 veterans and their escorts to visit the monuments memorializing the veterans’ sacrifices — and inspired 42 percent of the WALA’s members to attend the final event.

Complete details regarding ALA's IDEA Awards program can be found at

ALA’s 2018 Annual Conference & Expo provided access to knowledge, connections and market-ready solutions that transform change into opportunities. Whether they're new to the legal management industry or a seasoned professional, each attendee had the opportunity to learn from thought leaders and solve problems with their peers. Beyond these offerings, attendees enjoyed a What Would You Do?-themed keynote speech from ABC News Correspondent John Quiñones and a preconference certification workshop focused on legal project management and process improvement. Interested parties who could not attend could participate in three live-streamed education sessions through our Virtual Conference, which will also make recordings available online. ALA will provide the same high-quality benefits at various smaller conferences throughout this year ( and in Grapevine, Texas, for the 2019 Annual Conference & Expo.

About the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA)

ALA is focused on the delivery of cutting-edge management and leadership products and services to the global legal community. It identifies and provides solutions to the most critical strategic and operational challenges its members and customers face today, and prepares them for the opportunities and challenges of tomorrow. For more information on ALA, visit


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