by Amy Strock, Director of Human Resources, Seed Intellectual Property Group, LLP
We, as legal administrators, are leading in a rare and challenging time. The past year has brought us the tasks of moving to a remote workforce, finding solutions to keep workflow productive, and addressing the mental wellness challenges that have come with a pandemic. We have all been thrown technology trials, the stressful duty of understanding and implementing federal and state changes, all while keeping employees creatively engaged. This year, the job transformed, and the strong, brave, and sometimes self-sacrificing, parts of us have emerged.
This next year is going to be a different type of challenge. As we start returning to the office, our daily conversations are already starting to adjust. We are addressing vaccine policies, hybrid workforces, and hoteling work stations. We are changed and we are changing. My goal this year is to help keep the PSALA the hub of collaboration and solutions. We will embrace the “team lift” and know that we are stronger and smarter together. To grow our shared knowledge, I am dedicated to building our committee involvement and to further invest in our future firm administrators. I am also committed to cultivating our public presence via forums like LinkedIn. Our community should know the good works accomplished by our organization, members, and Business Partners.
I am thankful for the example set by our Past President, Michelle Smith. By her actions and with the support of our members and Business Partners, I am ready to meet whatever is thrown our way. Here we go.
- Our industry is changing rapidly, our education topics need to reflect these changes to allow our Members to stay ahead of the curve. This year we will be offering HR and Finance certifications by webinar.
- Remember…Meetups are for EVERYONE. All our education events are open to all members. We are also continuing our relationship with our in kind sponsor, The Catering Company, to provide lunch at our events.
- Chapter Meetups continue to provide CLM credits. These credits can be used for CLM certification and re-certification
- We will continue (and improve) the live-streaming of Meetups. We made significant progress last year, using a Mevo device and we’ll continue.
It’s an exciting time in our industry – we face lots of challenges from many sources, the PSALA is your support network to help you overcome these challenges. The new Board and I look forward to serving and meeting members’ needs in the coming year.
ALA is the undisputed leader for the business of law, focused on the delivery of cutting-edge management and leadership products and services to the global legal community. We identify and provide solutions to the most strategic and operational challenges our members and customers face today, while we prepare them for the opportunities and challenges of tomorrow.
Leading and inspiring innovation in the legal workplace through the pursuit and exchange of professional knowledge.
- Develop and deliver programs and products that will provide high quality, competency-based education to members of the legal management team.
- Provide opportunities for Chapter members to develop and enhance their leadership and organizational skills through participation in Board, committee and section positions.
- Improve and strengthen the flow of information, through various levels of governing bodies, to and from the members.
- Strengthen the Chapter’s economic base in order to enhance the services and benefits available to members.
- Implement an organizational structure, which allocates the policy and operational roles and responsibilities of volunteers to assure that organizational resources are used effectively to achieve the Chapter’s goals.
- Increase the visibility and credibility of the Association of Legal Administrators and its members in the legal community through effective marketing and communications and through liaisons with bar and other law-related associations at the local, state, and national levels.
- Retain and recruit members from all components of the legal management team.
- Provide opportunities for Chapter members to create and develop a network of resources within the local legal community.
- Increase sensitivity to cultural diversity within the Chapter and in the legal management community.
For many years, the traits of an “ideal” chapter of ALA were discussed among chapter and Association leaders. The following performance objectives were crafted from those discussions and have been officially adopted by the ALA Board of Directors. All chapters are expected to meet or exceed these objectives which are intended to strengthen the ability of chapters to take effective, collaborative action to improve the quality of management in legal services organizations; promote and enhance the competence and professionalism of legal administrators and other members of the legal management team; and represent professional legal management and managers in the legal community and to the community at large. Chapters are urged to assess their progress, on an ongoing basis, in achieving the objectives outlined below:
- The chapter provides, on a regular basis, quality educational opportunities (beyond routine networking and/or social events) for its members and individuals of the legal management team. On a regular basis, the chapter will provide a Chapter Education Summary of all its educational programs and presenters to the Regional Education Officer.
- The chapter creates an awareness among its members of the Association’s mission statement, goals and Code of Ethics, and highlights the activities of all levels of the organization. This awareness can be developed through written communication (e.g., newsletter, minutes, etc.) which are provided to members on a regular basis and during chapter meetings or events.
- The chapter strives to enhance the visibility and credibility of the profession and the Association through activities such as community service projects and alliances with bar associations and other law-related professional associations.
- The chapter creates a workable structure to maximize its efficiency which focuses on member involvement and capitalizes on the interests, enthusiasm and expertise of its members.
- The chapter maintains a continuous recruitment effort to attract a diversity of new members to the Association.
- The chapter’s president and/or president-elect participate(s) in at least one ALA leadership training session each year. To facilitate effective leadership training opportunities, all chapters will install officers in April of each year.
- The chapter has a regional council representative who attends council meetings and provides reports of each meeting to the members of the chapter.
- The chapter obtains tax exempt status and files annual tax returns, where appropriate and as indicated by pertinent regulatory bodies. The chapter also maintains procedures for ensuring that annual filings and renewals are made with appropriate agencies. In addition to any insurance coverage the chapter may secure, the chapter takes appropriate action (such as by incorporation) to ensure the personal assets of its members are protected.
- The chapter’s treasury is not commingled with employer or personal funds and the chapter maintains appropriate internal controls to ensure financial security. The chapter maintains procedures for regular, periodic review of books, accounts and records by chapter officers (other than the treasurer or other officer with primary financial responsibilities) and/or by outside, independent auditors.
- The chapter adheres to and abides by its own bylaws. In addition, the chapter seeks and obtains Headquarters’ approval of proposed amendments to chapter bylaws prior to a vote by members to make them effective.
- All compensation/economic survey questionnaires are reviewed and approved by Headquarters prior to dissemination. The chapter is responsible for creating and maintaining awareness of antitrust issues, including those published in ALA’s Antitrust Guide.
- The chapter uses the ALA logo and other Association symbols pursuant to guidelines provided by Headquarters.
- Immediately following the chapter’s election of officers, the chapter president (or designee) provides ALA Headquarters with a list of the individuals who will assume chapter office as of April. Within 45 days of taking office, the chapter president updates and returns the chapter’s Chapter Profile to ALA Headquarters. Semiannually, chapters will review and return chapter member verification reports to ALA Headquarters.
- The chapter will, at all times, ensure that all members of the chapter are members of ALA. On an annual basis, the chapter president will submit a timely statement certifying compliance with this bylaw provision.
ALA Code of Professional Responsibility
As legal management professionals, members of ALA shall abide by high ethical standards. This ALA Code of Professional Responsibility sets forth standards for the administration of legal management practices. Legal administrators at all levels have a responsibility to uphold and incorporate these standards into their everyday performance. This Code applies to the administration of legal organizations including private firms, corporate legal departments, legal clinics, government agencies and courts.
- Responsibilities to the Profession of Legal Management:
- Uphold the ALA Code of Professional Responsibility and the mission of the Association of Legal Administrators;
- Conduct oneself with integrity and project a positive image of the legal management profession;
- Pursue continuing education to maintain a high level of proficiency in management procedures and issues;
- Promote initiatives for civic, economic and social well-being within our communities; and
- Advocate increased diversity in the legal management community and in all legal service organizations.
- Responsibilities to the Legal Employer and its Employees:
- Foster an environment that promotes the use and improvement of sound business practices where all employees can develop, contribute and prosper;
- Be truthful and forthright in all forms of professional and organizational communication;
- Report financial information promptly, completely and accurately, and in a manner that facilitates informed decision making;
- Implement policies and procedures to address professional responsibility, business ethics and conduct;
- Establish an appropriate grievance and appeals process tailored to the legal organization’s size and structure; and
- Promote a work environment that does not discriminate, intimidate or allow harassment based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, veteran’s status, marital status, sexual orientation or other legally protected characteristics.
- Responsibilities to those Outside the Legal Organization:
- Respect the customs and practices of clients, prospective clients, business partners and the community at large;
- Avoid actual or apparent conflicts of interest and advise all appropriate parties of potential conflicts;
- Refrain from soliciting or accepting any fee, commission, gift, gratuity, discount or loan on behalf of oneself, family or friends, that may influence business decisions;
- Ensure the existence of policies and procedures to provide quality client service;
- Utilize confidential and proprietary information solely for legal practice or management purposes and not to further private interest or personal profit; and
- Support outreach activities that cultivate pro bono assistance and law related public education to meet community needs.
PSALA – Leading and inspiring innovation in the legal workplace through the pursuit and exchange of professional knowledge.