Ahead of the Curve (Jan 2016 - 2 )

with ALA's Professional Development Advisory Committee


If you are receiving "Ahead of the Curve" then you are an ALA leader with board, regional, chapter or conference planning responsibilities, or a designated ALA employee. The Professional Development Advisory Committee’s (PDAC) purpose in providing you this communication is to further its goal of periodically sharing topical information regarding the legal industry. Our hope is that one or more of the updates will provide a spark of insight to assist with your work on behalf of ALA as well as within your firm or legal department.


Are You Ready for the Reporting Obligations under Affordable Care Act in 2016?

"The Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting obligations are fast approaching in early 2016. This is the first year that the mandatory reporting obligations will be in effect, and employers have been scrambling to prepare the onerous reports and have them ready to be filed in the early part of 2016. The forms must be provided to employees and filed with the IRS. They will be used to determine whether an employer owes a payment under the employer shared responsibility provisions of the ACA and eligibility of employees for the premium tax credit." Read more.

Resource: Teresa D. Teare, Shaw Rosenthal, LLP


Antitrust watchdog to probe legal services

"The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is to examine ‘long-standing concerns about the affordability of legal services and standards of service.... A major problem in legal services is that a large proportion of the population and small businesses cannot afford such critical services." Read more.


High-Margin, Complex Work Returns in 2016: How to Get Your Share

"Clients are making big time shifts to their spending. Large pockets of dollars are moving to areas where spending increases haven’t been seen in years. And these moves are creating new—and lucrative—opportunities for the law firms able to spot these shifts." Read more.

Resource: BTI Consulting Group

Metrics can tell the tale of a firm's fate

This article offers four tools that will give lawyers some strong indicators about the overall fiscal health of their firms, as well as provide a platform for asking more specific questions of firm leaders. Read more.

Resource: Edwin Reeser and Victor Li, ABA Journal


Citi’s Law Firm Predictions: It’s Back to Slow Growth

"The relative success law firms found in 2014 was an aberration, not the new norm, according to year-end predictions for the industry from Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group and Hildebrandt Consulting." Read more.

Resource: Sara Randazzo, The Wall Street Journal

Law Firm Leaders are Optimistic going into 2016

Managing partners of the nation’s largest law firms are bullish about 2016 according to this annual survey of leaders of AmLaw 200 law firms. This five-page article discusses survey’s findings. Read more.

Resource: American Lawyer Media, Managing Partner Forum


The Right Way to Hold People Accountable

“How do I get my people to be more accountable for results? Accountability is not simply taking the blame when something goes wrong. It’s not a confession. Accountability is about delivering on a commitment. It’s responsibility to an outcome, not just a set of tasks. It’s taking initiative with thoughtful, strategic follow-through." Read more.

Resource: Peter Bregman, Harvard Business Review

6 Abilities Every Employee Needs To Be Successful

Previously, Ms. Lauby wrote about the skills that every employee needs to possess. In this article, she writes about abilities? Abilities are the qualities that we need in order to be skillful and ultimately successful. Read more.

Resource: Sharlyn Lauby, HR Bartender

EEOC Loses ADA Challenge To Wis. Co.'s Wellness Program

"[Article on Law360 - Subscription Required]

A federal judge has ruled that an Americans with Disabilities Act provision allows employers such as a Wisconsin plastics maker to require employees to undergo medical exams as part of wellness programs tied to voluntary company-subsidized health insurance, handing a loss to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission." Read more.

Resource: Kevin Penton, Law360


Loss of Control: Lawyers’ Greatest Fear

"When lawyers are surveyed about what keeps them awake at night, their top issue is almost always a feeling that their offices or cases are out of control." Read more.

Resource: Dustin Cole, Attorney at Work

A New Metric to Evaluate Law Firm Quality

"Justice Potter Stewart’s celebrated 'I know it when I see it' obscenity test also applies to law firm quality. No one can quite say what it is, but most attorneys and clients claim to know it when they see it. This is a very subjective standard in a metric driven world." Read more.

Resource: Mark Cohen, Bloomberg BNA


What Exactly Is “The File”?

"It is drilled into us during ethics classes, studying for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, and in continuing legal education courses: When a client requests it, you must hand over “the file.” But have you ever stopped to think, 'What exactly is the file?' The question is a lot more complicated than we are led to believe." Read more.

Resource: Megan Zavieh, Attorney at Work


Employees Take Sensitive Company Data When They Leave the Job: Survey

"Technology a company implements plays a major role when deciding to take company data. Tools such as Dropbox, Google Drive and email, makes taking files almost effortless." Read more.

Resource: Trudy Knockless, Legaltech News

Traditional Passwords are Becoming Obsolete: Survey

"The data indicates that businesses nationwide are increasing their cybersecurity budgets and exploring alternative authentication techniques to passwords." Read more.

Resource: Trudy Knockless, Legaltech News

Canadian Financial Regulatory Organization Releases Cybersecurity Guides

"The two guides look to help investment dealers protect themselves and their clients against cyber attack." Read more.

Resource: Zach Warren, Legaltech News


Succession Planning for Lawyers and Law Firms: Not Just a Good Idea, Now Required!

"Effective January 1, 2016, Arizona lawyers must have a succession plan. Yes, that’s must.The Arizona Supreme Court has added a new duty in Rule 41, Ariz. R. Sup. Ct.:The duties and obligations of members shall be…[t]o protect current and former client interests by planning for the lawyer’s termination of or inability to continue a law practice, either temporarily or permanently." Read more.

Resource: Patricia A. Sallen, Ethics at Law


How to Boost Your Office’s Wireless Network Like a High Tech Pro

There are some basic steps you can take to improve your office’s wireless network, without having to make (major) upgrades to your equipment. Here are 12 Easy Tips to help you Boost Your Wireless Network Like a High Tech Professional. Read more.

Resource: Brian Focht, The Cyber Advocate

Committee Members

Sharon Meit Abrahams, EdD - Foley & Lardner LLP

Mark Davey ~ Ricoh USA, Inc.

Anthony Greene ~ Jamison Risk Services

Eric Hightower, CLM, SPHR ~ Davis Agnor Rapaport Skalny

John Jakovenko, CLM, SPHR ~ Freeman Mathis & Gary

William Mech ~ ofPartner Consulting Services

Steven Morris, CLM, SPHR ~ Allen Matkins

Paul Morton ~ Burns & Levinson LLP

Savannah Robinson, MPA ~ Barnes & Thornburg LLP

ALA Liaison to Committee

Susan Hanf ~ ALA Sr. Director, Member Experience