Ahead of the Curve (January 2016)

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.


The E-Discovery Challenge: Finding a Needle As the Haystack Grows

"While e-discovery allows law firms to collect more information in a shorter amount of time, our ability to meaningfully process what comes out at the end has not changed." Read more.

Resource: Greg Shodde, Bloomberg BNA


Utah Supreme Court backs licensed paralegal practitioners

"The Utah Supreme Court has given the green light to allow licensed paralegal practitioners to help clients navigate the legal system, though the new professionals won’t be allowed to appear in court." Read more.

Resource: Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal


My Employee Said What On Facebook!?!

" How To Discipline Workers For Social Media Posts That Cross The Line." Read more.

Resource: L. Brent Garrett, Mondaq

TOP TIP: 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." Read more.

Resource: Teresa D. Teare, Shawe Rosenthal LLP


Research-Based Ways to Win at Work in 2016

Links below to several research-based articles on managing people.


Be good and fast.

Praise your team often.

Be the boss stars love to work for.

Help your team be creative. Or at least execute better.

Take your vacation time.

Help people change.

Cultivate generosity.

Use your persuasive powers — in fact, paint a picture employees can believe in." Read more.

Resource: Sarah Green Carmichael, Harvard Business Review

14 tips to become a better supervisor

"While not an easy task, becoming a great supervisor can be a privilege and can render benefits to you, the individual(s) you supervise, the organization you work for and the clients you represent." Read more.

Resource: American Bar Association


What We Learned About Management in 2015, in 25 Charts and Graphics

See the charts: read more.

Resource: Gretchen Gavett, Harvard Business Review


How to Improve Your Local SEO: 4 Simple Steps

"What’s the best way to make sure that when someone is looking for an attorney online, your name appears? By maximizing your Local SEO.." Read more.

Resource: Brian Focht, The Cyber Advocate


Sharing Office Space, Equipment, and Employees (Podcast)

"In this episode of New Solo, host Adriana Linares stops by the shared offices of Barbara Leach and Conti Moore. Together they discuss the cost savings, benefits, and logistics of splitting office resources." Read more.

Resource: Adriana Linares, Legal Talk Network

How Visual Systems Make It Easier to Track Knowledge Work

"Visual management systems reduce the need for those updates because the important status issues and measurements are always on display, available at any time, for anyone who’s interested.... Similarly, visual tools reduce email and meeting burden by showing what’s happening in a process, rather telling what’s happening." Read more.

Resource: Daniel Makovitz, Harvard Business Review

Best Practices for Small Law Firm Practice Management

"Case Studies are a valuable resource for education and providing solutions to specific situations for law firms. These case studies provide a variety of situations and solutions." Read more.

Resource: Frank Strong, Business of Law Blog


Practical 9 ways to change the carnivorous partnership model

Read this article to discover practical suggestions for addressing aspects of partnership management. Read more.

Resource: Edwin B. Reeser, ABA Journal


Patent holders rush to beat new pleading standards; record number of suits filed Monday

"Patent holders apparently eager to file suit in advance of new pleading standards filed more than 200 lawsuits on Monday, setting what is believed to be a one-day record for patent suits." Read more.

Resource: Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal


New top-level posts grow from law firm tech expertise

"Two new executive-level titles joined the CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CTOs and CMOs already managing the nation’s law firms. But while earlier C-titles migrated to law firms from the business world, these latest two grew out of their firms’ desires to display expertise in critical areas of technology." Read more.

Resource: Robert J. Ambrogi, ABA Journal

20 apps to help provide easier access to legal help

"Long list, but there are some interesting apps on the list..." Read more.

Resource: Joe Dysart, ABA Journal

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