Ahead of the Curve (June 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.
Big Data: The Lawyer's Guide to Analytics: How Analytics Can be Used in Your Practice
"Analytics isn’t limited to word-by-word comparisons. In fact, certain tools can ascertain concepts and ideas within documents, and with this information can organize them into conceptual clusters. With conceptual analytics tools, term order doesn’t matter, as the technology is still capable of bringing together documents based on words that co-occur alongside one another." Read more.
Resource: Ian Lopez, Legaltech News
Business Development: The New Associate’s Guide to Business Development
"Big firm or small, there’s a single question the partners in any law firm ask about a young associate: 'Is she a keeper?' And, while legal skills count, it’s clear they’re thinking: “Can she bring in clients?” Read more.
Resource: Kiffin Hope, ALPS
Business Development: 7 Rules to Virtually Double the Practices You Deliver to Clients
"The typical primary law firm delivers 1.8 practices to each of their major clients. The best performers, those who collaborate and set the standard for superior client service, deliver 3.2 practices to their clients." Read more.
Resource: BTI Consulting Group
Business Development: My Clients Say They Only Want Me!
"It is a common lament: 'My clients say they only want me. How do I introduce colleagues or juniors in a way that creates trust?' And like so many business obstacles lawyers struggle to overcome, it’s one they create themselves. Which means it’s one that can easily be eliminated." Read more.
Resource: Mike O'Horo, Attorney at Work
C-Suite: For Operations, More Midsize Firms Seeking Nonlawyers
"The chief operating officer or executive director role is growing in popularity among midsize firms, legal recruiters and consultants said, but it can be a tricky position to fill because of the various definitions of the job among firms of that size." Read more.
Resource: Lizzy McLellan, The Legal Intelligencer
Education: The Value of Executive Personnel Involvement in Professional Associations
"For attorneys, being involved in professional associations is a given. Not only do those associations offer the required continuing legal education, but they also provide opportunities to network and ideally develop business. Encouraging and supporting firm lawyers to join professional associations is a critical tool for building their professional success and development." Read more.
Resource: Jessica L. Mazzeo, The Legal Intelligencer
Human Resources: What 95% of Millennials Want (and Other Trends You Need to Know)
"Big changes are in store for the future of the workplace as Millennials start moving into leadership roles. Read three predictions you need to know about how to prepare for the future." Read more.
Resource: Elizabeth Dukes, INC.
Human Resources: Your People and Global Internet Trends
Resource: China Gorman
Human Resources: The Flexibility Paradox
Resource: Susan Milligan, SHRM
Innovation: Overcoming fixedness: How thinking ‘inside the box’ can drive innovation
This post discusses "functional fixedness" and how managing it might spur innovation in a legal environment. Read more.
Resource: Roya Behnia, ABA Journal
Insurance: Benefit Plan Design and Cost Benchmarking Key Results
Very interesting and comprehensive benchmarking report on health insurance plan design and costs affecting employers and employees by United Benefit Advisors. Read more.
Resource: bp BENEFIT Professionals, Inc.
Marketing: 'Super lawyers' and 'rising stars' are warned about accolade advertising
"Lawyer advertising that mentions awards such as 'Super Lawyers,' 'Rising Stars' and 'Best Lawyers' has spurred the filing of many complaints with a New Jersey committee that considers ethics of lawyer advertising." Read more.
Resource: Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal
Marketing: At Law Firms, Customization is No Longer King: The Resurgence of Standardized Solutions
Resource: Elisabet Hardy and Patrick Hurley, Legaltech News
Operations: How To Run A More Profitable Legal Department (Video Content)
"In this post, Clarissa Cerda talks about the strategies she used as General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer to turn her legal department from a cost center, into, as she calls it, a 'hooray center' for the company." Read more.
Resource: Mark Miller, Mondaq
Paralegals: The Limited License Legal Technicians Program
Resource: Legal Talk Network
Partners: IRS Moves To Bar Partners From Employee Treatment
"The IRS has released temporary and proposed regulations that bar partners from being treated as employees of a disregarded entity (DRE) owned by their partnership." Read more.
Eddie Adkins, Grant Thornton
Presentations: Pro Tips for Creating Masterful Presentations
"For Friday Five+ Tech Tips, we invite a dream team of law practice technology experts to give their best advice for tackling the everyday tech quandaries that plague us all, to help your practice run just a bit more smoothly. This month’s question: What’s your best advice for making better presentations? Heidi Alexander, Jim Calloway, Simon Chester, Reid Trautz and Nora Regis have logged a dizzying number of presentations. Here’s what they’ve learned about powering up your time at the podium." Read more.
Resource: Joan Feldman, Attorney at Work
Records Retention: How Long Do We Need to Keep Our Closed Files?
Information on determining when any given file can be destroyed and the exceptions that apply. Read more.
Resource: Mark Bassingthwaighte, ALPS
Substance Abuse: The Prevalence of Substance Use and Other Mental Health Concerns Among American Attorneys
"Little is known about the current behavioral health climate in the legal profession. Despite a widespread belief that attorneys experience substance use disorders and other mental health concerns at a high rate, few studies have been undertaken to validate these beliefs empirically or statistically." Read more.
Resource: Patrick R. Krill, JD, LLM; Ryan Johnson, MA; Linda Albert MSSW
"A new, landmark study conducted by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs reveals substantial and widespread levels of problem drinking and other behavioral health problems in the U.S. legal profession." Read more.
Resource: Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
Technology: The Remote Revolution (Part 1): Jobs in the Cloud
"In the first part of a two part series, Jared Coseglia discusses the many advantages of remote, virtual employment in the legal industry." Read more.
Resource: Jared Coseglia, Legaltech News
Technology: The Remote Revolution (Part 2): The Challenges with Virtual Employment
"There are clear challenges to remote employment including accountability, technology selection, security, and maintaining company culture." Read more.
Resource: Jared Coseglia, Legaltech News
Sharon Meit Abrahams, EdD - Foley & Lardner LLP
Jennifer Colwell ~ McGill, Gotsdinger, Workman, & Lepp
Kevin Costello, Holland & Knight LLP
Lisa Dasher ~ Wicker Smith O'Hara McCoy & Ford P.A.
Mark Davey ~ Ricoh USA, Inc.
Eric Hightower, CLM, SPHR ~ Davis Agnor Rapaport Skalny
William Mech ~ ofPartner Consulting Services
Steven Morris, CLM, SPHR ~ Allen Matkins
Paul Morton ~ Burns & Levinson LLP
ALA Liaison to Committee
Susan Hanf ~ ALA Sr. Director, Member Experience