Are You Ready to Be Inspired and Follow Your Pathway to Greatness?

It’s time to begin packing our bags and making arrangements for our absence in our firms while we are in Nashville! If you’re like me, it’s a very hectic time leading up to conference. I want to send you my best wishes for safe and uneventful travel.

I hope you’re prepared for another amazing ALA Annual Conference & Expo experience, bigger and better than ever before! You should be ready for compelling, relevant and game-changing content, presented in robust formats, as well as many networking opportunities with colleagues, business partners and speakers. As you get ready to leave for Nashville, take these thoughts and tools with you.

Conference begins on Sunday with a Welcome Reception with some added fun. You’ll have a chance to network, eat, drink, buy auction items, and dance to the Adam Doleac Band and the Mustang Dancers. Check out the conference schedule. We will kick off the education portion of our conference on Monday morning with Keynote Alison Levine, a history-making polar explorer and mountaineer who served as team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition and has completed the Adventure Grand Slam, a feat that fewer than 40 people in the world have achieved. Come be inspired! The excellence continues with two more general sessions and many more educational sessions over the ensuing three days.

The Conference App is ready for download. You can use the App to organize your schedule, view handouts, and receive alerts with up-to-the-minute information. Go to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to download the App to your Apple or Android device. To utilize all features of the App, you will need to log in using your email address (as your username) and ALA member ID number (as your password). To make life easier for you, I strongly encourage you to download the App and log in before departing for Nashville because the initial download can take some time due to the amount of data being loaded and requires a strong Wi-Fi connection. The App will remain on the LexisNexis page while loading. If the App closes, restarting the device should solve the issue. If you don’t plan to use a mobile device, you still can access all of the same great content through the web version.

Back by popular demand are Tech Docs! Thanks to the generosity of some ALA volunteers, on site there will be about 30 Tech Docs to help you with your questions about the Conference App. You will find them walking the halls as well as in the ALA Booth in the Business Solutions Marketplace. These Tech Doc volunteers will be wearing red arm bands to be easily identified.

I can’t wait to meet up with friends, new and old, at the Welcome Reception on Sunday evening. Following the Welcome Reception, you can enjoy our very own Blue Jay Café. Be sure to attend the Networking Reception in the Business Solutions Marketplace on Tuesday and mingle with all of our great Business Partners in a relaxed and festive exhibit hall setting. If you miss the Blue Jay Café on Sunday, you can catch it on Tuesday after the Networking Reception. On Wednesday, enjoy the Association Awards Dinner in the Grand Ballroom at Music City Center. Immediately after dinner, we will head to the Ryman Auditorium for the Grand Finale: VIP Treatment featuring music by singer-songwriter/musician Rick Springfield, followed by the Dessert & Dancing Finale Party in the Broadway Ballroom East at the Omni Nashville Hotel.

Come explore the Business Solutions Marketplace and ALA Live! When in the Business Solutions Marketplace, in addition to exploring the 200 business partner booths, be sure to visit the ALA Booth where you can see demonstrations of the latest and greatest services ALA has to offer its members. Next door to the Business Solutions Marketplace is ALA Live! where you can experience interactive, engaging education in new ways with our Ignite Talks, BOLD (Business of Law Discussions) Bites and Interviews with individuals such as Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, J. B. Ruhl of Vanderbilt Law School, and Gary D. Housepian, Executive Director of Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee, among others.

If you’re a CLM, you’ll enjoy what we have to offer. Included are exclusive benefits for CLMs such as breakfast Monday morning with keynote speaker Alison Levine and a private CLM Lounge. Are you thinking about becoming certified? You may want to check out the Monday session “CLM under the Hood” to learn about the CLM program requirements. You also will hear how the CLM exam is developed.

Did you get to see the Law Office of the Future at last year’s conference? This year we have an opportunity to visit the Conference Room of the Future being presented by ASD, Geiger, Herman Miller, Interface Flooring, Technical Innovation, Skanska, Mortensen, Illuminations, and Maharam. See trends of the future space designs for conference centers in law firms!

After Conference, you will be able to experience Nashville and enjoy the Memorial Day holiday after conference. Click on and click on the “Things to Do in Nashville” to check out Nashville and surrounding area.

My final suggestion is to be sure you check the local weather, and as with all ALA conferences, dress should be business casual. Please, no jeans, shorts, or flip-flops.

I have been looking forward to this week for the last 16 months. I can’t wait to showcase the many of the components of ALA’s 2015 Annual Conference & Expo. I feel confident that you will enjoy this annual conference experience as we explore the opportunities to lead our firms and businesses into the future… and, of course, have some great fun in the process!

See you in Nashville!

L  SalyardsLorri T. Salyards, CLM, is the 2015 ALA Annual Conference Chair. She is Firm Administrator at Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP in Denver, Colorado. She has more than 25 years of experience in legal administration and has served in various ALA leadership roles. Salyards is a published author in the ALA Management EncyclopediaSM, The Colorado Lawyer, and ALA News. She is an Adjunct Professor in the University of Denver Sturm College of Law’s Master of Science in Legal Administration program, was a Scholar in the Lagos Business School Programme for Law Firm Owners & Managers, and is a Fellow to the College of Law Practice Management.


ALA Live! Promotes Conversation, Leadership and Expert Knowledge

I’m looking forward to seeing ALA’s returning members at the Annual Conference & Expo in Nashville, as well as meeting so many new members and potential members. As we head into the final few weeks of preparation staff are geared up to help ensure that your conference experience is unforgettable.

One of the new offerings for Nashville, ALA Live! located in Hall C, immediately adjacent to the Business Solutions Marketplace (Exhibit Hall D), this setting is designed to help encourage conversation to and promote leadership amidst the excitement of the conference.

Inside ALA Live! you’ll find the Recharge Lounge, a place where you can recharge your devices, relax for a bit and chat with colleagues, and Carry on the Conversation with our session speakers.

You will also experience motivating, high-energy interactions with your colleagues in new ways in ALA Live! that will include some sessions of:

* Ignite Talks A fast-paced event where speakers are given five minutes to talk about the thing they’re most passionate. They will inspire and “ignite” you with forward-thinking ideas, spread the word on successful projects, and share hard-fought resolutions to problems they have solved.

* BOLD (Business of Law Discussions) Bites Informal 15-20 minute dialogues led by our esteemed speakers. These are bold, action-packed, bite-size discussions where attendees can go deeper into the subject matter at hand.

* CLM “Under the Hood” answers questions about the CLM program’s requirements and explains how the CLM exam is developed. If you are committed to the legal management profession, the CLM credential can be a key to your success!

* Idea Exchanges An informal discussion with your peers on a particular topic or area. There are several scheduled to be held in ALA Live! including the new Professional Development Advisory Committee Idea Exchange where you can share your ideas on what Business you’re looking for in professional development.

* Interviews You’ll hear from distinguished guests and ALA subject-matter experts on topics ranging from the economy to the state of the legal industry and much, much more.

* Business Matters! Sessions Thirty-minute sessions provided to by ALA’s Business Partners. Industry experts will share practical answers, hands-on demonstrations and tomorrow’s technology.

* These sessions will also be held in other locations in the Music City Center. When on site, please refer to your app or the printed conference Journal for session location specifics.

Yandle_Oliver2_2013-01Oliver Yandle, JD, CAE, is the Executive Director with the Association of Legal Administrators.


A Few of My Picks for Conference

With the ALA Annual 2015 Conference App released this week, it’s time to begin planning your schedule. Did you know you can move the sessions you plan to attend into your briefcase on the App and it will build your schedule for you? Let’s take a look at some possibilities.

Monday morning Caroline Turner and Stewart Hirsch, two presenters with incredible credentials, will discuss “Decrease Unconscious Gender Bias in Your Firm: Increase the Bottom Line.” Caroline was Vice President and General Counsel for Coors, as well a partner in a law firm. Stewart is a strategic coach and he leads the coaching practice for Trusted Advisor Associates LLC, and he is a columnist. This concept of unconscious bias is a hot topic in diversity discussions today. We have heard concerns in our firms about reasons, probably more speculation, why women lawyers don’t make it in some law firms, and in those where they do, they still constitute a small percentage of equity partners and executive committee members. Caroline and Stewart will help us understand masculine and feminine styles at work and teach us how appreciation for both styles can improve our firm’s culture. This session will be interactive. Both Caroline and Stewart are published authors. Check out some of Stewart’s blog articles. One of Caroline’s writings can be found here.

Many firms are feeling the pressures of controlling, even cutting expenses, and at the same time, recruiting for additional talent and negotiating for rate increases over and above what was stated in the letter received from the clients a few years back. How do we make all this happen? One thing is fairly certain — the partners are not going to be overjoyed with a capital call or suggestion of reducing their draws to accomplish these goals, even though the goals are theirs. Some firms may turn to borrowing, if that’s acceptable within the culture of the firm. Rob Millard, who co-heads the strategy practice group at Møller PSF Group in Cambridge, England and formerly a senior strategy manager at Linklaters, will be speaking to this conundrum on Monday, May 18, at a session titled “Funding Capital Expansion in Times of Constrained Demand for Legal Services.” I’m looking forward to learning what I can do with some of these conflicting goals so I can help my firm master the balancing act. Rob Millard is a well-known consultant with vast knowledge about law firms and challenges they face.

I’m also excited about Barbara Braunstein’s Monday session to learn how to manage my stress because I think I want to live a bit longer. This session will be different than sessions on stress that we’ve seen, and we are going to learn how to employ a specific practical life balance. Barbara has brought her talents to several different industries and has extensive knowledge in the mind/body connection and stress management. Her session is titled “Help! I Have it All, But I Have No Life!” We all can use this information, can’t we? This session will help us identify warning signs of physical and mental overstress and will provide tips on saying “no” respectfully. Additionally, I will learn how to use “stress-busters” throughout the business day. Come learn with me!

We can count on our day-to-day experiences in our law firms introducing any number of unanticipated surprises with which we have to deal. How do we prepare for the day we learn that one of our lawyers is accused of misconduct? Those rules of professional conduct are a part of our culture, so it’s shocking when it happens. Do you know to deal with this type of situation? What is that going to do to our firm and its reputation? Philip Bogdanoff, JD, a former prosecutor, is going to present a session on how to deal with these situations once they happen to gain the best results possible. His session is titled “How to Keep the Disciplinary Counsel from Knocking at Your Firm Door” and will be on Tuesday morning.

My next pick is on Wednesday by Susan Manch and Michelle Nash who will explain how and why strategy must include alignment of organizational and departmental plans in our firms. Many times those in charge of these areas don’t talk to one another and, most likely, that’s because those people do not understand how the two need to intersect. This session promises to teach us where to look for trends and benchmarks to help us make strategic decisions, and how knowing this information will help in strategic decisions we need to make about hiring talent, keeping that talent and developing that talent within our law firms. Come hear Susan and Michelle on Wednesday at their session titled “Update from the NALP Foundation: Using Research to Inform Strategic Decision Making.”

Wednesday afternoon is loaded with great sessions, so don’t call it quits yet! Jenni Prisk, a renowned speaker on leadership, interpersonal communication and assertiveness skills, is joining us to present “Women on the Global Stage.” This session is not just for women. This session will teach how, when women think of themselves as global leaders, it happens. This process of thinking success is probably no different for men, but women have really only been in the workforce for a few decades. There’s still a ways to go to a fully integrated workforce. This session will teach us that women are natural leaders and enable women (and maybe men too) to unlock their potential and imagine themselves leading on a global scale. What we think, we become. Jenni is a fantastic speaker, and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed if you attend this one.

I could talk on these sessions all day, but I know you are hoping I don’t. <SMILE> Indulge me. On Wednesday, Pete Peterson will give us a “Post- Election Tax Legislation Update” covering what effect the November 2014 elections had on the legislative agenda and what it may mean for the overhaul of the federal tax code. It is necessary education so I am prepared for the impact this reform will have on my firm. I can’t profess to know enough about the proposed requirement for all firms to move to accrual accounting, or depreciation and tax incentives that could be advantageous to my firm. I think I know about capitalizing vs. expensing new repairs, but I probably don’t know enough. It never hurts to learn about these things and more in an annual Tax Update.

I hope my thoughts spur some interest from you to check out some of these sessions. I wish there were time and space enough to tell you about more, but now I’m going to build my Briefcase on the App.

See you soon in Nashville!

L  SalyardsLorri T. Salyards, CLM, is the 2015 ALA Annual Conference Chair. She is Firm Administrator at Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP in Denver, Colorado. She has more than 25 years of experience in legal administration and has served in various ALA leadership roles. Salyards is a published author in the ALA Management EncyclopediaSM, The Colorado Lawyer, and ALA News. She is an Adjunct Professor in the University of Denver Sturm College of Law’s Master of Science in Legal Administration program, was a Scholar in the Lagos Business School Programme for Law Firm Owners & Managers, and is a Fellow to the College of Law Practice Management.

Is There a Tech Doc in the House?

The ALA 2015 Annual Conference & Expo is just a few weeks away – your registration, hotel and flights are in place. From the ALA website, you reviewed the sessions, the special events and the business partners you plan to visit in the Business Solutions Marketplace. Before you pack your bags and your various electronic devices, you should plan to download the interactive ALA Annual Conference App and fill your App “Briefcase.”

What is the ALA Annual Conference App, where do I find it and how will I use it?

ALA has provided a Conference App for the past few years. Based on attendee feedback, many improvements and enhancements were made for this conference. From the App, which is interactive and real-time, attendees will be able to pre-plan and track their schedule for all types of sessions and special conference events. Access to session handouts will be through the App, which is also where you can take notes and submit session evaluations. A map of the Business Solutions Marketplace (Exhibit Hall), ALA Live!, and other useful and important conference and local information and links to social media (Facebook and Twitter) will be accessible on the App.

The ALA Annual Conference App is available and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store (iPad and iPhone) and Google Play (Android), and the web library for other devices accessible at

What is a Tech Doc, why would I need one, and where do I find one to help me?

ALA Tech Docs are 30 ALA members who have graciously volunteered and are scheduled to be available in the Business Solutions Marketplace (including the ALA booth) and other areas at the conference to help navigate technology (the hardware) and the Annual Conference App (the software). They are identified by their red arm band and are available to answer questions for attendees who need assistance, particularly in the first days of the conference. They will be able to help with such things as:

  • Answering questions related to the Conference App
  • Assisting with iPhone, iPad, other tablet, and other smartphone setup issues (OS versions, new to their devices, etc.)
  • Helping troubleshoot iPhone or iPad, or other tablet issues
  • Answering simple social media questions such as “how do I use a #?” or “when would I use a # and why?” and/or “how do I use the social media app on my iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows phone?”
  • Answering other IT “how to” questions (Wi-Fi access, etc.).

The ALA Tech Docs are ready to assist you, so please do not hesitate to ask them for help. They volunteered to help you get the most efficient use out of the App during the conference. Whether you have prior experience with a conference App, or download the App before you arrive in Nashville, you may have questions as you begin to use it in the Music City Center.

You can express your appreciation to these volunteers with a thank you or even sharing with them something you may have learned about the App that they may not have yet discovered. Please do respect the Tech Docs’ time when in a session room where they are also conference-paying attendees of the Conference. They are there to help, but they have been assured that they get to participate and enjoy the sessions just as the rest of the attendees.

Sharing, helping and networking with other members is an important part of the conference experience. You may even be inspired to volunteer to be a Tech Doc at a future conference.

Hamlett_Nancy-2014-03Nancy E. Hamlett, CPA, is the Director of Finance for Trucker Huss, APC in San Francisco, California. Nancy is serving as a member of the 2015 ALA Annual Conference Planning Committee. She has served as Golden Gate Chapter President as well as all other Chapter offices; a Financial Management Conference Planning Committee member for three years; and a member of the Region 6 Nominating Committee. Nancy has more than 25 years of experience in legal financial and administrative management.

Association Awards Ceremony: A Bright IDEA

I invite you to attend the Association Awards Dinner to be held at the Music City Center in Nashville on Wednesday, May 20, from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. as part of the final event of the 2015 Annual Conference & Expo. At this awards ceremony we will present the Quest Award and the Presidents’ Awards of Excellence, as well as ALA’s IDEA awards to very deserving individuals.

This is the second year IDEA Awards will be presented. Many are still asking: What is the rationale behind the IDEA Awards? As part of the Association’s strategic plan, the Board of Directors decided on the following for our vision: “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.” Part of becoming that undisputed leader is to consistently assess what we do as an organization. After last year’s initial presentation, the Board determined the IDEA Awards reflected this vision and would be offered again in 2015. ALA chapters, committees, regions, individuals, firms, business partners and organizations are eligible for recognition. Recipients are selected based upon their development of unique and innovative programs, services and events that improve ALA chapters and/or the legal community. ALA’s IDEA Awards recognize new practices that deliver great value and transformational impact through innovative achievement.

For this year’s contest, we have received 22 submissions. All are examples of high-caliber programs. The IDEA Awards Committee, comprised of five volunteers with varying backgrounds and experience in the legal field, spent a great deal of time both individually and as a group evaluating each entry. We are confident that the submissions we are honoring this year will be of interest to all ALA members.

Hazzard_Roz_2012Roselyn Hazzard is the Human Resources Director with Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP in Indianapolis, Indiana. She’s in charge of human resources, benefits and facilities management. Roz currently serves as the Chair of the IDEA Awards Committee. She also has served in many leadership positions in ALA on the local, regional and national levels. In 2014, she received the award for ALA’s Outstanding Volunteer of the year. Roz graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education from Indiana University and is a graduate of the Institute of Paralegal Training in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


A Proven Plan of Action: What a Disaster Scenario Really Looks Like

The meteorologists described it as a “stalled frontal boundary coupled with very moist air streaming northward from the Gulf …” In laymen’s terms, this clinical description meant rain and lots of it. During the next 36 hours, more than 13 inches of rain caused a nearby river to crest at 12 feet above flood stage. The flooding resulted in several fatalities, caused more than a billion dollars in property damage and left large areas of a major city inaccessible for many days. The effects of the flood lasted for years. This true event is only one example of a disaster scenario that could be a reality for any of us.

We’ve all heard numerous presentations on disaster preparedness, but an interactive workshop at this conference promises a different approach. For 180 minutes, Bob Mellinger will walk participants through a very real, thought-provoking exercise. Mellinger makes it clear that this session will be interactive, fast-paced, and will require decision making on the fly by all participants.

Many of us have drafted plans, maybe even implemented them, but few have (thankfully) had to test those plans in an actual situation. This simulation exercise will walk you through important decision-making processes regarding everything from dialing 911 through interacting with the media and handling public relations. This is a real opportunity to see not only how your plan might fare in an emergency situation, but to also enable you to examine your own skills in a crisis situation. Upon completion, you will have fully tested your ability to respond under stress, to communicate effectively to those on your mock disaster team, and know how well you make decisions that could affect the lives and safety of your employees and yourself. If you have multiple attendees from the same firm attending the conference in Nashville, plan to attend this session together to develop a comprehensive organization-wide plan and increase everyone’s familiarity with the potential business impacts of various types of disruptions.

Put your boots on and make this a must-happen event in Nashville! Be sure to sign up for The Disaster Experience: A Mock Disaster Exercise on Wednesday, May 20, from 1:30 to 4:30 pm.


hurst_sherry201501Sherry Hurst, M.A. is the Office Administration for Fox Galvin, LLC in St. Louis, Missouri. Sherry is serving on the 2015 and 2016 Annual Conference Committees. She is currently the Co-Chair for the Gateway Chapter Legal Management Forum/Business Partner Market Place and has previously served as Vice-President, President Elect, President and Past President for the Gateway Chapter. Sherry has more than 20 years of experience in legal administration.


Morton_Monty-2014-03Monty R. Morton, M.B.A. is the Executive Director of Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb, P.A. in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Monty is serving on the 2015 Annual Conference Committee. He has served as an ALA Regional Officer and on a variety of ALA committees. He is currently the Programs Coordinator for the New Mexico Chapter and has previously served in all officer positions for his chapter. Monty has more than 25 years of experience in legal administration.



I’m Going to Nashville! What Should I Add to Annual Conference?

ALA’s Annual Conference & Expo is a time for education, inspiration and fellowship. It is also a time for refreshing our spirit and experiencing new things.

If you are flying into Nashville on Sunday and leaving Thursday morning, ALA and our vendors provide a great series of education and entertainment opportunities. You will not have much time to see the city, so relax and enjoy the great entertainment provided during the Conference.

If you plan to spend a few days in Nashville before or after the Annual Conference, I have a few recommendations from the ALA Middle Tennessee Chapter (MTALA) members:

If you are downtown without a car, you can still have a great time. Start on the riverfront at 1st & Broad – on one side of the street is the Acme, a four story restaurant honky-tonk with live music and great food, and on the other side is the Hard Rock Cafe. If you walk west down Broad, you have a series of restaurants and live music venues including Tootsies, Legends Corner, Margaritaville, Big Bang, The Stage, Rippy’s, Jack’s Bar-B-Que and Merchant’s (in a restored 1880’s hotel). Walking down 2nd Avenue North from Broad will take you to the Wildhorse Saloon, B.B. King’s and Buffalo Billiards (there are lots of other venues along both streets – just Google Lower Broad Nashville). The music is loud, the streets are crowded, the food is southern style, and you should have a great time – and, you are never more than a few blocks from your hotel. If you are with your sweetheart, be sure to tour the Walking Bridge over the river. It is great in the daytime, but much better at night when you can see the city’s lights.

You may want to consider taking a taxi to the City Winery for good food and live music, or to the Gulch, a newly developed part of town with great upscale restaurants and the Station Inn ―a rustic drinking establishment with live music (think Roadhouse, fried bologna, burgers and beer). Both are less than two miles from any of the conference hotels.

If you have a car and a little extra time, there is more to do than I have room in this short blog to cover.

If you like to tour pre-civil war mansions, try the Belle Meade Mansion or the Hermitage (Andrew Jackson’s home). If you want to tour a classic and well-preserved southern town, with lots of shopping, music and good food you can drive about 25 minutes south of Nashville to Franklin, Tennessee (think of it as an upscale Mayberry with lots of antebellum homes and shops in buildings dating back to the 1800s). It also has a Civil War battle site and a number of tours relating to the battle. If you go, call Puckett’s for a supper reservation and see local songwriters and artist performing their music – good southern cooking and a show! The city has a free parking garage across the street from Puckett’s, and you can spend the day shopping and site seeing in the downtown – it is all within easy walking distance.

If you just want to relax with a glass of wine, Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn has a great little winery (Arrington Vineyards) about 30 minutes south of town; it is a beautiful sunny grapevine covered hillside, a place to spread your blanket, a great tasting room, and usually has good live music on the weekends. Entry is usually free but the wine is not. It can be a little hard to find, so make certain your GPS is in working order before you go.

There will be two charity songwriter café events at the Annual Conference (Sunday and Tuesday evenings), and ALA is providing really topnotch entertainers. However, you may want to see the real Bluebird Café (; it is about six miles south of downtown in Green Hills. The tickets for each of the two shows nightly go on sale one week prior to the event. The Bluebird is infamously small, and the tickets are difficult to get, but it is usually worth the effort.

Given the level of tourist activity in Nashville in May, it is a good idea to call ahead for reservations at any restaurant or event.

There are websites for all of the places I have mentioned, so check them out (Google) since everyone’s taste is a little different. As we get closer to May 2015, check out the following sites for local activities in downtown Nashville:

Nashville Music City –

Downtown details –

Live at the Ryman: Featured Events –

Nashville Scene: Insider –

Come to the ALA Annual Conference for the inspiration and education, and spend a few extra days to relax and unwind.


Dave Evans, M.B.A, M.P.A. is the Executive Director/Chief Operating Officer of Bass, Berry & Sims PLC headquartered in Nashville with offices in Memphis, Knoxville and Washington, D.C.  Dave presently serves on the 2015 Annual Conference Committee.  He was co-founder of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of ALA, has served twice as President of the Chapter and has served in a number of other chapter offices.  He presently sits on the Chapter’s Past Presidents Committee.  Dave has 30 years’ experience as Executive Director with his present firm and 36 years’ experience total as a principal legal administrator.