I recently attended the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) Regional Conference in Nashville, TN on a scholarship from the First State Chapter of ALA. At the conference I attended seminars that focused on leadership, communication and innovative thinking for administrators in the legal profession. In addition, I learned more about law firm handbook updates surrounding the Americans with Disabilities Act, EEO complaints, LGBTQ, and transgender sensitivity.
The first day of the conference I attended the ALA Region 1 Council Lunch where they discussed the future of the ALA and ways to add value. A push was made for more communication amongst chapters, especially sharing of events and speakers so smaller chapters can partake and share resources. Each chapter was encouraged to have a social media presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
The event’s keynote speaker, David Thomas, spoke on Leadership’s Indispensable Ingredient, integrity, and what it means. It is beyond just honesty, it is a way of living and of vital importance in today’s workplace. It is a simple concept, but it is something we do not talk about enough.
The first day ended with a great session with Izzy Gesell: How Applied Improv Helps Legal Administrators Become Innovative Thinkers & Possibility Creators. I thoroughly enjoyed this session, as it was great way to learn techniques to break out of our everyday established patterns to look at things in a different way.
The second day was chock full of human resources (HR) related sessions. Michael S. Cohen of Duane Morris held two sessions that hit the hot HR topics rights now: ADA, EEO complaints, LGBTQ , and transgender sensitivity and ways to improve the ever dreadful firm handbook updates. I also attended How to Get a Better Seat at the Table: Demonstrate Your Value to the Partners by Rebecca Haack. We took a quiz to find out what type of communicator we were and I was “The Analyzer.” Sounds like a super hero, but this communication style is described as an efficient perfectionist, cautious and task-oriented. Me?! Yep… pretty accurate.
On the third day of the event, I was able to attend an early session by Pete Smith: What’s NOT Being Said NEEDS to Be Understood. Pete discussed how communication is more than just body language, tone and words. It is interpretation, what we see, how we hear it, our internal beliefs, our own expectations, our own personal lens. In HR this is something I have had to learn, and it always is a good reminder to step back and think before you speak or before you hit send on that email.
My first ALA Regional Conference was a success! I had the other First State Chapter members to support me through maze of the conference and will be continually grateful for their time and knowledge. My time in Nashville would not have been the same without them. I am also very appreciative to the Chapter for providing the scholarship, especially as a new member. I look forward to continuing my legal administration education through the Chapter and hopefully future conferences.