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Growing Your Career, Gaining The Respect Of Your Law Firm Owners ...

 

 

Growing Your Career, Gaining the Respect of Your Law Firm Owners &

Tapping Into the "Time" Tree

     Tall order, you say? Absolutely correct - without the help of our Business Partners (“BPs”) and other ALA members. Not, however, such a tall order if you avail yourself of the benefits of the Mile High Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators.

     If you are like most law firm managers I know, you probably feel quite often that there is not enough time in the day. Most of our members are wearing many hats, on most days. Some have more support than others in the race against time, but chances are you will get to a day where you either need more time or you need to tap into a wealth of resources, knowledge or a company you can trust to have your back. These essentials are just the tip of the iceberg with respect to what your membership in the MHC  can help you with in terms of Growing your career, Gaining the respect of your law firm owners and Tapping into the “time” tree (let’s just call it “GGT”).

      To attain GGT, one of the best things you can do, is to educate yourself on all the benefits you are entitled to as a member of the MHC. As I hope you already know, in most years, your membership entitles you to a subsidy to an educational conference. This year, the International Conference just so happens to be in Denver so this is a perfect time to avail yourself of this opportunity. The $600 subsidy offered this year is one of the many benefits offered through our Chapter, which would not be possible without the BPs who choose to generously support our Chapter and members through their participation in the MHC Business Partnering Program. Your attendance at the Conference will no doubt render connections with other ALA members that you can bounce ideas off of which will, in the long run, help you grow your career and enrich your knowledge. This does not even take into account the plethora of educational opportunities available to you at Conference, which will also help you grow your career. There are countless members in our Chapter who mentor and/or help other members with the issue of the day, on a regular basis. Tap into that. As you get to know our members better, you will gain a network of colleagues who all have different work experiences, who work for different sized law firms and, as luck may have it, who may have just completed a project you need to implement in your own firm. This networking and these educational opportunities are all possible because of our BPs.

      To put things in perspective, the year I started getting involved with the MHC Board was the year Gary Harrop rolled out the Business Partnering Program. I’ve heard stories (from prior board members, as well as current BPs that were involved back then) of the scramble required every year (prior to the BP Program) soliciting donations on a per-event basis so our Chapter could host the year’s planned events. I feel very fortunate that our Board throughout the years, along with the support of our BPS, had the vision and dedication to create, grow and nurture our BP Program which, in turn, has transformed our Chapter into what it is today and really increased the benefits for both our members and our BPs. I can tell you that from my perspective, I have forged relationships with some of my BPs that are so strong, I can’t imagine doing my job without them. They continuously go over and above for me, without me even asking! They know my expectations and they deliver! That is why I do business with them. They allow me to focus my attention on other projects, which is great since there seems to be no end in sight to the special projects I get myself involved in, in the pursuit of what I think is best for our firm. It’s the nature of the beast, but looking back over the last 25 years of my MHC membership, in order to survive and prosper, we must have resources, knowledge, colleagues, BPs that have our backs and, most importantly, fun on the horizon!

     In addition to the educational subsidies, the support of our BPs also enable our Chapter to host all kinds of events, such as the annual Business Partner Expo, which allows each of us the opportunity to visit with many BPs in one place, at one convenient time. Such support also allows the Chapter to provide networking opportunities for our members, and to provide a list serve where our members can share ideas, communicate with each other and ask questions of the entire membership. It also provides us with opportunities to become familiar with our BPs so the next time we’re in the market for a particular service, we may already have established a rapport with a few different companies we can connect with during the research and selection phase of our project. It allows us to be on the cutting edge of new technology, new services, companies offering the best customer service and the most competitive pricing. Because we’ve already established relationships, we may already have a good sense as to which company or representative we’d like to work with. In addition, with referrals from our trusted colleagues, we are able to easily navigate and choose the companies and/or services that might be best suited to our firms. An added bonus is knowing that these same BPs are going to help us be successful in our career. They will partner with us and provide the services we demand as law firms, so we can focus our attention elsewhere.  A wise BP once said, “My job is to make you look good.” Now, how cool is that! That is someone I want to work with. Do not make the mistake of under-estimating the value our BPs can provide to us. If you are not receiving the type of service you expect, then it may be time to find another BP to partner with. Finding the right partnerships will also help you gain the respect of your law firm owners, as they see you are able to solve problems quickly and get the right companies involved.

     And now, let’s talk about the “time” tree. It seems counter-intuitive, but by getting more involved in the Chapter and taking advantage of all the benefits provided by our BPs, you will grow relationships with more members and BPs which can help you avoid re-creating the wheel. Someone else has done what you’re trying to do right now, and most likely they will be willing to give you some time, a tip, a form, or a connection to an awesome BP to assist you. Through your participation, you’ll be able to pluck a time-saving nugget right off the “time” tree when you least expect it and solve an issue much quicker than you could do on your own.

      Throughout my 25 years with the MHC, I have seen some BPs come and go, but I have been privileged to know some BPs who have been associated with our Chapter for years, and years, and years! Those are the BPs that get it. Those are the BPs that have the same philosophy as our savvy MHC members - that when we work together and build a relationship that is founded on trust, respect and a common goal, we are both successful!

      Simply said, our Chapter could not survive, and would not be in existence, without our BPs. As you will see from the comments below of a very small sampling of our entire group of valued BPs, they also feel very strongly about their association with us, and the value our Chapter and members have provided them. It is my pleasure to share these comments with you:

       As a top 1 or 2 Level Business Partner of the Mile High ALA since 1998, we would encourage all organizations working with the legal community to consider the extraordinary benefits of becoming a sponsor. It is the most important way we know to say “THANK YOU” to our many MHALA clients. Through the Educational Retreat, Business Partner Expo, Holiday Party, Board Transition Dinner, Networking Events and Educational Luncheons we have deepened & enriched our relationships with all MHALA members. Businesses have huge marketing budgets for print, demand generation and branding, yet forget the most important element of building meaningful relationships founded on mutual trust and collaboration. Becoming a Mile High ALA Business Partner affords you an immeasurable opportunity to meet and develop relationships with over 170 legal administrative professionals. There is no better, dynamic member driven organization than the MHALA.

John Givens, CEO
Proud Business Partner of the MHALA since 1998
Source Office & Technology

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Paralegal Resource Center has been a supporter of the Denver Chapter of ALA since it’s very first Vendor Expo! Over the years I have watched the organization grow in numbers from both the administrator’s side and the vendor side. I have found that as ALA members have gotten to know me on a personal level that they are often more comfortable reaching out to me with their staffing needs. With the Mile High ALA Chapter it is never about a hard sell, but all about relationships. That’s a great thing for PRC because that has always been part of our core values. The better we know our clients, the better we can staff their needs. This organization has been instrumental in helping to create those bonds and I look forward to my continued relationship with ALA.

Judy Graff
President
Paralegal Resource Center

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DCNC has been partnered with the Mile High ALA for 15 years, and has enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with the organization and its members. Working with the ALA has been great for our business, as well as a fun experience for our representatives. DCNC has grown mostly organically over the last 19 years, and our partnership with the ALA has been a big part of that growth. We especially enjoy the annual Business Partner Expo, where we get to stretch our creative muscles while networking with new and existing clients in a fun and casual environment. We look forward to all our ALA events!

Leah Peabbles
Application Training and Support Specialist
DCNC, Inc.

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Lewan Technology has been a Mile High ALA business partner for the past 10 years. I have personally been working with the chapter for the past 5 and it has been a truly symbiotic relationship. As sales people we are constantly asked to participate with local associations and most of the time it is all about the monetary value. With the Mile High ALA it is a real partnership! Not only have I received countless leads but I have learned so much about the legal industry and how to best serve the administrators. This is so important to ensure you are always bringing value to the members. I also serve on the business partner advisory panel in which we work with the members to make sure the business partners are getting the value they deserve. I will continue to support this association for years to come! 

Maggie Hartlage
Major Account Specialist/Legal Specialist
Lewan Technology | A Xerox Company

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It has been a privilege to have served as a business partner with the Mile High Chapter of the ALA since 1989. In 2001, I joined my current employer, LAC Group, founded in 1986 by Deborah Schwarz, an experienced library manager at a large international law firm. Because our roots are deeply embedded in the legal community, LAC Group recognizes the value of networking with experienced law office managers, human resources specialists, finance professionals and law librarians. As a business partner, we find that the insights provided by Mile High Chapter ALA members deepens our understanding of the on-going challenges that firms face and enables us to fine tune our services to best meet the needs of our clients. In addition to long-standing business associations, we have developed wonderful personal relationships with ALA members and with other business partners who attend the Chapter’s creative and fun networking events! 

Sharon Davis
Senior Recruiter
LAC Group

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Robert Half Legal has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA). We have worked closely with the Mile High chapter for over 20 years and have participated in a variety of events and contributed career and management-related articles for the Chapter newsletter.

As a business partner of ALA, we have formed great relationships with many members across the country. As a result, we have built a strong customer base and have expanded our visibility among loyal ALA members. They call upon us for their legal staffing needs and we aim to serve as a resource for information on legal hiring trends – both locally and nationally. 

Finally, the ALA is a tremendous resource for the legal community. The introductions we’ve acquired through ALA events has helped us form strong relationships and provided insight on the value Robert Half Legal can bring to the ALA and its members. As a legal staffing firm, our goal is to provide our clients with immediate access to highly skilled legal talent and our partnership with the ALA allows us the opportunity to meet top-shelf legal administrators who help us to achieve that goal. 

Leah Arndt
Field PR Coordinator
Robert Half

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Pacific Office Automation is a company whose entire business structure is based on the relationships it builds within each market. It wouldn’t be the company it is today without taking every opportunity it can get to socialize with other companies and the people who work for them. Even if attending an event didn’t always produce direct business leads, there were still opportunities to learn more about the legal market in Denver, put faces to the names on business cards and participate in events across the city. Working with the Mile High Chapter for the last two years has given POA’s Denver market employees opportunity after opportunity to do just that. Whether it be attending their informational luncheons or mingling at their semi-annual events, POA has seen the value of partnering with such a professional community and intends to continue this partnership for years to come. 

Ben Harris
Sales Manager
Pacific Office Automation

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Special Counsel has been a proud partner of the Mile High Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators for the past 16 years. Over the years, we have sponsored and participated in ALA’s annual retreats, business partner expos, monthly educational lunches, community events, and much more. By partnering with the Mile High Chapter, we have significantly strengthened our ties to the Denver Metro legal community and have better connected our legal talent with employment opportunities at top law firms and legal departments. Likewise, we have developed strong relationships with ALA members by working alongside them to actively assist and contribute to their hiring and recruiting success. Partnering with the ALA has created a definite winning strategy for Special Counsel’s business and growth in this market. We look forward to continuing our partnership and appreciate not only the relationships built over the years, but the friendships that have developed through our involvement with the ALA and its membership. 

Marya Brancio, Esq.
Executive Director
Special Counsel and
Parker + Lynch Legal

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The Mile High ALA Chapter has been and will continue to be an integral part of EON Office’s focus. Our partnership extends back to the late 1980’s. The professional and personal relationships we have built over the many years has had a significant impact on the growth and success of our company. We have always understood the value of return on our support to the Mile High ALA Chapter simply because the return is invaluable. My advice to potential Business Partners - get involved and stay involved. We at EON look forward to many more years partnering with what is arguably the best ALA Chapter in the Nation.

Mike Lobato
Business Development Manager
EON Office

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We have worked in legal since our inception 15 years ago where we saw very limited growth in the legal space. We started our partnership with the ALA 8 years ago. Since we partnered with the ALA our legal vertical has exploded to over 25 law firm customers. We receive 5-6 law firm referrals through the ALA every year and sign 3-4 new law firm customers every year from those referrals. Our partnership with the ALA has also expanded our relationships with other vendor partners helping us grow our business even more. Finally, our partnership has generated many friendships with the ALA members that I cherish and know will be lifelong. 

David DeCamillis
VP Sales & Marketing
Platte River Networks  

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            In closing, I would challenge each and every MHC member to let me know if you ever find a law firm scenario that our MHC cannot help with, or a situation where we cannot at least connect you with a resource that can help.

            If you need help jump-starting your increased participation in the MHC, I would be honored to sit with you at an educational luncheon or other event. Shoot me an email and I’ll save us seats and help you make connections with anyone you’d like!

             My parting experience tips for you on this journey we share? Exercise Regularly, Drink Lots of Fluids and Have Fun While GGTing!

Jill A. Griffiths, CLM
Co-Chair, Communications Committee
Mile High Chapter, ALA
Legal Administrator
Wade Ash Woods Hill & Farley, P.C.

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