Effective April 1, 2018, your NJALA dues are rising to $900.00 per year

By Kurt Brown

Did I get your attention?  This is not an April Fools’ joke.  $900.00 is the annual dues amount everyone would have to pay if we did not have the support of our business partners (BPs).  How did I determine this amount?  Well, let’s break down some numbers.

We meet ten times per year—six times at the Highlawn Pavilion, two socials at various country clubs, our annual Business Partner Exposition at Mayfair Farms and once at The Manor for Managing Partners’ Night (where we invite a multitude of guests at the association’s expense).  The cost to cover cocktails and dinner averages out to around $65.00 per person.  If a member attends all ten events throughout the year, the cost to NJALA is $650.00 for that member.  Not bad for $250.00 membership dues (or $200.00 for additional members of the same firm)!

Cocktails and dinner are just one aspect of what it costs to run this organization.  At seven of our monthly meetings (eight, if you include our Business Partner Exposition), we provide an educational session.  Often, these educational sessions include a nationally-known speaker.  Each speaker charges an engagement fee, and we are also responsible for covering travel expenses.  The cost associated with each speaker varies widely depending upon how recognizable the speaker is and from where he/she is traveling.

In addition to our monthly meeting expenses, we also try to hold monthly educational workshops.  Though not nearly as expensive as our monthly meetings, these workshops, too, have expenses associated with them.

We also conduct many surveys throughout the year, with the biggest being the annual Compensation & Benefits Survey.  We pay an outside, independent consultant to conduct this survey to keep the participants anonymous from all members of the association. 

The Association of Legal Administrators holds conferences that are open to all members of the Association, with the most notable being the Annual Conference and Exposition (held in April or May) and the Regional Legal Management Conferences (held in September or October).  At each of these conferences, NJALA usually sponsors two lucky individuals.  This gives our members an opportunity to attend a national conference, which they may not normally have attended because of the associated costs.  Many of our members would not be able to get reimbursed by their firms for this expense. 

If anyone has recently attended, or investigated the possibility of attending, a national conference, you know how expensive these conferences are becoming.  The registration alone for the upcoming Annual Conference and Exposition in May was $1,299.00—for the special, early bird pricing!  If you registered today, it would cost you $1,499.00.  In addition to the registration cost, NJALA also pays for the lodging and transportation for each scholarship recipient.  Add up those costs, and it equals a hefty price to the association.

Besides the scholarship recipients, your board members also receive an annual stipend to help defray the cost of attending these conferences.  However, with the costs to attend continuing to rise with each successive year, many of us are still out-of-pocket or must submit an expense request to our firm for reimbursement for a portion of the trip. 

This article is written for the publication, Jer-Z-Journal, the official newsletter of the NJALA.  To prepare and distribute this newsletter for publication six times per year, certain costs are incurred throughout the year to assure a quality product for our members.

The Certified Legal Manager (CLM) professional designation is the quintessential recognition for legal managers.  NJALA encourages all interested members to sit for the exam.  Our chapter supports a study group, and pays for educational materials to be used by the group.  We also reimburse the exam fee for all passing candidates.

To keep our members informed, NJALA maintains a website listing all current news, events, resources, job postings and business partners (just to name a few).  The website requires a lot of attention with updates and maintenance.  In addition to our website committee members, we use the services of an outside web development company to handle issues as they occur. 

The items detailed above are not an all-inclusive list of services, benefits or expense items incurred by the chapter.  They were itemized to demonstrate the point that members’ dues alone could not fund the many benefits that our chapter offers.  It truly takes the support of our business partners to enhance the programs we provide.

We want our business partners to know that we are grateful for their continued sponsorship and support.  The best way to show our own mutual support is to seek out our BPs when in need of goods or services.  If the need arises for IT services, copiers, professional liability insurance, etc., please look to our business partners to see if they can assist you.  You might be surprised at the many products and services our BPs provide!

Many of our business partners provide valuable feedback to the chapter and board.  It is for this reason that we have established a Business Partner Advisory Committee (BPAC).  The purpose of the BPAC is to let our business partners know that we want to hear from them.  They provide us with a barometer as to how we are doing—both positively and negatively.

The BPAC will act as a liaison between our business partner community and the Business Partner Relations Committee (BPRC).  All of our BPs are encouraged to exchange their thoughts and ideas with the BPAC in order to promote and further the business partner program.  The BPAC will consist of one member from each sponsorship level, unless a particular level has in excess of ten business partners (like the New Jersey sponsorship level), and, therefore, will have two representatives. 

For its first year of operation (April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019), it was decided that the BPRC will appoint the members of the BPAC.  In every subsequent year, the makeup of the BPAC will be entirely determined by the business partners and the current members of the BPAC.  The BPAC will meet with members of the BPRC three times per year to discuss any thoughts, ideas, suggestions and improvements that they may have discussed with chapter members or fellow business partners.

The NJALA is committed to the education of our members in the positions they serve as legal managers.  Our business partners provide an essential role by instructing and delivering goods and services to assist our members in improving their law firms’ performance.  So, we encourage all members to seek the assistance of our business partner community when attempting to solve problems they may be experiencing in their own firms.

Remember, it’s not just your dues that pay for all of your membership benefits.

Kurt Brown is the Executive Director of Einhorn, Harris, Ascher, Barbarito & Frost, PC in Denville, New Jersey.

Share this post:

Comments on "Effective April 1, 2018, your NJALA dues are rising to $900.00 per year"

Comments 0-5 of 0

Please login to comment