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My First Trip to the Chapter Leadership Institute

By Michelle Cohen

The Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) held its annual Chapter Leadership Institute (CLI) in Minneapolis, Minnesota from July 20, 2017 through July 22, 2017.

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Gratitude

By Elyssa A. Goldstein, CLM

As the saying goes, “timing is everything”.  On the evening of Monday, November 20, 2017, I found out that I had passed the Association of Legal Administrators’ Certified Legal Manager exam.  To say I was elated would be an understatement.  I was on the proverbial top of the world, and couldn’t imagine anything disrupting my happiness.

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The Ins and Outs of IOLTA

By Kristyn Connors

As a law firm administrator, the beginning of each calendar year brings as many opportunities as it does responsibilities.  January turns over a new leaf in more ways than one, and if your firm is anything like mine, we can never be too sure what that leaf might uncover.  What you can be positive of, however, is that you will need to complete plenty of annual tasks that, albeit mundane, are vital to the continued success and legal compliance of your law firm.  One of these tasks is registering your firm’s attorneys and trust accounts with IOLTA, or Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts.

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President's Message

By Mary Beth Donoghue

An NJALA member recently asked me how long I have been a member of the NJALA, and if I found the organization to be beneficial to my career.  The answers to these questions were simple.  

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Fairy Tale in Colorado

By Greg Deatz

Most of you know the story of Cinderella: Once upon a time, we hear, there is this frazzled serving girl who has no hope for improving her lot in life.  One day, the local prince announces a grand ball.  “I wish”, she says to herself, “that I could go.  Maybe, just maybe, if I could go, my life could change.  I might meet my Prince Charming, and get out of this mess.”  Magically, her fairy godmother appears, and, well…you know the rest: Her life turns around, and she lives happily ever after.

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Food and the Workplace—is this an HR issue?

By Michelle Cohen

I cannot imagine a more “weighty” issue than writing about food in the workplace.  People have very strong feelings about food on many levels—way beyond the areas of just nutrition and health.  We, as law firm administrators, wear many different hats, but the one department into which we seem to consistently fall is that we are in many ways the “glue” that keeps everything together and running smoothly at our respective firms.  We seemingly hear every complaint, concern and stressor relevant to our personnel.  When it comes to food, however, complaints, concerns and stressors may be much more difficult to handle. 

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Understanding Millennials

By Kristyn Connors

If you had asked me 24 hours before starting my first job in HR what a law firm administrator did for a living, I would have had no idea. I would probably still have had no idea had you asked me after my first week, but, shh, please don’t tell the firm administrator that I worked under at the time. Upon starting my job as an HR assistant, I was lucky enough to work directly under an incredible firm administrator and I quickly began to realize that it took a very driven, patient and no-BS type of person (read: superhero) to succeed in this type of position, while also succeeding in keeping their sanity. I also quickly began to realize that if I was one day going to have this job, I’d better start taking notes.

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Motivation

By Elyssa A. Goldstein, CLM, PHR, SHRM-CP

Admittedly, I’m not in the mood to write an Editor’s Message.  Summer is here, which means my focus has shifted to the numerous outings and vacations I have planned.  “The weekend” never seems long enough, and, at times, it feels like the gap between weekends somehow widens beyond five workdays. 

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The Value and Success in Working with Members

By Robert M. Frattarola 

At Jamison Insurance Group, we are proud of the longstanding partnership we have developed with the ALA and its members.  For more than twenty years, we have actively supported their mission, providing tailored solutions to address the challenges their members face every day.  We know how to get to the heart of what matters most to each member of the ALA and the firms and clients they represent.  We offer a proven, holistic approach to problem solving that begins and ends with each client.

Our commitment to the legal profession dates to the 1950s, with the development of one of the first professional liability insurance programs designed exclusively for law firms.  Through our pioneering efforts, we are now one of the largest privately-held professional liability and full-service insurance advisory firms in the country.  We are locally-based, but have a national reach; an important attribute we believe sets us apart.

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The Importance and Value of Business Partners

By Patricia B. Isaacson 

The value of a business partner goes far beyond the monetary discounts provided to ALA members.  Too often we see our wonderful business partners as simply a source of economic value to our firms since they provide valuable resources as commodities.  However, we don’t understand how valuable they can be to our firm above and beyond the economic savings they bring to the firm’s bottom line.

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

By Kurt Brown

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Happy Birthday, NJALA—The First 50 Years are Behind Us

By Kurt Brown

Last month, we officially marked our organization’s 50th anniversary since its initial formation. In today’s ever-changing culture, this symbolizes a major accomplishment. I thought I would take this opportunity to reflect on how our organization was formed and where we go from here.

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Everything Starts with an Idea

By Kurt Brown

Webster defines an idea as an “indefinite or unformed conception”. It is the springboard from which a new process is formed and it is that “springboard” that propelled the NJALA to win the coveted 2017 ALA IDEA Award, an honor bestowed on our chapter and the brainchild behind the idea, Immediate Past President, Doreen Marino. 

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2017 New Jersey Paralegal Convention Recap

By Kristyn Connors

On Friday, October 20, 2017, Kathy Dart, Nancy Harris, Alison Rizzo and I represented the NJALA at the New Jersey Paralegal Convention at the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel in Iselin.  The event was well-attended by both paralegals and vendors alike.

While we spent a lot of time confirming that the NJALA is not, in fact, the same organization as NALA (the National Association of Legal Assistants, who coincidentally were seated directly behind us), we used the wonderful opportunity afforded to us to spread the word about NJALA to a ton of people who stopped by our table, most of whom were no doubt drawn in by the blinking guitar pin and red blazer I was wearing.  Just kidding… In reality, most people visited our table because they heard about the future-date calendars we were handing out—they were a huge hit!

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Priorities

By Elyssa A. Goldstein

Traditionally, I have never been one to make New Year’s resolutions.  I typically operate as more of a short-term goal-setter, at whatever time of year I see fit.  However, in the waning days of 2016, I began to give considerable thought to things I wanted to achieve in 2017.  I wanted to obtain three professional certifications (including the Association of Legal Administrators’ Certified Legal Manager designation), focus on my health and play a team sport for the first time since I graduated college.  In short, I wanted to make myself a priority, something I have always had an incredibly hard time doing, and that required me to set long-term goals.

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2017 New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) - Annual Meeting and Convention Recap

By Kathy Dart

The NJALA was represented at the 2017 New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) Annual Meeting and Convention held at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey this past May.  As advertised, “[t]he NJSBA Annual Meeting and Convention is the place to be each year for education, CLE credits, networking, the industry’s top speakers and outstanding social events.  It is the must-attend event of the year where you can you get 16 CLE credits in 3 days”.  

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Sleep Debt

By Michelle Cohen

We have all heard of the National Debt, student loan debt and credit card debt, but what about sleep debt? Is that really a thing?  Indeed, it is! And sleep debt is encroaching upon your life in insidious ways. According to the National Sleep Foundation, we humans need an average of eight hours of sleep per night. Skimp on your sleep, and your body craves it even more. Your reaction times slow down. All sorts of problems begin to emerge…

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The Golden Age

By Elyssa A. Goldstein

The NJALA is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.  Fifty years ago, gas cost 24.5 to 29.9 cents per gallon, a McDonald’s hamburger was 39 cents, a movie ticket cost $1.50, the federal minimum wage was $1.65 and my parents had yet to meet.  Obviously, much change has occurred in the past 50 years, but what has not changed are the guiding principles of our illustrious organization.  The NJALA is just as “dedicated to the continued improvement of law office operations” and its members still make every “effort to assist each other in the management of their respective law firms”.

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What Would You Do?

By Elli Albert

For this feature, each issue of the Jer-Z-Journal will pose a scenario that could occur in the law firm. Members were surveyed and asked how they might respond if faced with the situation. All responses, whether serious, sarcastic or humorous, were encouraged. All responses are confidential.

Scenario: It’s your birthday. Or a holiday. Or maybe, without any reason, one of your employees has left a gift for you on your office chair. You open it and—uh oh—it’s totally inappropriate! WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

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Five Tips to Help Create a Safe Work Environment

By Andy Surtz

Since before 2018 even began, you could not turn on the television, radio or computer without seeing or hearing news of another person falling victim to harassment in the workplace.  The #metoo movement is long overdue, though it is taking the world by storm.  A conversation that should have occurred in every workplace for decades is now happening consistently.  The idea of a safe work environment is not new.  However, it can be guaranteed that this idea is not going anywhere any time soon.  Employees, as well as employers, are taking notice of issues that may have been swept under the rug or laughed off in the past.  Here are five tips to help make sure you are creating a safe and inclusive work environment.

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