BLOG

What Would You Do?

 

 

By Colleen Conway 

Read More

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

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. 

Read More

How Law Firms Should Measure Profitability

By Rippe & Kingston

Using key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your law firm can help identify what is working well, and help guide strategic decisions for the future.  However, a shocking number of law firms don’t use any performance metrics beyond measuring and tracking the hours billed at the attorney and firm levels.

Read More

What CAN You Do? NJALA Opportunities Available to All Members

By Elli Albert

For the past couple of years, some of you may have read my column, “What Would You Do?” in the Jer-Z-Journal.  I would now like to suggest a twist and ask NJALA members, “What CAN You Do?”

Read More

The Temperature Wars

By Michelle Cohen

If you are a fan of the HBO series, Game of Thrones, you are likely all too familiar with the tagline, “winter is coming”.  Honestly, every Sunday when I watch the show and hear that line, a small part of me thinks about the fact that winter has been alive and well in my office all summer long.  My desk sits directly below an air vent, and the cold air blows in my direction all day long.  As my space heater tries to counter-balance the Nordic blasts, my fingers often turn various shades of blue and purple, and I drink so much hot tea that I run to the restroom a little too often.

Read More

Accrual Accounting for Professional Services Firms—Playing Heads Up Ball

By Kenneth E. Winslow, CPA, PSA

Abstract: This article covers an overview of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) appeal to Congress arguing against the implementation of an accrual accounting tax mandate for professional service businesses. It provides a brief primer on cash vs. accrual accounting, and offers a discussion of how changing to an accrual-based system will affect accounting for law firms, as well as what you can do to maximize your firm’s bottom line. 

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.  

Read More

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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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

By Kurt Brown

Read More

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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

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!

Read More