Congratulations to the newest CLMs

Congratulations to the 14 newest CLMs

who passed the exam this fall!


View the full list
and learn more about the CLM Certification



For questions about CLM, contact Certification at ALA HQ or Chair-Certification Committee, Debbie Sanders





This year's ALA SVC Annual Holiday Party is on December 6!

Click here to go to the calendar for more information and RSVP today


Date: December 6, 2017

Time: 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM

Where: Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
(180 El Camino Real, Palo Alto) 



Submit Your Great IDEA - A program for ALA Members, Chapters, Regions, Business Partners, and Firms

Now accepting entries for the 5th Annual IDEA Awards!

Innovation. Development. Engagement. Advancement.

IDEA Awards logo

For the past four years, the IDEA Awards program has highlighted incredible initiatives put forward by ALA members, chapters, regions, business partners, and firms. The goal is to recognize unique programs, services, and events that improve the legal community and advance the legal management profession.

Last year’s recipients were:

  • The Philadelphia Chapter, for creating a YouTube channel for Millennial outreach
  • The New Jersey Chapter, for an Adopt-a-Chapter initiative to extend the resources of a smaller organization
  • Chuhak & Tecson, PC, for Women Helping Women, a program that leveraged talented female attorneys to attract valuable female decision-makers as clients

Submissions will be accepted through January 12, 2018. Get a head start — submit your IDEA today!

Learn more and submit an entry. 


Association of Legal Administrators





Read the latest edition of The Download, the newsletter of the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter

In this edition, ALA Silicon Valley Chapter reaches out to members and business partners, participates in a beach cleanup, and, as always, elevates our professional legal management skills with outstanding education. 

This edition includes links to two video diaries, "Why ALA" and "ALA Gives Back, Coastal Cleanup." 

Read here




ALA Midsummer Member Special $99

Extended to October 10, 2017, join ALA at a special rate for the rest of 2017.

Share with someone who can benefit from the best networking organization for professional legal managers!

Encourage a Colleague to Join ALA Today and SAVE! 


Your Connection to Knowledge, Resources, and Networking

$99 Midsummer Membership Special *

Join before September 15, 2017 
nd enjoy all the benefits of ALA membership 
through the end of the year. 

Extended Chapter Membership

Join the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter 
before the end of the year 
and enjoy membership through December 2018

 Why ALA? Silicon Valley Chapter
[View our video]

Why ALA | Silicon Valley Chapter from Michael Crocker on Vimeo.

* Membership in the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter is a separate and valuable connection to your local peers.

Membership in the ALA parent organization is a requirement to become a member of the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter. You must renew with ALA to remain a member of ALA Silicon Valley Chapter.

To inquire about ALA Membership, contact any member of the Board of Directors for the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter or send an email to




2017-18 Business Partners - Welcome & Thank You




We are pleased to announce our Business Partners for 2017-2018

Thank you to these generous Business Partners for their friendship and support of ALA Silicon Valley Chapter, legal administrators, and the profession of legal management!

ALA Silicon Valley Chapter Business Partners provide services specific to the legal industry and are knowledgeable and accomplished in their respective fields.

With their support of the chapter this year, members have direct access to a distinguished group of service providers who enable the chapter to provide outstanding continuing education, conference scholarships, networking opportunities, and more.  

We hope you will reach out and get to know our Business Partners over the year, even if you do not have a need for their services at the moment.  Understanding what they have to offer and having an established relationship is an advantage when you need help at a moment's notice!

Sarah Ferguson, Immediate Past-President
Chair, Business Partner Relations 


ALA Silicon Valley Chapter Business Partners

August 1, 2017 - July 31, 2018




Gigabyte Level

Adams & Martin


Megabyte Level

Armanino LLP

Ricoh USA

Robert Half Legal


Kilobyte Level

City National Bank

Cushman & Wakefield

Element Professional Staffing

First Legal Network

Gateway Global

Interior Architects

IST Management Services

KBM Hogue

Legal Ease, LLC

Pathways Personnel, Inc

S. L. Pemberton

Toeniskoetter Construction Inc.


Friends Level

Ahern Insurance

Boston Private

Canon Business Process Services

CBRE - Tenant Advisory Services

DFS Green



Lexis Nexis




ALA Silicon Valley Chapter Business Partners are invited to:

  • attend educational seminars
  • participate in Community service activities with Chapter members
  • receive the chapter's member/BP directory
  • receive the chapter newsletter and announcements
  • join the chapter's LinkedIn group
  • attend networking events to meet law firm leaders and other vendors
  • attend the holiday luncheon(depending on level of sponsorship)



ALA Silicon Valley Chapter Members receive the following benefits:

  • monthly educational luncheon seminars, most at no cost
  • conference scholarships
  • networking opportunities
  • support for those interested in or preparing for the CLMSM exam
  • members-only online discussion group
  • LinkedIn group
  • Facebook group
  • chapter website with information about all of our local & Association resources
  • annual leadership event
  • group community service opportunities
  • member and business partner directory
  • quarterly e-newsletter

In addition to our local Silicon Valley Chapter Business Partners, members can take advantage of ALA's VIP Program and Legal Marketplace.


ALA Mission Statement
ALA is the undisputed leader for the business of law, focused on the delivery of cutting-edge management and leadership products and services to the global legal community. 

We identify and provide solutions to the most strategic and operational challenges our members and customers face today, while we prepare them for the opportunities and challenges of tomorrow.

About ALA Silicon Valley Chapter

The Silicon Valley Chapter advances the mission of ALA to be the undisputed leader in the business of law by leading and inspiring excellence through the pursuit and exchange of knowledge to elevate the legal management profession in organizations and to the community at large.

The Silicon Valley Chapter of the ALA was formed in 1982 with members in the South Bay, from Salinas to San Mateo.  The Chapter has a strong presence within the community, as well as active representation at the ALA regional and national levels.


2017-18 ALA SVC Business Partner Announcement 




SAVE THE DATE: Special Educational Programs!


Coming This Fall 2017

ALA Silicon Valley Chapter
is Pleased to Host 
Two Special 
Educational Programs

Both speakers have received high acclaim 
presenting at previous ALA Annual Conferences

Don't Miss Out - Register Today




September 28, 2017

4:00 PM - 5:15 PM



Add to Calendar




Integrity - Leadership’s
Indispensable Ingredient

PRESENTED BY David Thomas, IntegriTalk

Ethical lapses across the cultural landscape and the uncertainties of a post-9/11 world confirm that integrity is a timeless yet increasingly timely virtue.  In a challenging but encouraging way, this topic is creatively analyzed by exploring such questions as:

  • What are the crucial components of integrity and how can it be memorably defined?
  • Why is it of vital importance to today’s workplace?  
  • How can it be maintained when those around us operate differently?  

A presentation on integrity might be anticipated to be dry, boring, or preachy, but this one is none of these!  A senior executive once wrote after the session, “Many of our members thought it an unusual topic before you spoke. They all believed it to be a vital one when you finished.” 

After attending this presentation, participants will be equipped to:

  1. Understand that integrity is more than simply “being honest” and why all four of its components are necessary for a meaningful sphere of influence;
  2. Conclude that while an effective leader must have many admirable traits and skills, integrity is ultimately the indispensable ingredient; and
  3. Focus ultimately on the two impactful byproducts of integrity that will keep one vigilant and grounded—even when the going gets tough!




October 19, 2017

Noon - 2:00 PM



Add to Calendar




Gray Area ThinkingTM


MCLE Elimination of Bias Credit
We encourage you to invite
the attorneys in your firm!

This program is presented by the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter, in partnership with the Santa Clara County Bar Association’s Diversity Committee, and sponsored by ALA SVC Board Member Law Firms

All humans habitually categorize and group others who are “different” from “us,” which often leads to black and white thinking, as in “good” versus “bad” or “native” versus “immigrant” and a host of other isolating labels.

In this seminar, Ellie Krug offers a toolset—Gray Area Thinking™—for interacting with diverse humans in a mindful and compassionate way.

Attendees will appreciate and value how it’s necessary to consciously work to “Think Gray!”™

Gray Area Thinking™ is a simple three-part toolset for interacting with diverse humans:

  • awareness of another human’s vulnerability or suffering;
  • risk-taking to alleviate or lessen that vulnerability or suffering; and
  • compassion and kindness for both self and others. 

Most diversity and inclusion presentations address unconscious bias by educating audience members about neurobiology and the human tendency to deny being biased. However, attendees often are not provided with actual tools they can use in their day-to-day interactions. By employing memorable training strategies, Ellie Krug provides an easily understood toolset that can be put into practice by audience members as soon as they walk out of the room, and remembered for a long time thereafter.

For questions or problems with registration, contact Director-Professional Development at






ALA Identity Survey - Please add your voice to defining ALA's identity - DUE AUG 14

Last Chance: ALA's Identity Survey Closing

IT'S NOT TOO LATE — your input is crucial!

As the Board of Directors leads this strategic effort, please take a few minutes to give your answers to key questions about who we are today and how we want our Association to look in 10 years.

SurveyClick here to take the survey (should take 5-10 minutes to complete).

The survey will be open until August 14.


For more information related to the Defining Our Identity initiative, please visit Thank you for your time and feedback!



In Memoriam, Doris Zimmermann

In Memoriam

It is with great sadness that we let you know that ALA Silicon Valley Chapter member, Doris Zimmermann, passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 2, 2017. Cancer took our friend far too soon.

May you rest in peace, Doris.

Doris recently worked at Sidley Austin in Palo Alto.

Her family has informed us that the service is scheduled for July 18 at 11:00 AM at St. Lucy Catholic Parish in Campbell. 

In lieu of flowers, the family is looking into contributing to a charitable organization. We do not have that information just yet, but will update this post when the information becomes available. 




St. Lucy Catholic Parish
2350 Winchester Blvd.
Campbell, CA  95008

Lunch thereafter:

Three Flames Restaurant
1547 Meridian Avenue
San José, CA  95125




ALA Fall Conferences - Register Today


Registration is open for the

ALA Fall Conferences


Regional Legal Management Conference -

West Regions 4, 5, 6

September 7-9, Venetian Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada


Regional Legal Management Conference -

East Regions 1, 2, 3

October 12-14, Renaissance Nashville, Nashville, Tennessee


IP Conference for Legal Professionals

October 5-6, Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, Illinois


HR Conference for Legal Professionals

October 5-7, Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, Illinois


Finance Conference for Legal Professionals

October 5-7, Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, Illinois


Register today at and join your chapter for these high-caliber educational events.



Diversity & Inclusion: Tips to Foster Forgiveness in a Diverse Workplace (article)

by Ellen (Ellie) Krug

reprinted with permission
Ellie Krug's Monthly Newsletter, The Ripple, June 23, 2017

Let’s face it: in diverse workplaces, there’s a greater risk for misunderstandings, misstatements (aka micro-aggressions) or hurt feelings between colleagues who themselves are diverse. This is in part because everyone brings to the workplace different perspectives and experiences, some of which may be rooted in historical and personal trauma. It’s inevitable that someone will say or do something that will adversely impact a co-worker; ordinarily, this is a problem but when the subject matter of the offending action is tied to one’s identity as a diverse person, things get even more complicated.

From an HR (or even a simple humanist) perspective, it’s important that the offending work colleague apologizes for the statement or slight. As important, the team member who’s been offended or slighted needs to forgive the offender. A team member who harbors animosity toward a past offender often is less productive and a potential agent to degrade morale, particularly among other diverse team members.

Here are some quick tips about how to foster forgiveness in a diverse workplace:

  1. Talk about and frequently reinforce that forgiveness is a workplace or organizational value.
  2. Ensure that you, as a workplace leader, practice what you preach by forgiving team members who have offended you.
  3. In the instance of another team member who’s been offended and once an apology has been made, talk about the need for forgiveness; then set the expectation that the offended team member will work toward forgiving the transgressor.
  4. Check-in with the offended team member to determine where they are relative to forgiveness; if they’re finding it difficult to forgive the offender, provide resources on the power of forgiveness. (One such resource is the REACH model created by Everett L. Worthington, which he developed after a horrific crime was committed upon a family member.)
  5. If the offended team member still can’t forgive, get help—bring in a professional/therapist who can add an element of objectivity to the situation.
  6. Conduct workplace training on the power of apologizing and forgiving. Everett Worthington reports that an eight-hour forgiveness workshop can reduce subjects’ depression and anxiety levels as much as several months of psychotherapy would. 

Some of the above points can be found in “The Power of Forgiveness at Work” by Brooke Deterline. 

In short, forgiveness needs to be a key personal value for anyone. It’s not always easy to forgive but doing so allows one the freedom to move on and grow as a person.  

Download article here.

View more about Diversity & Inclusion at



ALASVC on Facebook!



ALA Silicon Valley Chapter
is pleased to announce
our new page on

We will be sharing information about the Chapter and the Association, including video and photos of events.

Join your ALA SVC Board members in sharing knowledge and inspiration to elevate the legal management profession.

The Silicon Valley Chapter advances the mission of ALA to be the undisputed leader in the business of law by leading and inspiring excellence through the pursuit and exchange of knowledge to elevate the legal management profession in organizations and to the community at large.

Building our community through social media will strengthen our network and provide an additional resource for communication and growth.


Look for an invite through Facebook to join the page. You can choose to opt out, but I hope you won’t!  You can also visit our page and ask to be added to the group.

We encourage you to share your professional experiences
... and even your shenanigans.

See you soon on social media!


Shirley Laboy
ALA Silicon Valley Chapter




Diversity & Inclusion: Lavender Law Comes to San Francisco, ABA adopts Resolution 113

Read more in News & Upcoming Events on the Diversity & Inclusion page

Resolution 113 Adopted by American Bar Association

Lavender Law Comes to San Francisco, August 2-4, 2017



Become a Business Partner Sponsor of ALA Silicon Valley Chapter - Due July 29

For businesses and consultants who provide products and services to law firms and legal departments, we invite you to become a Business Partner of the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter.

2017-18 Business Partner Registration due July 29, 2017

Meet the Board and ask questions at a Business Partner program kick-off reception

Please join us for a reception to meet the Board and learn more about the benefits of sponsoring the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter!

Date: Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Time: 5:30 - 7:30 pm

Location: O'Melveny & Myers LLP, Palo Alto

Invitation & RSVP

Why consider ALA Silicon Valley Chapter Business Partnership?

  • You will reach our members, who are decision makers for their organizations.
  • You will strengthen your brand's familiarity in Silicon Valley.
  • You will build strong relationships with members and other Business Partners through attending chapter functions like educational seminars and networking events.
  • We will help promote your products and services to our members because the right products and services are key to our professional success.

» RSVP by June 2 to Sarah Ferguson, Business Partner Program Chair

Directory of ALA SVC Business Partners





This is our opportunity to say thank you to the member
who participates the most in our Silicon Valley Chapter.

The ALA Silicon Valley Chapter is once again offering Power Points as an incentive for you to get more from your membership!

How does it work? 

As you take advantage of our Chapter's excellent education, networking, community involvement, and social activities, you automatically earn points.

All you have to do is participate to accumulate as many points as you can by November 30, 2017.

Grand prize

The Power Points grand prize is a scholarship to attend the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in National Harbor, Maryland (DC area)!

Save the date for the Annual Conference: May 3-6, 2018

And, of course, you get the benefit of the Chapter's valuable activities!

Earn Points

Here is how you can automatically accumulate points

  • Attend an educational seminar
    2 points each 
  • Bring a guest to an educational seminar 
    1 point each
  • Submit a testimonial for a business partner (email the Business Partner-Chair, Sarah Ferguson)
    2 points 
  • Attend the spring networking event (May)
    2 points
  • Attend the summer networking event (August)
    2 points
  • Attend the annual leadership event (September)
    3 points 
  • Attend the fall networking event (October)
    2 points
  • Participate in a Community Connection volunteer event
    3 points each
  • Post a question or reply to a post in the Chapter's LinkedIn Group 
    1 point 
  • Meet with a Business Partner that you don't already know
    2 points
  • Volunteer for a committee task
    (up to) 4 points
  • Complete an eLearning Course
    3 points
  • Take the CLM Exam
    5 points

Contact the ALASVC Chapter President, Shirley Laboy if you have questions, are ready to volunteer, or would like to join a committee.

POWER UP your membership with Power Points.
Ready . . . Set . . . GO!


The fine print:

  • Board members and committee chairs are not eligible to participate.

  • Points will be tallied and the winner will be announced in December 2017.

  • In the case of a tie, a drawing will be held for one winner.





ALASVC Announces Incoming 2017-18 Board

Election Results - Your 2017 ALASVC Leadership


It is with great pleasure that we announce 
the incoming Board of Directors 
and Committee Chairs 
of the Association of Legal Administrators - Silicon Valley Chapter 
for the term March 2017 - February 2018




Chapter President:  Shirley Laboy
Executive Director  •  Bozicevic, Field & Francis LLP

President-Elect:  Nicole Nowak
Executive Director  •  Haynes Beffel & Wolfeld LLP
Immediate Past President / Chair, Business Partner Relations: 
Sarah Ferguson
Office Administrator  •  Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Secretary:  Angelique Shakespeare
Office Administrator  •  Schiff Hardin LLP

Treasurer:  Lisa Hild
Secretarial Services & Operations Group Manager  •  Skadden, Arps, Meagher & FLom LLP
Director - Communications:  
Thea Wagner, CLM
Executive Assistant/Office Manager  •  Singularity 

Director - Membership:  Heather Larrick, CLM, SPHR
Bay Area Office Administrator  •  Shearman & Sterling LLP

Director - Professional Development / Law Association Outreach: Shelley Strong
Practice Resources Manager  •  Morrison & Foerster LLP

Director - Website: 
Deborah Piker Sanders, CLM
Business Manager / Controller  •  Rehon & Roberts APC



Community Connection/Member Outreach Chair: James P. Karkas, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Diversity: Grace Carr Lee, Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel

Newsletter Editor: Christie Ernst, Fish & Richardson PC

Professional Development Chair: Jocelyn Abisia, O'Melveny & Myers LLP

Please contact any member of the Board of Directors if you are interested in a chapter leadership opportunity, no matter how small. It's a great way to get more involved with - and get more value from - our chapter!


On behalf of the Silicon Valley Chapter and its members, 
thank you for volunteering and keeping our chapter flourishing.

ALA Silicon Valley Chapter 2017 Nominating Committee
Sarah Ferguson, Shirley Laboy and Jean Newfield

CELEBRATING 35 YEARS  •  •  1982 - 2017





Expand Your Network, Share Your Expertise, Learn New Skills!

Call for Volunteers

Join the ALA Silicon Valley Board of Directors and Committees

We are opening our annual call for nominations for the 2017-2018 Board of Directors. 

This is an outstanding opportunity to expand your professional network, share your expertise and ideas, learn new skills, and help take your Chapter to the next level! Those who have served in the past have said that they get much more out of their membership and career development when actively volunteering in the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter. The strong relationships you develop are an additional wonderful benefit.

The Nominating Committee is now taking nominations for the following Board-level positions:

  • President-Elect
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Director - Membership
  • Director - Professional Development
  • Director - Communications
  • Director - Website

The term of office officially begins March 1, 2017 through February 28, 2018, with meetings and communications prior to the official beginning of the term to provide continuity of initiatives and smooth transition. Position descriptions can be found in the Member Area1 of the website.

The Board meets once a month and attends chapter activities, including seminars, networking events, community outreach, and conferences.

If you are interested in serving on the board in any of the above positions or would like to nominate someone, please contact our Nominating Committee Member-at-Large, Jean Newfield at or 650.213.0328.

If you cannot serve in a Board-level position, please ask about joining a committee, helping with a project during the year, volunteer to host a meeting, offer ideas for seminar topics, participate in the member discussion group, or attend our group activities and seminars.

Nominations will be accepted until 5 pm on Monday, January 9, 2016.

1 Use your email address to log in. If you forgot your password, select "forgot password" to reset it.




Legal Management now offers a way to earn CE credit

Members and nonmembers can read the article, then log in to take a test. If you pass with at least 70 percent, you will earn one CE credit hour.

The goal is to help CLMs get the credits they need for recertification, but it will also count toward SHRM, HRCI or CPE credit.

Read the first course, “The Ever-Evolving World of Legal Ethics,” by Steve Wingert, CLM.



Read quote from ALASVC member, Heather Larrick, in Legal Management magazine Jul/Aug 2016


5 Employee Challenges and How to Confront Them (*)
By Kylie Ora Lobell

(*) Our own member, Heather Larrick, contributes to this month's HR article.

Every firm or office has its problem employees. Whether they’re on the legal or the administrative side, it’s apparent that they’re just not cooperating with your team. They may be unhappy with their jobs, or simply unaware of their behavior.

Read More: Legal Management Jul/Aug 2016

New! Your email address is your login. You no longer need your member ID to access Legal Management. Just provide your email address where prompted to start reading the June issue.



Read quote from ALASVC member, Sylvia Skucha, in Legal Management magazine June 2016


(*) Our own member, Sylvia Skucha, has a quote in this month's feature article.

Hefty cutbacks made during the Great Recession — the legal sector reduced employment by 46,000 from December 2007 to June 2009 alone — changed many law firm and legal department staffing models. These resulting staffing shifts have given paralegals new work and their employees new challenges. In this month's Communications and Organizational Management cover feature, writer Erin Brereton explores the changing role of paralegals and how firms are managing it.

Read Legal Management June 2016

New! Your email address is your login. You no longer need your member ID to access Legal Management. Just provide your email address where prompted to start reading the June issue.




IDEA Award Winners! Presented at ALA Annual Conference 2016

Congratulations to the recipients of this year’s IDEA Awards, presented at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Los Angeles, CA.

These chapters/organizations went above and beyond to make a difference in the business of law. View the summary videos of each recipient’s idea – and start thinking about your 2017 submission!

ALA Committee on Diversity and Inclusion
60 Tips in 75 Minutes on Diversity and Inclusion

Armstrong Teasdale
Passport to a Higher Profile

ALA Greater Phoenix-Valley of the Sun Chapter
Business Partner Internship Program

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Skadden Chicago 30 Acts of Giving

ALA Greater Los Angeles Chapter
Sharks Rank

View the complete entry for more details: 



Registration Open for Regional Legal Mgmt Conf WEST (Phoenix AZ)

ALA Regional Leadership Conference

All of ALA’s fall conferences are now open for registration.

Take this opportunity to attend the conference that will best serve to elevate your career and network!

Your ALASVC Regional Legal Management Conference will be the WEST conference on October 6-8, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Sign up today for this reimagined regional experience:

  • Regional council meetings
  • Regional spirit day
  • Roundtable discussions for specific regions/chapters
  • Intensive networking opportunities
  • Deep-dive sessions led by experts on profitability, innovation, strategy and leadership
  • The latest in legal management products, market intelligence, services and technology
  • Sessions that qualify for Continuing Education credits

See you there! 

Regions 1 & 2

September 8–10
Boston, MA

Regions 3 & 4

October 27–29
Indianapolis, IN

Regions 5 & 6

October 6–8
Phoenix, AZ




Renew Your ALASVC Membership Today! Expires Jan 31

2016 ALA Silicon Valley Chapter Membership


Chapter membership is concurrent with your Association membership from January 1 through December 31.

Your chapter membership helps keep you connected to the local legal management industry and helps equip you with knowledge and information you need to stay competitive and current in our profession. The Silicon Valley Chapter offers many benefits, and your dues go directly to the delivery of these benefits:

  • Ability to participate on the Chapter listserve (where participating members can seek or provide advice from their local colleagues);
  • Attendance at our monthly “Lunch and Learn” educational sessions at no cost; 
  • Attendance at our quarterly networking events at no cost; and
  • Scholarships to both Annual and Fall Conferences through raffles and our PowerPoints participation program.

New in 2015:

  • Attendance at our annual holiday party at no cost (previously $50 per member);
  • Attendance at our annual Leadership event at no cost (previously $35 per member); and
  • High-quality paid speakers for our educational sessions (traditionally, we have had the good fortune of having speakers present at no cost).

ALA Silicon Valley Chapter is committed to being a member-driven organization, delivering outstanding value and benefits as the leader in the business of law.

Thank you for supporting the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter. We look forward to serving you in the coming year.

Questions? Please contact your ALA Silicon Valley Chapter Board of Directors.




Welcome New Chapter Members

The Chapter is pleased to welcome five new members:

Pamela R. Wilson
Legal Administrative Coordinator
Nixon Peabody, LLP
Palo Alto, CA 

Catherine L. Hamrick
Executive Director
Thompson & Associates, PLLC
Washington, DC 

Christie Ernst
Office Manager
Fish & Richardson PC
Redwood City, CA 

Dolores Martinez
Office Administrator
Mount Spelman
San Jose, CA 

Alicia Marie Lewis
Office Administrator
Alston & Bird
East Palo Alto, CA 



Results are In! 2015 Member Satisfaction Survey

Thank you for your recent feedback to the Member Satisfaction Survey!

Excluding the 13 Board members and Committee Chairs, the participation rate was 25% of our chapter. 

Based on the results, we are pleased that our members are generally satisfied with their chapter benefits.  By far, the number one benefit is the Chapter’s Discussion Group. We will use your responses to shape our chapter's educational and volunteer programs this year.  Most of you prefer to learn advanced law firm management topics, but a significant number of you like to review the “ABC’s” of law firm management.  Your top choices are roundtables and topics in the areas of leadership/career enhancement/professional development, business management/legal industry, human resources, and finance. Most of you would like to receive both the printed directory and the online directory. You also do not feel you receive too much email from the Chapter. (Whew!)

Many of you also indicated that you would like to help with a small project, help coordinate a live educational program, write or proofread the newsletter, or serve as a committee chair or board member. Thank you! We will be in touch!

As promised, for each completed survey, ALA Silicon Valley Chapter will donate $10 to Next Door Solutions, our charity of choice for our 2015 holiday luncheon.  We received 17 responses to the survey; therefore, we will make a donation of $170.

Click here to read the details of the results. 

Thank you again for your participation and great feedback.

ALA Silicon Valley Chapter 
Board of Directors



Proposal of "LawVantage" Withdrawn

Letter to Members from ALA Board of Directors
November 11, 2015 

The ALA Board of Directors met November 5-7, and we spent a significant amount of time discussing the rebrand initiative. Our goal for this meeting was to assess how the proposal aligned with the survey results and other feedback received through many different channels. Today we are sharing a summary of our decisions on this initiative. In the near future, we will provide more in-depth survey results and other information related to the initiative, as well as next steps the Board is planning for this work.

The Board unanimously agreed to withdraw the proposal of "LawVantage" as the new name of our organization at this time.

Since the proposal was presented on July 24, 2015, we have heard from you through:

  • 56 Chapter visits with ALA Board, Regional Representatives and ALA Executives
  • 268 unique posts made via the General Discussion forum of the Member Online Communities, with more than 6,000 views of those posts
  • Five town hall forums with more than 600 members at our Business of Law and Specialty Conferences
  • 2,890 members (31% of our membership) completing the online Rebrand Member Survey

The survey responses showed:

  • 53% of the respondents favor or are neutral regarding a name change,
  • 2,359 respondents (82%) are moderately or very opposed to the name LawVantage, and
  • 1,518 respondents (53%) oppose or are very opposed to the tagline, "Your business of law society."

In 2013, ALA embarked on an ambitious strategic plan to be known as the leader in the business of law. The Board is charged with making decisions and leading initiatives to execute this plan. An important component of that plan is determining how best to present a brand that embodies our current membership, yet appeals to future members in order to sustain our organization. Many prior boards have recognized the issues posed by the organization's name and worked to resolve it. We owe it to those leaders and to future boards to continue work toward a solution. 

With this in mind, we are committed to the following next steps:

  1. In the next 10-15 days, aggregated rebrand member survey results will be delivered to the membership, along with budgeted and incurred expenses for rebranding efforts over the last several years.
  2. Following the Board's January meeting, an updated action plan on how the Board intends to address the rebrand initiative will be delivered to you.

We are grateful to you for your membership, loyalty and insights. We look forward to continuing these conversations for the health and sustainability of our beloved organization. Working together, with great passion and mutual respect, we are confident that we can achieve our vision of being the undisputed leaders in the business of law.

Your 2015-2016 Board of Directors,

Teresa J. Walker
ALA President

James Cornell III
Region 4 Director

Laura J. Broomell, CLM

April Campbell, JD
Region 5 Director

Paula K. Barnes
Past President

Linda E. Quindt, CLM
Region 6 Director

Karen Glowacki
Region 1 Director

Katie Bryant, CLM
At-Large Director

Gary T. Swisher II, CLM
Region 2 Director

Mark Bridgeman, CLM
At-Large Director

Julie S. Logan, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Region 3 Director

Debra Lynn Elsbury, CLM
At-Large Director


Oliver P. Yandle, JD, CAE
Association Executive Director



Community Outreach: ALASVC Helps Graduating High School Students

Freshman Outfitter Scholarship Packages for Two Graduating High School Students

In partnership with East Palo Alto-based Live In Peace organization, ALA Silicon Valley Chapter awarded two graduating high school seniors a "Freshman Outfitters" scholarship package to help them get started as they head off to college at Cal-State Monterey. The scholarship packages valued at $750 include a backpack, laptop, supplies, and a $300 gift card. 

Live In Peace is an organization committed to advancing the cultural, educational, and economic empowerment of youth in communities of color. They fulfill this mission by building a strong family atmosphere that supports youth in the following three program areas: the L.I.P. Studio (arts & culture), the College Initiative (education) and Street Code Academy (technology & economics). In each program, students discover, develop and direct their creative genius for the benefit of their community and the broader world. 

Led by ALA SVC Community Connection Chair, Shirley Laboy, in partnership with this organization, the Silicon Valley Chapter awarded scholarships to two graduating high school seniors. Brianna Brown, a counselor in their College Initiative program, identified the deserving students. The Chapter Board asked each student to write an essay answering the following questions:

  1. Why do you want to go to college
  2. What was the reason you chose the college you will attend
  3. What are your three favorite things about school or learning
  4. What items would help you with started in your first year
  5. What difficulties have you had in school and how did you handle them?
  6. After graduation, how do you plan to give back to your community

Here is an overview of each scholarship recipient:

Geeta Devi Dao graduated from Carlmont High School with a 3.5 GPA. She graduated on Honor Roll and had perfect attendance. Her extracurricular activities include ceramics, web design, film, dance and being a soccer coach.

Although she is not the first in her family to go to a college, she is the first in her family to go immediately to a four-year institution. Her essay was very honest about her reasons for attending a four-year institution, e.g., to have the college experience and going to college will ensure she will not have money worries in the future. She is also honest about why she chose this college (the cost).

Geeta lives in a household where the entire family income is about $40K. What that means to her is that she does not receive the assistance others with lower incomes may receive.

Kimberly Marquez graduated from Woodside and has also chosen to attend CAL State Monterey Bay. She has lived in East Palo Alto all her life and will be the first in her family to go to any college. She has a 3.3 GPA and also graduated on Honor Roll. She has been on the Principles List (that’s a good thing), and has been recognized as an “AVID Rising Star” – she took college classes along with her high school courses. She is a member of Girls Who Code (technology group of girls learning the basics of coding) and the Youth Action Team (works on community events).

In her essay she mentions she almost dropped out of school in her sophomore year in conjunction with her mother being diagnosed with cancer. She fell into a depressed state and her grades dropped, but with the support of her family and friends, pulled out of that mindset and got her grades back on track. After college, she is looking to get into the field of psychology. Kimberly lives in a household with a $20K-$30K income.

These young women are also friends, and one of the many reasons why they chose this college.

The first Freshman Outfitters scholarship package was presented to Kimberly with Chapter President Kitty Dowgert in attendance and the second to Geeta with almost the entire Board present.

We wish these young women much success and have asked that they check in from time-to-time and report on their progress.

View photos of the recipients here

Read More about the Chapter's Community Outreach Projects



New Brand Name Recommendation Announced: LawVantage

The recommended new branding and name for ALA has been announced


Now more than ever, our name and brand can represent you as you truly are: executives and professionals within the legal management industry. The name LawVantage, and tag line "Your Business of Law Society", come from our strategic plan and the ongoing effort to reposition the organization, elevate our relevance and exemplify our value to members and the broader legal community. Our brand recommendation reflects the complicated roles that our members have in their law offices, and the modern solutions we strive to provide.

What does "LawVantage" mean?

  • "Law" reflects that we are an organization of legal professionals, encompassing legal management professionals, lawyers, consultants and other service providers who drive and impact the business of law.
  • "Vantage" suggests the many advantages that the organization provides to our members, their organizations and the industry as a whole.
  • "Vantage" also reflects the unique vantage point our members have across the firm or law department to leverage assets to improve performance and efficiency, increase profitability, and enhance client service.
  • In the tag line, "Your" personalizes the organization and builds a connection between the member and the organization. It also draws attention to the direct value the organization provides to you as a legal professional.
  • "Business of Law" is the business we are in and communicates the nature of the work our members do.
  • "Society" captures the essence of community and networking that are key features of the organizations. It also conveys a sense of professionalism and intellectual heft, reflecting the significance of your role in your legal organizations.

Read more about "The Road to a New Brand." on the Rebranding News page at




ALA Brand Recommendation to be Revealed on July 24

Live Webcast to Announce the new Brand Recommendation on July 24

ALA chapter leaders will be heading to the annual Chapter Leadership Institute (CLI) on July 24-25.  

CLI is an orientation, training and networking event for chapter officers and volunteer leaders. Participants include ALA's Board of Directors, Regional Representatives (formerly Regional Officers), Chapter Leaders, Business Partners and key members of the Headquarters Staff. CLI provides a unique opportunity for learning about and strengthening your leadership role, sharing ideas and experiences with colleagues and expanding your network.

On Friday, July 24, from Noon - 1:15 pm EST, your ALA Board of Directors will present details of the rebranding recommendation at CLI and share the history, research and strategic process that went into the development of this bold and fresh new direction.  So that all members have an opportunity to share in the announcement of the Board's recommendation, the announcement will be broadcasted live via webcast.  

Bookmark the Rebranding News page at to get the direct link to the webcast.There, you will also be able to watch a video series about "The Road to a New Brand."

From ALA President, Teresa Walker, "The Board cannot wait to share with everyone details of the work that has led us to this recommendation for our organization and to assuring you that we are the leaders of the business of law!"




This is our opportunity to say thank you to the member* who participates the most in our Silicon Valley Chapter.

The Silicon Valley Chapter is once again offering the Power Points Contest as an incentive for you to get more from your membership!

How does it work? 

As you take advantage of our chapter's excellent education, networking, community involvement, social and other activities, you automatically earn points. 

All you have to do is participate to accumulate as many points as you can by November 30, 2015.

Grand prize

The Power Points grand prize is a scholarship to attend the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Los Angeles, CA!

~Save the date for the Annual Conference now:  May 20-25, 2016~

And of course you get the benefit of the chapter's valuable activities!

Earn Points

Here is how you can automatically accumulate points:

  • Attend an educational seminar
    2 points each 
  • Bring a guest to an educational seminar 
    1 point each
  • Submit a testimonial for a business partner (email the Chapter President-Elect, Sarah Ferguson)
    2 points 
  • Attend the spring networking event (May)
    2 points
  • Attend the summer networking event (August)
    2 points
  • Attend the annual leadership event (September)
    3 points
  • Attend the fall networking event (October)
    2 points
  • Participate in a Community Connection volunteer event
    3 points each
  • Post a question or reply to a post in the Chapter's LinkedIn Group 
    1 point 
  • Meet with a Business Partner that you don't already know
    2 points
  • Volunteer for a committee task
    up to 4 points

Contact the Chapter President, Kitty Dowgert if you have questions, are ready to volunteer, or would like to join a committee.

*The fine print.

  • Board members and committee chairs are not eligible to win.
  • Points will be tallied and the winner will be announced in December 2015. In the case of a tie, a drawing will be held for one winner.

POWER UP your membership with Power Points.
Ready . . . Set . . . GO!



ALA SVC Achieves Award For Effective Chapter Leadership in 2014

It is with great pride that the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter announces that it has achieved the President's Award of Excellence for our efforts in chapter leadership in 2014. 2015 Presdients' Award of Excellence

Congratulations to last year's Chapter President, Heather Larrick, and the 2014-15 ALA SVC Board of Directors!

ALA SVC Board of Directors 2014-15

Heather Larrick, CLM SPHR
Shearman & Sterling LLP


Visibility-Chapter Achievements
Kitty Dowgert, MBA
Skadden Arps LLP

Immediate Past-President
Business Partner Outreach
Shelley Strong
Morrison & Foerster LLP

Thea Wagner, CLM
Kenyon & Kenyon LLP

Yvonne Mills, CLM SPHR
Morrison & Foerster LLP

Newsletter Editor
Grace Carr Lee
Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel

Jim Karkas
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Director-Professional Development
Sarah Ferguson
Carr/Ferrell LLP

Debbie Sanders, CLM
Rehon & Roberts APC

ALA SVC Committees 2014-15 

Community Connection
Shirley Laboy
Foley & Lardner

Member Outreach
Sandy Ulery
GCA Law Partners LLP

Diversity Awareness /
Professional Legal Management Awareness-Annual Leadership Event
Mike Dwyer
Morrison & Foerster LLP 

Click here to contact the current Board of Directors (2015-16)




Welcome New Chapter Members

The Chapter is pleased to welcome five new members:

Darcy Diaz
Executive Director
Ropers, Majeski, Kohn & Bentley, P.C.
Redwood City, CA

Mary K. Doyen
Legal Administrator/Office Manager
San Jose, CA

Colleen D. Murphy
Facilities Supervisor
Morrison & Foerster, LLP
Palo Alto, CA

Kimberly C. Thompson
Assistant Office Manager
Fish & Richardson PC
Redwood City, CA

Shelley Updegraff
Office Manager
Bustamante & Gagliasso, APC
San Jose, CA



Association Bylaws Amendments PASS

Update on ALA Bylaws AmendmentsAssociation of Legal Administrators

At the January meeting of the Board of Directors, the Board unanimously approved making two changes to the ALA Bylaws. As required by our Bylaws, those amendments needed to be ratified by a majority of the Chapter Presidents voting on the amendments. The Chapter Presidents voted on behalf of their Chapters.

The voting period for the Bylaws amendments ended on Friday, April 3. Eighty-eight Chapters voted, and nine abstained.

The results of the voting are as follows:

Changing the criteria for student membership: Passed
This amendment more clearly defines who is eligible for a student membership, in addition to setting limits on the number of years someone can be a student member. ALA members who qualify for student membership are Associate Members of the association.

Allowing legal consultants to be regular members of ALA: Passed
This amendment broadens our membership by opening up regular membership to individuals who a) would be membership eligible if they were paid by a firm instead of an outside party; or b) are leaders in the business of law and work side-by-side with administrators and partners to improve processes and governance in our firms (legal consultants). 

Read more about the changes here:



Welcome New Chapter Members

The Chapter is pleased to welcome eight new members:

Jan Casanova
Secretarial Manager, SV & SF Offices
Ropes & Gray LLP
East Palo Alto, CA

John Kim
Human Resources Manager
Dickstein Shapiro LLP
Los Angeles, CA

Janet Lee
Office Manager
Rutan & Tucker, LLP
Palo Alto, CA

Karrie A. McElheny
Office Administrator
Goodwin Proctor LLP
Menlo Park, CA

Mary O'Leary
Office Manager
Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Palo Alto, CA

Lynette Pola
Office Manager/Legal Assistant
Curley Hessinger & Johnsrud, L.L.P.
Menlo Park, CA

Ryan N. Reloba
Office Services Supervisor
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, LLP
Palo Alto, CA

Lucy M. Ruiz
Robinson & Wood, Inc.
San Jose, CA



2015 Chapter Bylaws Amendment

The Silicon Valley Chapter Board of Directors has updated and approved the chapter's bylaws to improve and streamline the functionality of the chapter.

The proposed changes are, essentially:

  • To update the purposes of the Silicon Valley Chapter to bring them into alignment with those of the parent organization;
  • To reduce the number of voting members of the board from ten to nine, eliminating the Director-Certification position*;
  • To provide that the board President shall succeed from the position of President-Elect, with a process for appointing a board President should the President-Elect be unable to serve; and
  • To change slightly the process for board elections.


* Explanatory Note: The responsibilities of the defunct Director-Certification position will be incorporated into those of the Director-Professional Development position. The board reserves the right, pursuant to Article VIII, paragraph 2, to create a Committee Chair-Certification position in the future.

These changes were ratified by a majority vote of Chapter members casting ballots as of January 30, 2015.



Announcement About Imposition of Chapter Dues May 1, 2015

In order to be in compliance with the IRS as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, it is necessary to begin charging membership dues in the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter.

Annual dues will be $75 per calendar year, prorated in 2015 to $50 beginning May 1, 2015.

Read further explanation in the letter from Chapter President, Heather Larrick here, and contact if you have any questions.



Welcome New Chapter Members

The Chapter is pleased to welcome three new members:

Anita Luckinbill, SPHR
Human Resources Manager
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Palo Alto, CA

Bridget Stabile
Office Administrator
Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
Palo Alto, CA

Seth M. Tuman
Firm Administrator
Thoits Love Hershberger & McLean
Palo Alto, CA



Community Connection - Second Harvest Food Bank (San Carlos): July 12

Join the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter at Second Harvest Food Bank in San Carlos, sorting food for those in need.

Time: 8:30 (registration & coffee/bagels); 9-Noon (volunteer)
Date: Saturday, July 12, 2014
Location: Second Harvest Food Bank, 1051 Bing Street, San Carlos, CA
RSVP: Shirley Laboy, Chair-Community Connection at

To ALA Silicon Valley Chapter Members,
Business Partners, Family and Friends:

ALA believes in giving back to the community.

The Silicon Valley Chapter believes in making it easy for you todo so!

We will be volunteering at the
Second Harvest Food Bank in San Carlos,
sorting food for those in need.

 We hope you will join us.

Feel free to bring along a family member,
friend, co-worker or neighbor!


Saturday, July 12

9:00 am - 12:00 pm

(coffee & bagels in the parking lot at 8:30)


Second Harvest Food Bank
Bing Center
1051 Bing Street
San Carlos, CA


Shirley Laboy, Chair - Community Connection



Supporting Sleep Train Foster Kids program

Make a donation of new pajamas for a local foster child by supporting the Sleep Train Foster KidsTM program.

At our June 19 educational session, we are kicking off our Chapter's Community Connection effort by supporting the Sleep Train Foster KidsTM program will gladly receive your donation of new pajamas for a local foster child. For many foster children, a gift of new clothing can provide a boost of self-confidence and a sense of normalcy during a turbulent time.

For many foster children, a gift of new clothing can provide a boost of self-confidence and a sense of normalcy during a turbulent time. 

In exchange for your donation, you* will receive a raffle ticket.  If your ticket is drawn at the end of this educational session**, you are entitled to a pair of tickets to an upcoming concert of your choice at the Concord Pavilion! 

Upcoming acts include:
  • Spirit West Coast: Newsboys & more - Sunday, June 22
  • KISS, Def Leppard - Wednesday, July 2
  • Journey, Steve Miller Band, Tower of Power - Tuesday, July 29
  • Chicago, REO Speedwagon - Thursday, July 31
  • Fall Out Boy, Paramore - Sunday, August 17
  • Linkin Park, Thirty Seconds to Mars, A.F.I. - Friday, September 19
  • Luke Bryan - Friday, October 17
Additional acts are announced throughout the season.

If you would like to support the pajama drive effort but cannot make it to the June 19 seminar, please contact Shirley Laboy, Chair-Community Connection.

Thank you for your participation!
*Board members and committee chairs are not eligible to participate. 
**Must be present to win.



Welcome New Chapter Members

The Chapter is pleased to welcome five new members:

Larry Piazza
Chief Operating Officer
Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP
San Francisco, CA

Diane Raithel
Office Manager
Beck Bismonte & Finley LLP
San Jose, CA

Angelique Shakespeare
Office Administrator
Haynes Boone
Palo Alto, CA

April Van Wye
Chief Administrative Officer
Burke Williams & Sorensen LLP
Los Angeles, CA

Maria Vito
Office Manager
Kirkland & Ellis, LLP
Palo Alto, CA



ALA SVC Achieves Platinum Level For Effective Chapter Leadership in 2013

It is with great pride that the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter announces that it has ONCE AGAIN achieved the highest level of classification in the President's Award of Excellence program for our efforts in chapter leadership in 2013. 


Congratulations to Chapter President, Shelley Strong, and the 2013 ALA SVC Board of Directors!

It is with great pride that the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter announces that it has ONCE AGAIN achieved the highest level of classification in the President's Award of Excellence program for our efforts in chapter leadership. 



Introducing your ALA-Silicon Valley Chapter Leadership for 2014-15

The incoming 2014 Board is looking forward to another outstanding year of education, networking, and partnerships with all of its members! Please be sure to attend chapter events to get to know the Board.

Introducing your ALA-Silicon Valley Chapter Leadership for 2014-15:


Association of Legal Administrators - Silicon Valley Chapter
Chapter President   
Heather Larrick, CLM SPHR  
Bay Area Office Administrator  
Shearman & Sterling LLP  
President-Elect  Immediate Past President
Kitty Dowgert, MBA Shelley Strong
Office Administrator Practice Group Manager
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP Morrison & Foerster LLP
Secretary / Director-Certification Treasurer
Thea Wagner, CLM Yvonne Mills, CLM SPHR
Office Administrator Director of Administration
Kenyon & Kenyon LLP Morrison & Foerster LLP
Director-Communications Director-Membership
Grace Carr Lee Jim Karkas
Director of Administration Sr Firm Administrator
Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Director-Professional Development Director-Website
Sarah Ferguson Deborah Piker Sanders, CLM MBA
Firm Administrator Legal Administrator/Controller
Carr/Ferrell LLP Rehon & Roberts APC
COMMITTEES 2014-15  
Business Partner Outreach Community Connection
Shelley Strong Shirley Laboy
Practice Group Manager Office Administrator
Morrison & Foerster LLP Foley & Lardner
Diversity Awareness Law Association Outreach
Mike Dwyer available
Facilities Manager  
Morrison & Foerster  
Member Outreach Newsletter Editor
Sandy Ulery Grace Carr Lee
Director of Administration Director of Administration
GCA Law Partners LLP Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel
Profl Legal Management Awareness Visibility-Chapter Achievements
-Annual Leadership Event Kitty Dowgert, MBA
Mike Dwyer Office Administrator
Facilities Manager Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP
Morrison & Foerster LLP  



Welcome New Chapter Members

The Chapter is pleased to welcome three new members:

Yvonna M. Staben
Office Manager
Shay Glenn
San Mateo

Susan M. Fierro
Business Support Administrator
Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP
Palo Alto

Dominic J. Brocato
Director of Finance
Hopkins & Carley
San Jose