September 2017 Print

President's Report

“There’s not a human being alive who doesn’t want—in any conversation, encounter, or experience with another human being—to feel like they matter. And you can resolve any issue if you could just get to what it is that they want—they want to be heard. And they want to know that what they said to you meant something”.

 – Oprah Winfrey


I mentioned the importance of building relationships during this year’s Business Partner kick-off meeting. I believe the personal capital we expend to foster relationships is vital to our success as an organization. As we remain open and inclusive on the Board, with Membership and with our Business Partners, we can only benefit from the varied and robust network we create.

Over the past six months I’ve worked to reach out to members with whom I haven’t had much contact and asked for feedback on what we can do as a Chapter to engage them further. If I missed you, let me know. Everyone, so far has had positive comments about the Chapter and the overwhelming response I’ve received regarding participation is related to, drumroll please, time. And I get it! So I offer this. We are looking at ways to make available, at least, our educational sessions via remote access. I am also throwing out the suggestion of offering sessions before or after work. Let me know your thoughts. Also, some firms have such robust training programs, what we offer may be covered by in-firm sessions. If there are areas of growth you would like to see offered by the Chapter, let me know. The moral of this letter is simply, let me know.

This board year so far has been exciting, challenging, fast-moving, engaging, embracing and did I mention fun! I look forward to the next six months with all of you. My hope is that you have the same type of year and when something pops into your head about your profession and how the Chapter can use that idea to improve upon the profession, let me know.

Shirley Laboy

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A warm welcome to our new members Rebecca Rivera and Sylvia Iraheta. Shirley Laboy and I will be reaching out to them soon to set up a welcome lunch. In the meantime, we look forward to seeing them at our upcoming events.

Thanks to those of you who have accepted Shirley Laboy’s invitation to have lunch with us to discuss your chapter membership needs so that we are sure that we’re providing the best content and resources to you that we can. We look forward to having more of these lunches. You don’t have to be new to the Chapter; you can already know us and/or already active in the chapter; we’re excited to have lunch with as many of you as possible. These meetings have been incredibly informative for us. Plus, it’s just so darn nice to get to know everyone one-on-one!

A big shout out to Chapter Business Partner Jody Gold of LexisNexis who recently referred a potential member to us.  If you know someone who would benefit from ALA/ALA-SVC membership, please send them my way and I’ll get them all the info they need.

And if you do know someone considering membership, ALA is offering a  discount where you can join ALA through December 31, 2017 for $99 — plus, a 60-day additional window to renew in 2018. That’s six months of membership for the lowest rate offered this year. (Membership at midyear is regularly $129 to $249.) In order to take advantage of this promotion, you would need to join online through a special portal at The offer expires October 10.

But wait, there’s more!  The ALA-SVC also has a promotion that if you join now, your $75 chapter membership will run through the end of 2018. If you know anyone who was thinking about joining, there’s no better time than now.

By the time you read this, either the 2017-18 Membership Directory will be published or it will soon be on its way. A surprising number of you (for Silicon Valley) have opted to receive a hard copy of the Directory, proving that many of us are still more comfortable flipping through information like this in our little hands.

To access the online version of the Directory, go to the website (, log in at the Member Area, and click on the Member Directory link.

As Mohammad Yunus said, “While technology is important, it’s what we do with it that truly matters.” So take advantage of this valuable resource.

One final note: I’ve always been proud to be a member of this organization but never more than recently when one local chapter put out a challenge to other chapters to contribute $5 per member toward Hurricane Harvey relief. The ALA-SVC met this challenge with a $350 contribution. When it was all said and done, the local chapters and the ALA headquarters office contributed in the neighborhood of $25,000 to the effort. It’s a great group of people. Hurray for ALA!

Heather Larrick, Director - Membership 

Heather Larrick

ALA Member Special $99

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

Join before October 10, 2017 and 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? ι Silicon Valley Chapter

Video by ALASVC Gigabyte Sponsor Michael Crocker, Rezi Media

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Address Changes

Help us keep your member record up-to-date by contacting both ALA Headquarters and the Silicon Valley Chapter if you have a change in name, employer, address, phone number, email address, professional designation, or job title.


  1. To update your ALA Headquarters membership record, log in to your profile at and update your profile under My Account, or go to

  2. To update your Silicon Valley Chapter membership record, log in to your profile at and update your profile in the Member Area, or go to Your default log-in is your membership ID. You can select Forgot Password to change your password. 


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Gigabyte Level Business Partners

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Business Partners

The annual Business Partner Appreciation Event was held on August 30 at Kilpatrick Townsend in Menlo Park. With nearly 40 attendees, we got down and 'sugary' in a very fierce cake decorating competition. Challenges included “blind” designers and timed decorating. Six teams competed to be the best, and two came out on top! You would think the cake entitled, “Business Partners are 1 in a Melon,” (melon décor) would’ve won, but no, it was the summer-filled themed cake with a dog on a surf-board.

As fall and winter approach, continue to show your appreciation to our Business Partners. To find the entire list of this year’s Business Partners, visit our chapter website:

Sarah Ferguson, Chair - Business Partner Relations

 ALA Silicon Valley Chapter Business Partners
August 1, 2017 -- July 31, 2018

* * * *
Gigabyte Level
Adams & Martin Group
Rezi Media

* * * * *
Megabyte Level
Ricoh USA
Robert Half Legal
* * * * *
Kilobyte Level
City National Bank
Cushman & Wakefield
Element Professional Staffing
First Legal
Gateway Global
Interior Architects

IST Management Services
KBM Hogue
LegalEase, LLC
Pathways Personnel, Inc.
S. L. Pemberton, Inc.
Toeniskoetter Construction, Inc.
* * * * *
Friends Level
Ahern Insurance
Boston Private
Canon Business Process Services, Inc.
CBRE - Tenant Advisory Services
Chipman Relocation

DFS Green

Nidaan Systems

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Diversity & Inclusion

27 years ago, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA). This federal law seeks to ensure the civil rights of people with disabilities by providing them with equal opportunity, equal access, and equal treatment. While much as been done as a result of this landmark law, there is still work to do. Click here to read an article which concludes with the White House’s “25 Suggestions for Employers on Improving Disability Inclusion.” 


[National Coming Out Day (NCOD) Logo created and donated by Keith Haring to the Human Rights Campaign.]

October 11th marks the 29th anniversary of National Coming Out Day. This day was first celebrated in the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Artist and activist Keith Haring created this cheerful image of a person dancing out of the closet; it is now used throughout the world to celebrate National Coming Out Day! October is a time for law firm leaders to celebrate, raise awareness, and continue to strive for full civil rights for all.


Grace Carr Lee, Chair - Diversity & Inclusion Committee





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Community Service


ALASVC enthusiastically supports the Association's Community Connection, a global outreach effort to assist the volunteer organizations in our own neighborhoods, participating every year since inception.

In July, ALASVC supported the Ronald McDonald House.

Fourteen ALA Silicon Valley Chapter members and Business Partners proudly prepped and served a bistro dinner of pork chops and more to 123 families at the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford (RMHS). RMHS provides a safe, supportive community for up to 123 families relocating to Palo Alto to access treatment for their children at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. It's great that our chapter is able to give back.

Thank you to all of the volunteers for giving up their precious time for this worthy cause/event!

To view all the photos of the Ronald McDonald House event, click here


In September, ALASVC joined the Golden Gate and East Bay Chapters to support Coastal Cleanup Day.

We had a great day on Saturday, September 16th, as over 40 members of the ALA Silicon Valley, Golden Gate, and East Bay chapters got together for a Coastal Beach Clean-up event in Half Moon Bay at Maverick’s beach. Including 20 of our SVC members, we cleaned trash off the beach.

Grace “eagle eyes” Carr Lee wins the prize for finding the most interesting piece of trash (a lady’s undergarment). The Robert Half team came in a close second as they found men’s jockey shorts.

Afterward, some of also went for an early lunch in downtown HMB which was a BLAST spending time with members of the other Bay Area Chapters. Can you say, “networking”! Rock on, Silicon Valley Chapter!

Community involvement is definitely where it’s at!  Great job to all of the volunteers.

To view all of the Coastal Cleanup Day pictures, click here


ALA Gives Back | Coastal Cleanup Day

Video by ALASVC Gigabyte Sponsor Michael Crocker, Rezi Media




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Member Outreach


Summer Networking Event - August 30, 2017

On August 30th we held our annual Business Partner Appreciation event at Kilpatrick Townsend in Menlo Park featuring a fun cake decorating competition.

To view all the photos of the evening, click here



ALASVC Holiday Luncheon - December 6, 2017 

Our Annual Holiday Luncheon is always a good time… games, raffles, prizes, laughter, and friendship!

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
11:30 AM to 1:30 PM
180 El Camino Real - 2 Stanford Shopping Center
Palo Alto, CA 94304


Jim Karkas, Chair - Community Connection and Member Outreach


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Chapter Leadership Institute

by Debbie Sanders, Director-Website

Every year, ALA hosts a Chapter Leadership Institute (CLI) where leaders from chapters all over the country gather for an orientation, training, and networking event for chapter officers and volunteer leaders.

This year, three ALA Silicon Valley Chapter board members, Jocelyn Abisia (Chapter Secretary), Shelley Strong (Chapter Director-Professionals Development), and Debbie Sanders (Chapter Director-Website) attended CLI on behalf of the Chapter. Shelley also presented a session as a Regional Representative for Region 6 and Debbie presented a session as Chair of the ALA Certification Committee. (This meant Jocelyn was “volunteered” at every opportunity courtesy of Debbie and Shelley. We have no doubt she will be a future leader in ALA!)

CLI kicked off with an introduction of ALA leaders and an overview of ALA’s structure, demographics, members benefits, and resources available to chapter leaders. Foundation of ALA President shared an update of Foundation initiatives.

Keynote speaker, Dan Negroni, gave an energetic presentation “Empowering Chapters to Understand and Create Relevance with the Next Generation (Millennials).” (1980 – 1997) He was careful to emphasize that this was not a millennial bashing session — they are a vital part of our workforce and we can learn a lot from them. Instead of the Golden Rule, Millennials prefer the Platinum Rule: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” Primarily, they want the ability to learn and grow, authenticity, and transparency. (Sounds like something all of us would like to have.) Negroni emphasized the most important life skill is relationship building.

Another stand out session for us was “How to Become a Social Media Rock Star.” The big takeaway there was that everyone should give social media a try and a post does not need to be perfect. The best way to begin is to target a client, find content, then say something nice about them. Help other people look good and you will be a social media rock star. (You can try your hand at social media by joining the conversation on the ALASVC Facebook page and LinkedIn page.)

To view our shorthand notes, click here.

On behalf of the entire ALASVC Board, we encourage you to get involved in your ALA Silicon Valley Chapter and volunteer for leadership positions in ALA. Contact Chapter President, Shirley Laboy.

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Professional Development

Upcoming Education Sessions:

October 19, 2017 - Morrison & Foerster, Palo Alto

12:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Speaker:  Ellen (Ellie) Krug
Session Title: Gray Area Thinking
Session Description:

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

1.  awareness of another human’s vulnerability or suffering;
2.  risk-taking to alleviate or lessen that vulnerability or suffering; and
3.  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 and toolkit 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.

MCLE Elimination of Bias Credit Provided by the Santa Clara County Bar Association's Diversity Committee. 

We encourage you to invite the attorneys in your firm!  


November 15, 2017 - Hoge Fenton, San Jose
Administrators' Roundtable


Questions about educational sessions, or do you have a topic to suggest?
Please contact Shelley Strong, Director - Professional Development

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Annual Conference

Navigate Our Future Together

Join us for the 2018 Annual Conference & Expo 
in National Harbor, Maryland!

Thursday, May 3 to Sunday, May 6, 2018

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center


Find more event details here:

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Regional Conferences & Specialty Conferences

Storytelling, Finance, Cybersecurity, Integrity, The Unspoken Word. 

The ALA Conferences are a unique one-stop shop to absorb much of what our positions call for.  But I find the Regional Conferences are extra special due to the size of the Conference.  This environment brings about an almost necessity to engage in the sessions and with each other.  Not that this is an issue with many of us, but attending these conferences brings you closer to the topics and who may have a resource to assist with your pressing need.

The Regional Conference also provides an opportunity to get in a setting with your mostly local cohorts to commiserate and dish on issues near and dear to your professional heart.   

These photos were taken from the closing general session: Humor! Paul Huschilt's Outlandishly Fun, Five-Step Program for Workplace Wellness. 

Regional Conferences

Regional Legal Management Conference -
West Regions 4, 5, 6

September 7-9, 2017
Venetian Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada

Regional Legal Management Conference -
East Regions 1, 2, 3
October 12-14, 2017 
Renaissance Nashville, Nashville, Tennesse


Specialty Conferences 

IP Conference for Legal Professionals
October 5-6, 2017
Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, Illinois

HR Conference for Legal Professionals
October 5-7, 2017
Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, Illinois

Finance Conference for Legal Professionals
October 5-7, 2017
Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, Illinois


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


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Certification (CLM)

What's New

The Certified Legal Manager (CLM)® program has several things in the works:

  • A new CLM study guide is in development. Subject matter experts are developing specific modules and ALA has engaged and adult learning and certification expert to assist in completing the study guide.
  • Increased visibility of the credentials through the creation of press release template for firms and chapters to use to congratulate their successful certification candidates.
  • Enhanced communications to managing partners and chapters when candidates pass the exam. 

The application deadline for the next exam is March 8, 2018, for the May 8 exam. 

For more information about Certification, visit

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ALA News & Resources


Your ALA membership provides numerous valuable benefits, including robust webinars. For more information about upcoming webinars offered, visit

Learn more about ALA resources.

Visit our news feed on the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter website.

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Job Bank

ALA Members (all) and Business Partners of the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter may post available job openings in a legal-related field.

Job listings must include contact information to reply to a listing. The Chapter does not collect applications. Job listings are posted for 3 months unless an alternative expiration or extension date is requested.

To view current opportunities or submit a job listing, click here.

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Social Media: Join the Conversation

Stay Connected With Your Silicon Valley Chapter Colleagues

Website  For the latest announcements and up-to-the-minute information on events, be sure to visit often! The website is a great resource to help you locate other members, contact our business partners, and update your own contact information.

Member Area Login:  The default ID is your email address on file. Select “forgot password” to reset your password if you do not have it. Please contact if you have trouble logging into the Member Area of the website. 

Discussion Groups  Consistently rated the best benefit of ALASVC membership is the ability to seek advice and “therapy” from fellow members.  Even if you are not able to participate in the monthly educational lunches on a regular basis, you can still be an active chapter member by joining the conversation in the chapter’s discussion groups!

  • [NEW] Facebook (for members and business partners): Join your ALA SVC Board members in sharing knowledge and inspiration to elevate the legal management profession. The Chapter will be sharing information about the Chapter and the Association, including video and photos of events. To find our page, search "ALA Silicon Valley Chapter."
  • LinkedIn (for members and business partners): As thought-leaders in the business of law, our members and business partners are in the trenches of the latest legal management trends and issues. Please share interesting articles, ideas, expertise, and concepts with your fellow members and business partners on our chapter’s LinkedIn page! Instructions and guidelines for participation in the group can be found on the LinkedIn Group Guidelines* page. To find our page, search "Association of Legal Administrators - Silicon Valley Chapter."
  • Discussion Group (for ALASVC members-only). Need a high-end caterer? Looking for ride-sharing options? Need advice about remote access? Find this valuable information and more in the chapter's members-only discussion group through YahooGroups.  You will need your own (free) Yahoo account to join the private ala-svc group, which includes access to all of the discussion archives. Instructions and guidelines for participation in the group can be found on the Discussion Group Guidelines* page.

  • ALA Online Communities (for ALA members-only):  Beyond our Chapter, another resource for seeking information from fellow ALA members around the country can be found in the new online communities. Visit, select Communities in the top-center tab, and log in or go to  In the Shared Interest Groups, you can access topics on Diversity Issues, Financial Issues, Human Resources, Information Technology (includes Privacy & Data Security), Intellectual Property (IP), Nonprofit / Public Interest Legal Professionals, Personal Injury Plaintiff, and Certified Legal Managers. Our chapter has its own group as well, which we are currently using to submit board meeting minutes. To find the Silicon Valley Chapter Group, go to Communities and select Chapters. 

    *Please take care to adhere to antitrust guidelines related to rates and pricing, and please refrain from sharing messages outside the discussion group without the author’s express permission.

     Questions? Contact Debbie Sanders, Director - Website

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Chapter Board & Committees


Chapter President:  Shirley Laboy
Office Manager  •  Sidley Austin 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

reasurer:  Lisa Hild
Secretarial Services & Operations Group Manager  •  Skadden, Arps, Meagher & Flom LLP

Secretary:  Jocelyn Abisia
Silicon Valley Office Administrator  • Cooley LLP
Director - Communications:  
Thea Wagner, CLM

Executive Assistant/Office Manager  •  Singularity 

Director - Membership:  Heather Larrick, CLM, SPHR
Bay Area Office Administrator  •  Thoits Law

- Professional Development / Law Association Outreach: Shelley Strong
Office Administrator  •  Littler Mendelson PC

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, Cooley 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.

CELEBRATING 35 YEARS  •  •  1982 - 2017



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Megabyte Level Business Partners




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Editorial Policy

"The Download" is a publication for members of the Silicon Valley Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators to provide information for the education and benefit of legal administrators. The Editor welcomes articles, letters, suggestions, and comments.  Opinions expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ALA SVC or its members. Reprinting of any portion of this newsletter by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, is prohibited without the express permission of both the Editor and the author.

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About Us

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.


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

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.

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!

ALA Silicon Valley Chapter:

ALA Headquarters:

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