March 2017 Print

President's Report

When I think of ALA as an organization and especially the local Chapter, I think of how much I’ve grown professionally with this group.  The access to a knowledge base of this caliber is only matched by the wit and camaraderie of the people associated with this group.

As we move into the new Board year, I would like to focus mainly on visibility.  Visibility of the Chapter, Members and, of course, our Business Partners. 

How does this happen?  This is where I need your help.  What is it that you do to bring the organization to the attention of your legal community?  Do your attorneys and internal managers know the resource opportunities our Chapter and Business Partners can provide? This is what we, as a Board, will work on.

I look forward to seeing and working with all of you during the year and you will hear from me directly from time-to-time. 

Shirley Laboy- Chapter President




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HP Will Withhold Fees From Some Law Firms That Do Not Meet Diversity Requirements

HP is taking steps to emphasize the importance of diversity in the law firms it hires. The Silicon Valley tech giant recently announced it will withhold up to 10% of all amounts invoiced by law firms that do not meet its diversity requirements. This action – which is more than just talk – finally forces law firms to put teeth into their diversity policies.

 For the full article, click here: 
(Linked by permission from Corporate Counsel magazine.)

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When agreeing to take on the role of Diversity Chair, I asked, “What does a Diversity Chair do?” and was told, “It can look however you want it to look.” Alrighty, then!

It seems to me that first and foremost, our Chapter membership could stand to increase its diversity. Amusingly, this means increasing our numbers of male and younger members, among others. Second, many of our member firms are small and mid-sized, and therefore don’t have Diversity Officers on staff.

I hope to find a few ways the Chapter can help support your diversity efforts within your law firms. If you have great ideas for speakers, events, activities, articles, or anything at all, please contact me! I look forward to hearing from you.

Grace Carr Lee, Diversity Chair

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Gigabyte Level Business Partner


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We’ve just completed our annual membership renewal drive. A huge thanks to all of you who renewed your membership. I am sure that, like me, you will find the return on investment value of your membership to far exceed the cost. The best way to get the biggest bang for your membership buck is to take full advantage of your membership benefits by attending our monthly professional development events (free to members); belonging to our email distribution list (free to members); joining us for a quarterly networking events (free to members); browsing through our annual membership directory (free to members) and more. If you have questions about how to get the most out of your membership, please do not hesitate to contact me.

This month’s membership benefit focus is on our monthly professional development/educational events. We schedule events in the five areas outlined by the ALA as core competencies for legal management professionals: HR, Finance, Communication and Organizational Management, Operations Management, and Legal Industry/Business Management. You’ll hear from subject matter experts and be able to learn from them, as well as your colleagues, about trends in law office management. As you probably caught above, these events are free for members.

We’ll hope you’ll join us at an event soon!

Heather Larrick, Director - Membership 

Heather Larrick


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Sponsor Spotlight


About Armanino’s Law Firms Services Group

Armanino has been a trusted partner to law firms for 30 years, guiding them through the complex issues facing this mature industry.  It is the only firm in the Western U.S. with a combined consulting and accounting practice that is exclusively dedicated to serving the business needs of law firms.  Armanino's experienced professionals provide a full spectrum of advisory services including strategic planning, partner compensation design, profitability analysis & benchmarking, operating process improvement, mergers & acquisitions support and tax services for law firms and their partners.  

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Business Partners

Beginning this month, the new Chair, Business Partner Relations is Sarah Ferguson.

Please contact Sarah with any new/potential Business Partners for the Chapter or with any questions about our current program. She can be reached at or 650-815-2600.


ALA Silicon Valley Chapter Business Partners
August 1, 2016 -- July 31, 2017

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Gigabyte Level
Adams & Martin Group
CBRE, Inc.
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Megabyte Level
Ricoh USA
Robert Half Legal
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Kilobyte Level
City National Bank
Cushman & Wakefield
Element Professional Staffing
First Legal Network
Gateway Global
IST Management Services
KBM Workspace
Kearney Boyle & Associates, Inc.
LegalEase, LLC
Pathways Personnel, Inc.
S. L. Pemberton, Inc.
Skyline Construction
Toeniskoetter Construction, Inc.
* * * * *
Friends Level
ABA Retirement Funds
Ahern Insurance
Anson's Catering
Boston Private
Canon Business Process Services, Inc.
Chipman Relocation & Logistics
DFS Green
First Republic Bank
VVA Project Managers & Consultants
World Wise Intercultural Training & Resources

Sara Ferguson, Chair - Business Partner Relations

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Professional Development

Please Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Professional Development Events:

May 18, 2017
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
2017 The Current State of Long Term Care

Megan Fromm from LTC Solutions 
Davis Polk & Wardwell, Menlo Park


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

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Events around the Bay

On March 10, 2017  the 2017-2018 ALA SVC Board held their retreat at Tacolicious in Palo Alto.  There was much fun had by all!



ALA SVC Winter (February) Networking event - 26 members and business partners got a chance to mingle and network at Steins Beer Garden in Mountain View. We had our own room and servers which we kept busy delivering great food and drink.

We continue our goal to have quarterly mix and mingle Silicon Valley Chapter social events for our most excellent chapter. Our next event will be in the spring with a tentative date of May 4th, place TBD. May the 4th be with you! Save the DATE!

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Upcoming Conferences

Dear friends and colleagues,

On behalf of your 2017 Annual Conference Committee, I would like to welcome you to the 2017 Annual Conference & Expo in Denver, Colorado. Our theme of “Elevate Your Potential” could not have a more suitable backdrop for our time together. We are looking forward to forging new relationships, strengthening existing ties, engaging in robust learning, and recognizing individuals who have contributed to our success. Continue reading.

Shelley Strong
2017 Annual Conference & Expo Planning Committee Chair

2017 Annual Conference & Expo

April 2-5, 2017
Colorado Convention Center
Denver, CO

*Chaired by ALA Silicon Valley Chapter member, Shelley Strong

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On behalf of the ALA Silicon Valley Chapter, we would like to applaud our very own chapter member and friend, Shelley Strong, for all of her hard work putting together an outstanding team and what will undoubtedly be an excellent conference in Denver. 

We look forward to enjoying every moment with you and we wish you great success! 

All our best,

the Board, Business Partners, and members of your ALA Silicon Valley Chapter.

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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 the resources offered by ALA here.

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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.

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Chapter Board & Committees



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



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Social Media: Join the Conversation


Stay Connected With Your Silicon Valley Chapter Colleagues Silicon Valley Chapter 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!

  • 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.

  • 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 login.  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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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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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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