January 2019 Print

President's Report


I love my role in this ALA Community and sadly my time as President of the Silicon Valley Chapter is coming to a close.  It has truly been a privilege to work with this inspiring, creative and brilliant Board.  To engage with the members and Business Partners of this Chapter, directly or indirectly is an incredible experience.

I have great pride for this Chapter and know our professional are as challenging as they are rewarding.  Rarely does this Community say “no” and I could count on them to attend events, pull together announcements, tell me what my next steps were, moderate roundtables all while letting me be me.

Though my time as President is ending, I will remain in a supporting role and look forward to working with the incoming Board.  I want to be the first to welcome Jocelyn Abisia as the incoming President.  This community is in very capable hands. 

Shirley Laboy
President, ALASVC

Shirley Laboy, President 


Back to top

Terabyte Level Business Partner


Back to top


Please welcome new members Denise Ford, Operations Administrator at Hayes Beffel Wolfeld (Half Moon Bay) and Patrice Brill, Controller at Berliner Cohen (San Jose).


Shirley Laboy and I continue to try to arrange lunches with new members and members who do not actively attend events so that we can get to know you and see if the Chapter is meeting members’ needs. There’s no need to wait to hear from us: if you would like to meet with members of the Chapter’s leadership to ask all your burning questions, just send me an email and we’ll get something calendared. Lunch is on us!


Hope to see you all at an ALA-SVC event soon!!

Heather Larrick

Heather Larrick,
Director - Membership 

We Want You Back! 2019 Dues Renewal

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.

You should have received an invoice by email to renew your chapter membership. If not, please contact Heather Larrick. 

Renew your ALASVC membership today.

Members of the chapter must be members of the Association - Renew your ALA international membership today. (separately). 


Back to top

Member Outreach


Jim Karkas, Chair
Community Connection and Member Outreach

Annual Holiday Luncheon 2018

On December 6th, our ALA Silicon Valley Chapter got together for the annual holiday party to celebrate another glorious chapter year. This year, close to 60 members and Business Partners attended. The event was held at Flemings Steakhouse in Palo Alto so the food was outstanding.

This year’s fun networking energizer game consisted of each table performing a 3 minute theme related exercise, with music, that included dancing to YMCA, jogging in place to Flashdance song Maniac, doing the bunny hop, doing the hokey pokey, doing the chicken dance and finally, performing itsy bitsy spider which was ultimately the winning table. Seeing your colleagues do the itsy bitsy spider was something I will not forget soon….

At the end, we toasted and celebrated outgoing two-time President Shirley Laboy. She has guided us through another award winning ALA chapter year and we THANK her for it! 

I hope everyone enjoyed themselves! 

Save the Date

Winter Networking Event

March 14, 5:15 PM - 7:30 PM

Stein's Beer Garden, Mountain View


Back to top

2018-2019 Business Partners

We thank our business partners for their generous support which enables us to offer our members many benefits such as educational seminars, conference scholarships, and networking opportunities.


Terabyte-level Business Partner

Megabyte-level Business Partner

Kilobyte-level Business Partner

Friends-level Business Partner


Mutually Beneficial Partnerships

Even if you do not have a need for their services at the moment, we hope you will strive to meet all of our distinguished Chapter Business Partners -- building a positive business relationship and understanding their services is advantageous when you need a product or service at a moment's notice.  Business partners are an important resource for legal management professionals to perform their jobs, plan for the future, and build their knowledge about changes and trends in products and services for the success of their firms.


Back to top

Diversity & Inclusion

The world is rich with our celebrations of diversity. Check out some diversity holidays coming up for January and February :

January 1:

  • The last day of Kwanzaa, an African-American holiday started by Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate universal African-American heritage.
  • New Year, the first day of the year according to the modern Gregorian calendar, celebrated within most Western countries.
  • Feast Day of St. Basil, a holiday observed by the Eastern Orthodox Church, commemorating the death of Saint Basil the Great.
  • Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, which is celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church, commemorates the naming of the child Jesus.

January 2-4: Mahayana New Year, a holiday celebrated by the Mahayana Buddhist branch, on the first full-moon day in January.

January 5: Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s birthday, the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs who initiated the Sikhs as the Khalsa (the pure ones).

January 5: Twelfth Night, a festival celebrated by some branches of Christianity that marks the coming of the Epiphany.

January 6: 

  • Epiphany or Dia de los Reyes (Three Kings Day), a holiday observed by Eastern and Western Christians that recognizes the visit of the three wise men to the baby Jesus 12 days after his birth.
  • Christmas, recognized on this day by Armenian Orthodox Christians, who celebrate the birth of Jesus on Epiphany.

January 7: Christmas, recognized on this day by Eastern Orthodox Christians, who celebrate Christmas 13 days later than other Christian churches because they follow the Julian calendar.

January 13: Bodhi Day, a holiday observed by Buddhists to commemorate Gautama’s enlightenment under the Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya, India.

January 13: Maghi, an annual festival celebrated by the Sikhs commemorating the memory of 40 Sikh martyrs.

January 15: Makar Sankranti, a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India.

January 18-25: The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, during which Christians pray for unity between all churches of the Christian faith.

January 19: Timkat, a holiday observed by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians who celebrate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River on Epiphany.

January 20: World Religion Day, observed by those of the Bahá’í faith to promote interfaith harmony and understanding.

January 20-21 (sundown to sundown): Tu B’shevat, a Jewish holiday recognizing “The New Year of the Trees.” It is celebrated on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat.

January 21: Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorates the birth of Martin Luther King Jr., the recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and an activist for nonviolent social change until his assassination in 1968.

January 21: Armenian Martyrs’ Day recognizes the genocide of approximately 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923 in Turkey.

January 21-23: Mahayana New Year, a holiday celebrated by the Mahayana Buddhist branch on the first full-moon day in January.

January 26: Republic Day of India recognizes the date the Constitution of India came into law in 1950, replacing the Government of India Act of 1935. This day also coincides with India’s 1930 declaration of independence.

January 27: The International Day of Commemoration to remember the victims of the Holocaust. The anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945 and U.N. Holocaust Memorial Day.

January 27 (sundown to sundown): Holocaust Remembrance Day, a time to “mourn the loss of lives, celebrate those who saved them, honor those who survived, and contemplate the obligations of the living.” — Former President Barack Obama


February is Black History Month in the United States and Canada. Designated in 1976 to remember the contributions of people of the African diaspora.

February 1: National Freedom Day, which celebrates the signing of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery in 1865.

February 2: Candlemas – A Christian holiday that celebrates three occasions according to Christian belief: the presentation of the child Jesus; Jesus’ first entry into the temple; and Virgin Mary’s purification.

February 2: Imbolc, a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring.

February 2: St. Brigid of Kildare, feast day for St. Brigid celebrated by some Christian denominations.

February 3: St. Blaise Day (The Blessing of the Throats), the feast day of St. Blaise of Sebaste celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church and some Eastern Catholic churches.

February 3: Setsubun-Sai (Beginning of Spring), the day before the beginning of spring in Japan, celebrated yearly as part of the Spring Festival.

February 3: Four Chaplains Sunday commemorates the 55th anniversary of the sinking of the United States army transport Dorchester and the heroism of the four chaplains aboard.

February 5: Lunar New Year, one of the most sacred of all traditional Chinese holidays, a time of family reunion and celebration. Lunar New Year is also celebrated at this time in Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Mongolia.

February 5-6: Losar, the Tibetan Buddhist New Year, a time of renewal through sacred and secular practices.

February 8 or February 15: Nirvana Day, the commemoration of Buddha’s death at the age of 80, when he reached the zenith of Nirvana.

February 14: St. Valentine’s Day, a Western Christian feast day honoring one or two early saints named Valentinus.

February 18: Presidents Day, a federally recognized celebration in the United States of George Washington’s birthday, as well as every president proceeding Washington.

February 19: Lantern Festival, the first significant feast after the Chinese New Year, named for watching Chinese lanterns illuminate the sky during the night of the event.

February 19: Magha Puja Day, a Buddhist holiday that marks an event early in the Buddha’s teaching life when a group of 1,250 enlightened saints, ordained by the Buddha, gathered to pay their respect to him.

February 26-March 1: Intercalary Days, celebrated by people of the Bahá’í faith. At this time, days are added to the Bahá’í calendar to maintain their solar calendar.


Knowledge of cultural and religious holidays and celebrations may enhance your workplace diversity & inclusion efforts.


Jannelly Sussman, Chair - Diversity & Inclusion Committee



Back to top


5 Ways to Successfully Sponsor Women and Minority Employees

From Legal Management, the magazine of ALA. January 2019

When I started in BigLaw, I didn’t know how to succeed. I didn’t even know what success looked like. Partner? There weren’t a whole lot of black women partners around. Something else that wasn’t partner? It wasn’t clear what those other options were.

But I was lucky. I found myself working with senior leaders who liked my work and consistently promoted me, advocated for me, and provided me with challenging assignments aimed at helping me grow. Traditionally, they would have been called mentors. But recently, we have realized that those leaders who play the role of advocate, coach, guide and enforcer are far more than mentors — they’re sponsors.

Sponsors get their proteges high-profile work, promotions and a seat at the decision table. They provide their protoges with access to exclusive networks, broadcast their achievements to senior executives, and ensure that they have the stretch assignments they need to succeed.

Sponsorship — not mentorship — is the true route to success in the workplace. And that’s precisely where issues of race and gender arise. See, throughout corporate America, white men run the show. They are in every position of leadership at every level throughout every industry in this nation. With few exceptions, sponsors — the ones who have the power in an organization and the ability to effectively utilize it — will be white men. And when they choose their proteges, they frequently choose people who look a lot like them.

Even more problematic are the assumptions made about the people who don’t look like them, implicit biases that are not explicitly recognized or said out loud. When an assumption is made about who is more competent, who is more dedicated, or who has better leadership skills, that assumption is not often made in favor of the woman or minority professional.

That’s why it’s critical to understand how to sponsor women and minority employees with particular focus on overcoming the biases that these employees face. Here are five actions that sponsors should take to ensure their sponsoring relationships are successful.

Continue reading...

Back to top

Professional Development

January 24, 2019
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Legal Management Roundtable Discussion

Sullivan & Cromwell
1870 Embarcadero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303


If you have a topic you would like to add, please send your idea to Shelley Strong today.

COST: No charge, members only

RSVP: Please REGISTER no later than January 21, 2019.


Back to top

Certification (CLM)


Heather Larrick, CLM, SPHR

Debbie Sanders, CLM

Thea Wagner, CLM


Spring: May 13, 2019 (application due March 13, 2019)

Fall: November 4, 2019 (application due September 4, 2019)



Competencies of Legal Administrators

In order to determine the competencies of legal administrators, ALA periodically conducts practice analysis studies. These studies identify the tasks and related knowledge, skill and other abilities (KSAs) required for exemplary day-to-day performance in the profession. They are important to legal management professionals because:

  • They document what is essential for successfully managing a law firm, including reassessing job requirements that may result from technological, societal, or regulatory changes.
  • They present a consensus of the people who do the work and others that are affected by it, such as employers.
  • They provide quantitative data that allows for comparisons among tasks and competencies.
  • They serve as the foundation for all of ALA's education and professional development programs.
  • They provide statistically valid data on which to base the Certified Legal Manager (CLM)SM exam.

ALA conducted its first comprehensive national practice analysis of the legal management profession in 1995, with periodic updates since then. The latest study was completed in the fall of 2012.

The resulting 65 competencies are available: 

The CLM exam is based on the competencies from this practice analysis. It was determined that 38 of the competencies are suitable to test in a multiple choice format. There are 14 competencies that are not suitable in multiple choice format, so they are the pre-requisite courses required in the application. The other 13 are ranked low in importance.


Back to top

ALA Conferences


ALA East Bay Chapter's 2019 Educational Conference

January 25, 2019
7:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Lafayette Park Hotel


  • 2019 Employment Law Update
  • Building Trust in Communication
  • Elevating Team Performance

2019 ALA Annual Conference & Exposition

April 14-17, 2019
Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center
Grapevine, TX


This is ALA's premier event, offering education is all areas of legal management including communication, human resources, finance, technology, operations, business management, and more.

Register by February 4 to save $200.


  • Keynote Speaker Molly Fletcher, hailed as the “female Jerry Maguire,” is a trailblazer and is sure to inspire attendees with her business wisdom, relationship brilliance and unwavering optimism. She spent two decades as one of the world’s only female sports agents — and is one of the most successful in the modern era to boot.
  • General Session speaker Nicole Malachowski, the first female Thunderbird pilot, is an experienced leader with an incredible life story of overcoming hardship and achieving seemingly impossible dreams. Every obstacle she encountered she saw as an opportunity to grow.
  • The Exhibit Hall will provide an excellent opportunity to visit with valuable business partners who are already invested in your firm’s success, as well as explore new products and services offered by other industry experts.

Legal Lean Sigma® and Project Management
Yellow Belt Certification Course

Grapevine, Texas - April 18-19, 2019

This two-day program includes lectures, exercises, simulations, videos, discussions, group and table-team work, and demonstrations covering key Process Improvement (PI) methodologies (Lean, Six Sigma), tools and concepts, and the stages of Project Management (PM).

The course is constructed so that each table-team selects a legal or business process to use for the workshop components of the course and then engages in exercises that facilitate the ability to learn and apply concepts and tools in the context of that process. We incorporate examples and case studies from law firms and legal departments to enhance understanding.

New Fall Events

Using member feedback and industry research, ALA is recasting our content and education strategy to be learning-needs driven. This enables us to deliver education events that align with what our members say they want:

  • New experiences that are forward-thinking and innovative
  • Deep dive, in-depth workshops
  • More diverse education experiences across all our offerings

In 2019, ALA is introducing two all-new, in-person event experiences that feature unique educational content at a lower price point and shorter event duration.

C4: The Legal Industry Conference
Boston, MA - September 2019

This design lab is open to representatives from all sectors of the legal industry — bringing together clients, lawyers, legal management professionals, legal technologists, business development and marketing experts, and others to collaboratively develop solutions to legal industry challenges. 

ALA Master Class: Leadership for Legal Management Professionals
Seattle, WA - October 2019

The ALA Leadership-Focused Conference will focus on high-level leadership/management skills essential for success in today’s legal market. 


Back to top

ALA News & Resources



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

Learn more about ALA resources.

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

Back to top

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.


Back to top

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 alasvc.org 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 webmaster@alasvc.org 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: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.
  • [NEW] YouTube: The Chapter will share fun and informative videos about our Chapter and the legal management profession. To find our channel, 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 alanet.org, select Communities in the top-center tab, and log in or go to community.alanet.org.  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


Back to top

Chapter Board & Committees


Chapter President:  Shirley Laboy
Office Manager  •  Sidley Austin LLP

President-Elect:  Jocelyn Abisia
Office Administrator  •  Cooley LLP 

reasurer:  Lisa Hild

Secretarial Services & Operations Group Manager  •  Skadden, Arps, Meagher & Flom LLP

Secretary:  Sylvia Iraheta
Office Coordinator  • O'Melveny & Myers LLP
Director - Communications:  
Thea Wagner, CLM

 Paralegal  •  Hoge Fenton

Director - Membership:  Heather Larrick, CLM, SPHR
Executive Director  •  Thoits Law

- Professional Development
and 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
Senior Firm Administrator   •  Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Diversity & Inclusion: Jannelly D. Sussman
Operations Manager   •  Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP

Newsletter Editor: Christie Ernst
Office Manager   •  Fish & Richardson PC

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 36 YEARS  •  alasvc.org  •  1982 - 2018



Back to top

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 alanet.org and update your profile under My Account, or go to http://www.alanet.org/myaccount/default.aspx#MemberInfo

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

Back to top

Megabyte Level Business Partners




Back to top

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.

Christie Ernst
Newsletter Editor


Back to top

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:  alasvc.org

ALA Headquarters:  alanet.org

Back to top