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ALA Chicago Conference
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When: October 4th, 2019
10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Where: The Kimpton Gray Hotel
122 W. Monroe Street
Chicago, Illinois  60603
United States
Contact: ALA Chicago Staff
(888) 667-6430
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Cultivate Connections. Grow Your Career.

Join your ALA colleagues and Business Partners on Friday, October 4th for the ALA Chicago Conference. This half-day conference will be packed with education sessions and networking. Lots of opportunities for connections and growth at the stately Kimpton Gray Hotel, conveniently located in the Financial District of downtown Chicago.

Members: $100

Non-Members/Guests: $125


Agenda at a Glance

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Registration Open
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Coffee Connections with Business Partners*
(Coffee & continental breakfast will be served)
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Dr. Sharon Meit Abrahams presents Using Your Power: How to be More Assertive
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM Julie Morgenstern presents
Making Work, Work: Counter-Intuitive Keys to Productivity

(Lunch will be served at noon; 1st Grand Prize Giveaway)
1:30 PM - 2:50 PM Business Partner Networking Session
2:50 PM - 3:00 PM Break
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Breakout Sessions:

1. Practical Innovation Panel with Bill Mech, Roberto Vicente, Jeff Krause, and Mary Gibbard

2. Employment Law Update with David Michael

4:00 PM - 4:10 PM Break
4:10 PM - 5:00 PM

Julie Morgenstern presents
You've Attended the Conference...Now Make Work, Work

(including 2nd Grand Prize Raffle Giveaway)

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM Cocktail Reception


* Participants of the Coffee Connections will receive an extra raffle ticket for the raffle prize giveaway!


Using Your Power: How to be More Assertive

Do you want to command a stronger presence at work or develop a more balanced outlook on life?Do you want communication respectfully to achieve your goals? Do you want to stop losing your cool at work? This session can help. Together we will explore assertive behavior and communication skills that you can apply every day. Being assertive means expressing yourself effectively and standing up for your point of view, while respecting others.

During this program we will:

  • Differentiate between non-assertiveness, aggressiveness and assertiveness behaviors
  • Learn both verbal and non-verbal assertiveness skills
  • Practice being more assertive in everyday situations

Assertiveness can be the antidote to fear, shyness, passivity, and even anger. Join us to feel more in control.


Meet Dr. Sharon Meit Abrahams

Dr. Sharon Meit Abrahams is a legal talent development expert helping lawyers improve their performance, productivity and profitability through skill assessments, coaching and interactive workshops. For over 25 years Dr. Abrahams has designed, implemented and managed every aspect of the services that firms offer to support and develop their legal talent. From an attorney’s first day to their last at a firm, Dr. Abrahams has a service or workshop that will enhance their engagement and success.

Dr. Abrahams has authored three books published by the American Bar Association and over 60 articles related to professional and business development in the legal profession. Dr. Abrahams’ years of experience includes client relationship building, business development techniques, communication skills and management/leadership development training. She has conducted over 170 seminars on a wide variety of topics for esteemed audiences at the ABA, ALA, NALP, local bar associations, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Northwestern, University of Virginia, University of Chicago and Duke Law Schools as well as others.

She was appointed to the Professional Development Committee of the Law Practice Division of the ABA and served as the chair of the Professional Development Advisory Committee of the Association of Legal Administrators.

Because of her love of teaching, Dr. Abrahams was faculty for 10 years at the Center for Management Development at Florida International University, teaching training and human resources courses. She also served as an adjunct professor in the doctoral program titled "Organizational Leadership" at Nova Southeastern University.

Dr. Abrahams has a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Education from the University of Miami and her doctorate from Nova Southeastern University. She gives back to the community by conducting workshops gratis for 501c3 organizations across the country.


Keynote Session

ALA Chicago is pleased to announce the keynote speaker for our upcoming conference in October! Julie Morgenstern will officially open our conference at noon with her luncheon session Making Work, Work: Counter-intuitive Keys to Productivity and will help us close out the conference later in the day with tips to implement what you learned during her keynote session.

Today’s intense work environment requires brand new skills to focus on what’s most important, and get things done. Based on her book, Never Check Email in the Morning, Julie offers a cutting edge approach to boosting productivity, by focusing on managing energy and brainpower to get more out of the day. Audiences learn to prioritize with confidence, create the time to concentrate in a highly distractible environment, outsmart email and interruptions, and optimize time off to ensure peak performance. 


Attendees will learn practical strategies to:

  • Achieve a better balance between proactive and reactive tasks
  • Streamline workloads to work smart, not hard
  • Conquer procrastination and perfectionism
  • Structure days for peak efficiency & effectiveness
  • Recover time for professional development, networking and personal life


Meet Julie Morgenstern

Julie Morgenstern is an organizing & productivity consultant, New York Times best-selling author, and speaker. For over 30 years, Julie has been teaching people all around the world and at all stages of life how to overcome disorganization to achieve their goals. Her mission is to free each individual to make their unique contribution to the world—by helping them design their own systems for managing time and space that feel natural and are easy to maintain. This Inside Out approach to organizing everything gives readers, listeners, and clients the energy and knowledge they need to get (and stay) organized.  Julie’s books include ORGANIZING FROM THE INSIDE OUT, NEVER CHECK EMAIL IN THE MORNING, SHED YOUR STUFF, CHANGE YOUR LIFE, and her most recent, TIME TO PARENT.


Breakout Sessions:

Employment Law Update

David Michael teaches us all about the hottest topics in human resources and employment law facing law firms, including: Marijuana in the Workplace, The New Overtime Rule, Updates on Sexual Harassment | Training and Prevention Tips, and No Salary History Laws Taking Effect

Explore cases pending at the Supreme Court and their potential impact on your workplace and examine ways to ensure your firm stays current with the latest developments in the law affecting employees.


Meet David Michael
David Michael is Chair of Gould & Ratner LLP’s Ligation practice, where he leads a diverse group of trial attorneys focusing on all areas of complex commercial disputes for public and private companies, as well as business-related disputes for closely held and family businesses. David earned his litigation stripes in the area of employment law and has represented employers in numerous employment-related lawsuits in both state and federal court. David also serves as the leader of the firm’s Human Resources and Employment Law Practice, where he draws upon his 27 years of experience in human resources management and counseling to advise employers on all varieties of employee-related issues. David is thrilled to be back presenting with the ALA, having presented an Employment Law Update at the 2018 Annual Conference in National Harbor.

Practical Innovation Panel

We could all use a little boost in finding every day improvements to make us, and our firms, more effective. In this session you will be given an overview of Practical Innovations that can be implemented at very little cost or effort. Topics to be reviewed include:

  • Simple but powerful tools used to analyze employee activities.
  • "Moneyball for Lawyers". A formula that focuses on driving profitability.
  • A secretarial assignment analysis tool to assess secretarial assignments.
  • An update on the first set of standards for the legal management profession, standards that can be used to map processes to leverage management decisions.

Panelists: Mary Gibbard, Jeff Krause, Bill Mech, and Roberto Vicente.


Mary Gibbard
Assistant and HR Manager
Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP


Jeff Krause
Affinity Consulting

  Bill Mech

Chief Operating Officer

Goldberg Kohn, Ltd.
  Roberto Vicente
Zeit Consulting
Mary Gibbard is the HR and Legal Assistant Manager for Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. She is responsible for coordinating workload and assignments for the Chicago legal assistants as well as all HR functions for the Chicago office. Mary worked in corporate law departments for much of her career before coming to the law firm world.
  Jeff is a Partner at Affinity Consulting who focuses on legal technology and law office management consulting. He is a Wisconsin based attorney who has been helping other lawyers improve their practice since 1998.   Bill is Chief Operating Officer at Goldberg Kohn, Ltd. and the founding Principal of Partner Consulting Services. He is internationally recognized as an experienced management, operations, and process improvement consultant for law firms. Bill is active within the legal management profession by serving the Association of Legal Administrators [ALA] in a variety of ways.   Roberto is the founding principal of Zeit Consulting (a Mayflower partner). He is an expert in finance, strategy, pricing, data analytics and data visualization with a long successful history at various Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups and the not-for-profit sector. He is an advocate for using data to tell stories and then to drive efficiencies through those stories.



Earn Your CLM Credits!

Using Your Power: How to Be More Assertive
  • CLM® Application Credit: - Communication Skills: 1 hour of Communication Skills
  • CLM® Recertification Credit: 1 hour in the subject area of Communications & Organizational Management (CM)

Making Work, Work (60 min) + Now Make Work, Work (30 min)
  • CLM® Application Credit: 90 minutes in Self-Management
  • CLM® Recertification Credit: 90 minutes in the subject area of Communications & Organizational Management (CM)

Employment Law Update
  • CLM® Application Credit for Functional Specialists: 1 hour in the subject area of Human Resources Management (HR) towards the additional hours required of some Functional Specialists to fulfill the CLM application.
  • CLM® Recertification Credit: 1 hour in the subject area of Human Resources Management (HR)

Practical Innovation Panel
  • CLM® Application Credit for Functional Specialists: 1 hour in the subject area of Operations Management (OM) towards the additional hours required of some Functional Specialists to fulfill the CLM application.
  • CLM® Recertification Credit: 1 hour in the subject area of Operations Management (OM)


Charitable Opportunities

Join us in supporting Loom and Bridge to Success at the ALA Chicago Conference this fall!

We are pleased to announce that Loom will have a pop-up store at the Conference where you can purchase their beautiful, handmade products. Bridge to Success will also be accepting donations of gently used professional clothing, so start cleaning out those closets now! Click HERE for the flyer including donation guidelines and dropoff locations.

We also welcome monetary donations! Your individual or firm/company donations will go directly to these organizations to further their missions! Thank you for your support of Loom and Bridge to Success!