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August 2020 - Letter from ALA Chicago President, Ken Koehn

Friday, August 28, 2020   (0 Comments)
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As I write this message, I’m reminded that this time of year would typically be filled with plans for kids going back to school, baseball playoff races, the upcoming college football season and maybe some last-minute travel before the end of summer.  This year, none of the usual seasonal guideposts remain untouched by current events.  Some days, it’s hard to even remember what day of the week it is.  But we carry on, making the most of the cards we’ve been dealt, trying to find the blessings in our “interesting times.”  To that end, I hope that you have found ALA and ALA Chicago to be a source of support and guidance these last few months.

Over the last two months, a lot has happened!

First, ALA Chicago was one of only two ALA chapters to be honored with the ALA Elevate Award.  This award recognizes chapters “whose efforts in professional development, networking and visibility demonstrate advancement in the areas of educational content, member-to-member and member-to-business partner relationships, and ALA's prominence in the legal community.”  We are thrilled that ALA sees how special a chapter we have at ALA Chicago.  The Elevate Award covers the 2019/2020 Board year, and special thanks go to the 2019/2020 Board of Directors, led so well by Chapter President Laura Sears, for their efforts and dedication.

Next, ALA held two virtual conferences: Annual Conference and CLI (Chapter Leadership Institute).  CLI was open to all ALA members for the first time.  Despite both conferences being pulled together in a matter of weeks, each was incredibly well done.  Much of the content is still available for viewing online, so check the ALA website if you were not able to attend the conferences live.

ALA also announced the roll-out of organizational pricing for 2021.  With this new pricing structure, many firms will be able to have additional employees join ALA at no additional cost.  This is a great chance to share all the benefits of ALA membership with those in your firm who previously might not have joined the Association due to budgetary constraints.  Is there a Director or Manager in your firm who already belongs to a different association (LMA, IFMA, ILTA, etc.)?  They may now also be able to join ALA for no cost.  Do you have up and coming future firm leaders who could benefit from ALA membership?  They may now be able join ALA for no cost.  Be sure to take a look at this new program, but don’t wait, as the deadline to join organizational pricing for 2021 is September 30th.  Don’t forget to have your new ALA members join ALA Chicago!

Locally, our chapter has been full of opportunities to learn and connect.  From webinars to hangouts to idea exchanges to roundtables, you are sure to find something of value on the chapter calendar.  Please check the ALA Chicago website ( often as new content is added on a very regular basis.  Chapter e-mails now go out twice a week.  Mid-Week Happenings is published on Tuesdays and News You Can Use is published on Thursdays.  Each is full of the very latest news and updates from the chapter.  If you are not receiving these e-mails, please reach out to Amanda Mehrbrodt, our Chapter Manager (, for assistance.

With education being handled so superbly by Suzie Florez and the rest of the Professional Development Team, and with in-person gatherings on hold for the foreseeable future, the chapter will now turn attention to planning virtual social events.  We all miss seeing each other, and have come up with some interesting and fun ideas to get together via Zoom.  Stay tuned for details, and yes, we have a mixologist on call to help keep the occasions festive!

Lastly, a heartfelt thank you to our amazing business partners, who have stood side-by-side with us through all the trying times of 2020.  Our chapter could not do what we do without you. Your support and loyalty are not taken for granted, and your friendship is valued more than you can know.

To all of ALA Chicago, here’s to hoping that the rest of your summer is filled with the best of “interesting times.”

Ken Koehn

ALA Chicago President