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By: Vanessa Kahn, John Berg and Scott Husaby
We are living through a time of unprecedented change. The pandemic has led workers to reexamine their personal and professional priorities creating a dramatic shift in expectations being placed upon law firm management. As business leaders we do the best we can to analyze, synthesize, and make the right decisions for our employees and companies. At the end of the day, are we satisfied with our decisions? Did we get it right? Could we be more effective leaders?
There seems to be an ever-increasing need to be more efficient and adapt to changing expectations quickly, but we are still tackling complex issues that require thoughtful and creative solutions. Whether the issue is persuading associates to want to work in the office, higher salary expectations, retainment, recruitment, diversity metrics or cybersecurity, we must examine the problem quickly and determine the best solution before we miss our opportunity.
Like many firms, the management team at Monroe Moxness Berg, P.A. is goal and results orientated. We are idea generators, and we like to think outside the box. Collectively we have a learning mindset and are focused on making ourselves, our teams, and our firm better. We spend time focused on strategic road mapping but ultimately have to be comfortable changing direction quickly as the need arises.
The more tools available for effective management, the better we can adapt and turn complex issues into opportunities that benefit all. One resource that is vital to our leadership team is the Minnesota Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALAMN). Our firm has been active in ALAMN for years and looks towards the organization for top talent in our administrative management positions as well as access to the annual salary and benefits benchmarking survey completed by the various member law firms.
On a daily basis, Firm Administrator Vanessa Kahn looks to ALAMN for insight into hot topics concerning employees and uses the list-serve to post questions for guidance on everything from popular IT vendors to drafting policy language. She uses the market data and trend information to help shape the firm’s strategic roadmap. Reaching out to the ALAMN community of law firms helps our firm save time and money by giving us a head start on issue analysis. It’s the best place to start, no matter what issue you are trying to solve.
What does ALAMN Offer?
ALAMN is a vast network of law firm leaders that share ideas, resources and experiences through education conferences and webinars, roundtables, committee meetings, networking events, and community service involvement in the Twin Cities Metro Area. It is an accumulation of years of collective legal management experience designed to showcase and share the legal management knowledge of both law firm leaders as well as business partners that service the legal community. Most importantly, it is an organization that can help individuals and law firms collaborate with others.
With roughly 200 members from more than 115 member organizations, there is a place for everyone, and we welcome any sized law firm. Our community is a team of like-minded professionals interested in finding the best solutions to every problem. We are interested in collective success and creative problem-solving solutions. While every business must choose their own path to innovation it is rarely accomplished in isolation.
Benefits for Leaders
The benefits of ALAMN for law firm mangers and leaders are plentiful beginning with legal management education. Legal management education should be conducted regularly because it challenges us to reflect on what we are doing and if it is effective. It leads us to compare ourselves to others and it offers new ways to improve. Firm administrators, directors, and managing partners alike can benefit from honing and refreshing our management skills. We benefit from being exposed to new perspectives and new methods for solving problems.
Networking with like-minded people can be valuable, just as networking between large firms and small firms can introduce ideas not previously considered. Building relationships within ALAMN can lead to your next great hire or a new partnership with a legal support vendor. Involvement in ALAMN’s community service projects or high school career fair is another way law firms can gain exposure to the large Twin Cities community to showcase your firm’s values and support of the community.
Employee retention has been challenging for many firms over the past several months. ALAMN provides insights and metrics into the salary ranges and benefit offerings throughout the industry through the annual law firm benchmarking survey data. This information can be used to keep pace with the industry, or you could use it to buck the trend and decide that you want to lead the industry in a certain area.
Law firms can use the information within to benchmark how you are doing compared to other firms. All of us are afraid of being reactive and falling behind. Why not use the ALAMN to help you stay competitive or pave the trend? Showcase your firm’s dynamic thinking, thought leadership, and drive the trends. Don’t be left out of the game.
How often does your firm evaluate a new business solution or implement new software? The ALAMN list-serve is a platform where you can ask any question and post it for other chapter members to read. By letting the community of knowledge work for you, you can save yourself hours of research time and focus on the work that matters most. Knowing that 15 firms in your area have recently moved to the new phone system that you are currently evaluating is beneficial.
Whether we embrace it or not, the working world is changing quickly. It is our responsibility as leaders to adapt and seize opportunities for our workers and shareholders. ALAMN helps firms adapt faster and can play a meaningful role in your firm’s organization. If your strategic plan includes catching up to the herd or leading the pack, ALAMN gives you the tools for both.