Peer to Peer Magazine

Spring 2015

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 20 of 75

BEST PRACTICES PEER TO PEER: THE QUARTERLY MAGA ZINE OF ILTA 22 COMPETENCIES ACROSS THE BOARD In the Association of Legal Administrators' most recent knowledge, skills and abilities analysis, nine new competencies were added. Past studies have averaged two to three competency additions; this reflects how quickly the pace of change has increased. Legal administration professionals should have knowledge of these emerging competencies: FINANCIAL INFORMATION AND ANALYSIS 1. Alternative fee arrangements (e.g., bonus-based, flat fee, task- based, volume discounts) 2. Client matter budgeting as it relates to electronic billing and/ or allocation of firm time and resources PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT AND COMPENSATION 3. Substance abuse issues in the workplace (e.g., intervention techniques, assessment and treatment resources) BUSINESS MANAGEMENT 4. Client relationship management (CRM) software 5. Outsourcing resources and related benefits (e.g., office services, IT, payroll, records) LEGAL INDUSTRY 6. Firm dissolution procedures (e.g., partner liability, retirement plans, insurance, outplacement) TECHNOLOGY 7. Mobile communication devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets) and their uses OPERATIONS 8. How to implement and maintain wellness programs 9. Meeting facilitation protocol and procedures (e.g., Robert's Rules of Order) INCORPORATING LPM PRINCIPLES Along with the new competencies identified, legal administrators are realizing legal project management (LPM) principles can be used at the outset of each matter to analyze strategy and the client's desired results. In using LPM to deliver cost certainty to clients, the legal project manager uses the client's desired outcomes to develop a plan of action and determine the most efficient ways to deliver results. LPM draws on resources and expertise found throughout the firm: management, practice groups, accounting and finance, technology, marketing and business development, professional development and knowledge management. Understanding how all those areas fit together and can collaborate is essential to the success of LPM. Several of the legal administrator competencies previously listed are directly related to the skills needed to incorporate LPM into a firm's practices. About the Author Teresa Walker is the President-Elect of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) and Chief Operating Officer at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP. She serves on ALA's Large Firm Administrators Steering Committee and is a Trustee of The Foundation of ALA. Teresa is also a Lifetime and Founding Member of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of ALA. In October 2014, she was inducted into the College of Law Practice Management at its 2014 Futures Conference. Contact her at New Competencies for Legal Administrators Law firm business requirements are changing faster than ever, and professionals supporting the business are experiencing firsthand an evolution in their job descriptions. New competencies and a strong grasp on legal project management principles are needed for the future of legal administrators.

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