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StarChapter of May: ALA Nutmeg

 

The Nutmeg Chapter of the ALA was established in 1980 and currently has about 60 members in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. Their membership is comprised of large and small private law firms, nonprofit legal organizations as well as corporate and governmental legal departments.  The goal of the chapter is to provide personal and professional growth and educational and networking opportunities to Administrators and Legal Managers with varied legal backgrounds. They also strive to educate the legal profession as to the advantages of developing the professional management of their organizations and how legal administrators can affect positive change.  We were able to connect with Gail P. Faherty, Past-President Nutmeg Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) and Technology Chair to see how they are able to accomplish just that.

 

1. What was ALA Nutmeg Chapter’s strategy for engaging new members in the past year?

The Nutmeg Chapter consists of members throughout Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, a fairly large geographic area and is one of the many Chapters of the Association of Legal Administrators, ALA.  Along with area luncheon groups for the main areas, (i.e. Hartford, New Haven and Fairfield County) the Chapter offers excellent educational workshops and events with presenters on topics ranging from Human Resources to Technology.  These workshops are engaging given the breadth of subject matters and the format of events.  Members and even business partners can mingle and network in a personal and relevant way.  The website is extremely important to our strategy as events are displayed on the home page and the postings are sent two or three times to members as emails.  Members RSVP online and a tabulation of attendees is automatic.

2. Tell us about a successful event/meeting you organized last year

The most popular and successful program last year involved a lot of humor combined with important human resources information.  As is always the case, Employment Law update programs are well-attended.  An asset of ALA is our ability to network and have high-end educational opportunities.  The Nutmeg Chapter was able to retain a popular presenter, Attorney Michael Cohen of Duane Morris in Philadelphia.  He presented issues such as harassment, diversity and law updates, using his unique blend of presentation skills and humor.

3. The ALA Nutmeg Chapter network is extensive. Does the board get ideas on how to improve membership value from other chapters?

The ALA is the main organization for legal administrators and education of all types of administrators.  Numerous conferences, webinars, podcasts, e-Material and hard copy publications offer an extensive array of information to feel the pulse of the legal industry.  Through listservs, calls and conferences, board members and interested members share information related to membership value, what is working, what is not, what are the challenges facing our Chapter, and so on.  In fact, it was one of these sessions that I found out about StarChapter and the rest is history!   That idea was of tremendous value for members creating an integrated website and communication tool. 

4. Do you have any tips/advice to share with other board volunteers?

I have worked with various website hosting platforms over the years and maintained websites.  I find that volunteer organizations struggle to find volunteers to maintain websites, send out communications and keep up with what works for the membership.  The major advantage of StarChapter is being able to delegate and assign the board or committee chairs the relevant section.  This makes things much more efficient as each committee chair can focus on one area.  For example, the Membership Chair maintains the membership listing and updates it each year at renewal.  Another person updates the events, and another can send out email notices. The Business Partner Chair maintains the Business Partner section.  It is no longer a one or two-person operation.

5. What is in store for your members this year?

A great year is in store for the Nutmeg Chapter. Educational programs have been developed and listed on the website.  The board encourages members to attend an event to take advantage of networking opportunities.   Chapter members will continue to use the StarChapter Forum to seek answers to questions or get information.   Although administrators embrace and effectuate change, the ability to reach out to get answers or assistance is priceless. 

6. How have been able to utilize StarChapter to run the ALA Nutmeg Chapter and reach its goals?

StarChapter has been instrumental in helping the Nutmeg Chapter attain its goals.  Recently, the site was updated for mobility on different devices but in doing so, we were able to refresh the look of the site and make it better than ever given our budget.   When it comes to income, we must rely on our Business Partners as well as Membership dues to offer interesting educational programs, our main focus.  StarChapter allows us to spend limited time maintaining the site so we can focus on our other needs while staying within our budget and offering solutions and training. 

 

ALA Nutmeg

 

 

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