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November 21, 2008


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The Association of Legal Administrators is showing how innovation can cut expenses, at the same time as retaining charitable giving and investing in diversity. The Capital chapter (450 individual members) is the second largest of 109 chapters worldwide, and includes executive directors, firm administrators, and facilities managers, whose goals at the moment include saving dollars for their firms.


ALA Capital Chapter executive director Paula Serratore, president Adrienne Corrothers (of King & Spaulding), and past president Marilyn Mickelson (of the Cullen Law Firm) show off the their logo on our visit to their offices at 2300 N St. NW. Marilyn, associate editor of their newsletter, says since it went digital in Jan. ’07 they’ve trimmed $50-75K in production costs. Now, the same 30-page issue is a downloadable pdf that can be searched and archived. A survey of subscribers and advertisers six months after the launch showed they loved it, and because it is e-mailed, readership is expanding as subscribers forward the issues to their colleagues. (Hey, we can identify.)


Paula’s Santa stash includes a new bicycle and gifts for her “angel,” a 7-year-old disadvantaged boy who is part of the Salvation Army’s Angel Giving Tree program. The Capital Chapter has committed to reach out to 2,500 DC-area youths this year, up from 2,100 last year. Paula says 85 law firms and 12 business partners consider the program part of their culture and are not cutting charitable giving. A Capital Chapter Foundation fundraiser March 19th at the Fairmont Hotel will also help “Through the Kitchen Door” (www.kitchendoor.org), a program hosted at St. Paul’s Center in DC that helps people understand better how to purchase and cook nutritional items. Marilyn says that instead of just being a “hand-out,” the program makes members feel they’re providing real job training to the primarily immigrant population that participates in the classes.


Other programs include yesterday’s half-day diversity forum, “The Hunt for Talent: Leading Practices for Recruiting, Retaining, & Mentoring a Diverse Legal Team.” Adrienne says clients are asking firms not just to hire women and minorities, but to demonstrate they have the environment to attract and retain such talent by hiring a critical mass, developing mentoring programs, and offering “flex-time” and “job share” options.

Arent Fox
Cardinal Bank
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