Association of Legal Administrators 2016 Annual Conference & ExpoAssociation of Legal Administrators 2016 Annual Conference & Expo

2016 ALA Conference & Expo


Advanced Profitability Track

Learn how to maximize profitability with our new Advanced Profitability Track: A Deep Dive into Legal Pricing, Projects and Processes. Come hear these high-level speakers that have developed a structured set of sessions designed specifically for your financial success. The sessions for this track will occur on Monday, May 23.

OM12: Legal Lean Sigma© and Project Management: Driving Efficiency, Value
and Competitive Advantages

Catherine Alman MacDonagh

Catherine Alman MacDonagh, JD

Monday, May 23 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Today’s law firm and legal department professionals are faced with ever-increasing challenges and opportunities to help maximize efficiencies. In reconnecting legal costs to the value received, we begin with the voice of the client and then devise and employ strategies that deliver what clients want, the way they want it, when they want it. We can accomplish this while simultaneously developing competitive advantages for our organizations. With process improvement (PI) and project management (PM), not only are there no tradeoffs, but everyone wins. Bring back relevant ideas and skills that will take you – and your firm – to the next level.

More About OM12


  • Examine and analyze what other law firms and legal departments are doing.
  • Explain how PI and PM work together to deliver significant returns on investment.
  • Assess how process improvement tools can identify and communicate best practices.
  • Promote and maintain a client-centric culture where internal and external customer requirements and functions are identified, analyzed and continually tied to process improvement.

Catherine Alman MacDonagh, JD, is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the Legal Lean Sigma Institute LLC. She is a former corporate counsel and law firm executive who now teaches and provides training and consulting services in process improvement and project management, strategic planning, marketing and business development. A Lean Sigma® Black Belt and certified Six Sigma Green Belt, MacDonagh is an adjunct professor at Suffolk Law School and George Washington University’s Masters in Law Firm Management. She is Chief Enthusiasm Officer of The Mocktail and The Legal MocktailTM and the author of Lean and Six Sigma in Law Firms.


FM13: Law Firm Profitability
in the New World

Toby Brown

Toby Brown

Monday, May 23 1:45 PM - 2:45 PM

The annual release of the AmLaw rankings always prompts a wave of commentary. Much of this is focused on how the Profits per Partner (PPP) numbers are manipulated by firms and how publishing the numbers may not be helping the legal industry. For all the bluster that follows the release of the list, what is not brought up in this dialogue is which factors actually drive law firm profitability. In this session we will dive in to those factors and explore the current state of understanding profitability in the legal market. We will also discuss how this information relates to how a firm might price its services as a way to enhance its bottom line.

More About FM13


  • Identify how and why cash basis accounting creates profitability problems
  • Determine how to best calculate profitability at the client and matter level
  • Analyze the four major drivers of profitability.

Toby Brown is the Chief Practice Officer for Akin Gump. In this role he works with firm partners and clients in developing pricing arrangements and service delivery models that drive successful relationships. This includes practice management, pricing, legal project management, practice innovation and alternative staffing approaches. Brown was named to The National Law Journal’s 2013 list of Legal Business Trailblazers & Pioneers and received the Peer Excellence Award, the President’s Award and the Anne Charles Award from the National Association of Bar Executives. He maintains the ABA award-winning 3 Geeks and a Law Blog at


FM16: Win/Win Pricing

Peter Lane Secor

Peter Lane Secor

Monday, May 23 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Firms and their clients are continuously looking to create fee arrangements that benefit both organizations. Clients look for value scenarios, and firms look to foster long-term relationships that generate revenues to provide earnings. Join this session to explore concepts and methods that produce win/win engagements. Hear how win/win does not end with the fee arrangement. Learn what both parties need to create true shared management responsibility that produces successful results for your firm.

More About FM16


  • Examine how to deliver and communicate value from beginning to end of a matter.
  • Identify profit-maximizing opportunities beyond the pricing stage of an engagement.
  • Determine potential areas for improvement within your firm’s pricing and legal project management functions.

Peter Lane Secor is the director of strategic pricing and project management with Pepper Hamilton LLP. He concentrates on legal project management with a focus on improving efficiencies through shared management responsibilities, strengthening communication and making value transparent. His expertise includes client/matter profit analysis and providing partners with performance evaluations from a financial perspective.