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Our Mission

The International Practice Management Association (IPMA) is the premier resource for information and education on the management of paralegals and other practice support professionals in law firms and law departments globally. Its mission is to advocate for the effective use and management of these professionals, to promote and enhance the proficiency and professionalism of its members, and to provide thought leadership to the membership, the legal industry and the public at large on the value of utilization and management of paralegals and other practice support professionals.

Managerial Skills Seminar

The IPMA Managerial Skills Seminar is designed to develop and refine practical managerial skills involved in the supervision of paralegals, litigation support, docket, technology, and other legal practice support professionals. This full-day program is the first and only seminar designed by and for active practice support managers and presented by IPMA members.

Both new and experienced managers will learn valuable management, team building, and communication skills essential to supervision in a legal organization. Subjects covered include recruitment and retention, orientation, evaluations, training programs, performance management, and positioning your program for success.

This information-packed seminar will provide a forum to share, grow, and improve. Become a better manager, mentor, and promoter of your paralegals, litigation support, docket, technology, or other legal practice support teams by attending the IPMA Managerial Skills Seminar this year!

To supplement the seminar experience, each participant receives a CD containing hundreds of sample forms and informational articles to assist in running their program. Prior year materials are available for purchase by contacting IPMA headquarters.

Upcoming Seminars

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2017: New Orleans, Louisiana, at the 33rd Annual IPMA Conference & Expo

IPMA Member Rate: $350
Non-member Rate: $400

Program Description

Attendees will find this seminar a unique opportunity to review their own supervisory style and discuss new ideas in an environment that encourages sharing real-life experiences. Prior attendees have commented on how the seminar helped them "pull it all together" and how spending a day away from the frequent interruptions of the office permitted them to come up with action plans on how to improve their programs. The variety of experiences of the instructors and attendees insures that there are perspectives from different types and sizes of organizations.


8:00 – 8:30 AM Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:30 – 8:35 AM Introductions & Announcements
8:35 – 9:00 AM Icebreaker
9:00 – 10:00 AM What It Takes to Lead
Establishing Credibility
Setting Goals
Continuous Self Improvement
Continue to Be You
10:00 – 10:15 AM Break
10:15 – 11:45 AM Recruitment
Temporary or Full-Time, What Do You Need?
Convincing Administration You Need More Staff
Interviewing Techniques
Checking References
Group Discussion
11:45 – 12:15 PM Orientation Programs
Streamlining Process
12:15 – 1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 – 1:20 PM Successful Delegation
Getting People to Follow Through
1:20 – 1:50 PM Training Programs
Determining Training Needs
Identifying Training Resources
1:50 – 2:50 PM Coaching, Criticism and Evaluations
Coaching Positive Change
Evaluation Meetings
Group Discussion
2:50 – 3:05 PM Break
3:05 – 4:05 PM Performance Management
Terminating an Employee
4:05 – 5:05 PM Positioning Your Program for Success
Creating Your Plan
Program Structure
Promoting Your Paralegals
Recognition Programs
5:05 – 5:30 PM Wrap Up


Gary L. Melhuish
Manager of Litigation Support Services, Ballard Spahr, LLP, Philadelphia, PA

Gary Melhuish is the Manager of Litigation Support Services in the Philadelphia office of Ballard Spahr, LLP. Prior to joining this firm in 2006, he was the Legal Assistant Director in the Washington, D.C. office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP. Gary has over 30 years' experience as a paralegal including more than 20 years as a paralegal manager. He is a Past President of the International Practice Management Association (IPMA). He was Adjunct Faculty at the Georgetown University Paralegal Studies Program from 2002 through 2005 where he taught Legal Ethics and Legal Technology. Gary is a former member of the ABA's Approval Commission of the Standing Committee on Paralegals and serves on the National Federation of Paralegal Association's PACE Advisory Committee.

Laura Porter
Manager, Corporate Secretariat, OMERS, Toronto, ON

Laura Porter, Manager, Corporate Secretariat at OMERS, is responsible for department administrative matters, staffing, developing, training, budget, implementing departmental policies and procedures, providing information regarding corporate procedures, and monitoring workflow. She has over 20 years of experience in a legal environment, and prior to joining OMERS in 2014, Laura was a Manager and Senior Law Clerk at a Toronto law firm whose duties included department administrative matters, staffing, developing, implementing departmental policies and procedures, providing information regarding corporate procedures, conducting seminars for students and lawyers, and monitoring workflow. Her expertise covers corporate and security matters including, incorporation, amendments, amalgamations, continuances, revivals, asset and share transactions, reorganizations, corporate record keeping, drafting closing agendas, agreements, prospectus documents, coordinating complex transactions, and regulatory filings for SEDAR, EDGAR, and SEDI including preparation of public filing documents. Laura is a member of the Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario and the International Practice Management Association. 

Tara Kim Eberhart
Director of Paralegal Services and Docketing, Dentons US LLP, Washington, DC

Tara Kim Eberhart is the Director of Paralegal Services and Docketing at Dentons US where she oversees the paralegal program of 150+ paralegals and the national general/litigation and intellectual property docketing teams. Prior to her tenure at Dentons, Tara created and supervised the national paralegal program at McKenna Long & Aldridge. She began her career in a small, general practice firm, Michael Murphy and Associates, before moving to an IP boutique firm, Oblon Spivak, and ultimately joined the bio/chemical litigation team at Morgan Lewis where she specialized in large scale, eDiscovery intense intellectual property (patent) litigation. Tara earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Mary Washington and her Masters in Legal Administration (MALA) from Marymount University. She served as co-chair of the DC chapter of the International Practice Management Association (IPMA), is a past president and advisory board member of the National Capital Area Paralegal Association (NCAPA), and was the recipient of the Paralegal Program Excellence Award in 2010. Tara is a member of The George Washington University faculty (Adjunct Professor, Litigation) and Paralegal Studies Program Advisory Board.