The International Practice Management Association, founded in 1984 as the Legal Assistant Management Association (LAMA) and recently known as the International Paralegal Management Association (IPMA), is the premier resource for information and education on the management of paralegals and other practice support professionals.
The International Practice Management Association is the resource for information and education on the management of paralegals and other practice support professionals in law firms, corporations 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.
The International Practice Management Association (IPMA) was born in a suite of rooms at the Madison Hotel in Washington D.C. in 1984.
In the early 1980's, educators in the paralegal field determined a need to form a professional association of paralegal educators. Janet Kaiser and David Sapadin spearheaded the formation of the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE). David, who headed up the Philadelphia Institute for Paralegal Training, was behind the sponsorship of a series of educational seminars for legal assistant managers. He encouraged a small group of managers who were attending one of the sessions on management skills to consider forming a professional association similar to AAfPE.
At an impromptu 1984 meeting, in the living room area of a suite of rooms at the Madison Hotel in Washington D.C., underwritten by a lawyer who represented the motor vehicle industry, seven legal assistant managers, from all over the United States, met to determine the feasibility of forming a professional association. These seven met by chance at a manager's conference.
Plans were developed to form a Steering Committee, with the members determined to get the support of their respective employers for funding the endeavor. The group would spend the following year determining the need for such a professional association, reaching out to national and state bar associations for guidance and support for the establishment of the organization. People like Candace Gibson, Lois Boyd, Lynda Wertheim, Teri Dunlop, Bea Wood, Chere Estrin and Julie Fraser Weitzman laid the foundation for a report to another manager's seminar in San Francisco the following year where an announcement was made that the Legal Assistant Management Association would be formed and would hold its first annual conference in Chicago the following year, 1984. Armed with energy and a determination to succeed, as they had demonstrated throughout their professional careers, the managers organized a conference at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, complete with speakers, break-out groups and very little knowledge that this could not be done.
After much study and research, the Legal Assistant Management Association was renamed the International Paralegal Management Association on January 1, 2005. As a reflection of its updated and expanded mission to serve managers of not only paralegals but also other practice support professionals, the Association changed its name in April 2014 to the International Practice Management Association (IPMA), with the tagline "Your Resource for Legal Practice Support Management."
Based on an article for Paralegal Management prepared by Lynda F. Wertheim. Lynda is the retired Director of Legal Assistants from White & Case in New York City. She served as LAMA 's President in 1987-1988 and is a Life Member.