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Our Mission

The International Practice Management Association is your primary resource for information and education on the management of practice support professionals including paralegals 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 practical resources and cutting-edge solutions to the membership, the legal industry, and the public at large on the value of utilization and management of practice support professionals.

Importance of Conference

(And Not Just Because I am the President)

By: Patty Maxwell, IPMA President

As we all are struggling to figure out a way to get our employers to pay for Conference, I wanted to take a moment to talk to you about how important Conference is.
The last time my Firm fully financially supported my going to Conference was in 2015 (Scottsdale).  After that Conference, I had to be creative- for the next two years they paid for the conference and I paid for the travel.  After that I was completely on my own except that I did not have to take any vacation for the time that I was attending the conference- it was credited as professional development.  During this entire time, I was also on the board. 
This cut was the precursor to and immediately following my firm’s merger where every penny was being vetted. 
Once I realized which way the wind was blowing, I started planning how I could afford to continue to go to Conference.  I put funds aside for travel, I started watching the airlines for good deals.  I booked my travel far in advance and I made a vacation out of every conference trip.  It never occurred to me that I would or couldn’t attend Conference.  Some of my friends offered to share their room with me since their room was paid for.  I never needed that, but it was comforting to know that there were possibilities if I needed them. 
I understood that even if I was paying to attend out of my own pocket, the rewards were far greater than not going.  I had three days of great learning experiences that helped me be a better manager and frankly, when I moved to my current role all the breakout sessions on budgeting and productivity and realizations came in very handy not to mention the sessions on managing up and down.  In short, going to Conference was my investment in me and my growth in my career.  I would return from Conference and I would still (and with a smile) present a recap of my biggest take-aways from Conference to my management team in my New York Office.  Every year, my group looks forward to hearing about hot HR topics. 

Not only did every Conference that I attended after my firm stopped sponsoring me help me grow my skill set, it also provided me the opportunity to solidify my relationships with manager friends all over the US and Canada and allows me to be able to pick up the phone or shoot someone an email when I need advice or perhaps a good candidate or an ear to listen from someone who is in the same unique position as me.  Networking and building those relationships and friendships is a HUGE part of what makes the IPMA so special.
I am not going to give you a bunch of tips for making your case to management about why they should “send” you to Conference this year.  Those are the very same reasons they should send you every year with the major and important exception that this year they only have to pay $495 for registration to invest in making you the best manager that you can be.  I am going to ask you to consider, that is your employer just won’t or can’t spring for Conference, that you should invest in yourself and attend anyway.  We were very mindful of the price point both from the Employer’s perspective but also from a is this a number that our membership can afford to pay out of pocket.  Ask your management  to allow you the time as professional development so you are not pressured by work responsibilities and come on to Conference 2020 and meet up with your friends, catch up on what’s new and come away refreshed and energized and even better at your job. 
I can’t wait to see you in a couple of months at the IPMA 2020 Conference.  It really is going to be a lot of fun!