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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.

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

Check back here for updates.

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.


Skills Part I:
11:00 – 11:05 AM Introductions & Announcements
11:05 – 11:30 AM Icebreaker
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM What It Takes to Lead
Establishing Credibility
Setting Goals
Continuous Self Improvement
Continue to Be You
12:30 – 12:45 PM Break
12:45 – 2:15 PM Recruitment
Temporary or Full-Time, What Do You Need?
Convincing Administration You Need More Staff
Interviewing Techniques
Checking References
Group Discussion
2:15 – 2:45 PM Orientation Programs
Streamlining Process

Skills Part II:
11:00 - 11:20 AM  Successful Delegation
Getting People to Follow Through
11:20 - 11:50 AM  Training Programs
Determining Training Needs
Identifying Training Resources
11:50 AM – 12:50 PM Coaching, Criticism and Evaluations
Coaching Positive Change
Evaluation Meetings
Group Discussion
12:50 – 1:10 PM Break
1:10 – 2:10 PM Performance Management
Terminating an Employee
2:10 – 2:50 PM Positioning Your Program for Success
Creating Your Plan
Program Structure
Promoting Your Paralegals
Recognition Programs
2:50 – 3:00 PM Wrap Up


Susanne Fordham, Paralegal Manager, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, Jericho‚Äč, NY
Susanne has over 30 years’ experience in Paralegal Management. She has been the Paralegal Manager for Weil, Gotshal & Manges since March 2004 where she manages paralegals in the Corporate, Litigation and Bankruptcy practice areas. She also coordinates document reviews with Litigation Support and contract attorney agencies.
Prior to that, she was the Paralegal Manager for Dewey Ballantine (aka Dewey LeBoeuf).  She has also managed the End User Support groups for Information Systems Departments of White and Case and Davis Polk and was a Contract Manager for Doubleday/Dell/Delacorte Press.
She has a paralegal certificate from George Washington University and a BA in English from College of Notre Dame of Maryland.
Gary 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 Paralegal 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 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.

Karen Tuschak, Director of Law Clerks & Paralegals, Dentons Canada, Toronto, ON
As the Canada Director of Law Clerks and Paralegals, Karen Tuschak manages Dentons’ Canada team of law clerks and paralegals across the Firm’s six Canadian offices.

Having worked on both the in-house client and law firm sides, Karen brings broad experience from national law firms managing in-house paraprofessional teams. She also brings her knowledge of complex technology and governance projects from a previous national role in business development.

In her role, Karen’s priorities include overseeing the talent and operations matters for Dentons’ Canada law clerks and paralegals, instituting best practice processes, leveraging technology, and ensuring collaboration opportunities between paraprofessionals and Dentons Canada team of lawyers.

Karen is actively involved in several legal industry associations and regularly speaks at law clerk and paralegal management conferences across North America.