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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, 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.

Session Descriptions

This year's three-day educational program features hot topics, latest trends, and current issues that affect how we manage practice support professionals. Whether you manage paralegals, litigation support, docketing, or other revenue-generating functions, you'll find the information you're seeking among programming on human resources, technology and innovation, communications, organizational management, and career development. Many thanks to the IPMA Conference Committee, co-chaired by Victoria Snook and Karen Tuschak, for their efforts in developing this outstanding program!

General Sessions

The Legal Industry Today: The Role Of Allied Professionals in the Competitive Legal Landscape

SPEAKER: Zena Applebaum, Director, Professional Firm & Corporate Segments, Thomson Reuters Canada

In just over a decade the business and practice of law have blended to into a fiercely competitive market hovering on the brink of an evolution.  As firms and legal departments of all shapes, sizes and geographies work to embrace the new market, allied professionals – paralegals, law clerks, business managers and other can and do play a vital role in helping to maintain productivity, increase efficiency and bolster the bottom line. This session will focus on the opportunities and challenges inherent to the legal business transformation and will touch on how allied professionals can assist in managing Increased client oversight and expectations, adoption and implementation of critical legal technology, competition and the rise of AFAs as well as succession planning, changing expectations of new lawyers among other timely topics.  

Wednesday, October 17: 4:45 - 6:00 pm
Room: Ballroom G-I

Resilience and Balance: Your Personal North Star Lights the Path

SPEAKER: Terrie CampbellChief Executive Officer, Esquire Deposition Solutions

Sponsored by: Esquire Deposition Solutions

At the 2017 IPMA Annual Conference, Terrie Campbell discussed how today’s workforce demographics are impacting law firms. She delved into the characteristics of millennials, in particular their strive for balance and flexibility in their work and life.  This past year, with the rise of the #MeToo movement and more and more discussion about the impact of “law firm life” on mental health issues, it has become apparent that millennials may have started the discussion of work/life balance ….but, this movement transcends all generations.  During her presentation, Terrie will discuss the current issues of work/life balance at law firms and how developing a “personal northstar” can guide your prioritization decision making to aid both professional and personal success.

Thursday, October 18, 8:30 - 9:45 am
Room: Ballroom G-I

IPMA Talk Live: Peer-to-Peer Roundtable Discussions

MODERATOR: Amy Williams, Director of Paralegal Services at King & Spalding
TALENT COORDNIATOR: Brian Bernard, Office Administrator, Ogletree Deakins

Get ready for a new take on the IPMA Talk Live Roundtables! Trust us, you won't want to miss this general session. IPMA members will be acting out common situations you find yourself in all the time. Then you'll benefit from the open discussions about these situations and potential solutions.

Thursday, October 18, 1:15 - 2:15 pm
Room: Regency Hall

The 10-80-10 Principle

SPEAKER: Sunjay Nath, Motivational Speaker, MBA, BScE, CSP

Sponsored by: Fasken, McMillan, and Blakes Lawyers

The 10-80-10 Principle is a framework that allows you to increase your performance and results by focusing your energy and efforts on highest yielding activities. It helps individuals and teams operate at a dynamic level. Every person or group already exhibits behaviors that are Top 10 (percent) – those behaviors that lead to high performance and achievement. What people lack is the knowledge and a framework to consistently operate at that dynamic Top 10 level. The 10-80-10 Principle program provides a methodology to reward and grow Top 10 behaviors and neutralize Bottom 10 actions. Filled with practical examples and engaging content, the audience is able to identify their Top and Bottom 10 and then A.C.T. with the 10-80-10 Principle to create greater performance levels in both their personal and professional lives. It has direct application to employee management and it helps to reduce stress and increase fulfillment on the job.

Friday, October 19, 8:30 - 9:45 am
Room: Ballroom G-I

The Surprising First Step to Breakthrough Career Success

SPEAKER: Caroline Ceniza-LevineCo-founder, SixFigureStart®

Sponsored by: CT Corporation

When you think about what it takes to make a massive shift in your career and reach breakthrough career success, do you assume it’s about brand names on your resume or expert self-promotion as the first step to launching your career success? Actually, the most effective way to leapfrog your career is not about career! Instead, breakthrough career success is about foundational shifts in your life – you essentially change everything else but your career first. In this interactive talk, we’ll cover how changes to your current job, money habits, stress management, relationships, environment and even your personal time will position you more competitively when you lobby for more responsibility, a promotion or a new role altogether. We’ll cover why breakthrough career success is different from incremental improvement -- you can’t just do what everyone else will typically do.

Friday, October 19, 3:15 - 4:30 pm
Room: Ballroom G-I

Breakout Sessions

Educating and Developing your Workforce

Toni Marsh, Director, Paralegal Studies Master's Program, The George Washington University 
Michelle Hess, Paralegal Manager, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP

Sponsored by: Beacon Hill Legal

Using the principles of great teaching, including high engagement, interactivity, multimedia content and good graphic design, this program will outline the education and training models managers can use to develop their workforce professionals; guides managers in choosing the right option to suit particular objectives; and reviews the basic principles of good teaching for those who choose to do training and education themselves. 

Thursday, October 18, 10:00 - 11:15 am
Room: Regency Hall 7 & 8

Leveraging Your Resources- Why Partnering with the Right Service Provider Makes Sense

Sharon Patterson, Paralegal Supervisor, Goldberg Kohn Ltd|
Bill Moore, UCC Business Consultant, CT Corporation

Sponsored by: CT Corporation

In this session we will look at how and why you should partner with the right service provider. You can maximize your talents by utilizing knowledge and industry know how from a provider who specializes in your area of law. Let them help you look like a rock star. Partnering with the right service provider can save you time, help you become a sought after legal resource, all while ultimately saving your firm and your clients money.  

Thursday, October 18, 10:00 - 11:15 am
Room: Regency Hall 5 & 6

Navigating A Merger: Understanding Us, Them, You and the New "We" 

SPEAKER: Tara Eberhart, Director of Paralegal Services and Docketing, Dentons US LLP

Sponsored by: Capitol Services

Over the past ten years, almost seven hundred law firms mergers and/or acquisitions have been completed.  The law firm merger market is continuing to accelerate and this does not even include the almost daily migration of laterals Partners from one firm to another.  This constant movement and organizational uncertainty makes carrying out even the most routine management tasks challenging and requires a unique managerial skill set to navigate a constantly changing environment.    Our speaker, Tara Kim Eberhart not only "survived" four mergers in seven years as a Paralegal Manager and/or Director but in 2015, when her regional firm merged with the largest law firm in the world, she lead a combined team of Paralegals thru one of the largest mergers of the year. By understanding how to navigate a merger, Tara was selected by firm leadership to expand her role to supervising two additional departments with a combined team of over 200.  

Thursday, October 18, 10:00 - 11:15 am
Room: Magnolia A-C

Mental Health 101

SPEAKER: Tracy Daniels, Master Level Practitioner, Pathways @ Baycare

Within this seminar you will learn how to define Mental Illness. We will discuss the most common metal health disorders and how prevalent it is within our daily lives. You will learn about early intervention to reduce the stigma surrounding the topic. We will also touch on common barriers people may discover when faced with this disorder.

Thursday, October 18, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Room: Regency Hall 7 & 8

Social Media Made Easy

SPEAKER: Beth Huffman, Director of Marketing, Nelson Mullins

Sponsored by: Nelson Mullins

In this session we will review several types of social media outlets, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. We will discuss which outlets are best for personal use and for business use – which ones can help you raise your personal brand and building your  profile. The session will review real posts from law firms done right, and some from individuals that have gone very wrong. We will also take an outside-of-the-box look at what you should and should not post, ideas for building followers, and being cautious not to upset clients, employers or co-workers.

Thursday, October 18, 2:30 - 3:45 pm
Room: Regency Hall 5 & 6

New Recruiting Techniques and Options

SPEAKER: Ricki Frumkin, Executive Director, Law Resources Inc

Sponsored by: Law Resources

Get ready for an interactive session on what’s new in recruiting for attracting employees to your law firm or corporation. Listen to what the experts are saying about how to attract the best talent-what has been proven so far to work and the updated ways to post your positions. What attracts potential employees and what are they looking for that didn’t seem important in the past?  What does your firm need to change to position yourselves to attract the superstars and where do you need to be to find them and help them find you?

Thursday, October 18, 2:30 - 3:45 pm
Room: Magnolia A-C

Hot HR Topics, Canada

SPEAKER: Nisha RiderNational Director of Human Resources, McMillan

Sponsored by: Dye & Durham

Join us for a session on the latest trends and issues in human resources and employment law. This session will include short segments on key topics that every manager should know. Key Topics will include Supporting Transgender Employees, Cannabis in the Workplace, Managing Teleworkers/Remote Employees, Social Media and the Workplace and the Importance of Employer Documentation

Thursday, October 18, 4:15 - 5:30 pm
Room: Regency Hall 7 & 8

Hot HR Topics, USA: In-House and Law Firm

SPEAKERS: Kevin Zwetsch, Shareholder, Ogletree Deakins

With each new year, employers and human resource professionals are faced with new challenges. Laws impacting employers are changing rapidly and staying ahead of the curve is crucial to success for both employers and those advising them. Join this session to explore the most difficult and sensitive issues currently facing employers, as well as those on the horizon.

Thursday, October 18, 4:15 - 5:30 pm
Room: Magnolia A-C

How to be an Effective Coach for Your Employees

SPEAKER: Greta Zeimetz, CAE Executive Director, NALA – The Paralegal Association

Sponsored by: Veritext

The ability to effectively coach your employees helps you increase their commitment and level of engagement. It also helps you avoid and manage problems effectively that may interfere with working relationships and productivity. Effectively coaching others helps you achieve your own goals and even makes you more valuable to your organization. In this session, you will learn: the key elements to successful coaching relationships, how to apply each step in the coaching process, tips to effectively manage coaching challenges, and how to establish and how to maintain a successful coaching relationship with an employee.

Friday, October 19, 10:15 - 11:30 am
Room: Regency Hall 7 & 8

How to Structure your In-House Legal Dept and Relationships with Law Firm Paralegals

Fiorella Bellissimo, Manager- Business Law Services, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP 
Michelle HessParalegal Manager, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP
Gianna Oliveira, Senior Corporate Law Clerk, Fengate Capital Management
Laura Porter, Manager, Corporate Secretariat, OMERS

Sponsored by: Dye & Durham

Join us for an interactive session with two In-House Managers and two Law Firm Managers to discuss the creation of an in-house legal department, inheriting an existing department and the challenges that come with it. Building relationship with your colleagues from an in-house perspective and a law firm perspective..

Friday, October 19, 10:15 - 11:30 am
Room: Regency Hall 5 & 6

Rethinking the Annual Performance Review

SPEAKER: John Zettler, Director of Talent Strategy & Development, Dale Carnegie

Let’s face it, for most of us this is the most dreadful time of the year.  The time when Human Resources provides a schedule of when our reviews need to be completed by, and we then spend the next month chasing down feedback from people who are too busy to do so. Oh, and after all is said and done, relatively speaking everyone gets the same score which equates to the same increase.

What if there was an easier way to complete this review which may not even require a formal document – would you be interested?

In this session we’ll unwrap the Performance Review Process and show how we can create a “Culture of Performance” that will be less onerous on you, your team members, and all those who have to supply you with the feedback. 

Friday, October 19, 10:15 - 11:30 am
Room: Magnolia A-C

Ask the Experts (Panel Discussion)

SPEAKERS: Cathy Boette, Director of Professional Programs, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Anthony Iannini, Global Legal Operations Manager, GE Capital
Mary Munro, National Director, Paraprofessional Services, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
                      Carol Van Buren, Director of Paralegal Services, Perkins Coie LLP

Sponsored by: Dye & Durham

Ask the Experts offers you the opportunity to learn from experienced paralegal managers who are actively engaged in leadership positions and are responsible for oversight of national paralegal teams and developing paralegal programs. You will be able to hear about their successes and challenges on a wide range of topics including:
overcoming the challenges of remote leadership, 
tactics for managing relationships with outside counsel,  
the development value of building a training program around core competencies, and 
top tips for planning a successful training conference.  
This is an interactive session. Be sure to bring your specific questions and we’ll share our best and worst ideas for influencing and engaging paralegals in practical and helpful terms.   

Friday, October 19, 2018, 1:45 - 3:00 pm
Room: Regency Hall 7& 8

How Satisfied Are You at Work? Interpreting the Perspectives of Paralegals and Paralegal Managers.

SPEAKERS: Daniel Bonner, Director, Client Solutions, Level 2 Legal
Jane Anne Gross, Senior Paralegal, Reed Smith LLP
                      Ari Kaplan, Principal, Ari Kaplan Advisors
                      Stephanie Angel, Senior Staff Attorney, WilmerHale

Sponsored by: Level 2 Legal

Join Daniel Bonner, Director of Client Solutions for Level 2 Legal Solutions, legal industry analyst Ari Kaplan of Ari Kaplan Advisors, and your practice management peers in a lively discussion about the newly-released market research study based on interviews with a wide range of paralegals and paralegal managers. Join us to hear about the report's findings related to job satisfaction, collaboration, outsourcing, technology, and effectively navigating the law firm environment.

Friday, October 19, 2018, 1:45 - 3:00 pm
Room: Regency Hall 5 & 6

Damaging Communication Mistakes and How to Avoid

SPEAKERS: John Zettler, Director of Talent Stratgey & Development, Dale Carnegie‚Äč

Sponsored by: United Corpoarate Services

Over the past several years we’ve been asking people this simple question – “What is the single most important skill you need your people to have.”  Without a doubt Communicating Effectively is the answer we hear more often.

So why do we still struggle with this?  What does it take to communicate effectively, what does good look like, and what are the most common pitfalls we see?

In this session we’ll start by building a foundation for which great communication can happen, and then we’ll provide practical tools you could use immediately in order to ensure any communication you have is received in the intended manner.  Oh, and we’ll also teach you how to effectively manage communications where you may not see things the same way as your counterpart!

Friday, October 19, 2018, 1:45 - 3:00 pm
Room: Magnolia A-C