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Our Mission

The International Practice Management Association (IPMA) is the primary source of information and education for managers in law firms, corporations, and law departments. We provide an inclusive community that promotes and enhances the proficiency and professionalism of our members. We deliver practical resources and cutting-edge solutions on the value and management of professionals in the legal environment.

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, chaired by Laura Porter, for their efforts in developing this outstanding program!

General Sessions

Gender Bias in the Workplace

SPEAKER: Delee Fromm, Owner, Delee Fromm Consulting

We all soak up gender associations as children that later become unconscious. These associations underlie gender bias and significantly impact attitudes and assumptions in the workplace. In this seminar, Delee Fromm, a lawyer, former psychologist and author will talk about her book, Understanding Gender at Work: How to Use, Lose and Expose Blind Spots for Career Success. Practical tools for recognizing and dealing with different types of gender blind spots, including bias, will be discussed. Understanding the invisible dynamics of gender at work offers women a significant career advantage.
Wednesday, October 14, 12:30 pm - 1:20 pm

Session Sponsor: CT Corporation


The Subtle (yet dangerous) Ways Racism Shows Up in Workplace

SPEAKEREmily Shamsid-Deen‚Äč, Owner & Principal, ESD Consulting

This session will build shared understanding of implicit/unconscious bias and explore how it shows up in the workplace. This training helps participants understand the science behind implicit/unconscious bias through a lens of systemic racism. Participants will explore:

• how implicit bias shows up individually and across systems
• the specific steps to mitigate it as individuals and as an organization

Wednesday, October 14, 4:00 pm - 4:50 pm


Mindfulness for a Healthier Mind and Work Environment

SPEAKER: Lara Wharton, Meditation Teacher and Lawyer, Listen Lightly

Training your mind to be more focused, calmer and kinder to yourself is a worthwhile practice that leads to more happiness and less stress. This session will introduce participants to the neuroscience and behavioral research behind mindfulness and its associated mental habits, and will offer practical suggestions on how to practice and integrate mindfulness into their company culture and personal work day. Participants will leave with a handful of tools, including first-hand experience meditating, that they can practice to increase mental clarity, calmness and focus in the midst of our increasingly demanding and complex work environments.

Thursday, October 15, 11:00 am - 11:50 am

Session Sponsor: ECFX


IPMA Talk Live!

MODERATOR: Brian Bernhard, Office Administrator, Dentons

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 15, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm


A Law Firms Journey through the COVID-19 Pandemic

SPEAKER: Dennis Dore, Director, Business Resilience, Perkins Coie LLP

This presentation will take you through a journey of a law firm navigating through the COVID 19 Pandemic. This will focus on initial response, planning for returning to the office, what allowed for success, and some lessons learned to be better prepared for the next event.

Friday, October 16, 11:00 am - 11:50 am


Open, Honest and Direct: A Guide to Unlocking Your Teams Potential

SPEAKER: Aaron Levy, Leadership Coach and Learning Consultant, PD Counsel

Radical transparency is key to creating a high performing team. Establishing an atmosphere in which both managers and team members are open, honest and direct in their communication creates an atmosphere of psychological safety where team members feel free to share ideas and feedback. In this session, Aaron Levy provides the guideposts to creating a radically transparent environment in your workplace.

If you’d like to see more from Aaron Levy, here’s the link to purchase a copy of his book: Open, Honest, & Direct.

Friday, October 16, 2:30 pm - 3:20 pm

Breakout Sessions

The Changing Landscape - Digital Reporting

SPEAKERS: Lauren Berry, Account Executive,Veritext Legal Solutions

Working remotely is the new normal, but what does it take to continue to litigate in this digital world? During this session, we will provide best practices and considerations for preparing for your virtual proceeding, demonstrations in remote and exhibit sharing tools, and discussion on how to keep your remote proceeding secure. Discover new tools in preserving testimony, tactics on capturing native electronic files, strategies on conducting remote depositions, and more “in the trenches” tips and tricks. A bevy of new technology has changed the way attorneys capture and utilize testimony. We will also show you hands-on techniques and tactics for maximizing these tools for capturing and preserving testimonial evidence.

Wednesday, October 14, 2:20 pm - 3:10 pm


Learning to Navigate the Complexities of International Transactions

SPEAKER: Elina Balagula, Transactional Business Consultant, CT Corporation
                    Devlin Fisher, Global Sales Support Manager, CT Corporation

As law firms and companies increasingly interface with new global markets, the complexities of executing business transactions abroad equally escalate.  Understanding how to properly conduct due diligence and perfect liens against non-US entities can be confusing and challenging.  Meeting the required legalization requirements of documents via Apostille and Authentication can likewise feel like a winding road riddled with notarizations and visits to consulates and embassies. 

This session will cover:
  • How to Search and File Liens against Non-US Entities
  • What is an Apostille vs. Authentication, and Why Do I Need It
  • Key Documents and How to Prepare Them
  • Comparison of Common Foreign Jurisdictions

Wednesday, October 14, 2:20 pm - 3:10 pm

Session Sponsor: CT Corporation

How Your HR Team Can Help You Manage

SPEAKER: Michele Bush, CEO & Owner, Meglyn Consulting

It is essential for leaders to effectively manage their most critical asset - their people.  Often, however, managers and supervisors, especially those new to people management, don’t always feel confident or competent to deal with human resources matters.  In this session we will look at 3 aspects of the employee lifecycle, Attract, Retain & Develop and the practical ways the HR/Leader partnership can impact the   employee experience, directly contributing to productivity, profits and the employer reputation.
Attract: Uncover the steps to ensure that you are attracting the right candidates and employees to your firm or into your department. 
Develop:  Discover numerous, practical, and effective solutions that can be implemented with little or no budget.    
Retain: Establish valuable employee centric programs and initiatives that help to maintain a satisfied workforce and address compliance.   

Wednesday, October 14, 2:20 pm - 3:10 pm


How Not to Blow a Gasket

SPEAKER: Marcia Suelzer, Senior Manager, CT Corporation

Sometimes you just want to SCREAM! Let’s face it: We’ve all been there. The session will provide you with proven methods to defuse strong emotions—not just stifle them. There will be an opportunity to practice some of these techniques, so you’ll be better prepared to put them into use when you return to your “real world” after the conference.

While the workplace (and home) environment may be chaotic and the people you work (or live with) infuriating, you can recapture your composure and perspective. And, that will enable to you to better solve problems while helping you keep your team on an even keel.

Thursday, October 15, 12:10 pm - 1:00 pm

Session Sponsor: CT Corporation


Can Tossing my To-Do List Make me More Productive and Less Stressed?

SPEAKER: Karen Skinner, Co-Founder and CEO, Gimbal – Lean Process Management Advisors

As workplaces grow, evolve, and adapt to the reality of remote work, your management strategies need to adapt as well. You need to track the status of multiple projects. You need to know who’s doing what. Who has availability? Who is overloaded and needs help? You need to be able to spot issues quickly, before they derail your projects and your team. That 15-page To-Do list on your desk simply won’t cut it as a management tool. 
But when you visualize the work and the workflow, you can do all of this and more. In this session, you’ll learn to take advantage of your brain’s visual processing power, so you can manage more effectively, more quickly, and with a lot less stress. The best bit: you already have everything you need to get started.
This interactive workshop introduces the Matter Management Board, a simple, visual management tool you can use to manage teams efficiently and cost-effectively, whether you’re all in the same office or spread across multiple locations. Through a combination of facilitated learning and interactive exercises, you'll learn how to set up and maintain Matter Management Boards to manage work at different levels. [To consolidate learning, you'll work in small groups to build a board for a common law firm process.]
You'll also hear case studies that demonstrate how other firms are using this exact method to manage everything from projects in the innovation office, to case load and WIP in practice groups, to complex multi-million dollar legal transactions.

Thursday, October 15, 12:10 pm - 1:00 pm

Session Sponsor: ECFX


Managing Client Expectations

SPEAKER: Austin Smith, General Counsel, Litigation and Labor & Employment, Lockheed Martin Space

Managing client expectations should always be a top priority for law firms, particularly when they are working with in-house counsel.  Managing expectations not only helps secure future business but also minimizes risk and loss.  Providing leadership and training for attorneys on how to manage expectations will result in better client relations in any climate, but this is of even greater importance in the COVID Era with so many new variables.  Traditionally, a few areas of focus included reducing tendencies to over promise, cutting down on vague or confusing communications concerning deliverables and timing, decreasing dabbling in areas where the attorney and/or firm were not well experienced, and  further enhancing the client relationship by learning their preferences and positions.
However, we must now also factor in how client expectations have changed in the Covid Era, how can law firms best keep their expectations in line with the services they can provide, and will these expectations remain if there is a return to normal.  In this session, you will learn from an attorney who has played both sides of the fence.  Having led a team of attorneys managing client expectations as the Office Managing Shareholder of Ogletree Deakins’ Denver office and now leading a legal team as General Counsel for Litigation and Labor & Employment at Lockheed Martin Space, Austin will share with us the expectations he holds his outside counsel to as well as tips on how best to manage in-house counsel relationships and keep them in your firm’s good graces.   

Thursday, October 15, 12:10 pm - 1:00 pm

Session Sponsor: American Legalnet


The Current State of Artificial Intelligence

SPEAKER: Matthew Linton, Associate General Counsel, Operations, Lockheed Martin Space

Artificial Intelligence is making its way into the legal industry.  The question is whether AI-based technology and solutions transform legal industry services.  In this session, we will discuss how the legal industry will adapt and benefit from AI in practical ways and how AI will impact our teams.

Thursday, October 15, 2:00 pm - 2:50 pm

Session Sponsor: ECFX

How do we get our People Back - Trust and Loyalty

SPEAKER: Joy Baldridge, President & Founder, Baldridge Seminars International

COVID 19 has really shaken things up. The critical time is now to smooth things over. Now more than ever, people have an overriding need to be noticed and understood. In this engaging and insightful session, you will discover specific ways to connect with people you work with in a way that strengthens trust and builds greater loyalty. You will leave with an abundance of tangible tools, called Golden Nuggets of information, that will take your interpersonal skills and relationships to new and greater heights as we get back. 
If you’d like to see more from Joy Baldridge, here’s the link to purchase a copy of her book: The Joy in Business: Innovative Ideas to Find Positivity (and Profit) in Your Daily Work Life.

Thursday, October 15, 2:00 pm - 2:50 pm

Session Sponsor: Trustpoint.One


Work Life Balance and Managing Expectations of the Legal Professionals that We Manage Panel

SPEAKERS: Karen Anderson, Manager, Corporate Services, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
                      Gary Melhuish, Manager of  Litigation Support Services, Ballard Spahr LLP
                      Carol Van Buren, Director of Paralegal Services, Perkins Coie LLP
Leading a balanced life when the borders between home and work have been shattered is now a daily struggle.  This panel includes paralegal managers in large firms in the U.S. and Canada who’ve all been managing paralegals and staff who’ve had challenges managing expectations from their employers, families, and their communities.  You will hear of our own experiences and those of our teams we’ve supervised on how we tackled some of these issues.  We plan to offer you some ideas on the following:
  • Tactics for managing to work full-time and manage your children’s schooling at home and/or how to manage the wee ones who’ve yet to go to school
  • How we’ve managed our own paralegal work, as working managers and address all the management challenges that arose during the pandemic
  • How to manage attorney expectations when they are working odd hours, but expect their paralegals to be available when needed
We want this to be an interactive session, so bring your questions and we’ll share our stories, challenges and successes.

Thursday, October 15, 2:00 pm - 2:50 pm

Session Sponsor: Capitol Services

Hot Topics in HR- Canada

SPEAKER: Shannon Stanojevic, Director, Human Resources, OMERS

With each new year, employers and human resource professionals are faced with new challenges. Laws impacting Canadian 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 Canadian employers, as well as those on the horizon.

Friday, October 16, 12:10 pm - 1:00 pm


Hot Topics in HR- USA

SPEAKERSJill Maganza-Ruiz, General Counsel, Litigation and Labor & Employment, Lockheed Martin Space
                     Michelle Muhleisen, Attorney, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

With each new year, employers and human resource professionals are faced with new challenges. 2020 is no exception with everyone working remotely due the pandemic, with racial tensions rising and with an election upon us.  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.

Friday, October 25, 10:30 am - 11:45 am

Session Sponsor: Beacon Hill Staffing Group

Pre-conference Events

Managerial Skills Seminar

SPEAKERS: Susanne Fordham, Paralegal Manager, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
                     Gary Melhuish, Manager of  Litigation Support Services, Ballard Spahr LLP
Karen Tuschak, Director of Law Clerks & Paralegals, Dentons Canada

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.

Friday, October 9, 11:00 am - 3:00 pm 
Saturday, October 10, 11:00 am - 3:00 pm

Sponsors: American LegalNet, Capitol Services, CT Corporation, and ECFX


Master Class Series

SPEAKERS: Tara K. Eberhart, Practice & Docketing Manager, Dentons US LLP
                      Patricia "Patty" Maxwell, Litigation Specialist, Arnold & Porter LLP
                      Laura Porter, Manager, Corporate Secretariat, OMERS
                      Lisa Ricchezza, Senior Paralegal & Legal Professional Manager, Dechart LLP

As the current or future head of a team, a department or a functional group, understanding the budgetary process and financial information within your organization is critical to securing resources, tracking progress towards strategic objectives and establishing yourself as a business savvy leader.   During this four hour session, you will participate in a practical, hands on approach to the budgetary process in a small group setting using highly interactive, virtual learning techniques.  You will discuss the phases of the budgetary cycle, information you need to construct a budget, how to advocate for resources and what to do if/when reforecasting a budget becomes necessary.  In addition, you will get familiar with key financial terms, learn how to get access to financial information within your organization and how to develop financial metrics for tracking and reporting purposes.  The insight from our highly experienced speakers who work in some of the largest law firms and in house legal departments in the world, makes trying to get one of the limited spots at this year’s Master Class the best investment you will make this year!

Tuesday, October 13, 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm