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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.

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

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


Dealing with Systemic Racism in the Workplace


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


Mindfulness for a Healthier Mind and Work Environment

SPEAKER: Lara Wharton

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


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


Emergency Preparedness

SPEAKER: Dennis Dore

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.

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

Breakout Sessions

The Changing Landscape - Digital Reporting

SPEAKERS: Jeff Koller

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


Learning to Navigate the Complexities of International Transactions

SPEAKER: Elina Balagula
                    Devlin Fisher

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

How Your HR Team Can Help You Manage

SPEAKER: Michele Bush

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: Marica Suelzer

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


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

SPEAKER: Karen Skinner 

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


Managing Client Expectations


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


The Current State of Artificial Intelligence

SPEAKER: Matthew Linton 

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


How do we get our People Back - Trust and Loyalty


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


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


Hot Topics in HR- Canada


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


Hot Topics in HR- USA

SPEAKERS: Austin Smith, Associate General Counsel, Litigation and Labor & Employment, Lockheed Martin Space
                      Jill Maganza-Ruiz

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

Pre-conference Events

Managerial Skills Seminar

SPEAKERSGary Melhuish, Manager of  Litigation Support Services, Ballard Spahr LLP

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


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

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