March 2017  

President's Report

Dear ALA Indiana Chapter Members,

Welcome to the January Edition of ALA Indiana Chapter News.  As we reflect on the past six months, the Indiana Chapter has participated in many exciting events including hosting the Regional Legal Management Conference (LRMC) on October 27-29, 2016 which included many valuable sessions with some exceptional speakers. We awarded 19 scholarships to our membership to attend the RLMC in Indianapolis at the JW Marriott. We collected hats, gloves, scarves and socks and donated $450 to Shortridge High School.  We were also able to donate $1,000 to the Concord Neighborhood Center to name just a few highlights. 

One of my favorite Chapter luncheon meetings was Diversity & Unconscious Bias presented by Toni Neely, Director of Membership Relations, INDY Chamber. Toni discussed how we must engage and invest in learning and development opportunities to enhance growth, reveal ‘blind spots’, unconscious bias and master the power of leveraging differences. Toni provided us a brief exercise to help us identify unconscious bias’s in various forms including: generational, cultural, ethnic and languages, disabilities, veterans, thinking styles, work styles, communication styles, race, gender, LGBTQA and many others. 

As a board, we listened to your input and we have made some exciting changes that we believe will benefit the Chapter going into 2017. In this newsletter, we have featured Important News and Announcements, Fall/Winter Highlights, ALA Resources and the 2017 Schedule of Events & Save the Dates. 

An important reminder to please note, our January luncheon meeting is Tuesday, January 10, 2017 from 11:30 – 1:00 pm at Morton’s Steakhouse.  Our topic is:  2016 Employment Law Year in Review – What Lies Ahead in 2017, with guest speaker, Susan Zoeller, Partner at Quarles & Brady LLP.  Please mark your calendar with the new location.  Morton’s address is: 41 E. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN  46204.  The restaurant is located downstairs in the IBJ Building at the corner of Washington and Pennsylvania in the Wholesale District.  Parking information is included further in this newsletter.

As always, a big thank you to each of you for your member participation and contributions. If you enjoy writing, blogging or sharing, we welcome your input to future publications.  As always your feedback and input is greatly appreciated.  Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017!

Janet Valasek

ALA Indiana Chapter President

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Welcome New Members


Please welcome our 2016 July – December New Members – Cari, Racquel, Stephanie, Stacy & Tim!  Did you know a full Indiana Chapter Member Directory is available on the ALA Indiana Chapter Website under the Member Area link? Your ALA Indiana Chapter ID is your email address.  If you don’t know your  password, click the link Forgot Username/Password on the Member Area login screen to reset it. 

If you would like to help acclimate our new members, please consider joining the Membership Committee.  The purpose of the Membership Committee is to maintain the mentor program which assists new members to ALA, new to the profession or in need of direction.  Each committee member commits to one year of service to mentor at least one new member.  The committee is also developing a formal retention program to engage inactive members.  The committee meets every other month. For more information, please contact Laura Rust, Director of Membership at [email protected].   

A big welcome to:

  •         Cari Bryson – Barnes & Thornburg LLP
  •         Racquel Rutledge – Krieg DeVault LLP
  •         Stephanie Carter – Ogletree Deakins
  •         Stacey Purtee – Krieg DeVault LLP
  •         Tim Read – Plews Shadley Racher & Braun
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Calendar of Events


January 10

ALA Indiana Chapter Luncheon Meeting

  •         2016 Employment Law Year in Review – What Lies Ahead in 2017

Speaker:  Susan Zoeller, Partner, Quarles & Brady LLP


February 14

ALA Indiana Chapter Meeting

  •         State of the Chapter – 2017-18 Board Slate
  •         Roundtable Discussions

Janet Valasek

ALA Indiana Chapter President

March 14

ALA Indiana Chapter Luncheon Meeting

  •         Emotional Intelligence

Speaker:  James Ryan

ETI Performance Improvement

April 11

ALA Indiana Chapter Luncheon Meeting

  •         How Firm Staff Can Assist in Marketing and Rainmaking

Speaker:  John Trimble, Partner

Lewis Wagner LLP

May 10

No ALA Indiana Chapter Luncheon Meeting

  •         ALA Educational Forum & Exposition

Speaker:  Judy Hissong

Nesso Strategies, Inc.

Indianapolis Zoo, Dolphin Pavilion

June 13

ALA Indiana Chapter Luncheon Meeting

  •         Active Shooter in the Workplace

Speaker:  Officer Steven Hadley


July 11

ALA Indiana Chapter Luncheon Meeting

  •         Topic:  TBD

Speaker & Topic:  TBD


Annual Golf Event

Date and Location:  TBD

August 8

ALA Indiana Chapter Luncheon Meeting

  •         Anti-Bullying in the Workplace

Speaker:  Chris Lytle

Chris Lytle Foundation


No ALA Indiana Chapter Luncheon Meeting

  •         ALA Partner Event

Date and Location:  TBD

October 10

ALA Indiana Chapter Luncheon Meeting

  •         Topic:  TBD

Speaker:  Toni Neely, Director of Membership Relations

INDY Chamber


OktoberFest Business Partner Social

Date:  TBD

Location:  Lewis Wagner LLP


Community Connection Concord Neighborhood Center Carnival

Date:  TBD

Concord Neighborhood Center

November 14

ALA Indiana Chapter Luncheon Meeting

  •         Insurance for Lawyers & Professionals 101/102

Speaker:  Ritman and Associates, Inc.


No ALA Indiana Chapter Luncheon Meeting

  •         ALA Holiday Party

Date and Location:  TBD

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Newsletter (PDF)



Our January ALA Indiana luncheon meeting is next Tuesday, January 10, 2017 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm at Morton’s Steakhouse.  Our topic is:  2016 Employment Law Year in Review – What Lies Ahead in 2017.  Our guest speaker is Susan Zoeller, Partner at Quarles & Brady LLP.  We will also introduce the ALA Indiana Chapter Board of Directors slate for 2017-18 at this meeting.

The ALA Indiana Board recommended a change in luncheon meeting venue for 2017. After much planning with Morton’s Steakhouse, the board voted to move our meeting location to Morton’s.  We have a great room layout and a scrumptious new lunch menu and we’ve kept in mind those who have food preferences and sensitivities. We will be looking for feedback following our first meeting on January 10!  Thank you Lisa Matheson, Robin Burton and Christine Johnson for all your efforts to recommend and secure our new meeting location!

Morton’s Steakhouse address is: 41 E. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN  46204. Below are nearby parking garages and some street parking is also available:

  1.       Chase Tower Garage – 120 N. Pennsylvania St.
  2.       Huntington Plaza Parking Garage – 35 N. Pennsylvania St.
  3.       Express Park Garage – 20 N. Pennsylvania St.
  4.       The 121 E. Maryland Garage (Denison) – 121 E. Maryland St.
  5.       Washington St. Surface Lot – E. Washington St. between Penn & Meridian Sts. adjacent to Morton’s.
  6.       Merchants Garage – 31 S. Meridian St.
  7.       Circle Center Mall – 26 W. Georgia & W. Washington Sts.


ALA Board 2017-18 Slate will be announced at January’s meeting.  We will vote in January and announce the new board at our February Meeting.  If you are interested in joining the board, we have three openings: Director of Education, Director of Special Projects and Director of Membership.



MAY 10, 2017 – 10 AM – 2 PM

The Educational Forum has been moved from March to May this year and will held at the Indianapolis Zoo!  Our workshop speaker will be Judy Hissong, CLM Nesso Strategies.  We have great new networking activities lined up with our business partners.  We hope you can make this year’s Educational Forum as it’s going to be an exceptional event!  Look for more details in the coming weeks!



The Board determined that after several years of static annual dues, a small increase in the Tier 2 Membership dues is necessary to cover a rise in operating expenses, and we hope the increase does not present a problem for you.  Laura sent an annual renewal email on 12/13/2016 which was due on January 1, 2017.  For questions or to receive another copy of her email, please contact Laura Rust at [email protected] or call 317-237-0500.

Tier 1 Membership ($75.00) – This is the traditional membership that members have had over the past several years.  Monthly luncheons can be purchased a la cart for $25.00 per member.  Members are still welcome to participate in all other local chapter events. 

Tier 2 Membership ($150.00) – This is the traditional membership, with nine (9) monthly luncheons included in your annual dues.  For those who attend regularly, this eliminates the need of cutting a check each month.  Registration fees apply for events outside of the monthly luncheons, including the Spring business partner/educational forum & holiday luncheon. 

*Although there will be no additional cost for the regular monthly luncheons under the Tier 2 Membership, we will still ask members to register for each meeting to ensure we get an accurate headcount for food orders.  For those who register but do not attend the event, a $25.00 charge will be administered to cover food costs.  Cancellations will need to be made 24 hours in advance of the event in order to avoid the $25.00 charge. 

Regardless of your membership level, we are very fortunate and grateful to our Business Partners that even with the small increase, we are able to hold the membership dues at a low cost for 2017.




The relationship between a chapter and its business partners is critical. We cannot provide quality educational opportunities without their support. It is up to us to make sure that they feel they are receiving value for their investment in us. Make sure that calls and e-mails from Business Partners are returned promptly. Even if you are not currently in the market for their product or service, let them know. They will accept it and appreciate your keeping them informed.

Business partners need to see a return on their investment in the chapters but it does not have to be immediate. They know that the vast majority of conversations with members will not result in a sale at that time but will go a long way toward developing a relationship that will pay off in the future.  We, as chapter members, need to make a concerted effort to engage with the business partners whenever possible.

Below are comments from a business partner and a chapter member:

“The Oktoberfest ALA event was a great gathering for our group! It was an awesome venue with lots of faces (new and old) and it was wonderful catching up with the Indy ALA crowd as always! I look forward to this event again in 2017!” Becca Meshberger, IST Management Services, Inc.

“The Second Annual Oktoberfest Business Partner event this year was another great success.  It was a perfect setting to connect, and reconnect, with our Business Partners. I had an opportunity to visit and catch up with some people I had not seen in a while and also met some people who are new to the ALA Business Partner group. Thanks to the Board for making all the arrangements for such a pleasant and enjoyable event.”  Debra Shrum, Legal Administrator, Lewis Wagner LLP

To all of our Business Partners, we thank you for the many privileges and educational opportunities you afford us through your generous sponsorships and your business and product advice in all areas of our daily work. Find member-exclusive VIP services and discounts from nationally known companies in solution categories like cyber security, technology consulting, office products and video conferencing. The savings provided by ALA’s VIP program business partners can add up to 70 percent overall — enough to offset the cost of membership!  Please visit the link:  ALA VIP Program.

Please welcome our newest ALA Indiana Chapter Business Partners.  Please see a complete listing of our 2016 Business Partners on the ALA Indiana Chapter Website under the Business Partners Tab.

Access Information Management

Contact:  Joe Halstead - [email protected]


Gregory & Appel, Inc.

Contact:  Lindsey Bush - [email protected]


Bytecafe Consulting, Inc.

Contact:  Mike Clemmons - [email protected]


Rippe & Kingston

Contacts: Jennifer Harrison - [email protected] and Jeremy Beam - [email protected]




Our annual Partner Appreciation Dinner was held on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at Woodstock Country Club.  Our keynote speaker was Dr. Allison Barber, Chancellor, WGU Indiana.  Pictured is Dr. Barber and her husband. D. Linden Barber, Indianapolis Managing Partner, Quarles & Brady LLP and Lisa Matheson! Our other guest speaker, Michael Bumgarner, Michael T. Bumgarner, CPA, CLM, CGMA, Chief Operating Officer at Flaherty and ALA Region 3 Director, shared valuable ALA resources with the audience.

Business Partner sponsors included: Ricoh, Ritman & Associates, Novitex and DTI.  Special thanks to our Partner Dinner Committee members: Roz Hazzard, Chair, Kate Keele, Lisa Matheson, Carrie Houston, Debi Marple, Deb Fennessy & Robin Burton. Stacy Purtee was awarded the $2,500 Partner Dinner Educational Scholarship.  Congratulations Stacy!



With leadership from the ALA National Conference Committee, our own Chapter Committee Chair, Sherry Downey, alongside her ALA Indiana Chapter Regional Conference Committee, we were able to complete our Community Connection event in 2016 during the ALA Regional Legal Management Conference hosted at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis, Indiana. We were so fortunate to have Indianapolis as chosen as the location for this conference. We had over 300 ALA Region 3 & 4 conference in attendance!   

Truly a memorable and proud moment for many of our attendees was to experience Taquasha Gathing and Jasmine Battsup, two of our L.I.F.E. graduated interns, at the podium at the conference luncheon.  They both eloquently spoke about their experiences in the Chapter’s L.I.F.E. program and how it positively impacted their life and future direction.  I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room; we truly felt the impact of the program and how we can make a difference within our Chapter and our community.  We are planning for the ladies to share their story again at one of our luncheon meetings this year which is something you won’t want to miss!

Thank you to all of our Chapter Members, Business Partners and LRMC attendees for your generous donations toward our Community Connection project this year. Thank you Kate Keele and her committee, Kit McPheeters and Sherry Downey, for your efforts in 2016!   Special thanks to Lisa Matheson, who purchased the Disney Frozen™ Jeep for adorable Elsa & Caleb from of our LRMC Silent Auction.  Thank you also to ALA Houston Chapter, Deanna Lopez, for donating the jeep; it was quite a lot of fun at the conference!  Below is a list of Communication Connection contributions: 

  •         Hats, scarves, gloves and socks were donated to Shortridge High School along with a donation of $450.
  •         Donation to Concord Neighborhood Center in the amount of $1,000.  Next year, we will resume our carnival in October, 2017. 



We have two Business Partner Meet & Greet events each year. The most recent event in the fall, our Oktoberfest, was a huge success with great attendance of almost 60 business partners and Chapter members!

We hope you will make an (ALA) New Year’s resolution to attend at least one event to engage with the business partners.  If you don’t know your Business Partners or Chapter Members, you certainly will make one or more new friends by attending one of our relaxing and engaging events!


SUZY FAULKNER SCHOLARSHIP – The Suzy Faulkner ‘Now is Now’ Scholarship was announced in October, 2016 and is a $1,500 scholarship which will be awarded annually in the month of January for a Chapter member or family member who is going through cancer treatments. The scholarship was designed by our own Suzy Faulkner and her goal is to help make life easier by providing support to someone who has experienced a life altering cancer diagnosis.  We’re so honored to create this award in Suzy’s honor with input from Suzy’s compassionate and caring heart. Suzy’s love of ALA, amazing attitude, joyful enthusiasm and altruistic spirit of volunteerism in sharing of her experience with others inspires and encourages every one of us.  A committee will be appointed to document the requirements of the scholarship and to provide a list of candidates to the ALA Indiana Chapter board.

L.I.F.E. BEYOND SHORTRIDGE SCHOLASTIC SCHOLARSHIP – The ALA Indiana Chapter is excited to announce a second scholarship in 2017 which will be awarded annually to one of our L.I.F.E. program senior students and is designed to provide a $1,500 scholarship to defray costs associated with pursuing their undergraduate degree. L.I.F.E. Beyond Shortridge, (Leaders in Firms Emerging), is a program started in 2011 with Shortridge High School, An IB World School, which emphasizes international mindedness, intercultural understanding and academic rigor. 

The program is now in its sixth year. The purpose of the program is to educate L.I.F.E. program students about the wide range of jobs that are available within our legal organizations through internship programs to help the students prepare for life opportunities. A committee will be appointed and will include the Chair of the L.I.F.E. program, a board member and a third committee member to detail the scholarship eligibility requirements.  Special thanks to Jenny Ellis, Debi Mitchell and Abigail DeCoursey for your extraordinary efforts in creating and supporting this program.  If you would like to participate in this L.I.F.E. Committee, please reach out to Jenny Ellis at [email protected].


Our annual holiday lunch was hosted at Harry & Izzy’s on December 8, 2016.  The room was packed with a merry band of chapter members and so many of our Business Partners.   Our annual holiday tradition is to award $1,500 scholarships at the luncheon to two Chapter Members, compliments of our generous Business Partners (Santas). 

The New Member Scholarship was awarded to Racquel Rutledge, Krieg DeVault LLP and our second holiday scholarship was awarded to Laura Rust, Lewis Wagner LLP.  Special thanks to Sherri Umbaugh and Christine Johnson for putting together such a wonderful holiday luncheon!

FINANCIALS – 2016 SUMMARY – Angela Holmes, ALA Indiana Chapter Treasurer

  •         The chapter met the 2016 budget.  Income is $4,700 under budget, expenses are $5,700 under          budget, leaving us $1,000 overall under budget.   
  •         Our BP sponsorships alone represent 70% of the chapter’s income.  The chapter paid $22,287 in scholarships during the year. 



The ALA Indiana Chapter is re-establishing the Past President’s Council in 2017  The goals of the council are to meet every other month to discuss how we can assist with mentoring new board members and new Chapter members and volunteer for various Chapter events.  If you are a past president and are interested in joining Past President’s Council, please contact Janet Valasek at [email protected].


In addition to our local ALA Indiana Chapter website at, below are many additional, valuable resources available to you as an ALA international member from the website. 


Have you visited the Career Center at If not, make it a priority for 2017. There you will hit the jackpot of career resources such as:

  •         Countless career-related articles, including but not limited to, Human Resources, Legal firm marketing, evaluating staff performance, future industry trends, succession planning, online networking, and legal practice management, just to name a few—a wealth of relevant information and tools for all firm administrativeprofessionals.
  •         Job bank for employers and jobseekers.
  •         Career Resources Kit—this gem is extremely helpful for the small firm administrator just getting his/her feet wet—sample employment agreement, performance evaluation, job description(s),etc.
  •         Subscribe to the weekly “Career Connection” newsletter, and enjoy career tips and articles from other legal professionals, as well as updated legal management and support staff jobopenings.
  •         Free resources from Robert Half Legal—a professional firm providing a full suite of legal staffing and consulting solutions for law firms and corporate law departments across the country. A great resource for law firm trends, and solutions across the board, from cubicle etiquette to successful wellness programs.
  •         Need advice? Check out the Peer Consulting Database of hundreds legal administrative professionals across the country who are willing to provide assistance and offer solutions.
  •         There is a treasure trove of valuable resources available to you at — Let your membership work for you and cash in - be your best in 2017!



Your managing partner asks you to begin collecting proposals for an updated document management program or retirement program. Where do you start? Begin with your National ALA website and visit the Legal Marketplace. There you will find professionals from all across the country who are willing and able to assist with all your questions and tailor their solutions for your unique law firm practice. From practice management to employee benefits to law firm technology, find your next business partner at the Legal Marketplace—visit


As the undisputed leader of the business of law, ALA members and chapters are encouraged to strive for excellence. In order to recognize those efforts, ALA has launched the IDEA (innovation, development, engagement and advancement) Awards. ALA chapters, committees, regions, individuals, firms, business partners and organizations are eligible award recipients who will be selected based upon their development of unique and innovative programs, services and events that improve our ALA chapters and/or legal communities. ALA IDEA Awards recognize new practices that deliver great value and transformational impact through innovative achievement. Questions can be directed to [email protected].

CLM – CERTIFIED LEGAL MANAGER - To CLM or Not to CLM — That Was My Question

By Terri J. Oppelt, CLM, SHRM?SCP, SPHR – Reprint from

I am goal?oriented, and this year I set a goal for myself to take and pass the CLM exam. I thought that while I had been in the legal management arena for most of my professional life, this would be a good goal to focus on, and I felt that obtaining the designation would help me in my career.

I started off by looking at what the requirements were for being able to sit for the exam. The biggest issue I saw was that I needed classes to get the hours to qualify. I had a lot of what I needed but was missing some classes and hours in key areas of learning. So I first got to work on trying to figure out what to take.

I decided to attend ALA’s Annual Conference & Expo, and boy, did I get what I needed and more! Not only did I meet new friends at this conference, but I also learned new things that were relevant to my work. Plus, I fine?tuned my skill set.

In the process of working to achieve my goal of taking and passing the exam, I learned a tremendous amount of relevant and important information and gained confidence in what I knew and what I could bring to my firm. I was proud that I was well on my way to taking the exam, but I think I was more surprised that I was so jazzed to also continue on my path of learning and growing in the business of law.

I thought that the exam was just an exam, and setting a goal and executing on that goal felt good. But the real upside for me came in fully expanding and embracing my business skill set, expanding my leadership skills and growing my network of experienced and helpful ALA friends. It had not occurred to me that taking the CLM exam would give me so much back. 

The exam was tough, but I feel like I have learned so much through work and educational experiences. The CLM after my name shows that I have achieved something important in my law management career. I am really so proud to have achieved it, and even more proud to be able to explain to my partners what it means.  Click here to read more.  You are encouraged to visit You will find more information regarding the CLM exam and testimonials of individuals who have recently achieved their CLM designation.


According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans dedicate more time to work per day than any other activity—an average of 7.6 hours per day. Offices account for nearly one-fifth of all commercial energy consumption. Law firms, in particular, are responsible for large amounts of paper waste and energy use. Greening up your law firm can be simple and cost effective.

Click here to access the IndyBar Go Green Resource Guide, a comprehensive document designed specifically to help attorneys and law firms go green!  This Resource Guide has been developed by the Go Green Committee, a subcommittee of the Indianapolis Young Lawyers Division to serve as a source of information for Indianapolis area attorneys and law firms interested in “going green.” While there are numerous go green resources already available to the public, we recognize that attorneys and law firms may face unique challenges to going green. There is no one-size-fits all approach to going green and we hope that these materials will assist attorneys and firms in developing a strategy that works for them.  Thank you for considering going green or greener!  See below for Go Green Links and Resources:

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful:


Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce: Indy Green Business:

Sustain Indy:


Check out the ALA Indiana Chapter Website Site Photo Gallery to view the people, places and things that make our ALA Indiana Chapter so special!

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