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Annual Report 2001-2002

The events of September 11, 2001, set the tone in many ways for the year ahead for the Legal Administrator Section. We had to cancel our session at the State Bar Annual Meeting on September 14, 2001, as all flights were canceled and our scheduled presenter, Ed Wesemann, was not able to make it to Michigan. We hope to offer Ed's topic "Happenings in the Legal Market Place" in the future.

Soon after, on November 28, we hosted our first Disaster Response & Recovery seminar, which was a very welcome topic for the group given the difficult times. Craig Parrish, president of Integrated Technologies Management, made the trek from Delaware to speak to our section on the key issues involved in disaster response and recovery. Craig's comments sparked creative thoughts in all of us as we contemplated the varied issues involved in formulating plans for our respective offices. Craig has consulted with many law firms throughout the country, including several firms in the New York City area.

As an encore, Craig and his partner, Linda Dickey, director of operations, returned to Michigan on March 26, 2002, to facilitate a workshop aimed at helping all of us who provide administrative duties in law firms get started in documenting our own disaster and response recovery plans. The small group breakout sessions were very helpful as we were able to interact with our counterparts from other firms and to share ideas that will benefit all firms in this important area. We learned that a disaster recovery plan is not a document, but rather a living process. Craig and Linda also presented this topic at the 2002 Annual Association of Legal Administrators conference in Texas.

On a lighter note, our section along with the Michigan Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators again co-sponsored an annual golf outing for section members on June 18, 2002, at Fox Hills Golf Club in Plymouth. We invited Tom Anderson, a professional trainer, to make a presentation on the importance of making time for physical fitness. This is also an important stress-relieving component in any legal administrator's life during these trying times.

We published quarterly newsletters for e-mail distribution to our section members. Over the past year these have included important topics related to disaster response and recovery as well as protecting a firm's information technology systems from viruses. We also updated our State Bar Legal Administrators Section website regularly so all interested members would know the time and place of our monthly council meetings.

We also devoted time to several efforts to potentially enhance our web page with links to various institutions that can provide educational materials of interest to our section members. Over the past year, we have met with representatives from Eastern Michigan University and Oakland University; both of these institutions have expressed an interest in exploring the possibility of offering web-based educational opportunities to legal administrators. We also had discussions with Skill Path about the possibility of setting up a link to their on-line training website where administrators can choose to take individual courses on various educational topics related to their work functions. These efforts are ongoing.

I would like to express my gratitude to the 2001-2002 Legal Administrator Council members for all of their dedicated efforts during the year. From keeping the minutes, tracking the finances, preparing and distributing the newsletters, exploring web-based learning possibilities, and setting up speakers and events, everyone played an important role in making the 2001-2002 year a success.

My article for the newsletter at the beginning of the year focused on the important role legal administrators play in providing service within a service organization. The council members in the 2001-2002 term certainly served the section well this year. It was a pleasure to work together and get to know each individual on the council better.

John D. Gorzalski, Chair
Legal Administrators Section
2001-2002

     

 

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