Association of Legal Administrators
Oklahoma City Chapter
From the President’s Desk…
Welcome to a new year with ALA! Everyone says you have to make New Year's Resolutions, so here are
a few of mine:
Be a nicer person;
Stop being so sarcastic;
Lose 25 pounds; and
Enjoy my fellow members of ALA more, by doing more things with them outside of
Okay, let's face facts – the first two are never going to happen; the third resolution is highly unlikely; so
that leaves me to work on the fourth.
We always talk about the camaraderie and friendships we form in ALA, but I for one am bad about
going to lunch or just calling my fellow members. Every time I do take the time to learn about a fellow
member, I am pleasantly surprised. Did you know we have a member who raises chickens? Or that one
of our members has a son in Afghanistan? Yes, we are defined by our job, but all of our members have
rich and exciting lives outside of the office and even have families and hobbies!
We always talk about the value of people in our firms, now let's discover the value of the people in our
very own ALA Chapter. Maybe if I get to really know some of our members, they can help me with that
whole "nice, less sarcastic" thing. Well, maybe not, but it's worth a try.
It turns out I eat lunch every day (thus the reason it is highly unlikely that I will lose 25 pounds), and
surprisingly, a lot of our Chapter members also eat lunch (oops, still sarcastic - sorry). I'm thinking I will
send out an e-mail to the Chapter for random days to join me for a casual lunch – not to learn or discuss
ALA, but just to make friends. I hope you will join me, partly because I will feel really stupid sitting at a
large table all by myself, but mostly because I look forward to making new friends.
Article from Bev McElroy
My daughter, Jenn Evans, (now Lowery), received the Milken Family Foundation award this past October.
This is a tremendous honor, as the recipient is not nominated by anyone, nor can apply for the award. The
Milken Family representatives search the nation for a candidate and do extensive due-diligence (which may
take up to 3-4 years).
Jenn has been teaching for eight years now in a Mid-Del „at risk‟ school. She was extremely honored to
receive the award, which is a cash prize of $25,000.00 to use any way she would like. She will travel to Los
Angeles, California in April to receive the award and be recognized nationally, along with other award winners.
Jenn was the only teacher in Oklahoma to receive this honor!
October 2010 was an exciting month for Jenn as two days after this award, she celebrated her birthday and two
weeks later, was married to Sheridan Lowery in Eureka Springs at the Glass Cathedral. It was very exciting and
a lot of fun for our family.
Jenn has also applied to take the Oklahoma Board this year, so hopefully, in a few months, she will be board
HOW TO DEAL WITH THE STRESSES AND ANXIETIES
OF BEING A LEGAL ADMINISTRATOR
By Stanley Popovich
Stress and anxiety are very common in today‟s legal environment. As a result, here is a list of techniques that
a legal administrator can use to help manage their daily stresses and anxieties at their job.
Sometimes, we get stressed when everything happens all at once. When this happens, a person should take a
deep breath and try to find something to do for a few minutes to get their mind off of the problem. A person
could take a walk, listen to some music, read the newspaper or do an activity that will give them a fresh
perspective on things.
When facing a current or upcoming task at your job that overwhelms you with a lot of anxiety, divide the task
into a series of smaller steps and then complete each of the smaller tasks one at a time. Completing these
smaller tasks will make the stress more manageable and increases your chances of success.
Challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking. When encountering thoughts
that make you fearful or depressed, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that will maintain
objectivity and common sense. For example, you are afraid that if you do not get that job promotion then you
will be stuck at your job forever. This depresses you, however your thinking in this situation is unrealistic. The
fact of the matter is that there all are kinds of legal jobs available and just because you don‟t get this job
promotion doesn‟t mean that you will never get one.
Remember that no one can predict the future with one hundred percent certainty. Even if the thing that you
feared does happen there are circumstances and factors that you can‟t predict which can be used to your
advantage. For instance, you are at your place of work and you miss the deadline for a project you have been
working on for the last few months. Everything you feared is coming true. Suddenly, your boss comes to your
office and tells you that the deadline is extended and that he forgot to tell you the day before. This unknown
factor changes everything. Remember: We may be ninety-nine percent correct in predicting the future, but all it
takes is for that one percent to make a world of difference.
In dealing with your anxieties at your legal job, learn to take it one day at a time. While the consequences of a
particular fear may seem real, there are usually other factors that cannot be anticipated and can affect the results
of any situation. Get all of the facts of the situation and use them to your advantage.
Stan Popovich is the author of "A Layman's Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant
Methods" - an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent
fears and anxieties. For additional information go to: http://www.managingfear.com/
2010 Regional Conference and Chapter Meetings
The Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) Annual Conference & Exposition is the legal
management profession‟s most comprehensive event of its kind. Featuring dynamic and
relevant education presented by recognized leaders in their field, the ALA Annual Conference
will enhance your knowledge, develop your management skills, and enable you to achieve
greater personal and professional growth.
ALA‟s three-day Exposition is a vital extension of the educational program and provides the
opportunity to update yourself on the latest technologies, find solutions to business issues, solve
problems, uncover emerging trends, and develop valuable resources and partnerships in the
The Annual Conference also provides ample opportunities for networking. Various events,
including receptions, lunches, and idea exchanges, will allow you the time to discuss your dayto-day challenges and unique issues with other legal management professionals from around the
world. You‟re sure to learn tips, tactics, and wisdom that you can implement back at your
2011 Annual Conference & Exposition
May 23-26, 2011
Orlando World Center Marriott
For more information, please visit: www.alanet.org
The Do’s and Don’ts of Making Tech Hardware Purchases at Law Firms
By Robert C. Mattern, President, Mattern & Associates LLC
Over the years, a law firm will spend millions of dollars of technical hardware for the benefit of its employees and
physical plant. These technical items can range from multi-functional devices to cost recovery systems to vertical lifts for
34-story office buildings – quite a diversity of purchasing decisions to contend with.
Given the complexity, importance and variety of these purchases, we propose the following suggestions to insure your law
firm benefits most from what you buy.
1. Examine Total Cost of Ownership
When procuring equipment, the bottom-line purchase or lease price is normally the number everyone is scrutinizing. Yes,
this number is important, but equally as important are the supply and maintenance pricing requirements that support the
procurement itself. Know what each component of the Total Cost of Ownership costs at the projected volume (if
applicable). For a very simple example, an inkjet printer costs initially much less to purchase than a laser printer, but not
when you add supply costs at certain volume levels.
2. Try Before You Buy
Everything looks great in the showroom. Insist on an on-site trial as part of any procurement process with no strings
attached. If the vendor won‟t allow it or wants to charge you for it, then you have the wrong vendor. As a component of
the on-site trial, develop a checklist containing every possible situation or process this piece of hardware may encounter
during its lifecycle.
Make sure the end-users verify that the piece of hardware on trial was exposed to this process and was able to handle it
effectively. A few years ago we were placing a very high-end color unit at one of our clients‟ offices. We followed the
above process but there was certain cover stock they ran for projects with a cutout window. You guessed it, it wasn‟t on
the checklist and when they did run it after the unit was procured, and the machine wasn‟t able to handle it.
3. Determine and Check your Specs
Based on your initial specifications, make sure you have outlined detailed performance criteria detailed in the contract
(and the associated Request for Proposal). Having this detail incorporated into the contract, and having both parties agree
on it, will only make it easier to address the situation if and when something doesn‟t work.
4. Build Flexibility into Every Deal
Make sure you build flexibility into any type of maintenance pricing based upon volume. Before you commit to any type
of monthly or annual volume, make sure you are going to reach it, and that there are credits in case you don‟t. Some ways
to approach this is a zero-based plan where you only pay for the volume completed, or negotiation for an underage credit
for under use.
On the procurement side, if it is a multi-unit deal, make sure you build some type of flexibility to upgrade, downgrade or
“walk away” from a certain percentage of the units. Obviously if you purchase the units, this term does not apply which is
one of the reasons we do not advocate purchasing of hardware. To illustrate, if a law firm merges with another firm, there
will be redundant machines. If you have negotiated 100% flexibility on equipment under your outsourcing contract, you
can return all of your equipment with no penalties or early termination charges. This flexibility does exist, but you have to
negotiate for it. Vendors are reluctant to give it, since it impacts the way they can “book” the business. It may increase
your price slightly, but the convenience and “peace of mind” is well worth it.
5. The Lemon Out-Clause
Have language in the contract that addresses what happens if the unit or units do not work to the specifications as detailed
in the contract. Hopefully this will not happen, but if it does, make sure you can walk away from the obligation if the
equipment does not perform as promised or specified in the contract.
6. Specify the After Plan
Be very specific on what happens at the end of the deal. Do you own the equipment? Is there a buyout? If so, how much is
it? Who is going to support it after this point and what will it cost you?
Some of the Don’ts of Tech Hardware purchases are:
1. Don’t forget to get it in writing!
Do not count on the same person who sold you the products to be there next year in other words – have everything in
writing! Chances are the person who sold the product will not be there next year. Memories tend to fade when the going
gets tough, so make sure all guarantees and promises are in writing.
2. Don’t fall in love until you are walking down the aisle.
My Mother used to say this about any type of purchase or commitment until everything was signed and complete. In other
words, do not be afraid to walk away from a deal or a purchase until everything is signed and the deal is done to your
satisfaction. Too many people fall in love with a tech purchase and stay in love with it even though the deal is turning out
not to be in their best interest, or the product has not been proven through the trial to do everything they need it to do
based upon the specifications.
In these economic times, the power is in the hands of the buyer. By following the Do‟s and Don‟ts as laid out above, your
chances of success for any tech hardware purchase will improve dramatically.
As seen in the Chicago Lawyer magazine!
Robert C. Mattern is President of Mattern & Associates LLC, support services and cost recovery advisors that service
mid-size and large law firms. Mattern & Associates is a supporter of the ALA - involvements include exhibiting at the
ALA Annual Conference & Exposition, presenting educational sessions for Chapter events, and publishing in ALA‟s
Legal Management Magazine. E-mail Rob at [email protected] or visit Mattern & Associates website at:
August 5, 2010
Getting to know one of our newest members:
We recently welcomed Randy Rybicki, Controller for McAfee & Taft to our ALA Chapter. His wife, Joni is an
Ultrasound Sonographer for a Cardiologist. His daughter, Sarah is a Sophomore at OSU. He also has two sons,
Sam who is a Senior at PC North and Michael who is a Freshman.
Randy formally worked for McKinney & Stringer for about 9 years, then worked for a commercial real estate
company prior to joining McAfee & Taft in 2008.
Hobbies include golf and quail hunting.
He is also the proud owner of two mutts, Lucy and Pete!
An organizational culture that disseminates necessary information
to its employees, and receives information back, creates an
environment where employees feel valued. ~Patricia Childers
Patricia Childers is a Marketing Specialist for the Association of Legal Administrators in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Contact
her at [email protected].
DID YOU KNOW?
ALANET.ORG offers ALA members free access to the ALA Reference Desk? You can send
questions regarding legal management to [email protected].
Local News and Upcoming Events:
Welcome the newest members to our Chapter:
Rhonda Jones, Benefits Administrator at Crowe & Dunlevy
Robin Merrill, Administrator at Elias Books
Jennifer Johnson, Firm Administrator at Pignato Cooper
Randy Rybicki, Controller at McAfee & Taft
Trent Corken, Office Administrator at Hall Estill
New CLM Chair is Lori Mackey. Thank you, Lori!
New Education Chair, Elaine McPheeters. Thank you, Elaine!
Annual conference to be held in Orlando ~ May 2011
Get ready for our annual Vendor Expo!!
April 12, 2011 – Skirvin Hotel
10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
ALA-OKC Contact Information
Joanne A. Branesky
Hartzog, Conger, Cason & Neville, LLP
201 Robert S. Kerr, Suite 1600
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Telephone: (405) 235-7000
Fax: (405) 996-3403
Vice President / President Elect
Crowe and Dunlevy
20 North Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Telephone: (405) 235-7700
Fellers, Snider, Blankenship,
Bailey & Tippens, P.C.
100 N. Broadway, Suite 1700
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Telephone: (405) 232-0621
Fax: (405) 232-9659
Goolsby, Proctor, Heefner & Gibbs, P.C.
701 N. Broadway, Suite 400
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Telephone: (405) 524-2400
Fax: (405) 525-6004
Andrews Davis, PC
100 N. Broadway Avenue, Suite 3300
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Telephone: (405) 272-9241
Fax: (405) 235-8766
Walker Harris & Wolfe, PLLC
3030 N.W. Expressway, Suite 500
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
Telephone: (405) 702-5300
Fax: (405) 702-5399
Helpful and Interesting Websites!
ALA – http://www.alanet.org/
ALA-Oklahoma City Chapter - http://www.alaokc.org/
American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers: www.aipb.org
Bricktown - http://www.bricktownokc.com/
CLM - http://www.alanet.org/clm/
COALA - http://coala.cc/
Downtown Oklahoma City - http://www.downtownokc.com/
LMRC - http://thesource.alanet.org/portal/server.pt
NALA - http://www.nala.org/
Oklahoma Bar Association - http://www.okbar.org/
Oklahoma City Events - http://www.oklahomacity.com/events.php
Oklahoma City Visitors Bureau - http://www.visitokc.com/
Oklahoma County Bar Association - http://www.okcbar.org/
Oklahoma Paralegal Association - http://www.okparalegal.org/
PLMW - http://www.plmw.org/index.html
SHRM - http://www.shrm.org/Pages/default.aspx
Wimgo - http://wimgo.com/oklahoma-city-ok
Workforce Management - http://www.workforce.com/
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The OKC Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators is a separate legal entity from the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA). ALA licenses the use of its
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the OKC Chapter Newsletter. In no event shall ALA be deemed the guarantor of the OKC Chapter.