ALPMA appoints new president
The Australasian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA) has named a new president in the lead up to its annual summit.
Andrew Barnes (pictured), financial controller for the Lantern Legal Group, has taken the role of ALPMA president. He replaces Anthony Bleasdale, who has stepped down from the post to become the Asia-Pacific director of software provider BigHand.
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Barnes told Lawyers Weekly that he does not expect the appointment will change his role at ALPMA too drastically.
“Obviously, the president has a closer involvement with some of the decisions that need to be made … but the reality is that so many things are happening at the moment that we can’t stop to think about who’s the president,” he said.
In addition to his role at Legal Lantern Group, which incorporates the practices of Harwood Andrews and Sladen Legal, Barnes has been working with ALPMA in a variety of state and national roles. He served as ALPMA vice president until his appointment as president and continues to act as treasurer of the ALPMA Victorian Committee.
He revealed that it is customary for the vice president to be invited to fill the president’s position if it is vacated. That invitation was ratified last Friday (4 July).
ALPMA’s company secretary, Valmai Vickers, has stepped into the vice president’s position and board member Susan Comerford has been appointed the company secretary.
All board positions are open for nomination again at the association’s AGM in November.
Learning to thrive and prosper
The central theme of the upcoming ALPMA summit, to be held on 27-29 August, is ‘Thrive and Prosper’. Barnes said the theme is intended to get lawyers thinking about “coming out the other side of the GFC – it’s about looking forward”.
The conference program includes a variety of speakers, including US business development experts Tim Williams and Julie Savarino, social commentator Bernard Salt and business futurist Craig Rispin who will speak on the future of technology in law firms. The managing director and founder of Hive Legal, Jodie Baker, will also speak on innovative work practices.
“It’s a really broad brush approach to ensure that people can come along and get what they want out of the program that’s in front of them … whether that be in human resources, business development or technology,” said Barnes.
Vision for the future
Barnes said law firms will adapt to market pressures in the future by restructuring and re-imagining their business models, including their approach to pricing.
Another change in the pipeline is the use of project managers in the management of legal resources, according to Barnes, who claimed firms can apply professional project management mechanisms, often created by non-lawyers, to manage resources “in much the same way that an engineer would when constructing a building”.
The physical space that lawyers work in will also see major shifts in the next few years, he continued, citing open plan offices to foster collaboration as an example.
“People still like their corner offices with a door and no glass so people can never see them, but I think down the track that will be a rare instance,” he added.