November 2017 Print


Are We There Yet?  We’re Almost There . . .

Isn’t that the question we all want to know?  When I was a kid my family spent a lot of time traveling --- traveling by plane to my dad’s next assignment (he was in the Air Force); traveling by car to visit family whenever we were “state-side”; and traveling to take in the sites.  When you’re the youngest of five children you never get the desirable seat next to the door.  I was either in the back window of the sedan (yes, that happened), in the jump seat of the station wagon, or sitting between my parents.  It was always too hot and I just wanted to be there already!

As the end of this year looms I’m getting that familiar feeling of wanting to hurry up and be “there.”  Maybe you are getting that feeling, too.  Depending on the structure of your firm, year-end is either hurry-up-and-go-faster, or a time when things gear down before the big ramp-up.  In either case, wouldn’t it be great to step back, even if it’s only for a moment, to reflect on successes, opportunities for improvement, and to be intentional about enjoying the journey?  So, as I look toward the finish line I am also going to look down . . . around . . . and maybe slow my pace so I can be present.

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Crystal Evers
Accounting Manager
Dannis Woliver Kelley

275 Battery Street, Suite 1150
San Francisco, CA  94111
(415) 543-4111

Annie Lathram
Director of California Operations
Reed Smith
101 2nd Street, Suite 1800
San Francisco, CA  94105
(415) 543-8700

Erik W. Lawrence
Managing Partner
Gaw Van Male, LLP
1000 Main Street, Suite 300
Napa, CA  94559
(707) 552-9000

Piper M. Quinones
Business Manager
Gaw Van Male, LLP
1000 Main Street, Suite 300
Napa, CA  94559
(707) 552-9000

Ginger Wilson
Chief Operating Officer
Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP
1111 Broadway, 24th Floor
Oakland, CA  94607
(510) 834-6600

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November 14, 2017
8:30 AM to 9:30 AM

Knox Ricksen LLP
2033 N. Main Street, Suite 340
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Board Meeting 11/14/17



November 15, 2017
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Miller Starr Regalia
1331 N. California Blvd., 5th Floor
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Introduction to Building a Budget You Can Count On



December 06, 2017
12:00 PM to 2:00 PM

3565 Mt. Diablo Blvd.
Lafayette, CA 94549

East Bay ALA Holiday Luncheon



December 12, 2017
6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Scott's Seafood Restaurant
1333 North California Boulevard
Walnut Creek,, CA 94596

"The Nest" by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney




January 26, 2018
7:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Lafayette Park Hotel, Independence Room 
3287 Mt. Diablo Blvd.
Lafayette, CA 94549



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east bay, golden gate, and silicon valley chapters united to take part in the largeSt volunteer event in the u.s., california coastal cleanup day! 

2017 coastal cleanup
maverick beach 
Half Moon Bay, CA



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Last month the featured book for the East Bay Chapters was Stephen King’s 11/22/63, which was recommended by EBALA member Lorie Gehrke. With over 1,000 pages (over 30 hours for audio readers), it was a challenge for some of the members to finish in time for our meeting.  Half of the group finished the book.  The rest of us (myself included) were either still reading (or listening to) the book OR had plans to read it but still came to the book club meeting because it’s FUN

Lorie led us through some interesting discussions pertaining to the book and the concepts of time travel and the ability to change history.  We also shared our thoughts about the characters and the outcomes.  Based on the thoughts we shared and our lively discussion, I was eager to finish the book.  Our club members were kind enough not to give away the ending – but they gave just enough tidbits of information to entice me to get back to reading as soon as possible.  Two days later, I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. reading until my eyes finally gave out.  I couldn’t wait to get home to finish the book the next day! 

If you haven’t read 11/22/63, the members of East Bay Chapters give it a “thumbs up.”  There is a television series too, but I think this story is a better “read.”  Carve out some time because you won’t want to put it down once you start it.  Our East Bay Chapters Leader Tina Riehl admitted she missed one of her BART stops because she was so engrossed in the book. 

AND, if you are looking for ideas of new books to read, come join the East Bay Chapters!  Our members enjoy sharing suggestions, and the biggest challenge we face is picking our next book!   Hope to see you at our next gathering on December 12 at 5:30 p.m. at Scott's Seafood in Walnut Creek! 

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thank you for your dedication and service to EBALA!


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Developing an IT Roadmap with an Effective Budgeting Strategy
by: josh quinn & tommy rotunno, mindshift technologies
article provided by: ricoh legal (christopher holley and mo blake)


Yes, it’s that time of year again. Kids are going back to school, tree leaves are starting to change color, and the holidays are quickly approaching.  Q4 is peaking its head out and it's time for firm’s to begin compiling their budget requests for the upcoming year, ranging from improving efficiency to strategic growth initiatives. Many firms find the budgeting process daunting when it comes to IT. There are many moving parts with software & hardware upgrades, software & hardware support renewals, ongoing IT Security protections, and Windows & Office migrations (just to name a few!).  This can lead to second?guessing how much and where the firm is allocating budgetary dollars, contemplating if you are in line with your peers or falling behind.


The first step is figuring out if you are spending in the right areas of IT. It is important to understand if you are budgeting the proper amount.  The legal IT industry is proudly unique in that the information sharing across firms is unprecedented,  allowing for a look into the budget and spending across firms.

As a reference point and per the recent 2016 ILTA member survey, 44% of small firms (1?49 attorneys) and 39% of medium firms (50?199 attorneys) spend within 1?3.99% of firm revenue on technology, excluding IT staff salaries/benefits and training.  Medium sized firms are highly concentrated in the middle of this range, with 56% of firms spending 2?2.99% of firm revenue.

An alternative metric for a point of reference is the IT Spend per Attorney.  Almost three quarters (70%) of small firms spend up to $8,000 per attorney, while over half (60%) of medium firms spend $11,001?$17,000 per attorney.

What does this mean for you?  As an example, if you are a firm with 30 attorneys and an annual revenue of $6M, almost half of your peers are spending between $60,000?$240,000 on technology per year.  If you are a firm with 100 attorneys and $20M in annual revenue, most of your peers are spending between $400,000?$600,000 (based off total revenue metric) or $1.1M?$1.7M (based off attorney count metric) on technology per year.

To keep up with the cadence of continuous changes in legal technology, law firms are also recognizing that IT spend cannot be limited to a single year investment.  It is now a cornerstone and foundation of the firm's livelihood.  A vast majority of responses from the 2016 ITLA member survey have shown that IT budgets have remained the same or in many cases, over half (53%) of firms have increased their IT budget year?over?year – which was a 12% growth rate from the previous year's survey.  It is not uncommon for firms to look to their trusted IT vendor and partner with them to come up with the roadmap that fits the budget that was set by firm.


The very best businesses are built on a solid foundation – and this should be no different for IT.  The first stop for your IT budget should be ensuring all the production hardware and software are currently covered under vendor support contracts.  This means having an accurate inventory system to be able to track warranty expirations and version information and understand when items are approaching end?of?life, which should also help lead towards forecasting and planning when to upgrade these systems.  As Microsoft ended support of Server 2003 in July 2015and is currently slated to end support of Server 2008 in January 2020, it is imperative to begin the planning and execution of upgrading these platforms as soon as possible.

The rapid pace of technology has a habit of throwing the old models out the window in favor of the new "sexy" technology  Think how datacenter technologies have evolved from systems that were once tiered into a converged model (combining two tiers into one) and then hyper?converged arrived combining three tiers into one package.  Software is making leaps even faster, with the introduction of the Cloud's rapid workload adoption and removing the need to host certain infrastructure onpremise.  These developments in technology allow you to realize efficiencies (from licensing and hardware cost reduction, technology consolidation, and ease of business continuance) that were previously out of reach for a majority of small/mid?sized businesses.

Once your technology foundation is solid, the next area to focus on is business continuity and disaster recovery.  While IT disaster recovery is a subset of an overall business continuity plan, it's also important to position the production workload in a capable location with enough capacity, power, and cooling.  Many firms experienced this first hand, with the most recent being Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, where some firms experienced full outages for several days that were not in a colocation facility. These firm outages could have been avoided if they were in a colocation facility, which are backed up with multiple connectivity and power sources with fully redundant generators, and are generally staffed 24x7.  If you are currently in a colocation facility, the next evolution is to layer on backup and replication in accordance with the firm’s recovery point and recovery time objectives.  A new trend in this space is Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) through public cloud such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon AWS which might make sense for some firms to investigate further, allowing them to convert CapEx to OpEx while still retaining the same (or greater) level of protections.

As additional budgetary dollars allow, a renewed focus on IT security should become a priority.  While there are dozens of security products and suites, some fundamental security practices should be implemented such as endpoint security, mobile device management, two?factor authentication, and a routine (quarterly or yearly) penetration test performed by an independent third party.  The legal industry is becoming a hot target for malicious attackers looking to gain access to the highly privileged information that is stored within a law firm.  New tactics and techniques are coming to market and gaining traction, such as DMS threat analytics, log aggregation and correlation, and Managed Security Services Providers.

Education and training should be a staple in the yearly IT budget.  Allocation of funds should not only be used to raise user awareness of security threats such as phishing, but also to help the IT staff stay current with industry conferences to understand what is new in the legal vertical.  These conferences can pay for themselves if you leave with lessons learned from your peers or happen to develop a relationship with a vendor that is able to accelerate the firm's growth or reduce its expenses.

Legal applications are the elephant in the room – and where firms can easily allocate a clear majority of their yearly budget.  There's no shortage of reasons to focus on this area, from the upcoming sunset of Elite to the allure of Artificial Intelligence, but it's important to stay grounded and develop a long?term vision of how the application set will mature at the firm.  Some core business applications – such as accounting suites – are sun setting while others are new spinoffs that might be worthy of consideration.  Are you considering a desktop OS refresh into Windows 10 with Office 2016?  This will most likely be the best window of opportunity to consider changing core legal applications that plugin to the Office suite, such as templating and numbering.  As DMS platforms become more millennial friendly, they are beginning to add features for expanded mobility along with integrated security and analytical features, which might be worthy of an upgrade at your firm.  Does your firm use a practice management application, where it might make sense to break apart and start using focused applications that are best?of?breed due to the firm's growth or renewed focus on technology?

There is not a blanket "yes" or "no" answer for these questions, as every firm is unique in both culture and technology needs.  For firms in the small to mid?sized space, most of the time it does make sense to partner with and involve trusted vendors to do the heavy lifting and provide guidance for the many paths of success that a firm can go down with their IT budget.

In closing, the pace that the technology landscape is changing is forcing firms into more fluid IT budgets.  It is important to know how to define the budget and drive your IT roadmap with the budget that is set.  If you have trusted IT vendor relationships, lean on them to help you define your IT roadmap and put together a 3?year plan that addresses the health of your foundation, the core side of your network, a disaster recovery and business continuance model, must?have IT security solutions, ongoing education, and legal applications (Microsoft Office, DMS, practice management, docketing, templating & numbering).  Don’t fall behind! Now is the time to take control of the process.

Josh Quinn
Managing Director
MindSHIFT Technologies / (202) 957-3649

Tommy Rotunno
Director, Legal Services
MindSHIFT Technologies / (215) 595-6657

Chris holley
account manager, legal
Ricoh usa, inc.

mo blake
national solutions specialist, legal
ricoh usa, inc.

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Christopher Holley (Ricoh): Most wins
Jennifer Monrov: Most Buncos
Andrea Everage: Most Losses 

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The East Bay Chapters
is excited to announce our 
next book selection
"The Nest"
by: Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives.

Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs' joint trust fund, "The Nest," which they are months away from finally receiving. ( You'll need to read to see what happens next. 

Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can't seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the futures they've envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives. 

We will be meeting on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. at Scott's Restaurant in Walnut Creek (in the casual bar area) for our next group book discussion. I hope you can join your fellow EBALA members for this fun and enjoyable night.

If there is a book you would like The East Bay Chapters to consider in the future, please let Tina Riehl know. Her email is:

Our book club is open to all members.  Please join us at any time.

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The Value of Business Partnership
By: Joy Buchanan

My firm and I have had a long-time relationship with EBALA Business Partner Hyon Yang from Touchstone Legal. At a recent lunch, Hyon and I had the opportunity to discuss the benefits of the Business Partner relationship from both of our perspectives.

As a general rule my firm does not frequently use recruiters for temporary assignments so most of my experience is with full-time placement. When we are searching for a full-time employee, it is important to me to work with someone who knows my firm and our culture.  It is also important to work with someone who knows me well, with whom I can be candid and feel comfortable speaking about idiosyncrasies of a particular position or assignment and know that Hyon will use the information to assist in identifying candidates but keep the information confidential. In a tight hiring market, there is tremendous value in tapping into a recruiter’s network of candidates who may be interested in my firm but not actively looking and otherwise miss our recruiting advertisements. I can rely on Hyon for all of this.

As an EBALA Business Partner, I have had numerous opportunities to connect and socialize with Hyon throughout the year at various EBALA events. Through these events I have gotten to know Hyon certainly as a professional but on a personal level as well. We are all busy and our time is valuable. Vetting resumes from a posting can be extremely time-consuming and produce a limited number of qualified candidates. Equipped with the knowledge about the position and the historical knowledge of my firm, Hyon saves me lots of time! There are many recruiters out there and I receive numerous cold calls on a regular basis but the value of working with someone who can jump right in and on our needs is invaluable to me and my firm.

Similarly, Hyon shared that she also enjoys the rapport she has with the many members of EBALA. Her association with her clients goes beyond that of simply professional. She too relishes the relationships she has built with EBALA administrators. Hyon recognizes the importance of finding the right fit for both the candidates she represents and her clients. She puts high value on client satisfaction as confirmed by the success of her placements. Business partnership with EBALA allows Hyon to get to know the administrators, her clients, through educational and social events.

Although our relationship is that of recruiter and client, our goals and perspectives align. The EBALA business partnership provides the vehicle to foster a relationship that goes beyond strictly professional, a tremendous benefit to both of our businesses.

Hyon Yang and Touchstone Legal are just one of the many Business Partners EBALA is fortunate enough to partner with. If you talk to other members and business partners, you will hear similar stories. When your firm is in need of a particular service, start with the EBALA Business Partner directory on the EBALA website.

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Have you seen our beautiful new website?
Check it out at

Calendar of Events
You can easily view and register for all upcoming events, including our EBALA HOLIDAY LUNCHEON ON DECEMBER 6! 

Recruiting for staff?  Please submit your ad for free on EBALA’s site.

You can always find the MOST RECENT newsletter on the EBALA website.

Business Partners
looking for a new vendor?  We have the best business partners around!  Check out our business partner listing at

We’re also on Facebook
Please follow AND ENGAGE with your EBALA community there! 



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DON't forget to renew your ala memebership for 2018!  click image below. 



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