Let's Get Certified!


ALA’s Certified Legal Manager (CLM) program was developed to provide law firm management professionals with an opportunity to demonstrate a command of core areas of knowledge identified as essential to the effective performance of a principal administrator. CLMs are recognized as professionals in leadership positions who have met the work experience requirement, displayed a commitment to continuing education and passed a comprehensive examination.

WHAT COMPETENCIES ARE COVERED IN THE EXAM? Through extensive research, ALA investigated the job responsibilities of a legal administrator and other law firm management professionals and identified 65 competencies (knowledge, skills and abilities) critical to successfully perform the administrator's job. These analyses are the guidelines used in the development of ALA's educational and certification programs.

HOW DOES BECOMING CERTIFIED BENEFIT ME? Certification is defined as a credentialing process by which a profession grants proficiency recognition to an individual who meets predetermined minimum qualifications by that profession, and establishing professional standards. CLM certification ensures recognition of your expertise by identifying a well-rounded body of knowledge, and assists you in your professional development. In addition, certification helps junior-level professionals increase their breadth of knowledge through the study process and gain top-level management approval, and helps seasoned practitioners remain current in the field and improve their performance and proficiency.

HOW DOES THIS BENEFIT MY EMPLOYER/FIRM? Certification serves as an aid for recruitment of the industry’s certified talent, provides a way to encourage and improve job performance for its management team, and acknowledges training and development of those who are certified.

WHAT MUST I DO TO BECOME CERTIFIED? To become certified, ALA members or non-members must meet eligibility requirements and pass the certification examination given by the Association of Legal Administrators. Legal administrators in Canada and other countries are eligible to become certified, but must realize that major portions of the examination are based on U.S. federal law and ABA Rules.


Virginia Zingg, CLM, Farleigh Wada Witt: “Studying for the CLM exam was a great experience for me. I was able to use my business management background outside of the legal field and combine it with my experience at my current firm to pull together a solid picture of what it takes to be a principal administrator. It gave me a greater appreciation for all aspects of law firm administration, which makes me a better management team member.”

Kyle Sele, CLM, Dunn Carney: “I enjoyed going through the CLM preparation process, to learn more about Law Firms Management, with a goal of becoming more educated about law firm responsibilities. I never anticipated leaving my Finance niche, until I passed the CLM exam and was then recognized by my peers as someone who could fit the role of Law Firm Administrator. It broadened by education and ultimately, broadened my experiences. I highly recommend this opportunity to challenge yourself with an excellent learning experience!”

Kathee Nelson, CLM, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith: “I initially set out to study and sit for the CLM Exam to increase my confidence in certain areas of administration. The time spent preparing for an examination of this magnitude covering each of the core competency areas was invaluable, even (or especially) after many years in the legal industry. Accumulating the education hours necessary to maintain my CLM designation keeps me learning and growing. I can absolutely recommend this process and certification to anyone focused on personal professional development within the legal industry. Becoming CLM certified was one of the most satisfying experiences in my professional journey.”

Bob Caldwell, CLM, Compass IP Law: “On its own merit, the knowledge and insight gained from the CLM study group was well worth the time, effort, and sacrifice. The self-confidence and self-validation gained from passing the exam and receiving the CLM certificate was an added bonus that will remain with me for the rest of my life!”


Chicago Chapter site: CLM Exam Review Materials: http://www.alachicago.org/GotCLM/CLMExamReviewMaterials

 Association of Legal Administrators (National): http://www.alanet.org/clm/

Cyber Chapter CLM Study Group: http://www.cyberala.org/wp/?page_id=153

INTERESTED IN TAKING THE NEXT STEPS? Contact 2016-17 Oregon-ALA President Kathee Nelson, CLM