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August 29, 2022

Reflections From the Virtual Lunch: Michelle Cohen, Foundation of the Association of Legal Administrators

Virtual Lunch (1)
Ari Kaplan Interviews Michelle Cohen, President, Foundation of the Association of Legal Administrators

Throughout the month of August, SurePoint Technologies is excited to sponsor the Virtual Lunch with a focus on Igniting Innovation.  Michelle Cohen, Director of HR at Schneck Law Group and current President of the Foundation of the Association of Legal Administrators (Foundation), the charitable arm of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) recently joined host Ari Kaplan to share more about the Foundation and what led her to a career in legal administration.  

Cohen credits great mentors with her success. She learned the importance of mentorship early on when she took her first job in college as a social worker in a group home. She immediately found a mentor in her hiring manager and learned early on how important it was to have a seat at the table when decisions were being made.  

As a leader, Cohen says it is important that you embrace your mistakes. She encourages emerging leaders to own their mistakes and grow from them. Cohen stated the importance of understanding the skills you possess and sharing them with others however she stressed that it was just as important to understand what you don’t know.  

Mentorship is at the cornerstone of everything Cohen does and said that she is encouraged by the increased focus on it in the business of law and at all levels of the law firm ecosystem. It is also what makes her so passionate about the work of the Foundation.

When Cohen was appointed president of the Foundation, she knew that she wanted to incorporate her passion for mentorship and invest in the organization’s membership and their careers. While finding a mentor is important, Cohen believes that becoming a mentor can also make for a better leader. As a mentor, you are able to identify your strengths and share them with others which in turn allows you to focus on the skills that help others.  

Cohen believes that it is important to pay it forward no matter where you are in life. She shared some of her thoughts on what makes an effective mentor. According to Cohen, a good mentor must be active and provide feedback. They must also offer their skills and support. And it doesn’t have to be a formal system either. She said that is can be as simple as reaching out to an applicant and providing feedback on how they can approach things next time or offering a few minutes of time to discuss challenges over a cup of coffee or Zoom.  

Cohen credits the ALA with allowing her to become the best version of her professional self. Through the organization’s networking and education, she has become the best version of her professional self.  

Many people may be reluctant to volunteer their time or consider becoming a mentor, but Cohen encourages them to rethink how they approach it. “Everyone has an hour to do something and pay it forward,” she said. She continued, “I am a leader, a partner, a mother, and a mentor. I sleep well at night because my life has meaning.”  


About the ALA Foundation

The Foundation of the Association of Legal Administrators is the charitable affiliate of ALA. Through its various initiatives, the Foundation supports efforts both within the ALA and its communities to improve the credibility and visibility of legal management. 

Since its inception, the Foundation has invested over a quarter-million dollars in grants, programs and sponsorships aligned with the Foundation’s missions and goals. 

About the ALA

ALA is the premier professional association connecting over 8,000 leaders and managers within the legal industry. ALA provides extensive professional development, collaborative peer communities, strategic operational solutions, and business partner connections empowering its members to lead the business of law. For more information on ALA, visit alanet.org.

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