With the Certified Legal Manager (CLM)® exam again just around the corner this November, it’s time to start hitting the books and ramping up your studying. But you may be asking, what is the best way for me to study?
Associate Editor Association of Legal Administrators
Fortunately, ALA Chicago has just the answer: join a study group. Formed in 2007, the Chicago CLM study group has offered test-takers the ability to collaborate with their peers as they prepare for what is always a challenging exam.
According to Mary Ann Rojas, CLM, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, ALA Chicago Chapter Past President, Office Administrator at Goldberg Kohn Ltd. and former CLM Director, the group started as a series of get-togethers among a few members just to compare notes. “We met weekly and even more often when the test got closer,” says Rojas. “We would take turns covering different subject areas.”
Now, however, the study group has become a major draw, with 40 people participating in advance of last fall’s exam. Fifteen other chapters have even started their own group. “The study group is successful because it has targeted, one-hour study sessions, all designed to touch on the various knowledge areas included on the CLM exam,” says Rita Nielsen, CLM, PHR, SHRM-CP, ALA Chicago CLM Director and Office Administrator at Locke Lord LLP.
Nielsen adds that sessions often include subject matter experts with experience in certain knowledge areas, along with practice quizzes and a voluminous library of reference materials. “It gives [participants] a sense of where to begin and how to focus,” Nielsen says.
The study group is also open to ALA members who don’t belong to ALA Chicago. “By opening our study group to all of ALA,” Rojas says, “we have increased the number of CLMs internationally, met some wonderful people across the country and have made many good friends along the way.”
The CLM exam is a great way to achieve industry certification and add another qualification to your resume, as Legal Management reported in January. The test is administered twice a year — in the spring and fall — and assesses knowledge in the areas of financial management, human resources, legal industry/business management and operations management.
Outside of study groups, there are several ways to prepare for the exam. ALA provides a study guide as well as a 10-part webinar bundle that contains much of the essential information you’ll need.
But if you’re looking to collaborate and compare notes with your fellow chapter members, ALA Chicago’s CLM study group has advice on how to start your own chapter group.
“It does take some work,” says Rojas, but there are resources available. For example, your chapter’s business partners can serve as subject matter experts. The Chicago CLM website offers materials on how the CLM Study Group operates, and prospective study group founders are encouraged to contact Nielsen for more information.
“Bottom line — the support of a study group is nothing you can find in a textbook or online resource,” Rojas says. “That support and personal attention are a key part of success on the exam.”