FM 1: Law Firm Accounting (July 9 - August 13, 2024)

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Expand your knowledge of the basic functions of accounting and financial management in this facilitated online program where you will objectively approach and address financial problems. Through case studies, lectures, videos, readings, and exams, you will be guided to evaluate presented resources in relation to your professional experiences and apply effective financial decision-making skills. Topics include types of accounts, federal payroll and employee benefit procedures, tax and reporting requirements, and general accounting procedures, laws, and regulations. The following is an outline of the topics: 

  • Week 1: General Accounting
  • Week 2: Banking & Investment
  • Week 3: Trust Accounting
  • Week 4: Payroll, Taxes, & Reporting
  • Week 5: Legal Organization Structures
  • Week 6: Special Accounting Issues

The live lessons will be held on Tuesdays from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Central Time. These lessons will also be recorded for on-demand access.

$549 for members and $679 for nonmembers

Available at a discounted rate as a part of a package

Audience Level

Basic-Intermediate

Course Textbook

A textbook is NOT required for this course. All reading materials will be provided.

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be made in writing and submitted via email to elearning@alanet.org. The following cancellation fee scales will apply:

  • After registration but prior to 50% penalty date: $125 fee
  • Four weeks before start of the course: 50% of fee paid
  • Two weeks before the start of the course and thereafter: No refund

Key:

Complete
Failed
Available
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FM 1 Week 0 Introduction
Make 1 discussion post to continue.
Make 1 discussion post to continue. Welcome to the FM 1 Course: Law Firm Accounting 2024. Assignment 1: Due before the first lesson scheduled for Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Post in the Discussion Forum your responses to the following pre-class questions. 1. Your current job title or position. 2. Number of years you have been in that position. 3. The reason you registered for the FM 1 Course: Law Firm Accounting 2024. 4. What you are hoping to get out of this course.
Week 1
FM 1 Week 1 Worksheet of Terms
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource. Complete the attached Week 1 Worksheet of Terms for your reference.
FM 1 Week 1 Reading 1
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource.
FM 1 Week 1 Reading 2
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource. Download & read the attached pdf.
FM 1 Week 1 Reading 3
Select the "Read" button to begin.
Select the "Read" button to begin. This is an online reading. Learn the most up to date information on Mandatory Accrual Accounting for Law Firms.
FM 1 Week 1: General Accounting
Select the "View On-Demand Recording" button to begin.
Select the "View On-Demand Recording" button to begin. This lesson will focus on general accounting duties and general accounting terms. Will include a breakdown of the basic account types, fixed asset management, and description of cash and accrual accounting.
FM 1 Week 1 Assignment 1
Make 1 discussion post to continue.
Make 1 discussion post to continue. List the main differences of cash and accrual accounting in a discussion board post. Later, review the instructor's feedback.
FM 1 Week 1 Assignment 2
Make 1 discussion post to continue.
Make 1 discussion post to continue. Research information regarding mandatory accrual accounting for law firms and post a comment regarding the potential financial impact it would have on a law firm that uses a modified cash accounting basis now. Afterwards, be sure to review the instructor’s feedback.
FM 1 Week 1 Quiz
10 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  60 minute limit  |  7/10 points to pass
10 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  60 minute limit  |  7/10 points to pass
Week 2
FM 1 Week 2 Worksheet of Terms
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource. Download and complete the Week 2 Worksheet of Terms for your reference.
FM 1 Week 2 Worksheet
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource.
FM 1 Week 2: Banking and Investment
Select the "View On-Demand Recording" button to begin.  |  60 minutes
Select the "View On-Demand Recording" button to begin.  |  60 minutes This lesson will focus on banking and investment. Will include a breakdown of the different type of bank/investment accounts, bank security features for accounts, deposited fund regulations and bank rules, federal wire and ACH fund transfer information, and short-term investment alternatives.
FM 1 Week 2 Assignment 1
Make 1 discussion post to continue.
Make 1 discussion post to continue. Complete the "What Type of Bank Account Is This” worksheet & post your answers in the discussion forum.
FM 1 Week 2 Assignment 2
Make 1 discussion post to continue.
Make 1 discussion post to continue. Post about a time your firm was involved in a cyber security attempt. How was it averted? If it wasn’t averted, what was the outcome? (300-500 words).
FM 1 Week 2 Quiz
10 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  60 minute limit  |  7/10 points to pass
10 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  60 minute limit  |  7/10 points to pass
Week 3
FM 1 Week 3 Reading 1
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource. Read the ABA Model Rule
FM 1 Week 3 Reading 2
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource. Read the 7-Point Plan for Trust Account Management
FM 1 Week 3: Trust Accounting
Select the "View On-Demand Recording" button to begin.  |  60 minutes
Select the "View On-Demand Recording" button to begin.  |  60 minutes This lesson will focus on an in-depth analysis of client trust accounting. Will include discussion of three-part reconciliations, ABA Model Rules, retainer vs. advanced fee payments, and real estate settlement provisions.
FM 1 Week 3 Assignment
Make 1 discussion post to continue.
Make 1 discussion post to continue. Research the professional rules of conduct for your state in regard to trust accounting, and post a summary of your findings regarding trust accounting rules in your state (300-500 words). Afterwards, be sure to review the instructor's feedback.
FM 1 Week 3 Quiz
10 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  60 minute limit  |  7/10 points to pass
10 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  60 minute limit  |  7/10 points to pass
Week 4
FM 1 Week 4 Worksheet of Terms
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource. Complete the Week 4 Worksheet of Terms for your reference.
FM 1 Week 4: Payroll, Taxes and Reporting
Select the "View On-Demand Recording" button to begin.  |  60 minutes
Select the "View On-Demand Recording" button to begin.  |  60 minutes This lesson will focus on payroll, payroll taxes and reporting. Will include dissecting a payroll check and W-2. This lesson will contain a breakdown of payroll tax types, ERISA rules, Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions, self-employment for owners, and depository and tax return deadlines.
FM 1 Week 4 Assignment
Make 1 discussion post to continue.
Make 1 discussion post to continue. Complete a project using the W-4 Estimator at www.irs.gov/W4App. Post a comment in the discussion forum explaining your viewpoint of the ease of using the estimator and how you believe it will or will not contribute to the accuracy of withholding.
FM 1 Week 4 Quiz
9 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  60 minute limit  |  7/9 points to pass
9 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  60 minute limit  |  7/9 points to pass
Week 5
FM 1 Week 5 Reading
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource. Read the Chart of Business Entity Structures
FM 1 Week 5: Legal Organization Structures
Select the "View On-Demand Recording" button to begin.  |  60 minutes
Select the "View On-Demand Recording" button to begin.  |  60 minutes This lesson will focus on legal organization structures. Will include characteristics, advantages, disadvantages and tax implications for sole proprietors, partnerships, LLP/LLCs, C-Corporations and S-Corporations.
FM 1 Week 5 Assignment
Make 1 discussion post to continue.
Make 1 discussion post to continue. In 300-500 words, post how you would like to organize your own law firm and explain why. Afterwards, be sure to review the instructor's feedback.
FM 1 Week 5 Quiz
10 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  60 minute limit  |  7/10 points to pass
10 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  60 minute limit  |  7/10 points to pass
Week 6
FM 1 Week 6 Reading
Select the "Read" button to begin.
Select the "Read" button to begin. This is an online reading, "The Nine Most Common Types of Alternative Fees"
FM 1 Week 6 Worksheet
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource. Please download the "What's That AFA" handout.
FM 1 Week 6: Special Accounting Issues
Select the "View On-Demand Recording" button to begin.  |  60 minutes
Select the "View On-Demand Recording" button to begin.  |  60 minutes This lesson will focus on special accounting issues. Will include pricing and billing method alternatives (AFAs), general timekeeping and billing systems, electronic billing, recovery of direct an indirect costs from clients, and management of collections.
FM 1 Week 6 Assignment 1
Make 1 discussion post to continue.
Make 1 discussion post to continue. Choose one AFA that your firm currently utilizes. Then in 300-500 words, post an explanation as to why it is used. ​
FM 1 Week 6 Assignment 2
Make 1 discussion post to continue.
Make 1 discussion post to continue. Complete the "What's That AFA” Worksheet & post your answers in the discussion forum.
FM 1 Week 6 Quiz
10 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  60 minute limit  |  7/10 points to pass
10 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  60 minute limit  |  7/10 points to pass
Final Submission Agreement
Agree to terms to continue.
Agree to terms to continue.
Credit
6.00 CLM credit units credits  |  Certificate available
6.00 CLM credit units credits  |  Certificate available

Completing both FM 1 and FM 2 courses gives you access to the Legal Management Finance Specialist Certificate Program.

CLM Credits

Meet minimum course requirements and earn 6 hours of CLM credit. This can take the following forms.

  • CLM Application Credit: Organizational Development
  • CLM Functional Specialist Credit: Financial Management
  • CLM Recertification: Financial Management

Course Requirements

Each course has a start and end date. To receive the course completion certificate and CLM credits, all weekly assignments must be completed and quizzes passed with a score of 70% or higher by the last day of the course.

Lisa A. Waligorski, CLM, PHRca, SPHR

Lisa Waligorski, CLM, PHRca, SPHR, serves as the Executive Director at Newmeyer & Dillion, LLP. Commencing her professional journey in a legal assistant/paralegal capacity, she has dedicated the last 25 years to fulfilling roles as an Executive Director and Director of Finance/Controller. Waligorski is an accomplished speaker, sharing insights on law firm accounting and human resources topics. With an abundance of expertise, she has been an respected instructor for ALA e-learning programs in Law Firm Accounting and Financial Information & Analysis for nine years. Actively engaged in the legal community, she has played a pivotal role in ALA chapters, notably Gateway and Orange County. Her contributions extend to serving on committees, occupying various board positions, and assuming the role of President for both chapters.