Spring Institute 2008

  • Early Bird Registration deadline: March 1
  • Final Registration deadline: March 14
  • Wine Train Excursion registration deadline: February 13!
  • Registration Form OR Register online
  • Wine Train Excursion (Friday evening, 6:30-9:30, includes dinner)

Friday, March 28, 2008 is the date of the NOCALL Spring Institute, which will be held at the beautiful Meritage Resort in Napa:


Many of us wish that we had the skill set to plan our projects in a way that would ensure their success. We often stay so busy putting out fires that we don’t have enough time to invest in the greatest of our ideas, the ones that will earn us recognition, tenure, promotion, the professional satisfaction of knowing we have made a positive difference in people’s lives, or any of the other achievements that can make being a law librarian so worthwhile.


Matthew duPlessis, P.E., will lead a workshop on project management that will help you to create a successful project. You will discover how to write a SMART goal, prioritize the triple constraints, create a Work Breakdown Structure, create a task table, and draw a schedule diagram.

As a licensed professional industrial engineer, Matt has been involved in project management for 35 years. For fifteen years he worked in both the public and the private sectors, managing projects that ranged from short investigative analyses to a new personnel information system to a major transit vehicle renovation that would cost $18 million.

For the last twenty years Matt has trained people in project management. In addition to his public seminars, private clients have included high tech companies, government agencies, banking, airlines, construction, and retail businesses. Over 10,000 people in five countries on three continents have attended his seminars.

Matt’s simple style of presentation is informative and entertaining. He is a firm believer that everything we do should be fun, especially the learning process. Matt currently lives in Oakland with his wife of forty years and has three children (major projects, all of them). Nowadays, his off-time projects are doing rehabs of his 100-year-old house.

Institute Schedule

The one-day Spring Institute will be divided into two parts. The first half of the day will be a Skills Building Workshop, where Matt will introduce us to the project management process and help us identify tools necessary or helpful to the project management process. After lunch we will break into groups and apply the skills we just learned to a real world project that can be continued after the Institute. Breakout groups include:

  • Developing a Competitive Intelligence Program for your Firm
  • Developing a “Bridge the Gap” session for your graduating law students or new associates
  • Developing an Advocacy Plan for your Law Library

Each breakout group will be led by a NOCALL member with expertise in the particular project and in project management. Applying the skills just learned to a project with which you are generally familiar will help cement the skills. After the breakout groups have completed their work, we will reconvene as a large group and Matt will debrief us and advise on next steps.

Food and Exhibits

There will be plenty of breaks so you can spend some time with the exhibitors and fill up on tasty snacks. Believe me, you won’t go hungry at this Institute! Thomson West is sponsoring a nice breakfast at 8:00 a.m., and Lexis-Nexis is sponsoring the luncheon at 12:30 p.m.

Darcy Kirk, AALL Secretary and Director of the University of Connecticut School of Law, will be our luncheon speaker. Darcy will bring us up to date on all the AALL happenings.

Early Registration and Hotel Discount

We’re trying something new this year to entice Spring Institute attendees to register early and to spend Thursday night at the Institute hotel, The Meritage Resort. It really helps the conference planners if we know how many people to plan for, and it really helps the NOCALL budget if we don’t have to pay for hotel rooms that are not used, so we’re offering a $50 discount to those (including exhibitors) who register for the Institute prior to March 1, 2008, and an additional $20 discount if you register prior to March 1 and book a room for Thursday March 27th at the Meritage Resort.

The Meritage Resort

The Meritage Resort is in Napa, 42 miles from San Francisco and 60 miles from Sacramento. We have negotiated a fabulous room rate for Thursday night. The Meritage’s room rates are usually $219 to $249 per night, but Institute attendees may reserve a standard guest room for single or double occupancy at a rate of $169 plus tax and a $15 resort fee, per night. There will also be a discounted rate for Friday and Saturday (Monday March 31 is a holiday for some of us, so might as well make a weekend out of it!), but we don’t know what that rate is yet.

You may call 866-370-NAPA to make reservations, referencing the special group code NOCALL to receive the discount. Parking at The Meritage Resort is included in the $15 Resort Fee (as is a “welcome” bottle of house wine!).

You will love The Meritage! It has its own vineyard! Take a look at the Resort’s website, http://www.themeritageresort.com. The lavish guestrooms feature oversized terraces, granite counters, tile floors, marble baths, plasma TVs with CD/DVD players, Internet access, and refrigerators. You will also enjoy The Estate Wine Cave, featuring the underground full service Spa Terra, the Estate Wine Bar, where you can sample wines by the glass or pick up a bottle to enjoy in your room, and the award winning Siena restaurant, where chefs use local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients to create stunning meals. There is a heated pool, fire pit, and bocce ball court. There is even a wedding chapel (Our Lady of the Grapes) if you feel so inclined!

Extra-Curricular Activities

Several of us thought than a Friday night excursion on the Wine Train would be the perfect way to cap off a successful Spring Institute. A scenic round trip (it promises to be light for half of the three-hour ride) with a four-course dinner including Intermezzo and a “welcome” glass of sparkling wine will cost approximately $100 per person. If seventeen of us sign up we can get the Vista Dome all to ourselves!

Thursday night a group of NOCALL members are planning to organize a Bocce Ball Tournament. Everyone is welcome. Again, more details to follow soon.

So, make it your pet project to join me and your NOCALL colleagues for a weekend in wine country that promises to be both personally and professionally rejuvenating. I am looking forward to seeing you all there!

– Kelly Browne, NOCALL Vice President