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Finding a New Way to Serve: The 3rd Annual Los Angeles Trial Lawyers' Charities Golf Tournament

Kristine Gallo, the Director of Operations at AlderLaw, and a team of volunteers, worked with Golf Digest Planner to put together the 2015 Los Angeles Trial Lawyers’ Charities Golf Tournament this year. This is the tournament’s 3rd year, and its proceeds contribute to over 30 organizations that benefit the L.A. community. I interviewed Kristine to discuss her experience as a first-time organizer, and what made this tournament such a success.

“Basically, it’s a group of trial lawyers – real fighters in the courtroom – who came up with this group to find a new way to serve the community beyond their roles as attorneys. They are so committed to making a difference. Lawyers can get that rap that it’s all about money, and this group gives us a chance to show what we are all really about. We are trial lawyers who care about our clients in the courtroom, but outside the courtroom as well. It’s just an extension of our mission.”

The tournament does give back to the community in an impressive way. Including the proceeds from the tournament, the charity donated $650,000 in cash grants and goods back to the LA community last year to address problems with education, children, battered women, disabilities, and homelessness in the LA community.

“Helping with this tournament was really a dream come true for me in two ways,” explains Gallo, “Just being involved with this charity, after seeing how it really makes a difference, is so satisfying. It’s just great to see these incredible lawyers – with busy trial schedules and busy lives – go the extra mile for this charity. To be able to help them means so much to me personally. The other thing is, I love to golf. So, my two passions were kind of combined into one day.”

This kind of passion is what drives the success of the tournament. Last year was the tournament’s most successful year, and this is without a doubt largely due to Gallo’s passionate leadership. “They asked if I’d be on the committee, and I accepted. Because it’s a fundraising event, we always try to surpass last year’s numbers—and we did circles around last year! Going along and doing it and having all the logistics things to deal with, I stopped focusing about surpassing last year’s numbers and tried to plan a great event. But after the tournament, the vice-president and treasurer called and said you will never believe our numbers - I was shocked! The past president came up to us and said we did an awesome job. We were really happy with the result.” When I asked Kristine what were her keys to success, she couldn’t stress enough the importance of teamwork and adequate preparation.

“It really does take a village. You absolutely need a strong golf committee and you need back up for volunteers, etc. As committed as people are to the charity, life happens and other priorities can get in the way. With a strong committee and backups, those problems are minimized. And when your committee is strong, people want to get involved. It’s great to hear people saying, `Hey I love this charity, what can I do?’ I had people calling two days before saying ‘I called a food company and they will donate all the snacks,’ or `I want to donate people to come and be greeters at the event and help the flow.’ I was really moved to see that. And I love that this is the kind of an event where you can bring family members and you have a chance to make it more playful and fun.” Once again, passion seems to be the main ingredient in the tournament’s success. Gallo emphasizes the importance of keeping the good cause at the center of the ask when talking to potential donors and sponsors.

“I know it’s always hard to ask for money, but I felt that because people were so into the charity and understood our mission that it was easier than I thought it was going to be.” Gallo also said that having Golf Digest Planner as a tool helped in several key ways. The first was that having a dedicated web-site helped create a perception that event was more than just a run-of-the-mill golf tournament. In addition, she used the site to help with tournament organizing, particularly in conducting registration online. That lifted a big burden from her and the other volunteers. However, she does have some advice for tech savvy tournament organizers. “Don’t take out the interactive aspect of it. In our world of technology, I think it’s so wonderful to have the efficiencies of what the planner offers you, you have people that love the efficiency, but there are people that want a few more questions, and I think it gets people talking. When someone approaches you and says, ’Oh are you the person I talked to?! Oh the website looked so great!’ You are able to put a face with a name, and that gives you that start to the relationship.”

Relationships, for Kristine, are everything. Passionate volunteers, personal connections to those they are helping, and a family-filled day of fun, are what make this tournament what it is. We at Golf Digest Planner would like to thank the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers’ Charities for giving an excellent example of what your tournament can be!


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