What Can Paralegal Associations Do For the Profession?

Check out what the Lafayette Paralegal Association (Louisiana) has done as it celebrates its 25th anniversary as reported at theadvertiser.com:

Celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year, the Lafayette Paralegal Association (LPA) was organized in 1984 to identify common goals and objectives in the paralegal profession. The number of paralegals in the workforce has more than doubled in recent years, and so has the LPA membership. LPA members live and work in Lafayette and the surrounding Parishes. Open to all paralegals, the Association has categories for persons who are actively working as a paralegal under an attorney’s supervision and for those who are not actively working (associate members) as paralegals. There are also categories for students and sustaining members.

LPA strives to promote the paralegal profession through continuing education, fellowship, and networking within the legal community, and by encouraging professional ethics. LPA works closely and coordinates with local Bar Associations. In the last few years, we have made great strides in promoting continuing education by encouraging certification and by providing guest speakers at monthly meetings who present varied topics of interest to members and to members of our community. Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits have been approved by NALA (National Association of Legal Assistants) for most of our presentations.

Consider especially the inclusion of the term “fellowship” as well as “networking.” Almost all associations provide an opportunity for networking. A group that provides fellowship is a treasure, indeed! Given its twenty-five year history with increasing membership it appears that LPA is such a treasure.

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  • Do more than join paralegal associations – get involved with their executive committees. The participation of many members is key to the success of an association. Warm enthusiastic bodies are needed to do everything from planning the year’s CLE offerings and recruiting speakers to coordinating networking luncheons to putting together the association’s newsletter – including writing articles and sharing news. Paralegals who don’t just join, but DO, are the lifeblood of associations – and the profession.

  • R. E. Mongue says:

    Lynne is absolutely correct in her comment. It is a point made here before, but bears frequent repeating:

    The Philadelphia Association of Paralegals notes that

    Volunteering time enables members to experience the satisfaction of contributing to their professional association. Committee participation gives PAP members the opportunity to network with other area paralegals. Furthermore, working on various committees contributes to the growth and professionalism of the paralegal field.

    While it is possible to maintain professionalism without belonging to a professional association, I highly recommend joining in some fashion with other members of your profession. A professional paralegal should:

    Become involved in professional associations
    Be active in a local branch of the National Association of Legal Assistants or similar groups.
    Subscribe to paralegal listservs and participate in discussions.
    Read, learn from and contribute to publications designed for paralegal
    Become certified by your organization
    Attend seminars and conference, especially those that include continuing legal education credit. (Excerpted from The Empowered Paralegal: Effective, Efficient and Professional.)
    Certainly, participating as a member of association committees is a welcome addition to this list!

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