Posts Tagged ‘NALA’

40 Years at NALA

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

A highlight of the NALA conference was the festive retirement send-off given to Marge Dover, CAE, NALA’s Executive Director since 1975. I was impressed by the honor, respect, and collegiality shown to Marge by all those present – members, officers, and staff. It is clear that she will be greatly missed by all. I only met Marge a couple of times, but her contribution to the growth and stability of NALA well-known. This is from the program for the banquet:

Marge Dover, CAE, has been NALA’s Executive Director since its inception in 1975. She has been a part of the growth of NALA and an observer of the developing paralegal field for almost 40 years. The NALA Board of Directors presented Marge with the 2000 NALA Founders Award to recognize her extraordinary leadership and her devotion to NALA.

Marge’s career focus prior to leading NALA in 1975 was her work with nonprofits including the Association of Petroleum Geologists in Tulsa. Marge also served on the boards of directors for several nonprofit organizations in Tulsa, including the Zoo Friends and the Retired senior Volunteer Program.

Congratulations, Marge, and best wishes for your well-deserved retirement!

NALA Excitement

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

I’m enjoying the NALA National Conference. Interesting Immigration Law Institute is very informative and will be a big help when I teach an Immigration Law course this fall.

I attended the forum yesterday where the candidates for offices spoke. A strong crew. NALA will do well whoever wins. As I sit back and listen to members speak to each other in between sessions, I am impressed with how pleased and confident they all seem to be in NALA, its mission, and its leadership.

I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting three current leaders of the Mississippi Paralegal Association. They’ve added some excitement and vitality to that organization and I look forward to working with them and helping them connect to our students and recent graduates. They were scheduled to make a presentation this afternoon, but it was disrupted by another type of excitement – a bomb scare that led to the evacuation of the conference center for a couple of hours. Nothing like standing out in the hot Tulsa sun to make you appreciate air conditioning and a cool beer at the local pub!

NALA Receives Accreditation of the Certified Paralegal Program

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Vicki Voisin, The Paralegal Mentor, posts:

The NCCA has accredited the NALA Certified Paralegal certification program for a five-year period, expiring April 30, 2019.

Founded in 1975, NALA is a professional association providing continuing education and professional certification to paralegals. Currently, over 8,900 paralegals may use the Certified Paralegal (CP) designation. The CP credential has been awarded to over 17,822 paralegals in its span of almost 40 years. The Certified Paralegal (CP) program is the first certification program accredited by NCCA which serves the legal community.

NALA has received accreditation of the Certified Paralegal program from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)

NALA received NCCA accreditation of the Certified Paralegal program by submitting an application demonstrating the program’s compliance with standards outlined in NCCA’s Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs.  NCCA is the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE). Since 1987, the NCCA has been accrediting certifying programs based on the highest quality standards in professional certification to ensure the programs adhere to modern standards of practice in the certification industry.

Follow the link for more on this.

NALA Webinar

Monday, November 11th, 2013

I just returned from a very active and informative AAfPE conference in Phoenix, Arizona. I’ll have more to say on that later as I’m now faced with the usual pile of work resulting from a week’s absence. For now I’m just relaying information about a free webinar from NALA being put on as part of The Professional Identity Project:

For Students, Recent Graduates,
and those beginning a paralegal job search

Thursday, January 16, 2014
3 PM CENTRAL TIME

Check here for registration information as we near the webinar date.

This free webinar is for paralegal students or newly-graduated paralegals who are ready to begin their interviewing process. Attendees will gain insight into the skills needed for successful job interviews. Discussions on current career trends will assist attendees in determining tools needed to get THE job.

The webinar will include instruction to enhance interviewing skills, and resume writing. The webinar will conclude with examples of the correct make-up and dress to assist in creating the polished appearance needed for a successful job interview.

Subjects include:

Paralegal Career Trends
Resume Do’s and Don’ts
The Interview Process
Survival in the Legal Arena
Does this Briefcase make My Butt Look Big?

For more information and registration click here

NALA Releases Job Task Analysis Report

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
From the NALA via AAfPE listserv:
Greetings! 
NALA’s Certifying Board has recently released the attached Job Task Analysis Report based on a nationwide survey of paralegals earlier this year. I’m also attaching the Press Release announcing the release of the report. This report should be of great interest to paralegal program directors, and I believe you will find it informative. 

The report is also posted on the NALA website, free to all, if you have a problem uploading it because of its length. Here’s the link to the report – http://nala.org/Upload/file/PDF-Files/Certification/Report-for%20web%20site.pdf.

Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions.
Karen

Karen Greer McGee, ACP
NALA President 2010-2012

Paralegals in Punjab

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

One of my areas of research is the development of the paralegal profession in other countries. In many paralegals serve a different function than that served here in the U.S. This article from the Punjab Newsline has an almost military tone when describing people volunteering to serve as paralegals:

4th batch Paralegal Volunteers given training in Ferozepur

Thursday, March 29, 2012 – 14:15
By Harish K Monga
FEROZPEUR : In the judicial complex of Ferozepur, the 6th session training of 4th paralegal volunteers was given to different category of people under the leadership of Rekha Mittal, District and Session Judge, Ferozepur, with the motive of training them as Paralegal Volunteers.

Karnail Singh, Civil Judge Senior Divison cum-Secretary District Legal Services Authority, Ferozepur gave the knowledge to the volunteers on cases relating to civil laws, cheque dishonour and the schemes being run under the District Legal Service Authority.

On this occasion, Harish Umar, Civil Judge, Junior Division, Surinder Sachdeva, ADA Legal, K.D.Syal, President Bar Association, Ferozepur were also present. Karnail Singh hailed the volunteers to work for the betterment of the society and motivated them to make people aware about the legal rights and duties. He said that these trained paralegal volunteers will be put on duty at legal aid clinics being opened at the village level and thirty volunteers were also issued the identity cards on this occasion.

There are some common threads in all countries though. For example, just as in Punjab, American paralegals are “hailed…to work for the betterment of the society and motivated them to make people aware about the legal rights and duties.” I and other bloggers such as The Paralegal Mentor and Chere Estrin of “The Estrin Report” do some of the hailing, but more so the various paralegal professional associations such as NFPA, NALA, and NALS, all of which feature these as parts of their ethical codes and mission statements. But I think the drive to work for the betterment of society and motivation to make people aware of their legal rights and duties is so common to those who chose paralegalism as a career (as opposed to as just a job) that it must be an inherent trait.

NALA Certified Paralegal Scholarship Award nominations – Deadline Extension

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Deadline Extension – April 1

The deadline for submitting student nominations for the NALA Certified Paralegal Scholarship Award has been extended to April 1. The award will recognize two graduating paralegal students who excel in their academic paralegal studies, have demonstrated strong leadership, and plan to take the CP Exam.

Visit www.cengage.com/community/paralegal for complete award details and guidelines.

Submit your student nomination today!

Paralegal Certification Colorado

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

There is proliferation of website proporting to give information about paralegal careers, educational opportunities, and the like. Unfortunately some, even if well-intentioned, ought not to be relied upon by anyone. For example, one such site (no, I will not give a name or link) states, “Obtaining paralegal certification in Colorado is relatively simple witih some excellent community college and degree programs available to those seeking a paralegal qualification.” Aside from the poor proofreading and editing (yes, I expect more from this type of website than I do of a blog), this is quite misleading and contributes to the general confusion regarding the distinction between obtaining a paralegal certificate and getting paralegal certification.

I do not believe that Colorado as a state requires or provides for certification of paralegals. (Please feel free to forward me the information if I am wrong on this.) In any case, this website provides no information on paralegal certification either as it pertains to Colorado or to certification exams offered by NFPA or NALA. Rather they offer some, not really helpful information regarding some paralegal programs that provide paralegal certificates and degrees.

Bottom line – if you want to know about paralegal education go to a well-established, respected source such as the American Association for Paralegal Education. (Disclosure: I am on the Board of Directors) Likewise for paralegal certification: check the websites for NFPA, NALA, and comparable professional associations. FMI: Check out The Paralegal Professionalism Anthology.

Benefits of Belonging to Paralegal Professional Associations

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

One of the many keyword searches that brought a searcher to this blog was “what are the benefits of membership in NALA and NFPA?” Part of the answer can be found by clicking on the significant number of posts in the “Professional Associations” category link. But this search was of particular interest to me because I am in the middle of doing a final edit on the galley proofs of the chapter on paralegal associations in The Empowered Paralegal Professionalism Anthology. So this provides me with an opportunity outside of the acknowledgments pages of that book to thank NFPA, NALA, and NALS for their permission to reprint materials from their websites that assist in illustrating the many benefits of belonging to the respective associations.

To Regulate or Not to Regulate – a Wisconsin Question

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Back in April I used the state of affairs regarding UPL in Wisconsin to launch a discussion of the possibility of licensing and regulating paralegals as a means of addressing the access to justice problem in the United States. As discussed in previous posts UPL laws and regulations of legal professionals exist amid tension between the need to provide the public with access to justice and the need to protect the public from snake-oil salesmen posing as legal professionals. I noted that what I read on the bar website does not deal at all with the access to justice issue.  I do not favor unregulated snake-oils salesman practicing law – as attorneys or as paralegals. However, it does seem clear we must do more to allow if not provide access to legal services than we do now. A well educated, well trained, well regulated paralegal profession may just be the answer.

Today a paralegal from Wisconsin posted on the Paralegal Today Forum stating,

I’m in Wisconsin, a state which doesn’t license (or register, or certify) its paralegals.  Anyone can call themselves a paralegal here, regardless of whether they’ve worked as one, or studied to be one (I’m getting a post-college certificate).  In recent years, paralegals here have asked the state for permission to be licensed.  The state courts declined the request.  I’ve noticed lots of UPL articles and legislative proposals on our state bar website.  I agree that UPL needs to be prevented, of course, but anyone who attends paralegal school knows how to avoid UPL.  My questions to the list-serv are these:
1) Do you live in a state that doesn’t regulate paralegals?
2) How do you deal with this in your work as a paralegal?

This led to several interesting responses including these:

Ditto for Louisiana. We do have a state certifying exam administered by NALA, but a lot of paralegals do not avail themselves of this certification, because (1) it doesn’t automatically increase their salary, (2) you have to study to take the exam and pass, and then have to pass the CLA exam within 2 years to get the certification, (3) why bother when you can call yourself a paralegal even if you mostly do secretarial work.

Until paralegals across the nation realize that education and continuing education is what puts them above the run of the mill employee, anyone and everyone is going to apply for a paralegal job and give the rest of us a lot of disrespect when they can’t do the job.

AND before we get into that age-old debate about education vs. experience, ALL JOBS, including paralegal jobs include OTJ training and always will. Education only enhances skills.

and

I often see a lot of misunderstanding, misperception, and misinformation about ‘regulation’ of paralegals.  There is only one state that has any sort of mandatory regulation of paralegals and that is California.  Interestingly enough, the California regulatory scheme doesn’t have any kind of agency, board, or other such entity to administer or oversee the regulatory scheme.    There is not one single state that requires paralegals to be licensed, certified, or ‘registered’ in order to function as a paralegal.

NFPA has a section of their website devoted to the regulation issue: http://www.paralegals.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=795 Scroll down the page and check out their comprehensive chart that details the efforts towards regulation for each state.  Some states offer a voluntary certification program through the state Bar, e.g. TX, OH, and NC.  Florida offers a voluntary registration program.  The WI Supreme Court recently rejected a proposal for mandatory regulation and suggested the proponents look at the Florida FRP scheme as a possible alternative.

Personally, I believe that the UPL issue and regulation of paralegals are two separate and distinct issues.  Most every state has UPL laws, statutes or Bar rules prohibiting UPL by anyone.  Florida has an aggressive Bar and UPL Committee that investigates and prosecutes UPL claims.  The Florida Bar Rules specifically state that non-lawyers offering services directly to the public cannot use the title of ‘paralegal’.  Mandatory regulation of paralegals (who by definition work under the supervision of a licensed attorney) will not prevent ‘John Doe’ from setting up his own shop and offering his services directly to the public.

Whether one agrees with mandatory regulation or not, it would be helpful if we all spoke knowledgeably on this issue.  I think the dissemination of inaccurate information clouds the issue and distorts the message.

Elona M. Jouben, FRP
NWFPA Parliamentarian/Membership-Student Liaison Chair
Litigation Paralegal
Wilson, Harrell, Farrington, Ford
Pensacola, FL 32502

Several months ago I posted a Call for Papers for an anthology on paralegal professionalism. One article submitted is a very good statement of the current status of regulation in the United States and two articles argue in favor of regulation. No one submitted an article opposing regulation – which means I’ll probably have to do that one myself!

I do agree with the last paragraph of Elona’s response above: Whether one agrees with mandatory regulation or not, it would be helpful if we all spoke knowledgeably on this issue.  I think the dissemination of inaccurate information clouds the issue and distorts the message.