Here's Why You Absolutely Must Join a Paralegal Organization
Takeaway: Paralegal organizations help you network, learn, and grow your career in ways you can’t do alone. So, consider joining one of the Big 5 North American paralegal associations.
I attended the 2023 LAPA conference and learned so much from it!
If you’re a paralegal or aspiring to be one, belonging to a paralegal organization isn’t just beneficial – it’s crucial. Still not convinced? Let me walk you through my enriching experience at the Los Angeles Paralegal Association (LAPA) Conference and highlight why being part of such an organization is a game-changer for your career.
1. You get to network and learn from like-minded professionals.
One of the first things I noticed at the LAPA Conference was the variety of people attending. There were students just starting on their career paths, well-versed paralegals, and industry newcomers. So, engaging with this diverse group would definitely open avenues for mentorship, collaboration, and even job opportunities you wouldn’t find elsewhere.
2. You’ll get cutting-edge knowledge on important themes.
LAPA kicked off its conference with a compelling keynote address from Bianca Falcon, Esq. Her presentation wasn’t just for academic interest; it had immediate, practical implications, especially concerning the ethics of handling confidential data in our digital age. Organizations like LAPA offer you this current, specialized knowledge that you can directly apply to your work, ensuring that you stay ahead of the curve.
3. You get to design your career path strategically.
The conference had great speakers, but it also offered something tangible for participants to walk away with: Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits. And the atmosphere was buzzing with a genuine thirst for learning and empowerment. So, remember, when you join a paralegal organization, you’re not just signing up for educational seminars; you’re embracing a culture of continuous personal and professional growth.
4. You get to develop key ‘soft skills.’
Keynote speaker Dr. Thomas D. Allison, Esq. emphasized the importance of being your ‘authentic self’ in the legal field. And this is a perfect example of how organizations like LAPA offer more than just hard skills; they help you develop the soft skills essential for effective client interaction and team collaboration.
Importantly, all of this doesn’t just ‘happen.’ It’s fueled by the hard work of unseen heroes.
This type of high-value event doesn’t just unfold by itself. Rather, it’s possible because of the efforts of core organizers who set things up for success. In LAPA’s case, it was thanks to the efforts of individuals like Tracey Booth and Terry Wright. When you’re part of an association like LAPA, you’re part of a community that values and appreciates its members, acknowledging the contributions each makes to the bigger picture.
So, if you want to see what a paralegal organization can do for you, here’s a good starting point.
Begin your journey by trying out one of the following reputable organizations.
1. The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).
Established in 1975, NALA serves as a comprehensive resource for paralegals and legal assistants in the United States. The organization emphasizes continuing education, professional development, and certification, offering its famed Certified Paralegal (CP) program. NALA provides a vital platform for professionals to exchange ideas, seek job opportunities, and keep abreast of the latest industry trends, all while maintaining rigorous ethical standards.
2. The American Bar Association (ABA).
While not exclusively a paralegal organization, the American Bar Association plays a significant role in shaping the paralegal profession through its Standing Committee on Paralegals. Founded in 1878, the ABA sets academic and ethical standards not just for lawyers but also for paralegal education programs. Offering an approval process to ensure these programs meet high-quality criteria, the ABA also provides resources, publications, and continuing education opportunities aimed at paralegal career advancement.
3. The National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA).
NFPA is a non-profit organization representing a broad and diverse range of over 9,000 individual members in the paralegal field. Founded in 1974, it promotes professional development, ethical conduct, and paralegal advocacy. NFPA offers its own certification exams, such as the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE) and the Paralegal CORE Competency Exam (PCC Exam), to help validate paralegal expertise.
4. The National Association of Legal Support Professionals (NALS).
NALS is dedicated to elevating the skills and ethical standards of all legal support professionals, including paralegals. Founded in 1929, NALS provides various resources like educational materials, certification programs tailored to different career stages, and a robust platform for networking. They offer certifications like the Professional Paralegal (PP) to cater to specialized needs within the legal support field.
5. The Canadian Association of Paralegals (CAP).
Focused on the unique legal landscape of Canada, CAP aims to amplify the role and influence of paralegals in the Canadian legal system. Unlike its American counterparts, CAP operates in a legal environment where paralegals can represent clients in specific small claims courts and administrative tribunals. Established to meet the distinct needs of Canadian paralegals, CAP offers professional development programs, educational seminars, and ample networking opportunities.
Oh, and as a side note, if you’re a paralegal who needs help with legal document reviews, try GoldFynch.
Our GoldFynch team attended LAPA to showcase our eDiscovery subscription service called GoldFynch. It’s got essential document review tools at an affordable price, and small/midsize law firms love it because:
- It costs just $25 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. With GoldFynch, you know exactly what you’re paying for: its pricing is simple and readily available on the website.
- It’s easy to budget for. GoldFynch charges only for storage (processing files is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 GB to 150+ GB) and know up-front how much you’ll be paying. You can upload and cull as much data as you want as long as you stay below your storage limit. And even if you do cross the limit, you can upgrade your plan with just a few clicks. Also, billing is prorated – so you’ll pay only for the time you spend on any given plan. With legacy software, pricing is much less predictable.
- It takes just minutes to get going. GoldFynch runs in the Cloud, so you use it through your web browser (Google Chrome recommended). No installation. No sales calls or emails. Plus, you get a free trial case (0.5 GB of data and a processing cap of 1 GB) without adding a credit card.
- It’s simple to use. Many eDiscovery applications take hours to master. GoldFynch takes minutes. It handles a lot of complex processing in the background, but what you see is minimal and intuitive. Just drag-and-drop your files into GoldFynch, and you’re good to go. Plus, you get prompt and reliable tech support (our average response time is 30 minutes).
- Access it from anywhere, and 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud.
Want to find out more about GoldFynch?
For related posts about eDiscovery, check out the following links.
- A Complete Glossary of Essential eDiscovery Terms
- A Quick Primer on GoldFynch’s eDiscovery Software
- How to Download eDiscovery Data Remotely Using ‘eDiscovery Collect.’
- A Free PST Analyzer to Check If Your eDiscovery PSTs Are Intact
- Use This In-Browser PST Viewer to Explore Your eDiscovery Emails For Free
- The Secret to Choosing the Best Low-Cost eDiscovery Software for Your Small Law Firm
- How To Make Your eDiscovery Productions Less Hackable
- Is Social Media the Future of eDiscovery?