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2019 Board Candidate Elections
2019 Board Candidate Elections
The following infomation lists each of the candidates for the NALA Board of Directors, along with their responses to the candidates' question(s) for 2019.
The question(s) posed to all candidates is:
- Why do you want to serve on the NALA Board of Directors?
- What specific skills and strengths would you bring to the board to help NALA move forward?
- What makes NALA's mission meaningful to you?
- What do you see as any possible disruptive forces impacting NALA?
OFFICE: Vice President
Melissa J. Hamilton, ACP
Why do you want to serve on the NALA Board of Directors? I want to serve on the NALA Board of Directors because I want to continue working to ensure that NALA remains the preeminent resource for individual and professional success. I am dedicated to NALA and working with the Board, analyzing our products and services, providing top notch continuing education and professional development to assist paralegals to advance their careers.
What specific skills and strengths would you bring to the board to help NALA move forward? Since 2016, I have served as the Chair of the Bylaws Review Committee. This task has not always been easy, but the changes necessary to ensure NALA remains nimble, vibrant, and ready to thrive for years to come. This has been a challenging project, but I continued, asking the tough questions, seeking clarification, and ensuring changes were made with NALA’s best interests in mind.
What makes NALA’s mission meaningful to you? NALA’s mission statement is important to me as I worked with the Board at our meeting last fall to create the new mission statement, ever mindful of NALA’s past commitment to voluntary certification while looking to the future to keep us ahead of the curve.
What do you see as any possible disruptive forces impacting NALA? I see member engagement as a possible disruptive force that may impact NALA. A new generation of members has emerged. We need to think differently, quickly, and innovatively to reach them.
Debra L. Overstreet, ACP
Why do you want to serve on the NALA Board of Directors? My motivation to serve on the NALA Board of Directors is one you will hear from every candidate or member of the Board of Directors. I am passionate about NALA and the paralegal profession. My years of experience as a board member for state and local affiliated associations as well as on the NALA board affords me the opportunity to serve others and contribute to the future of the paralegal profession. I know that the NALA Board of Directors, staff, and committees will work together to assure NALA remains on the forefront of the issues faced by today’s paralegal. If we remain content, we become stagnant. We must have the vision and confidence to evolve. By working as a team, NALA’s Board of Directors, staff and many volunteer committee members can be a positive force in assuring NALA continues to offer certification, professional development, and leadership programs to allow all paralegals to reach their ultimate potential.
What specific skills and strengths would you bring to the board to help NALA move forward? Each member of the board has distinct talents. Some are engaging movers and shakers, passionate cheerleaders of the association and the paralegal profession. Some are problem-solvers, steadfast and introspective with the ability to discern the root issue and evaluate the options. Others are visionaries, introducing unique ideas to help the association meet the needs of paralegal well into the future. One of my distinct talents is that of a servant leader. As a participant of NALA’s original leadership development program (LEAP), I was introduced to John Maxwell’s 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. I recognized immediately that as a servant of others, a person must put others first, is not boastful of position, and willingly and voluntarily serves others out of love. I am passionate about NALA and the paralegal profession.
What makes NALA’s mission meaningful to you? NALA’s mission, “Advancing paralegals through certification and professional development”, embodies the true spirit and intent of NALA. Obtaining my NALA certification was and continues to be a significant personal accomplishment. Although certification was not a requirement of my past and present employer, I am positive the outstanding programs offered by NALA, along with mentorship received from many past and present board and committee members, has been instrumental in my career advancement and has inspired me to educate and mentor others.
What do you see as any possible disruptive forces impacting NALA? Over the past year there has been legislative and regulatory efforts targeting professional certification. While some legislation or regulatory efforts have been aimed at elimination of private certification, other legislative activity is aimed at public (governmental) licensure citing, public health and welfare, or emancipation of unlicensed persons to practice the occupation regardless of licensure statutes. NALA has joined the Professional Certification Coalition. The Coalition is composed of more than 90 professional certification associations, including the American Society of Association Executives, the Board of Certification/Accreditation, and the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. The Coalition engaged legal counsel to help craft political/policy strategy and has coordinated with local chapters/affiliates with preexisting relationships with legislators to carry the Coalition’s message. In addition to the Professional Certification Coalition, NALA is a member of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, and the American Society for Association Executives, and works closely with the American Bar Association, American Association for Paralegal Educators, and the International Practice Management Association. NALA strives to be an advocate for the paralegal profession and, as stated in NALA’s Vision Statement, to be the preeminent resource for individual and professional success.
Cheryl J. Nodarse, ACP
Why do you want to serve on the NALA Board of Directors? Throughout my 31 years as a paralegal, I have been positively impacted by paralegal leaders and mentors. At the beginning of my career, a paralegal mentor encouraged me to volunteer with the local affiliated association and take NALA’s certification exam. When I moved to a different state, another NALA affiliated association was there to provide the continuing education required to maintain certification. Since that time, I’ve served with statewide paralegal associations, the NALA Board of Directors and Continuing Education Council, and currently as NALA’s Treasurer.
Over the years, I’ve participated with NALA’s leaders and learned that NALA’s work is never done. With the adoption of a new strategic plan in 2018, our course is set, and I hope to see NALA drive toward successful implementation of the goals and achievements toward which we aim. I also wish to continue as a NALA leader in order to be a positive, guiding influence to paralegals whose time in leadership is yet to come.
What specific skills and strengths would you bring to the board to help NALA move forward? I am a collaborator and team-player by nature: I am always seeking common connections and ways of bringing together people and groups. And I am both dedicated to NALA and driven to see the organization thrive for the betterment of our members and our profession. When assigned tasks, I do what it takes to get the job done. Finally, at my core I am a positive thinker, always seeking ways to improve what NALA is doing and how to make the NALA experience more meaningful.
What makes NALA’s mission meaningful to you? I was privileged to be a part of the revamping of NALA’s mission statement this past year. The mission statement now reads: “Advancing paralegals through certification and professional development.” My favorite part of the statement is the word “advancing.” To “advance” means to move forward, which blends well with the paralegal disinclination to accept things the way they are simply for the benefit of maintaining the status quo.
What do you see as any possible disruptive forces impacting NALA? In many states, there are legislative efforts underway to limit, restrict, or regulate professional certifications. Remember how I said I basically have a positive attitude? While some may view these legislative efforts as a disruption, I see them as an opportunity to show how NALA shines and leads when presented with such challenges.
OFFICE: At Large Director
Richard "Rich" Hahn, ACP
Why do you want to serve on the NALA Board of Directors? My standard answer would be that I want to bring the skills and knowledge I learned as Board member and President of my local association and as NALA committee member (past member of NALA’s Ethics Committee and past member of NALA’s Continuing Education Council) to NALA’s Board of Directors to help it move into the third decade of the 21st Century. However, as a Paralegal who happens to be male and works in the Intellectual Property area of law for an online service provider, I want to bring my unique perspective to NALA’s board going into the 2020’s where cyber related issues will become commonplace items that organizations will have to deal with. Whether I win or lose this election, I also hope to inspire more male Paralegals to become involved in their local, state and national associations.
What specific skills and strengths would you bring to the Board to help NALA move forward? The specific strengths that I would bring to the Board to help NALA move forward are: my objectivity when making a decision that is best for the organization, and following through on all my obligations and commitments. Other strengths I would bring to the board are my thorough research skills (which help with the objective decision making mentioned above) and my knowledge of parliamentary procedure.
What makes NALA’s mission meaningful to you? NALA’s mission of “Advancing paralegals through certification and professional development” is meaningful to me because by becoming a Certified Paralegal, and an Advanced Certified Paralegal, and through NALA’s LEAP program I was able to advance my career via the continuing education provided by NALA and the leadership training I received from the LEAP program. Ultimately the knowledge and skills I learned in those programs enabled me to help guide my local association through a recent unexpected transition in its leadership.
What do you see as any possible disruptive forces impacting NALA? The possible disruptive forces that I see impacting NALA are 1. The issue the Louisiana Paralegal Association faced in 2018 and defeated, where states want to prevent national or other associations from using the term “Certified” for members who pass the associations certification exam or go through the association’s certification process; and 2. The impact on local associations of firms and corporate legal departments providing continuing legal education to both attorneys and Paralegals. My solution to the second issue would be exploring the possibility of establishing in-house corporate NALA affiliated associations or partnering local associations with corporate law departments.
OFFICE: At Large Director
Vicki L. Kasper, ACP
Why do I want to serve on the NALA Board of Directors? I have always been a believer that a person should never stop learning and growing no matter where you are in life. When I first started as a paralegal over 10 years ago, I had an amazing mentor that taught me if you are not learning you are not growing and that you should always strive to be the best “you” that you can be. He taught me through his actions, his constant support and encouragement to always reach a little higher, stretch a little further and to always “charge on.” He taught me what a true mentor should be and, through his actions and support, taught me not only the importance of continually developing and growing yourself but how important it is to encourage and support others to continually develop and grow themselves to keep learning and growing in their journey and professional development.
By serving on the NALA Board, I can continue the work of NALA in empowering, growing and developing paralegals and improving the paralegal profession. I strongly believe that when you help empower, grow and develop other paralegals it makes the entire paralegal profession better.
What specific skills and strengths would I bring to the board to help NALA move forward? I believe that my attention to detail, organization skills and accountability to see tasks to completion have contributed to my success as a paralegal over the last 10+ years. I am outgoing, empathetic, energetic and have a strong ability to communicate with all personality types at all levels. I am an excellent communicator and love to collaborate with others on projects and problem solve. I am an active listener and make people feel at ease when talking with me. I love to share knowledge with others in my field and help them be successful.
“When I teach and help others I teach and help myself.”
What makes NALA’s mission meaningful to me? I believe NALA’s mission, “Advancing paralegals through certification and professional development,” is meaningful to me because it aligns with my belief that one should always be advancing and developing both personally and professionally and helping others do the same.
It means a lot to me that NALA has gone to great lengths to strengthen their certification program and to become the first certification program to be accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. This shows the great dedication NALA has for advancing paralegals and their professional development.
NALA does an amazing job helping paralegals advance and develop with countless webinars, educational sessions at conference and Facts & Findings articles. I have had the pleasure of being “behind the scenes” at NALA serving on the CEC and the PDC and have witnessed how much thought and effort goes into these offerings to help paralegals advance and develop themselves professionally. I am proud to be a part of an organization that does so much for the advancement and professional development of paralegals.
Becoming certified and developing themselves professionally gives paralegals tools and credibility which helps them gain a professional advantage.
What do I see as any possible disruptive forces impacting NALA? I feel that governmental regulations are probably the biggest possible disruptive force that would impact NALA, NALA’s certified paralegals and their certification program. For example, in Louisiana, lawmakers were proposing a new bill that would ban nongovernmental professional credentialing unless state law required certification or registration to work as a paralegal. All state licensing programs would then be overseen by governmental agencies and not by nongovernmental associations such as NALA. I think that as paralegals we need to be aware and vigilant with what is going on with our government and how it may impact us as paralegals, certified paralegals and professionals in general. Louisiana is not the only state that has had proposed or passed legislation that could impact NALA’s credentialing. Ohio and Missouri have also done so.
I am grateful that the Professional Certification Coalition (PCC) has been formed to advocate for legislation that voids restrictions on voluntary professional certification programs such as NALA’s and that NALA’s Executive Director, Greta Zeimetz, is following them and has attended their meetings.
OFFICE: At Large Director
Melissa M. Klimpel, ACP
Why do you want to serve on the NALA Board of Directors? One of the main reasons I want to serve on the NALA Board of Directors is to give back to NALA and the paralegal profession. NALA has made a huge impact on my life which has allowed me to grow personally and professionally. My involvement with NALA over the years has shaped me into the person I am today. I am passionate about the work NALA does and feel that serving on the Board of Directors gives me more direct involvement in the organization which would allow me to promote the paralegal profession, and the vision and mission of NALA. I want help set the direction for the future of NALA to ensure it continues to be a vibrant and growing paralegal association.
What specific skills and strengths would you bring to the board to help NALA move forward? My skills and strengths include prior board experience with NALA and my local association, teamwork, organization skills and a strong work ethic, among others.
My prior board experience has taught me how to work with other board members and the membership as a whole. Through that experience I gained insight into how boards work which will allow me to step in and contribute right away. Being on a board requires teamwork and I really enjoy working with others to achieve goals and promote the vision and mission of NALA.
I believe my organizational skills allow me to have a good balance between my personal and professional life and help me prioritize projects to ensure things are completed in a timely manner. I also have a strong work ethic which helps me dig into projects and put forth the effort required to contribute thoughts and ideas on matters brought before the board.
What makes NALA’s mission meaningful to you? It would be an honor to serve on NALA’s Board of Directors and I would do my best to carry out the mission of NALA. The mission of NALA is very important to me – it has helped define my career. Through my participation in NALA, I have grown personally and professionally more than I could have imagined. I have taken advantage of the certification, professional development, and networking opportunities available from NALA which have been a great help in advancing my career and confidence in my abilities.
Through my prior involvement with the NALA board, I have been able to develop public speaking and leadership skills and have met many great people. The impact NALA’s mission has had on my career has been immense and I would love the opportunity to further that mission to give others the same opportunities to develop skills that will help further their career.
What do you see as any possible disruptive forces impacting NALA? NALA is a great organization that has been around for many years. Being able to evolve with the changing needs of its members and the legal profession has allowed it to thrive. However, a possible disruptive force for NALA could be complacency. Complacency in any area could lead to major disruption for NALA – losing sight of the mission of the organization, not staying up to date with the legal profession, poor processes at the board level, or lack of interest from board members – all could lead to a lack of trust from the membership. It is incumbent on the board to have the pulse of its members and continue to offer services that members find valuable in a manner that is convenient for the members. I believe NALA will continue to be a great organization long into the future as long as we continue to evolve with the needs of our members.
OFFICE: At Large Director
Jane D. McKinnon, CP
Why do you want to serve on the NALA Board of Directors? The easy answer to this question is to assist in the advancement of the paralegal profession. I believe this can be done in cooperation with other NALA members in complying with the NALA mission. I believe through education and professional development the paralegal profession will continue to thrive and grow. Serving on the NALA board in the past has given me the chance to have a small voice in the direction NALA has taken. I have learned a great deal about NALA and about governance of an association such as ours. I have built valuable networks and relationships with others who have served NALA and with those I have been lucky enough to visit in my role as Director.
What specific skills and strengths would you bring to the board to help NALA move forward? I have served on various association boards in the past including a university paralegal board, my local association and NALA. I have learned a lot from those experiences, but I have also been a paralegal for over 30 years. Through these experiences I have gained a knowledge of paralegals and what is important to them. I have a passion for the paralegal profession and am committed to the NALA mission of education and professional development. I believe I have gained the ability to see the big picture and the courage to state my position on items related to the direction of NALA. I have learned to ask questions, welcome informative discussions and advice but will always make my decision based on my own best judgment as to what is best for NALA members.
What makes NALA’s mission meaningful to you? A mission statement defines the purpose of the organization. It is the objective to be accomplished – the very reason for existing! I believe what sets NALA members apart from others in our field is education and professionalism. We want to assist attorneys in the best way we can and to enable us to do that we need to be well informed and up to date on laws, procedures and technology (just to name a few areas). NALA also gives us chances to grow in professional development by providing learning opportunities as well as volunteer options. I have grown through completing the LEAP program and by serving on the NALA board. However, maybe the most meaningful to me has been to see the many paralegals across the nation who are also dedicated to becoming the best paralegal they can be. NALA’s mission makes this possible.
What do you see as any possible disruptive forces impacting NALA? A great share of the population is reaching retirement age and the paralegal profession is no different. The membership of NALA is growing more diverse and the question is how to serve both the boomers and the Generation Z’s. There are no less than five generations in the work force today. Each generation comes with its requirements from an organization – and they do not necessarily look alike. The challenge for NALA is to provide benefits for all its members. The NALA board will need to remember not to focus on the differences but to appreciate each member’s needs. We may be different in many ways but in the end we all want the same thing – for the paralegal profession to thrive and grow. The issue for NALA will be how to continue to accomplish this.
OFFICE: At Large Director
Teresa "Teri" E. Phillips, ACP
Why do you want to serve on the NALA Board of Directors? Serving paralegals of the United States and surrounding territories is so important to me.
Helping those who need a mentor in our career field, and friend who understands the everyday workings of the paralegal world is my priority. Being on the NALA Board of Directors gives me an opportunity to help guide NALA to meet its goals and mission of being of support to paralegals. I would like to serve you as a member of the Board of Directors of NALA.
What specific skills and strengths would you bring to the board to help NALA move forward? Working as a paralegal for four decades now gives me the strength of a wide perspective of then and now. The ever-changing career of paralegals needs hindsight and foresight to keep moving forward. My ideas are creative and innovative. I have received my ACP in Alternative Dispute Resolution. I enjoy looking at difficult situations and searching for the related positive resolution. My love for the paralegal profession keeps me looking to the future for greater achievements for NALA and our affiliate organizations.
What makes NALA’s mission meaningful to you? The certified and advanced certified paralegal programs, being part of NALA’s mission of continuing education for paralegals, reeled me in to NALA, it’s mission and purpose. The educational programs offered are focused on the day-to-day work of paralegals. The personal growth achieved by each paralegal participating in NALA is where I find meaning in NALA’s mission. Personal growth in your profession can be difficult to achieve without a structured program and goal in sight. The NALA certification and education programs bring a great focus for paralegals. I truly enjoy working as a paralegal and helping those around me to realize their achievement, this is personally very motivating and important to me.
What do you see as any possible disruptive forces impacting NALA? NALA is the pacesetter for certification in the paralegal world. Our membership is growing each and every year. Maintaining members can be difficult with other choices for acknowledgement and titles appear on the forefront. Some states require a certification specific to their state laws. Some find that the state certification is all that is needed to pursue their profession as a paralegal. While there is a new level of paralegal on the horizon, some think it should replace the NALA Certified Paralegal or NALA Advanced Certified Paralegal. I see NALA as the foundation of these achievements rather than a replacement.
Many state bar associations are creating or have created their own paralegal organizations or sections. I can see where some would think that it is more important to belong to the “state bar” paralegal group. Being a member of, and taking part in, the NALA affiliate in your area is the best way to achieve your professional goals. There are CLEs focusing on the NALA certification exams and courses offered to assist in your preparation for the exams.
OFFICE: At Large Director
Debby Sawyer, ACP
Why do you want to serve on the NALA Board of Directors? That is a really easy question for me. Because I have a passion for NALA and I truly believe in this organization and all it stands for! NALA’s mission is about providing CLE and professional development to all paralegals. Since entering the legal profession 20+ years ago, I have witnessed the monumental evolution of the paralegal profession. During that time, NALA has been the national leader in assisting in this evolution. Not only did NALA provide the valuable and necessary tools needed for us to survive the transitions, but it also gave us the means to succeed and prepare for the future. Because NALA is forward thinking, innovative, and utilizes strategic planning, it continues to be a success and continues to be the leading paralegal association in the United States. Serving NALA and its members allows me to pay it forward and give back to an organization that has given me so much. It has given me the opportunity to meet legal professionals from across the country, mentor paralegal students, and pass on what I have achieved to others coming along in our footsteps. No other organizations serve the needs of paralegals and the paralegal profession as well as NALA.
What specific skills and strengths would you bring to the board to help NALA move forward? The experience of having served on the NALA Board for several years has provided me with valuable leadership training, honed my interpersonal skills, taught me about strategic planning and forward thinking, motivated me to be a positive influence, and inspired me to always do my very best at every endeavor. I have also gained critical insight into how essential it is to not only be a good leader, but also how extremely important it is to be led by great leaders. Serving on the NALA Board has taught me the true meaning of teamwork and being a productive team member. It also has given me the opportunity to have a voice in the decisions of this great organization.
What makes NALA’s mission meaningful to you? “Advancing Paralegals Through Certification and Professional Development”. What makes this statement so meaningful to me is that NALA not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk when it comes to accomplishing its goals and mission. NALA diligently works endlessly to provide quality educational products in many different forms and methods to make sure it is easily accessible to all paralegals who want to take advantage of it. NALA’s Certification Program sets the bar for all paralegal certification exams and is the only accredited paralegal certification exam available. NALA strives to make sure all of its programs are the epitome of legal professional development, which accomplishes its mission and continues to make it the nation’s leading paralegal association.
What do you see as any possible disruptive forces impacting NALA? A disruptive force is defined as one that causes a major change in the fabric of an industry or society.
The two possible forces I see that will have an impact on NALA are millennials and technology. Millennial decision making is different, and their desires are not the same as our past generations. They are social and technologically savvy. Both are posed to change and grow at an exponential speed, and NALA must plan ahead and be prepared to change with them and always be willing to accept the trends that keep it relevant. The paralegal profession is always being challenged with issues such as lack of attorney recognition, attorney surplus taking paralegal jobs, legal licensed technicians, legislative restrictions, and outsourcing just to name a few. However, no matter what is thrown at us, NALA will always be in the forefront fighting to keep all paralegals relevant, and the NALA Board of Directors is an integral part of that fight and is a loud voice to protect our profession.
OFFICE: At Large Director
Cindy E. Schmit, ACP
Why do you want to serve on the NALA Board of Directors? I believe in NALA’s mission of providing continuing education and professional development to all paralegals. I like talking with people and working with them to meet their goals. I enjoy mentoring paralegals and helping them with their questions and guiding them in their career. I saw the desire, ability and skills of one paralegal that I mentored and suggested to her that she consider law school. She is now an attorney with her own practice in Texas. I am currently serving as treasurer of the South Dakota Paralegal Association and have been on the Executive Committee off and on over nine years. I have chaired many committees within SDPA. I am currently a member of NALA’s Professional Development Committee. I would like to move forward and serve on NALA’s Board of Directors.
What specific skills and strengths would you bring to the board to help NALA move forward? I have enthusiasm for our profession and strong communication skills. I am dependable and follow through with my commitments. If I make a mistake, I acknowledge it as soon as possible and apologize, if necessary. I am dedicated to those that I represent, my family and friends. I would not intentionally harm anyone. I am honest and trustworthy. I am a quiet listener but share my thoughts and ideas. I am respectful of others, patient and kind. One of my personal mantras is, “Always be kind. If you see someone falling behind, walk beside them. If you see someone being ignored, find a way to include them. If someone has been knocked down, lift them up. Always remind people of their worth. Be who you needed when you were going through hard times. Just one small act of kindness could mean the world to someone.” Author unknown.
What makes NALA’s mission meaningful to you? When I went to college I was not familiar with the paralegal profession and there wasn’t an option for a degree in paralegal studies. I started my career as a legal secretary and grew to want more responsibility. I was fortunate to have an employer that mentored me and encouraged me to take continuing education classes. I was very happy with my employer and career but ended up moving 200 miles away for my family. I didn’t know anyone in my new community and because of my personal standards and not having a paralegal degree felt I had to start over again to prove my value. I am grateful for the friends I made in the South Dakota Paralegal Association. We supported one another and studied for the NALA CP Exam together. If I had been a NALA Certified Paralegal prior to my move, I believe it would have made a difference in my career. Because of that, I have supported many paralegals by facilitating study groups to help them achieve their goal of becoming a NALA Certified Paralegal. I have also facilitated leadership academies to support and mentor members interested in leadership positions within the South Dakota Paralegal Association.
What do you see as any possible disruptive forces impacting NALA? Because NALA Certification has been so important in my career, I am troubled by any legislation interfering with professional certification and stopping voluntary certification programs. I am also disappointed in underutilization of paralegals. Many attorneys in my state do not utilize paralegals as much as they should, and I believe this is probably true everywhere. We have more room to grow as a profession. It concerns me when attorneys don’t show respect for our profession and believe they can call any member of their support staff a paralegal and bill for their time. I believe these attorneys need to be more involved in continuing education and professional development of the paralegal profession.
OFFICE: At Large Director
Jackie Van Dyke, CP
Why do you want to serve on the NALA Board of Directors? I want to serve on the NALA Board as my way of giving back to the paralegal profession. I want to engage with paralegals and their respective local associations across the country, listening and asking questions to determine what resources NALA can provide to continuously prepare paralegals to be the best they can be. I want to share my passion, my energy, my skills, and my expertise with others. NALA offers me continuing education and networking opportunities. I now want to serve my fellow paralegals and advocate for the interests of the paralegal profession on a national level.
I look forward to applying my leadership skills in the classroom to a leadership role on the NALA Board. Serving on the NALA Board will also allow me to enhance my decision-making skills in a group dynamic. Serving on the Board will provide me with a better insight into how we can all work together to accomplish our goals. I believe my role as a Director at Large will be impactful and meaningful to both those that I serve and to myself. One can make a real difference when working with like-minded people.
What specific skills and strengths would you bring to the board to help NALA move forward? I will bring powerful strategic skills to the Board. I have always been goal-oriented with a focus on detail and organization, which helped me to become a Certified Paralegal in 2017. As a paralegal studies professor, I also bring an educational perspective to the Board. As a former senior intellectual property (IP) paralegal, I bring expertise in trademark law and in legal writing.
My communication skills are strong both orally and in writing. I am able to clearly articulate ideas. My success as a mentor to graduate paralegal students has been attributed to understanding different perspectives, thinking critically, and asking empowering questions.
I am able to comfortably interact with diverse groups, contributing to discussions and valuing the ideas of others. As an educator, I am a strong proponent of collaboration. I also have extensive experience in analyzing data and drafting reports. These skills and strengths will help NALA to continue being in the forefront of the paralegal profession.
What makes NALA’s mission meaningful to you? NALA’s mission statement reads as “advancing paralegals through certification and professional development.” NALA’s mission is personally meaningful to me because it defines and provides the resources and tools that paralegals need to maximize their potential and to succeed whether in a large firm, a solo law office, a corporation, or as a virtual paralegal. Certification and professional development by way of continuing legal education are key pathways to help us as paralegals to earn promotions, to get our work done more efficiently, and to be recognized. With the support of these resources provided by NALA, I successfully earned my paralegal certification in 2017 and look forward to adding the designation of Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP) in the near future.
NALA’s mission statement establishes its priorities and serves as a guide for the Board. I will dedicate whatever hours are necessary to perform my duties as a Director. I will be prepared for all meetings and calls. I will be engaged with all those that comprise the area I represent. I am committed to NALA’s mission and am always striving for excellence.
What do you see as any possible disruptive forces impacting NALA? Three disruptive forces come to mind as impacting NALA. The first is the ongoing and controversial debate of paralegal licensure and regulation. As Washington successfully introduced the Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) program several years ago, Utah will soon acknowledge Licensed Legal Practitioners. While I believe there are positives and negatives to both schools of thought, NALA must continue to represent its membership in this ongoing discussion.
The second disruptive force is keeping up with the constant changes in legal technology. We must continue to support our paralegals by offering updated training in eDiscovery, E- filing, and even Artificial Intelligence (AI). NALA can strengthen its programs by educating attorneys in the value of technically skilled paralegals.
The third possible disruptive force is specific state legislation that may prove harmful to certification. As a national association, we must continue to be active in national organizations that recognize certification. Certification demonstrates an advanced knowledge in the law and distinguishes a certified paralegal from paralegals electing not to pursue the certification program. Continuing to support voluntary certification upholds our value in the legal industry.