April Volunteer Spotlight – Melissa M. Klimpel, ACP

NALA Volunteer Spotlight – May 2022
Melissa M. Klimpel, ACP

Melissa M. Klimpel, ACP, began her career in law while she was just in high school. “I started working at a law firm in high school through a co-op program at school,” she said. She went on to attend the University of North Dakota and earned her paralegal certificate from Bismarck State College in 2002. She became an Advanced Certified Paralegal in Discovery in 2006. “My favorite aspect of paralegal work is the investigation of a case and discovery,” she said.

Melissa joined the Western Dakota Association of Legal Assistants (WDALA) in 2002. She then joined NALA in 2005 and became a part of the inaugural class of NALA’s leadership program, LEAP, in 2007. It was here that she first became interested in volunteering for NALA. She remembered, “My LEAP mentor was Linda Wolf, ACP (NALA Past President).  Linda encouraged me to volunteer for NALA.  That was 13 years ago and I’m still here.  I have grown so much by volunteering for NALA.”

Her advice to fellow and upcoming paralegals is to get involved, whether it is with NALA or an affiliated association or by volunteering in their community. “I definitely would not be where I am today without getting involved in WDALA and NALA which both forced me to go out of my comfort zone to experience new things.  I also enhanced my network by meeting a lot of people throughout the country (and gained some lifelong friends).  I also found some fantastic mentors through WDALA and NALA,” she said. 

Melissa has served on NALA’s Continuing Education Council, as Region VI Director, and as Area 2 Director. She is currently the chair of the Professional Development Committee. Melissa has been working at her current law firm for nearly 27 years, a feat she lists among her greatest professional accomplishments. She was also a winner of the NALA Affiliated Associations Affiliate Award and the Affiliated Associations Outstanding Contribution Award in 2012.

Melissa has been married to her husband, Mark, for 26 years. They have three daughters: Whitney and Morgan, who are both in college, and Olivia, who is in 7th grade. Melissa said, “Olivia is involved in basketball (school and traveling), volleyball (school and traveling), and track so she keeps us busy all year long.”

One of Melissa’s favorite hobbies is traveling. “I also love spending time with family and friends,” she said. Her favorite TV shows are This Is Us, Grey’s Anatomy, and Chesapeake Shores. When asked if she could meet anyone past or present, Melissa chose singer Celine Dion. “I have been a fan of her music for a long time.  Over the years, I have attended numerous concerts of hers.”