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National Association Impact
Paralegals split on benefits of membership.
At a time when many national paralegal and legal
professional associations are hosting their annual conventions,
LAT’s most recent My Opinion survey polled paralegals to find out
just how active they are in these organizations. The membership
results are split: Just over one-half of respondents (50.7 percent)
are not members of a national legal professional association, while
just under one-half (49.3 percent) are members. Among those who are
not members of a national association, the reason most often given
for not joining is that it’s too expensive (26.9 percent). “At
present, I have a hard time justifying the cost to the benefit,”
said a 22-year paralegal from
Respondents who are not members of a national association also cited other reasons for not joining, including: they don’t see any benefit to their career (11.6 percent), national association membership isn’t included as part of their local association membership (9.6 percent), they don’t know how to join (9.6 percent), they don’t have time (7.7 percent) and their local association offers all the benefits that they need (7.7 percent). “I want to join and be more active in paralegal associations but find I have to work an additional job, which takes a lot of my time and I just can’t cover the costs involved either,” said Maube Mor, an 8-year paralegal from Columbus, Ohio.
Despite the fact that approximately half of
respondents said they are not members of national associations now,
54.5 percent of those who are not members said they plan on joining
in the future. Only 3.1 percent who currently are not national
association members have no plans to join, while 42.4 percent don’t
know if they will join in the future. “I’m unsure of the bonus it
would have in my current job or any in my local area,” said
Stephanie Pate, a 7-year legal assistant from
Of those who are members of a national
association, 42.9 percent are members only, 16.3 percent attend the
annual conference, 14.3 percent serve as officers, 10.2 percent are
part of a committee and 6.1 percent act as committee chairs. “My
involvement has not only enhanced my career beyond words, but it has
also opened many other doors that I never expected. The leadership
experience is second to none and the many friendships are
priceless,” said September D. Holmblad, PP, PLS, a 29-year paralegal
Cost also was a factor in the level of
involvement for respondents who are members of a national
association. “I would attend more national conventions if my firm
picked it up,” said Mathew Laskowski, a 10-year senior paralegal
Those who joined a national association did so
to keep updated on important issues in their profession (22.3
percent), to become more involved in their profession (19.4
percent), to network (16.5 percent), because their local association
membership includes a national association membership (15.6
percent), to enhance their career (13.6 percent) and to promote
paralegal utilization (8.7 percent). “I try to attend as many
educational conferences and membership meetings as my budget will
allow. My membership in each association (local, state and national)
has greatly enhanced my professional career,” said Donna F. Dupree,
CLAS, a 16-year paralegal specialist from
Overwhelmingly, respondents who said they
currently are members of a national association felt that membership
has enhanced their careers (72.7 percent). “I derived great benefits
from being a member of national associations,” said Roxanne R.
Reynolds, PLS, a 35-year paralegal from
Among national association members who took the survey, 37.2 percent are members of NFPA, 32.6 percent are members of NALA, 11.6 percent are members of Nals ... the association for legal professionals, 7 percent are members of the American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc., 7 percent are members of the American Bar Association and 2.3 percent are members of the American Association of Paralegal Education.
Are you a member of a national legal professional association?
If you are a member of a national association, how are you involved?
Committee chair: 6.1%
Part of a committee: 10.2%
Attend annual conference: 16.3%
Member only: 42.9%
Has membership in a national association enhanced your paralegal career?
I don't know: 9.1%
If you are not a member now, do you plan to join a national association in the future?
I don't konw: 42.4%
Total survey responses: 67
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