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Featured Guest
Vanessa Finley

Vanessa Finley, MBA, was hired as chief executive officer of the National Association of Legal Assistants in November 2019....

Your Host
Jill Francisco

Jill I. Francisco, ACP, received her BA in Criminal Justice, (concentration in Legal Studies), from Marshall University in 1994....

Episode Notes

As we begin a new decade, the National Association of Legal Assistants is looking forward to developing even more ways to serve its members and the paralegal profession as a whole. Host and NALA president Jill Francisco talks with the association’s new CEO, Vanessa Finley. Vanessa discusses what drew her to the role and she shares a taste of her passion for serving paralegal professionals.They discuss current programs, resources, and benefits available for members, emerging trends in the profession, and NALA’s plans for 2020, including info on their annual conference and expo in July!

Vanessa Finley is CEO of the National Association of Legal Assistants.

Special thanks to our sponsors, NALAServeNowCourtFiling.net and Legalinc.

Transcript

The Paralegal Voice

NALA’s 2020 Outlook

01/31/2020

 

[Music]

 

Jill Francisco: Hello everyone. Thank you for joining me for another exciting and informative episode of The Paralegal Voice on the Legal Talk Network. I am Jill Francisco, advanced certified paralegal, NALA President and your host of The Paralegal Voice.

 

I have over 22 years of paralegal experience and I am so excited to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for the paralegal profession with you.

 

We have a wonderful guest for today’s show, but before we welcome her, we would like to thank our sponsors.

 

Today’s sponsor, Legalinc, makes it easy for paralegals to digitally automate tasks like business formations, corporate filings and registered agent services nationwide. Visit legalinc.com/podcast to create your free account.

 

We would also like to thank CourtFiling.net; e-file court documents with ease in California, Illinois, Indiana and Texas. To learn more, visit CourtFiling.net to take advantage of a free 30-day trial.

 

Thank you to NALA. NALA is a professional association for paralegals providing continuing education, voluntary certification and professional development programs. NALA has been a sponsor of The Paralegal Voice since our very first show.

 

And thank you also to ServeNow. ServeNow is a nationwide network of trusted prescreened process servers. Work with the most professional process servers who have experience with high-volume serves, who embrace technology, and understand the litigation process. Visit serve-now.com to learn more.

 

I am so excited to have Vanessa Finley, CEO of the National Association of Legal Assistants, also known as NALA, The Paralegal Association. Vanessa took the reins of NALA at the end of November 2019. Vanessa has been in nonprofit management and leadership her entire career, spanning more than 25 years. She has had a primary focus on providing support to and advocacy for underrepresented groups and otherwise marginalized communities including women, people of color, immigrants and those impacted by poverty. I am super excited to have her as my guest today.

 

Vanessa, welcome to the show.

 

Vanessa Finley: I am absolutely thrilled to be here.

 

Jill Francisco: So 2020 is shaping up to be a very exciting year. 2020 sounds so like futuristic. Remember when we were all worried and freaked out about Y2K and here we are in 2020, still here and the paralegal profession is thriving.

 

So at the risk of being a little self-serving for my organization I have asked Vanessa to join me today to discuss what NALA is doing, not only for its members, but for all paralegals and the many special ways it’s helping the paralegal profession as a whole.

 

NALA is working and looking out for the interest of all paralegals, it’s who we are. NALA’s mission and vision statements echo those principles. NALA’s mission statement is, advancing paralegals through certification and professional development.

 

NALA’s vision statement is the preeminent resource for individual and professional success.

 

I think it is so important for our listeners to know and understand that while NALA is a membership based association, NALA is an indispensible resource for all paralegals.

 

So Vanessa, I briefly touched on your background, could you please elaborate on your background a bit for our listeners?

 

Vanessa Finley: Sure. So I have been in nonprofit management leadership 26 plus years and it is something that has always been important to me to be in service to my community, and that is what I have done throughout my career in a number of areas, like you said, with women, people of color, those who are low income or impacted by poverty, and it’s just been a career I have loved and a career that’s now expanded into the 501(c)(6) work, association support.

 

So I am just tickled to be able to take this next phase in my career in the association of NALA.

 

Jill Francisco: So Vanessa, I know you have been very busy during your almost two months on the job as NALA’s new CEO. Can you please tell our listeners some of the things you have been working on during those two short months?

 

Vanessa Finley: Yes. Well, I like to use that phrase, drinking from a fire hose, because that is absolutely what it feels like. You are learning obviously all the programs and the services that NALA offer, getting to know the staff, the board members, connecting with our various partners, and then on top of that all the really fun stuff of administrative budgets and risk assessment and learning the historical and government documents and all the end of year things that came at the end of 2019 and all the beginning of the year so for 2020 and really getting a handle on all the wonderful work that NALA does.

 

(00:05:10)

 

It has just — it’s been really quite a joy over these two months, because the staff here is amazing, the board is phenomenal and super engaged and then the members, I couldn’t be more thrilled than representing the paralegal profession.

 

Jill Francisco: Well yes, and believe me I know you have been busy because I am probably the source of some of that busyness.

 

So here we are, so NALA needed a CEO and there you were. What piqued your interest in the paralegal profession and a nonprofit 501(c)(6) association and I mention the 501(c)(6) because I think it is a different type of association that you were used to working for in the past?

 

Vanessa Finley: Right, that’s right. So I have been working as far as paid work in the 501(c)(3) world, which means that’s more — that’s the charitable side, social services, you are providing services to underrepresented groups, etc. And the 501(c)(6) world is more about supporting an industry, an effort, an association of individuals, industries and groups and so that’s the primary shift.

 

Also contributions to 501(c)(3)s are tax-deductible, but to 501(c)(6), they are not for example for a donor.

 

So those are some of the basic differences, but all in all you are in service to the people, your clients and your members. And so in that way it’s very similar to the 501(c)(3) work.

 

But the reason I was really particularly excited about NALA is because the profession, the paralegal profession is an exciting profession. It has lots of women in it, which of course really attracted me, because I have always tried to work with programs that really support women and it’s a growing profession for these women. And the pay that the paralegals get is a very livable wage, it’s great to support a family, and again, for the women in this field it can be a very exciting profession.

 

It’s growing, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the paralegal field is going to grow by about 12% over the next decade and that really compares to 5% and 6% of average growth in businesses. So it’s exciting to be at this point with paralegals.

 

There is so much variety, as I know all your listeners know, the breadth of industries and areas that the law intersects with is very broad and so that makes it — it’s never stale, it’s constantly evolving.

 

And the other thing that I really love about NALA in particular is that it’s not just promoting the field, but the individuals in the field, and really trying to provide recognition to folks that typically don’t get recognized. So it just spoke to me on all levels and I really — like I said, I just couldn’t be more tickled to be serving the membership at this point.

 

Jill Francisco: Yeah. And I totally agree with you and one thing that you said in that wonderful list of reasons that drew you to the paralegal profession and NALA’s type of association is recognizing those that might not always get recognized and I think a lot of times that’s frustrating for paralegals, because they are kind of like behind the scenes, they are drafting things, they are doing a lot of tasks that might not be in the forefront or maybe the direct relationship with the client or standing out, but here they are doing that grunt work and to have — be a little bit recognized especially from their peers, especially from their professional association or obviously attorneys because I know that that’s another area that NALA works on behalf of all paralegals is educating the legal profession how valuable paralegals are.

 

Vanessa Finley: Right. And it’s a really misunderstood field for those that aren’t in it, because again this is my real first foray into the paralegal world and so of course I have friends and family asking about how things are going and asking about the field and people have no idea the amount of education, the amount of training, the amount of experience and legal knowledge and the skills that paralegals have to develop just to do their job.

 

And then what they have to do to get certified and be recognized at that level is really phenomenal and I want to be part of really promoting the field and having people fully understand what it really means to do paralegal work, because if paralegals aren’t doing it, an attorney has to do it, right? That’s one of the definitions of a paralegal is doing the work that an attorney would have to do if that paralegal is not there and a lot of laypeople just don’t understand that.

 

(00:10:15)

 

Jill Francisco: Yeah, I think you are definitely right on that and I think it’s an ongoing thing to educate, like you said, the people in the legal profession and outside the legal profession about paralegals.

 

So Vanessa, before we move on to our next point of discussion, we need to take a quick commercial break. We will be right back.

 

[Music]

 

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[Music]

 

NALA members receive exclusive content such as the Paralegal Utilization and Compensation Survey Report, access to a members-only collaboration site, discounts on office products and car rental, access and preferred placement on a web platform for paralegal contract jobs and access to the member-only Career Center. NALA members also receive discounted education and products. Join NALA today and become a part of our community. Learn more at NALA.org.

 

[Music]

 

Jill Francisco: Welcome back to The Paralegal Voice. I am Jill Francisco and my guest today is Vanessa Finley, CEO of NALA and today we are discussing various ways our organization is helping the paralegal profession.

 

So Vanessa, I know you are working daily on getting accustomed and familiar with NALA and the paralegal profession as a whole. But I also know that you love to dive in 1105 to the task before you. Please give our listeners a brief overview of NALA’s services and programs that are available to all paralegals.

 

Vanessa Finley: Absolutely. And really I cannot emphasize enough what you just said that NALA isn’t just a great resource for people who are members of NALA; it’s a great resource for anybody who is interested in working in the paralegal field.

 

So we offer continuing education through on-demand webinars, live webinars. We have an annual conference and expo every year and we do have in-person education that’s provided through our member affiliates throughout the country. We have a nationally accredited certification program, The Certified Paralegal and the ACP, which you are as well Jill, the Advanced Certified Paralegal and so that’s another credential that those in the profession can have and demonstrate their skill, their knowledge and their ability to take on additional tasks. And we do have research that shows that getting that certification does on average lead to an increase in pay and so it’s an excellent way to advance in the career.

 

We have a number of publications. We do have a beautiful quarterly magazine that is actually mailed out. I know that that seems weird in 2020, but it is a gorgeous piece and there is nothing like holding a magazine and like really reading the articles as opposed to really flipping through online. So that’s something that NALA offers.

 

We have regular e-newsletters. We have a biannual Utilization and Compensation Survey. And so what that means is we go out and we survey that industry, the paralegal industry to find out what is the going rate for paralegals depending on the various variables and then that is available to members at no cost or to non-members at a fee so that they can do better advocacy, self-advocacy at their work and be able to make a case for their wage or their salary or if they are hiring people that are also paralegals, they have that background information as well. So that’s a really comprehensive survey that we do as well.

 

And then of course we have tradeshows that we participate in, and really that part of promoting the field overall continues to be a really big piece of NALA.

 

(00:14:51)

 

So you talked about those recognition awards that we do every year and we have beefed that up this year and that’s just a great way for folks to be recognized for their work. We do advocacy and some lobbying even and we partner with various education programs and really trying to promote the field for those that not just are in it, but those that might be interested and really getting people excited about the field.

 

And then really a final advocacy thing that we do is we sponsor The Paralegal Voice and so this is an awesome show to really provide insight for those in the paralegal profession.

 

Jill Francisco: Yeah, I agree with all that. I mean it’s really — I love how NALA looks out, kind of has their feelers all out in aspects of the profession and is looking out for, not only obviously NALA members, but paralegals that — because there is a lot of certified paralegals that aren’t NALA members and so now NALA is still looking out for their interests, what’s going on in legislation.

 

So it’s very important that NALA is out there and that’s a central place that you can go to and use as a resource as a paralegal and not try to sit there and surf a bunch of websites, a bunch of googling to figure out what’s going on. It’s like you can go to one place and get that information. So I feel like that’s a good thing that NALA offers all paralegals.

 

And so we touched on the services and products that NALA offers all paralegals, but we do need to specifically mention some of the awesome benefits that one does receive if you are a NALA active member. Can you please go through and give our listeners a little summary of all the wonderful NALA member benefits.

 

Vanessa Finley: Absolutely yes. Like you said, you don’t have to be a member to benefit from our services, but if you are a member you get some extra little niceties. For example, you get that quarterly magazine that I talked about; it’s called Facts & Findings and that’s part of your membership.

 

We do have a Career Center on our website and that is only open to our members as well, so for posting positions and also if you are looking for a position and not just in your city, but anywhere across the country.

 

We also have a community site called NALA Commons and that is something that’s really just — it’s getting launched this year and that’s going to be an amazing place for paralegals to share advice, to share insights that they have with each other. So it’s paralegals to paralegals, but then also bringing in others within the legal field to provide good input and advice on the different areas that a particular paralegal might be facing.

 

And you get discounts obviously on our education programs, discount on our awesome conference, our world-class conference and products. We do have an Affinity Discount Program, so there is a number of national companies that provide discounts directly to our members. And again, I talked about those awards and that member recognition, so those recognitions are for members and so that is another benefit of your membership is that you can be recognized through that award process.

 

And with your membership, if you go with the active membership you actually get an $80 gift certificate to use on any education program, you can put it towards the conference, any of the things that we offer at NALA, so that really starts to make your membership fee very worthwhile.

 

And then of course the last thing, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the leadership and volunteer opportunities with NALA. You have been one of our long-term volunteers, serving on the board, serving on various committees and now of course as the President, those are obviously benefits for members as well, because you do have to be a member to serve in those capacities, but those are some of the neat benefits that do come with being a member.

 

Jill Francisco: Yes, I totally agree and I will tell you what, I mean like for my career I would have never guessed, I think it was 2002 when I went to my first NALA conference just because I got it, came across my desk, thought it would be something good to go to. The firm that I was working for at the time approved for me to go, which I was kind of floored actually, because I was new in the profession, but they thought it would be worthwhile, they sent me.

 

And then of course I have been involved in some capacity ever since and I could have never dreamed the networking and the lifelong personal friends that I have made and connections. I mean it’s almost on a daily or at least like every other day basis that I can reach out to somebody and some work-related tasks that I can reach out to somebody and it just makes everything in me and my job look great, because I have those connections. It’s truly amazing.

 

(00:20:06)

 

And I think paralegals, it’s just like a characteristic, I mean they all seem to be so helpful, ready to help out, ready to lend a hand, and you make those connections whether it’s via social media or through one of our events or through volunteering, serving on committee, many things that NALA gives you the opportunity to do and you make those connections and you just never — I am just floored about what they actually turn into and benefit your personal and your professional career.

 

So just to mention this, I mean I know we have talked about this, the paralegal profession is constantly changing; it’s changed a lot since I entered it in 1997. I am kind of giving away hints to my age there, but anyway, frequently paralegals ask me why they should join NALA or why they should look to NALA as a valuable resource in advancing their paralegal career. I think a big reason to connect to your chosen career professional association is access to valuable CLE.

 

I think that a good professional association will do the groundwork for you in creating CLE on the hot and relevant topics as they relate to the paralegal profession. I mean I think this is an often overlooked like big benefit that professional associations offer members and non-members alike. I believe continuing education is a vital part of being a successful paralegal. You can never go wrong with education in any form, I mean be it as you were talking about our certification, CLE hours, community colleges, universities, certificate, I mean you get the picture, there is so much out there.

 

We preach continuing education and you have to obtain continuing education to maintain your certification. And even though I do hold the advanced certification, I have never turned down educational opportunity, even when it happens to be on a subject that I am not familiar with or think that I will never have the occasion to use, you just never know what you may need to know and when.

 

And I think that’s a big thing, as you were talking about, you named education when you were talking about just the overall benefits that NALA offers all paralegals and then you also named education again for benefits for members and I think that’s because it’s across the board, and I think you can’t go wrong and I am always preaching that when I am out. People are probably like get off your soapbox, but I just think that it’s never — I mean think of technology as paralegals, changing all the time, something new coming out and it just makes you more valuable, advances your career, makes you more valuable to your current employer or who knows nowadays, you might have to go somewhere else, not planned, not expecting it and there you go, you have these skills that you took these CLEs or these advanced certification or extended education that now you have those skills to offer.

 

Vanessa Finley: Absolutely. And of course the way that we keep up with that, with NALA is the fact that everything is membership driven, it is driven by you folks, the individuals that are in the paralegal field, others that are in the legal field in the education field and so that’s why we are able to be on top of emerging trends is because we rely on our members and our members are so engaged. I just continue to be floored how much our members do to support other members, just like you are saying, so it is definitely a great resource when you are looking to further your education.

 

Jill Francisco: Yeah. And I am glad you brought that up because that’s the next thing I wanted to talk to you about is how does NALA stay on top of the trends in the paralegal profession and in association membership organizations. I know that’s a big job.

 

Vanessa Finley: Yes, it’s a huge job and really you want to be the place for paralegals to come and have at their fingertips all that is available to them. So like I said, it is very member-driven and we rely on our members for that, but we don’t passively sit and wait for them to tell us, we survey our members, we survey others in the paralegal field, not just our members, our board, which of course you serve on and we have a number of committees, Continuing Education Committees, etc., all of those folks and staff are very active.

 

And various membership groups, of course like the ABA or ASAE and all the different advocacy efforts that are out there as well, whether it’s directly related to the paralegal field or somehow you can gently connect it to the paralegal field.

 

(00:25:06)

 

And so we stay on top of what’s happening on policy level as well and we have to follow some very stringent accreditation requirements from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies because they accredit our certification program and so you know that when you are sitting for that exam whether it’s the CP or the ACP you know that it’s top of the line it is current and you know that your skills are being well reflected through that exam.

 

So those are some of the things that we do to make sure that instead of having to Google and filter through and trying to determine information out there on the Internet you can go to one place and really get the end-all-be-all on that information.

 

And then the last thing really that we do is that we do if there is a program that’s offering, for example a CLE, and they say that it’s NALA-approved, that means it has gone through our process it’s gone through our vetting process to ensure that it does indeed qualify for a CLE and that you don’t end up with hours, the spent that really didn’t qualify towards any of your CLEs.

 

Jill Francisco: Yeah, that is an important aspect of NALA. So, Vanessa, before we move on we’re going to take another quick commercial break. We’ll be right back.

 

[Music]

 

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[Music]

 

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[Music]

 

Jill Francisco: Welcome back to The Paralegal Voice. I’m Jill Francisco and my guest today is Vanessa Finley, NALA CEO, and before the break we wrapped up our discussion on paralegal trends. So let’s move along to discuss an exciting and can’t-miss event for all paralegals.

 

Vanessa, can you tell us a little bit about our 45th Expo & Convention Atlantic City coming up?

 

Vanessa Finley: Absolutely, so it’s coming up July 9th through the 11th at Harrah’s Resort & Casino in Atlantic City, so it’s a very exciting location, and that’s because it’s a very exciting year, it is our 45th anniversary as NALA, and as in previous years, obviously, we’re going to have first-class CLE opportunities. You can earn up to 14 CLEs at this particular conference.

 

We’ve got 30-plus sessions that we’ll be offering in breakout sessions and we also have a day-long session that starts on that first day, which is a Thursday on the 9th. Last year you got one CLE for that and this year you’re getting two, so there’s lots of — you walk away with a lot of CLEs while you’re learning very interesting information that really just kind of has you on the edge of your seat when you’re looking at the different topics.

 

I mean we’ve got — we do different levels we have basic intermediate levels and then we also have specific levels for prepping for the CP so to take that certified paralegal exam. If you’re looking to do that this year or in the next 18 months or so if you come to this conference, there’s a whole track to help you prep for that exam and to be successful.

 

And then we have a number of tracks depending on different interests. We have social justice track, litigation, employment, professional development, I mean, the real estate ethics, any number of topics or tracks, there are members and those other paralegals who attend can really benefit from.

 

And so if you go to our NALA website, which is nala.org, it’s pretty easy. You can find all kinds of information about the conference coming up.

 

And, Jill, I know that you’re excited about a few particular offerings that we’re offering in July at this conference.

 

(00:30:03)

 

Jill Francisco: Yes, I mean like, we tried to this year, I hope we’re going to offer our members and all paralegals. We survey our members, we survey everyone that attends conference every year and we ask them what they’re interested in. We ask them if they like, dislike the sessions that were offered.

 

And this year we got really super-excited because we had a lot of demand and comments about for labor and employment, which obviously is a — I feel like is a pretty hot topic. We’re going to have a CLE that’s going to be on like the do’s and don’ts of interviewing, and I thought that were super cool, because it’s kind of like from both aspects. It’s like if you’re the interviewee or also if you’re on the other side with the employer and you’re getting cases that have to do with like somebody complaining they were asked a certain question that they didn’t feel like they should have been asked at an interview.

 

And so we have a CLE that’s going to kind of go over all the do’s and don’ts of that, and also of course we’re into the MeToo Movement and that’s a super-hot topic now and NALA is on the move with looking into be more diverse and inclusive, and I think that just goes along with their mission to get that accomplished.

 

And then we really have the social injustice that you were talking about. Those are some really interesting topics that cover a wide variety because at first we didn’t really know if there was a demand out there and then we started seeing it on our survey, why don’t you have any sessions on that? So we’re happy to include some of that, and then of course one that I don’t know what I really like the elder law, like it seems interesting and I always think to myself, maybe I wouldn’t. This is kind of something like I was touching on earlier, maybe I wouldn’t use that in my particular job, but I think we all is going to be something that we’re going to have to deal with at some point is aging parents and this is a session about dementia and things and then when that works its way into the courtroom, like how is that — how is that handled. I think that’s going to be interesting.

 

And of course, like you mentioned we have our usual things on corporate, corporate is always popular and litigation.

 

Vanessa Finley: Yep and then don’t forget too just the technology piece too because that is constantly changing, and being able to stay up on the technology that is either directly related to legal work or indirectly related and I know that we’ve got one on being secure in an insecure world and that’s around —

 

Jill Francisco: Super-scary.

 

Vanessa Finley: Yes, yes, technology security which we all need.

 

Jill Francisco: Yeah, and I think that’s going to be great, because I think that’s another one that whether it’s going to be also at your employer, your employer how they can be safe, and secure in this world, because it is a crazy thing nowadays. I mean a law firm I think can single-handedly be taken down by their computer system, their security’s being hacked. I mean, it’s a scary thing. And I know my employer that we have to take a lot of — we do a lot of training and it’s like you try to do everything possible and then on the other side your personal.

 

I mean, people are going to be interested this and come to the conference again even if they feel like it’s not maybe demanding in their work, it’s going to — it’s a thing that everybody is worried. Should I use my credit card on this website? Am I going to be hacked? Is my identity going to be stolen, that type of thing. And so, you’re right, and it’s changing constantly and I think that it’s something that everybody needs to know, and I think probably, Vanessa, you probably agree. I mean, you’re kind of on that aspect too of the employer. You’re making sure on your end that your company is safe, that your employer is safe.

 

Vanessa Finley: Absolutely yeah, like you said, it impacts all of us and to that it changes every day and so that’s why it’s so important to stay on top of it.

 

Jill Francisco: So the last thing that I want to talk about, and I mean, it’s clearly not the least, but what is coming up on the horizon for NALA? I mean I know that we have a bright future and I know they’re going to be continued to look out for paralegals, so what’s NALA have in mind coming up?

 

Vanessa Finley: Well, again, I feel like I’m tooting the horn here right in front of my boss but I want to toot the horn of the board because the board just went through a very involved three-year strategic plan and what’s coming out of that is a desire for us to get even more engaged on the policy and the advocacy side, and to be more proactive as opposed to reactive to issues coming up.

 

There is a lot of policy and conversation and decisions that are being made that impact NALA directly, the work of NALA and then the work of paralegals, and so we are being much more intentional and deliberate in being active in the advocacy and policy arena.

 

(00:35:11)

 

We are also enhancing our community space. I touched briefly on NALA Commons that is being fully launched this year, and again, another place to provide community for members, to communicate with each other and to learn from each other.

 

We are using surveys and analytics to ensure that our education, our networking offerings continue to meet of these changing trends that we’ve been talking about throughout this whole episode, and so, really taking advantage of those tools that are available to us as well.

 

And we’re really looking to deepen the strong partnerships we already have and in particular with our affiliate associations, and Jill, something we hadn’t talked about too much here on this episode, but we do work very closely with 70-plus affiliates all across the country that represent perhaps a city area, a state area, a regional area, they come in all kinds of different forms, but these are your local affiliates that provide that on-the-ground in-person networking and training and so really working to enhance those relationships and deepen those relationships with those associations and the members of those associations, and as we talked about as well on the educational side really trying to get more engaged at that beginning process.

 

When people are considering what they want to do for their career and for their life and to have NALA be there to provide that insight and that information for them to decide whether the paralegal field is something that’s beneficial to them, and if they do go to the field that they know that we’re here, we have to support them once they do make that decision.

 

And then the other thing that the Board really has brought up to this strategic plan is this idea of we talked about being a 501(c)(6) instead of a 501(c)(3) and the one limitation that really gives us is that if we’re looking to invest in those coming into the field or those looking to make a career change, those transitions in life or looking just to promote the field in general and having groups that are interested in providing resources for us to do that because it meets their mission as well as a 501(c)(6) we can’t really take donations to them, provide that support and investment into our members.

 

So we’re exploring the possibility of having a foundation side of NALA that can do those things, can take in grants and do more broader work around the profession and advancing it as a workforce option as well.

 

So there’s some really exciting things going on here at NALA and I just — I’m the one that gets to walk in with this wonderful plan that has been laid out and really get to — roll up my sleeves, implement it and continue to, you make the changes that our members see fit.

 

Jill Francisco: Yeah, I agree with you. It’s nice to have that plan mapped out because then you can make sure you’re in line with the mission and the goals and the vision statement, which like I said is obviously promoting NALA, doing stuff for NALA, but it’s also for the whole paralegal profession, because when you were touching on students and getting them interested in the field, people that are changing careers, I mean if you — I’ve always said that when people ask me why am I so involved, and it’s like I grew up watching my mom in a profession, it was a different profession, she was a dental hygienist, but it still was a profession that she loved. And she wanted it to thrive well into the future, and so, she was always doing things going over, and like educating. She go to high schools or career fairs and things like that with the younger generation that to pique their interest, because if it’s going to thrive, you have to have that interest there and you have to get them interested in the field.

 

Vanessa Finley: Absolutely.

 

Jill Francisco: Some may be thinking about it but then if they see somebody that’s in the field, it is so enthusiastic, so passionate about it, that sometimes makes all the difference.

 

And like, you said, being a resource once they get in it, being networking with those people, making the connection early so they know that when they get in there they have somebody to go to, to use it a resource to help, because even getting a job it’s who you know, you know, a lot of times.

 

But I just have to say, wow, I mean, the future is so bright for the paralegal profession, and obviously for NALA, and I will be on the lookout for all these exciting things and I’m sure other things in the years to come.

 

(00:40:06)

 

So I just want to do a last reminder. Registration is open, so please don’t delay. Register today for NALA’s 45th Annual Convention and Expo. Vanessa was explained, it’s July 9 through 11, 2020 in Atlantic City, New Jersey and it is at Harrah’s Resort and Casino.

 

I mean, you do not want to miss this conference. I mean, I mentioned earlier I have been to every NALA conference since 2020, I mean, since 2002 I’m going to go since 2020, but since 2002 it’s like you’re addicted and it’s so wonderful because its members, its non-members, its other legal professionals, it’s really some people aren’t even — they’re not paralegals, they’re students, they’re thinking about getting into field, it’s just phenomenal, the connections, it’s priceless that you can make there.

 

And this year NALA is bringing back the banquet because as you were mentioned earlier it’s NALA’s 45th anniversary and we’ll be highlighting our history, past accomplishments of NALA and also the overall history and how the paralegal profession has changed. All while looking into the future, and of course, we will have a lot of fun. Party, party, that’s all I can say.

 

Vanessa Finley: I understand that’s a requirement.

 

Jill Francisco: You are definitely correct, you’re learning quickly.

 

Vanessa Finley: Yes.

 

Jill Francisco: Well, that’s all the time that we have for this episode. Vanessa, thank you so very much for being my guest on today’s show. You discussed a lot of valuable information regarding NALA and the paralegal profession that a lot of our listeners may want to learn more about.

 

What is the best way to contact you and/or obviously get some information about NALA if they’re interested?

 

Vanessa Finley: Well, the best way to get to NALA is through our website, which is nala.org, and all of our emails of the staff are there on the About page about staff. So if you are interested in reaching out to me directly, please, I would love to hear from you and love to hear your thoughts about how to help NALA be an even better resource for the paralegals in this country.

 

Jill Francisco: Also, thank you so much to the listeners who tuned in with me today. If you have any questions or comments for me, please contact me at [email protected].

 

I hope you’ll join me for our next episode next month.

 

I’m Jill Francisco for The Paralegal Voice. Signing off.

 

[Music]

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Episode Details
Published: January 31, 2020
Podcast: Paralegal Voice
Category: Legal Marketing , Practice Management
Podcast
Paralegal Voice
Paralegal Voice

The Paralegal Voice provides career-success tips for paralegals of any experience level.

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