What’s new for NALA in 2023. Start by getting excited about the 2023 NALA conference with NALA’s chief executive officer, Vanessa Finley. This time in Boston in July. You don’t want to miss it. With 30 educational sessions, CLE credits are yours to earn with three ways to attend: the full, in person experience; a hybrid in-person/virtual package; and the single-day pass in person. Early bird specials available until May 12.
NALA in 2023 is also providing the CP (Certified Paralegal) exam review track covering every section of the exam – including the writing section. (Psst, co-host Tony Sipp is taking the exam and will be participating!)
And the new NALA Compensation Survey Report is out. These are good times for paralegal professionals, we are in demand. The profession is growing by about 12% and salaries are up. Log in to your NALA account and see if you’re getting paid what you’re worth after the COVID pandemic shook things up across the profession.
Plus, the new NALA YouTube Channel. See what you’ve been missing and subscribe today for the latest videos. Advocacy, information, community. NALA works for paralegals. “Be in the now, be in the know, be NALA.”
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Jill Francisco: Hello everyone. Thank you for joining me for another exciting and informative episode of The Paralegal Voice of the Legal Talk Network. I’m Jill Francisco and I’m here with my co-host, Tony Sipp, and we are so excited to get this episode rolling. Today, we have with us, Vanessa Finley, MBA, CEO of NALA, The Paralegal Association and she is with us today and we’re going to really talk and discuss all things NALA. We are going to emphasize some fun things that are upcoming. We want to let everybody know that the conference is coming soon and we got some deals and I want you to make sure you can take full advantage and get registered and then we’re going to highlight. They got an awesome survey out and it’s so useful and we want to make sure everybody knows about that. And then we’re going to touch on another fun things but not to give it all away. So, Vanessa, thank you for joining us.
Vanessa Finley: Thank you so much for having me.
Jill Francisco: So, back again, for Vanessa, she’s had to deal with me for a few years but she’s —
Vanessa Finley: It’s been a pleasure, Jill.
Jill Francisco: Thank you. She still takes my call. So hey, there’s that. There’s that. So anyway, Vanessa, let’s just get right into it and let’s talk real quick about the 2023 NALA Conference that’s coming up in July in Boston.
Vanessa FinleyL Yes. Okay. So, this year, it is going to be July 12 through the 14th. So, it’s a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday in the middle of July in Boston at the Copley Center, at the Westin Copley Hotel. It is a gorgeous location with over a hundred restaurants within walking distance.
Jill Francisco: Oh, wow.
Vanessa Finley: Yeah. So, there’s just so much just being in Boston by itself. But, I, of course, think that you’re coming because of the conference and everything that’s happening with the conference. And this year, we have 30 CLE sessions that will be offered. You’ll be able to earn actually 13 CLEs during the conference itself. So, attending those sessions, you’ll actually be able to attend get 13 CLEs during the conference itself. And then, of course, we always have that recording bundle afterwards. And so, after the conference concludes, we render all those videos because we record everything and then we are able to purchase those either one-on-one or as a bundle and it’s a significant discount obviously to buy that bundle. So, we’ll be offering that again this year and we are also offering three different ways that you can attend. So, you can attend the full conference in-person like we’ve always done for 47 years or actually.
Jill Francisco: Wait a minute, except that’s two years.
Vanessa Finley: I was going to say except for — well, I have to say 45 because it really is 45 out of the 47 because the two years Jill was president, of course. We were hybrid. I mean we were virtual, so we were not in-person because of obviously the pandemic. But we are, as we did last year, we’re offering a hybrid option. So that means you can come in-person for the whole thing and attend like you normally would or you can join virtually and that gives you access to most of the CLEs, a lot of the CLEs. You can also earn 13 CLEs during the actual conference time itself. And then the third option is to attend as a single day attendee. That is only in-person option because it would make sense just to attend the whole virtual, approaches the whole virtual because a single day pass is more than the virtual attended. But if you want to just come to the one-day, either Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, you’re in the Boston area. I know there’s so many people that are within an hour’s drive from Boston so they can come in just for the day and so we’re offering that single day passes as well this year. But with the bundle, if you come in-person for the full conference, again, you get the bundle for free this year.
Jill Francisco: That’s phenomenal. I love that.
Vanessa Finley: Yeah, I mean then you get 40 CLEs. You get access to 40 hours of CLE for that one rate for it to attend in-person. Now if you’re virtual or single day, you can still purchase the bundle. You get a significant discount over 300-dollar discount if you purchase it and new this year, if you are attending virtually and you purchase the bundle in advance of the conference. So, before it starts, you get another $50.00 off of the bundles. So, we’re really trying to find all the ways to make this accessible to as many people as possible because we have some stellar presenters as always. We’ve got some exciting sessions for the CLEs but then also the annual meeting, the Affiliated Association showcase, reception. It’s going to be a ball.
Jill Francisco: It’s a package deal. It’s fun. It’s socializing. It’s catching up with old friends, new friends, networking. It’s a whole deal but I do like I will say because I had one conference in-person as president. In one of the virtual, the first ever virtual that now had to do, nightmares in the middle-of-the-night-type thing but we got through it and the thing that I always loved to tell and emphasize is the main goal which I know Vanessa will agree with me is the exposure, the education to the paralegals just as she just said to as many as we can and that’s all that we have done since my first presidency in Arizona. We had a record in-person that year. Then we went to virtual, had another record. Then we went to another virtual, had another record and then in-person and virtual. So, I mean, we are numbers of just and we’re not talking about like a couple more. We’re talking about hundreds more.
Vanessa Finley: Yes. So, last year, we had over 1200 people in attendance between virtual and in-person and so it’s quite the event. It’s a lot of fun and just very informative and educational as well.
Jill Francisco: And clearly, like I said, we have to say it. It is probably the largest, definitely the largest gathering up yearly goals, and I know all the years. I think I was on the board. JD was three, ended up basically, in high school when I finally stopped. You got rid of me and we always hovered around, three something, four something and if you went to the Florida’s and the places where NALA has a lot of concentrated membership, then are increased our attendance a little bit here and there. But you know nothing and so I’m just thrilled that we’re reaching different people, new people, returning people and people that could have never come for whatever reason. It doesn’t have to be for finances or doesn’t. It could be that maybe they couldn’t get off work and that thing where you’re doing this year where they can pick the day, not just the first day for those that are listening that’s how it used to be. You could do day one only, which is not a full day of CLE. And so now you can pick one day that is full of CLE if that is your main goal, or if you just want a little CLE and to get it on the meetings that are of course free to members and things, that’s fine too. But now I love all the things you’re doing and switching it up and changing it and like you said, we’ve always done well and we just keep getting bigger and bigger so that we’re on the right track. We are on the right track.
Vanessa Finley: Absolutely. Absolutely, and we’re still doing of course a CP track so those who are preparing to take the survey by paralegal exam, we have a full track which, of course, Miss Jill is a one of our instructors for that but we cover every single section of the CP exam including the writing, the skills exam piece. So if you’re studying for the exam you in three days, one fail swoop can get every single of those topics. It’s going to take the CP.
Tony Sipp: Yes. Mr. Sipp is studying for the CP exam. I bought my book. I’m taking my courses. I’m watching the YouTube, Knowledge YouTube as well so yeah, whatever information or education I can get helps so I think that’s fantastic.
Vanessa Finley: That’s wonderful. So glad to hear that.
Jill Francisco: Yeah. So, Vanessa, in the CP and the thing I like too. I know you said and people can go to NALA.org, N-A-L-A dot org to get there on the website and get the brochure. It’s an awesome brochure. It’s very informative. It’s very also just like kind of tells a lot about the conference obviously what’s going on but not only that. It tells about like if you need some help getting approved from your employer or just different things. It’s a great brochure, but if you need to go there, I mean, you should go there to check it out, and it will also tell you like Vanessa was saying some are offered virtual, some are not but the best thing is that every single CP1 is virtual and in-person. And so, if you can attend and you’re prepping, you can get all those virtual. I love that they’ve done that because I remember years ago we kind of made it a, well we used to have the CP prep course. Do you remember that Tony? Traveling all over the place that was poor before Vanessa’s time but we said they do had once a year all over the country, Midwest is kind of like they do the conference and now it’s at conference and I think it’s worked out so well and we’ve never before, even with that dedicated course, had every single section. And like Vanessa said, even the skills, even everything you need like I’m teaching the torts and the civil litigation. You’re going to get ethics. You’re going to get the real estate. You’re going to get the contracts. You’re going to get everything that you need, so it’s not like if you’re not strong and one of those, you’re going to get all those and it’s great. It’s great.
Tony Sipp: I thought I was strong in some of the others.
Jill Francisco: I thought I was good until I took some of those quizzes on the back of the prep. You take your little exam thing and you go, huh, maybe I need to study that section a little bit more.
Tony Sipp: Exactly.
Jill Francisco: Vanessa, tell a little bit about — we know where it is. We know what it’s going to be. We know it’s going to be a great time. Talk about like how people can register and to get in on the early bird special. That’s why we’re trying to get this information out to everybody.
Vanessa Finley: Absolutely. So, it’s pretty darn simple. You just go to our website which is N-A-L-A dot org. so NALA.org and there is an education menu tab that you drop down and you’ll see the conference right underneath that. Anything and everything you could possibly want to know about the conference is on that page. There’s a number of drop-down menus and options. There’s the full brochure. You can see all the sessions that are being offered and who’s presenting them. The sponsors of course are on there and the exhibitors. That’s another thing. We’re going to have well over 40 exhibitors and of course lots of sponsors who are very eager to support the paralegal profession. You can go online and you just click on to register right there on that page. It will take you into your account and you just complete your information and look at a split. You are registered for the conference. Early bird is May 12, so between now and May 12 is the absolute best price that you can get on conference. So please I encourage you to go right now and register now. Don’t let it slip. That May 12 is going to come quicker than you realize and so you don’t want to miss out on those extra discounts that you get.
Jill Francisco: No and it is significance. I mean, it’s significant discount?
Vanessa Finley: It is.
Jill Francisco: Not only that but I mean, you’re going to have the early bird and then you’re going to have a standard and then you have a late which what’s the window of the late?
Vanessa Finley: Yes. The window of the late? That’s a really good question. You’re really testing my knowledge base here. I am not positive. I think it’s —
Jill Francisco: I know it must be day off obviously because you can register on-site can’t you?
Vanessa Finley: You can register on site.
Jill Francisco: And so, I understand that’s late.
Vanessa Finley: I believe yes. Absolutely.
Jill Francisco: I mean late and welcome, late but welcome. Please do come.
Vanessa Finley: Late and welcome. Absolutely. I will have to find what that in late registration is but it’s pretty darn close to the conference.
Jill Francisco: I was going to say it’s probably a couple weeks out so the main thing — I mean and like I said, we don’t need the exact date. I just wanted to emphasize the need to at least get an early bird if you can get all your ducks in a row to get your registration paid, or at least by minimum do the standard and get in because it’s like I mean it’s over a hundred dollars from early bird to late. So, I mean, it’s a significant amount. So alright well let’s take a quick break to thank our sponsors and we’ll be right back to continue with all things NALA.
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Jill Francisco: Welcome back to The Paralegal Voice and again, I’m here with Vanessa Finley the CEO of NALA, The Paralegal Association and Tony Sipp. And we were just wrapping up our discussion and emphasis on get your registration in for the 2023 NALA Conference. And while we were gone, of course, real quick, we took that break. Vanessa look that up and the last day for regular registration is June 23 so then obviously, June 24th begins the late registration. So the moral of all that story is if you’re planning on coming and you want to come, we want you to get the best deal. So yeah, don’t wait. Do it as fast as you can. Get your money in and you’ll get the best deal. So now, we want to move on to something super awesome that I have really over the years loved and valued that NALA takes the time and the effort because obviously I have the privilege of being behind the scenes.
I do know how much work actually goes in to their compensation and utilization survey report that they do. Is it Vanessa, every two or three?
Vanessa Finley: Every two years.
Jill Francisco: Every two years, and so it just came out. So now we have the 2022 version, that is now out and I’ll let Vanessa talk about it a little bit. Her highlights of what she thinks on the survey, but I just want to touch on because I recently started teaching and I was just explaining to Tony and Vanessa that I love to talk about how that the paralegal profession is growing. And even through the pandemic and before the pandemic it just keeps on rising. It was super exciting and I think even like when I was interviewing Vanessa to take over the CEO, I think even you can kind of feel the profession was just energized and on-the-move and just branching out. I mean I think it was obvious that’s where we were going. And I think now, it will state this in the survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that the paralegal profession is growing by an average of 12%, which is like almost triple probably of a lot of other professions. And so, I’m super excited to see that. I love it and, in the survey, it talks about that these median salaries of paralegals are up and obviously the jobs, tons and thousands, hundreds of thousands of jobs added. So, I love all that and it energizes you to just kind of validate that this is a great career to get in. The ones that are in it, it makes you happy that it’s positive and I think ones that are thinking about getting in it, I think it’s awesome to get all this information and know that it’s a good career to get into. It’s lasting, and it’s growing. So, Vanessa, yeah. Let us have your thoughts on this like I said the survey this just out the 2022.
Vanessa Finley: Yeah. So this is data that we collected in 2022 and as you said that, since we do it every other year, the last time we collected data was in 2020 and that was for 2019 data, right because we collect it just a few months after the end of 2020 — or after that year so there was nothing to do with the pandemic and our last report as you can imagine. But this time around, we’re not only did we do all the standard questions which includes your salary benefits, type of responsibility, whether your responsibilities have increased. Do you supervise people? How many attorneys do you work under? I mean all that data which is just I mean at your fingertips and it’s going to be wonderful for folks especially as they try to negotiate salaries as they move forward in their careers. But added to that this year is the information about how the pandemic affected the paralegal profession.
Jill Francisco: That’s awesome.
Vanessa Finley: And so there’s a lot of great data in there about how it has impacted the work-life of paralegals. I think that it’s just fascinating information because of course, paralegals were not immune to –no pun intended. We’re not immune to the impact of the pandemic, but definitely very resourceful. The whole professions and quite resourceful over these last several years. So some of the things that I’m finding really exciting from the data is that we’re seeing higher levels of education in the profession. And to me, that indicates the professionalism, the growing professionalism of being a paralegal. As we know, as things started, 56 years ago, sort of glorified assistance, right as we kind of thought. And now as a profession has grown you’re seeing it and getting more and more detailed in-depth specialized. And so education is a really key part of the growing field. Yeah. And so that’s really exciting and then, of course, the pieces around the pandemic just I found quite interesting as well and just seeing how that has impacted everybody.
Jill Francisco: Well and Tony, I just want to bring Tony on this because Tony obviously does — I mean, obviously, it’s a paralegal but he also is a paralegal manager and so Tony have you — I mean, like I said I don’t know how much you’ve had the occasion in the past but I mean just glancing over it now. I mean you could see how you could use this.
Tony Sipp: Oh yeah. Oh yes. I glanced at it and there’s a lot of things I didn’t know but it’s going to shape my behavior moving forward because I didn’t know. So now that I do, I can do something about it so this is very helpful and it’s free for members, right?
Jill Francisco: Yes.
Vanessa Finley: It is totally and completely free for members. It is a member benefit. And honestly, for non-members, I mean and I say this, it’s only $79.00. When you look at these compensation reports that you get for industries, you can spend hundreds of dollars but to us information is so, important to get out there. We try to make it as affordable as possible but still covering obviously the cost of what it takes for us to do this.
So, yes, it’s free for all members. So, it’s $79.00 value as a member and then as a non-member you can purchase it also from our website. So, if you’re an employer and not a member, that’s a place you can get it.
Jill Francisco: Yeah. And let me just say because like what Tony was saying, he’s going to take that stuff into account in his position as a paralegal manager but like I know in years past many, many years ago like if I want it, I went to my employer because technically I wanted a raise but I went about it showing that because I had a four-year degree, X number of years’ experience and certification but they could bill me out more according to this survey gave that portion to my employer so they could use that negotiations to get a higher rate for me. In turn, I was hoping that would translate into, okay we’ll give Jill some of that and it worked. And so it’s not just, and I’ll tell you. I mean it’s almost laughable how much this gets down and dirty.
I mean, like, do you have your own parking space? Do you pay for it? Do you have your own secretary? If so, how many people do you share it with? And like I said, from Tony’s perspective, more as the employer and benefits that you’re offering or not offering. It’s awesome. So, like you said, and there’s other surveys that are out there that don’t even cover this. I mean, it’s way more expensive.
Tony Sipp: I think what we’re trying to say is not only sign up for the conference, but become a member of NALA as well. So you reap the best benefits for your money, ROI return on investment.
Vanessa Finley: Absolutely.
Jill Francisco: Yes, for sure. So then, Vanessa, the next survey, which, I mean, tell a little bit about the data gathering because I don’t want people to think it’s just NALA members say, because that would be easy to think that —
Vanessa Finley: Oh my gosh, no.
Jill Francisco: So, yeah, kind of maybe say a little bit about the data gathering, because I think it’s interesting. I think you guys do a phenomenal job at it.
Vanessa Finley: Every other year as we do this, it just grows and grows for the responses. And this last year for the 2021, we had about 1600 responses, and this year, we had 2800 responses which is just a tremendous jump. And for this year, we had more non-members than members complete the survey. So it really is a nice, broad cross section of the full profession and not just NALA members.
Jill Francisco: Right. And I’m sure you distribute to like, what, NALA? I don’t know how many affiliated associations NALA has.
Vanessa Finley: Sixty-eight.
Jill Francisco: Okay, perfect. Thank you. I knew you would know. So you distribute it to them, I think, don’t you to distribute? And then, like, Tony sitting in his office, I could email it to him, or he gets it because he’s a member, and then he emails it to the paralegals in his office. I mean, it’s like, that’s another thing that people realize that that’s how it goes. And even people that you guys wouldn’t think to send it to are a group of people. You’re not even really controlling who to send it to really. You’re disseminating it, and you can forward it and say, “Hey, fill this out. We need this data”. And that’s what’s important. And that’s what I love about it. Again, main purpose conference education with this survey, it’s getting the information, helping the paralegals, getting their hands on this stuff so they can use it to better themselves, better their career, negotiate all those things that I think the survey does for them. It’s awesome.
Vanessa Finley: And to rise the whole tide of the paralegal profession, because as more folks come back and advocate for higher salary, maybe higher billing rates, even so you can have a higher salary, that kind of thing. As we know, rising tide lifts all boats, and that just makes that the basis of salary decisions. Just go up higher and higher every year.
Jill Francisco: Yes, for sure. Okay, well, so we need to take another quick break after talking about the awesome survey. So again, and you can go to NALA.org, N-A-L-A dot org to get and access the survey, either as a member, you have to kind of like go through your portal, your membership portal, and download it, or you can also go on there and purchase it if you are a non-member. But let’s all listen to Tony, though and just become members. All right —
Vanessa Finley: Then you get it for free.
Jill Francisco: That’s right. All right, we’ll be right back, right after this commercial break.
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Jill Francisco: Hello. Welcome back to the Paralegal Voice. Again, I’m Jill Francisco. I’m here with our guest Vanessa Finley and co-host Tony Sipp. And we had just wrapped up our discussion about the 2022 NALA survey report that you can, like I said, free to NALA members or you can purchase online. So visit their website if you want to get more information about that. So now we’re going to go into lastly because, like I said, we could definitely have go on for hours, but we really want to talk about NALA’s YouTube channel because we debuted it years ago and we knew the videos were the place to be. I know I have an 18-year-old son now, and, I mean, he watches videos like it’s his job. So videos is where it’s at. And so I really wanted Vanessa to highlight for our listeners about the YouTube channel, get them on there to subscribe because I’m telling you, they’re really putting some awesome things out there right now.
Vanessa Finley: Yeah. So as Jill said, we have had the channel for a while, but we’re really able to devote some resources to it now. And I think you’re going to be pleased when you head back over to the YouTube channel. If you go to YouTube and just put in NALA and Paralegal, it should pop right up. It should be under NALA the Paralegal Association, and you should find our channel there. But some of the things that we’re doing right now is we’ve created the Continuing Education Council, which is one of the standing committees of our Board of Directors, have created these short videos that provide a very quick overview of each section of the CP exam.
Again, we’re back to that CP prep because people are always clamoring for resources for that, so they can be successful in that first pass. But for each one of the sections, there is a brief overview video that talks about what’s in the actual exam and then talks about what’s in the video that we have currently on demand for that topic, which was actually recorded at the conference last year. So Jill is one of the stars of those videos. And so you can determine then if that’s a video that you need to watch because sometimes you see a video and you’re like, “Oh, that sounds really good, and then you take that on demand webinar” and it’s like, “Oh, that wasn’t what I thought it was going to be”. And you invest resources to do that. And so we really wanted to give folks an opportunity to look at each of those snippets and go, “Oh gosh”, those are two phrases I didn’t even know about. So I definitely need to watch that video on real estate, let’s say. And so we encourage you to go there and checkout those short video snippets for the CP exam.
We’re also, through our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, which is another standing committee of the Board of Directors, started this year with microlearning sessions. And so these are videos and interviews that we do. Our first one was related to access to justice as we talk about the expanding role of paralegals across the country, across multiple states, as they license and or register their paralegals to provide certain types of legal support without the supervision of an attorney. And so we’ve been hearing about the Triple LTs, the limited legal licensed technician in Washington. You have other states that do registering, some that do licensing. There’re about 17 or 18 states that are really actively involved in expanding the role of paralegals and helping to access justice for those folks that traditionally cannot afford an attorney.
That was part of the microlearning that we did with Michael Holberg out of the University of Denver, and that isa video that’s available on our YouTube for free. All of our YouTube videos are for free for members and non-members alike. And then we also have a video that we recently put up for educators. So those of you who are providing education to paralegals and future paralegals, it’s about how to prepare your students for success at graduation and beyond and is also very focused on getting that CP designation and so helping educators to understand different ways in which they can incorporate review for the CP and potentially utilize the CP exam as part of a Capstone course or part of a preparatory course or even just to measure how well their program is doing by how well their students do on the CP.
So all those things are out there for folks on YouTube for free. I encourage you guys to go poke around. We have a number of playlists that are clumped together, videos that are on similar topics, and there is so much more to come.
Jill Francisco: Well, and Tony, I was going to say, I know that’s something that maybe you’re going to be interested in, because if you’re talking about your CP prep, you could go on there and look at those videos and then kind of determine if it’s what you want to do.
Tony Sipp: Well, I’ll tell you what determines. When I’m reading the book and I take the quiz and I don’t pass, and I go to the YouTube channel and go, “What do they have to say about this? Because I need that help”. It’s a very helpful tool. Any kind of tool is helpful to make us better paralegals.
Jill Francisco: Well, and I noticed, too, Vanessa, it looks like you got a video on here kind of debuting. It looks like you and Debbie, the current president, Overstreet of talking about Boston. So that’s cool.
Vanessa Finley: Yes, and that’s on our website as well. If you go to the conference page, you’ll see it there, but it is on the YouTube channel as well. And it’s a little video of Debbie and myself talking about what’s to come at the conference.
Jill Francisco: Well, and I’ll tell you what, I’m encouraging all of our listeners to just go, like you said, it’s free of cost. It’s for paralegals. I mean, NALA is basically putting that out there just to throw information out, to educate, to kind of just show different things. And like, for instance, there’s one I’m just looking at now. So you’ve graduated now what? Because there’s a lot of paralegals that would right out of school that that would apply to. And then, of course, whatever’s coming up, like if you’re planning for certification, if the seminar is coming up, if you’re getting ready to go to the seminar and you’re getting ready to vote, you do stuff on the candidacy. And so maybe even for these people, if you’re a member and you’re like, “Oh, should I run for an office” or whatever, you can go back and look at some of this stuff and look and see the speeches that they have to make or there was an open candidacy forum.
So, I mean, there’s just so much info on here. And I love it that we’re sharing info because there used to be a time that it’s like, I don’t know, there just wasn’t so much of that. There wasn’t so much of sharing or they wanted to charge for everything. And I remember talking with our former CEO about even like the certified paralegals that have to get the 50 CLE credits every five years I think there was — was that a minimum you had to do an hour at a time or 30 minutes at a time, or there was some minimum?
Vanessa Finley: Yeah. I think 0.5 hours is the least increment, the smallest increment of time.
Jill Francisco: Right. That you had to do. And then it’s kind of like now it’s like somebody might do 20 minutes whatever on their lunch hour, or you have a lunch and learn that only has 20 minutes or 25 minutes. And again, it just boils down to education. That’s what we’re trying to do. And so I always commend NALA for getting the education out there, for creating the education. And obviously, we’ve always said we’re ahead of the curve. And I think you are. I mean, I think you are in this instance when you go to this channel. And the things that you’re putting out there is obviously stuff that’s now, but I think it’s also stuff that’s coming. And you’re trying to keep us ahead, keep us informed, because all that diversity, equity, inclusion, the access to justice tony and I just did the panel and there’s — I mean, gosh, Tony, it’s probably already changed since we had the show.
Tony Sipp: You might be right.
Jill Francisco: And it’s only what, two shows ago or something?
Tony Sipp: It actually did change. I got an email, so you’re right. Another state made it possible for paralegals to practice.
Jill Francisco: Yeah, like Tony said, it’s constantly changing. And you guys seeing that, knowing that’s a hot topic, knowing that’s something and Tony and I talked about one of the reasons we wanted to have that panel and wanted to get that out there is because we don’t want paralegals to feel threatened. And I think that’s one thing NALA does. You’re getting the information out there because if you don’t know, then you just kind of assume on some things or you’re unfamiliar. Really paralegals, it’s not that access to justice I don’t think it’s threatening to paralegals.
Vanessa Finley: No, not at all. I think it’s an exciting opportunity for paralegals.
Jill Francisco: Yeah, if you want to, but if you don’t —
Vanessa Finley: If you want to, yes.
Jill Francisco: And if you don’t, it’s fine. It’s just like anything else, but it’s not going to hurt you if you do or you don’t. And that’s what I think it was important to Tony and I to get that out there because Tony has some good thoughts. Tony’s out on the he’s on the West Coast. He’s got things happening. He’s a mover and a shaker out there on the West Coast. I’m in West Virginia. We’re two steps behind. Tony’s the one that’s got the stuff out there moving and shaking and keeps your thing. You do you have your finger on the pulse on that. You’ve had that way before than us on the East Coast, for sure.
Tony Sipp: Yeah. We definitely try to do our best to make sure access to justice is addressed. And it’s been an issue. The pandemic made it possible to see how great of a divide there is. So I’m glad you touching on this topic and talking about this topic as well as the DEI component. This is all going in a great direction, so keep it up. I love it.
Vanessa Finley: I think if so – and what the survey also shows, and just everything else that we’re doing is that the paralegal profession oh, my gosh, is exploding. And it’s not just more people, it’s different kinds of jobs, it’s different types of responsibilities. As we talk about expanding the role of paralegals and accessing justice, that’s different. And just like Jill said, maybe you don’t want to do that, but maybe someone else, that’s their jam, right? And then we’ve got your legal operations, office management, project management. I mean, there’s just so much expansion of the paralegal role because of the skill sets that it takes to be a successful paralegal. They are so valuable across so many other functions. And I think that people are finally — employers are finally picking up on the fact of, “Wow, these paralegals, really, holy mackerel. They are coming with some serious skills and experience.
So it’s really exciting to see that. And when we talk about on the YouTube channel things being free for members or non-members, I still want to encourage folks to think about becoming a member because it’s your membership that allows us to do that kind of thing and allows us to do more of that kind of thing. And so we talk about, yes, you get an $80 gift certificate if you’re a member, and you get the utilization compensation report for free, and you get discounts and you get — all those wonderful things to being a member. And it makes that cost less out of pocket because you’re getting these benefits. But become a member as well, just to support the profession, to support the work that we’re doing as an association to lift up the profession.
And I was in DC two weeks ago advocating with my association, my association of associations, talking to our legislators about expanding the 529 savings programs to be available to be used those dollars to be used for credentialing, to get a credential. It can cost you several hundred dollars to get your credential, your certification. And so we’re advocating to ensure that in the 529 plan, that parents and students can use those funds to do something like get a CP or to take advanced training through an association, whether it’s NALA or anybody anywhere else. So this is what we’re doing as an association. It’s not just about the individual members. It’s about us collectively. And so I encourage you all to jump on the boat and join us in this journey.
Jill Francisco: I love that you mentioned that. I love that idea. And again, it just goes to what I just said that you guys are ahead of the curve because not too long ago, what it was added to the 529 for the trade, right? The two-year programs —
Vanessa Finley: Yes, that’s exactly right, yes.
Jill Francisco: Because a four-year college degree doesn’t have to be and is not for everybody. And that’s fine, because obviously there’s thousands of jobs out there that’s not even required.
Vanessa Finley: Yes. And high paying jobs.
Jill Francisco: Exactly. So I love that you guys are doing that because you have somebody too that didn’t go. I think Tony was talking about this on one of our past shows. You have somebody that doesn’t have the exact background. They don’t have the bachelor’s degree in it, but then they do a career change, and then they just go for the certification so they can get their foot in the door to be a paralegal. Yeah, granted. Is that as much training as a four-year degree? No. But to pass this exam is no small feet.
Vanessa Finley: Exactly.
Jill Francisco: That still showing —
Vanessa Finley: When people come up to me, they always go, “Hey, I’m a CP”. And they’re very proud of their CP, as you should be. And they’re going, “Oh, my gosh, that is the mini bar.” That’s what they call it, the mini bar.
Jill Francisco: And not the one in the hotel room that we’re talking about.
Vanessa Finley: No. Then you’ll be hitting the mini bar, right?
Jill Francisco: Oh gosh. Well, Vanessa, I really appreciate you coming back. And I’m so happy all the things that you’ve shared with us. And we are looking forward to — I’m looking forward to, as usual, to be at conference, to be a speaker at conference. It’s kind of full circle that I get to attend, but not as having to do all the work.
Vanessa Finley: The board work.
Jill Francisco: But be a speaker and do my passion. Because obviously, that’s why I want to teach and that’s why I want to present, is because, like you said, that’s one of the things that you’re giving back to the profession, you want it to thrive in the future. And so super excited to get there, to enjoy it all, to take it all in. So we encourage our listeners, get there any way you can, virtually, in person, whatever, just get signed up and don’t miss.
Vanessa Finley: We’ll take you as you are.
Jill Francisco: That’s right. And Tony, any parting words? We don’t want to leave Tony out.
Tony Sipp: Sign up early and join. It’ll make a big difference. I think you’ll enjoy the conference and, yeah, it’s exciting. So get excited, get ready to go and go check out the website NALA.org, and then YouTube, NALA, just do the Google. It’s going to be very helpful for you and those you support.
Vanessa Finley: And our phrase for this conference, Jill, is be in the now, be in the know, be NALA.
Jill Francisco: That’s awesome. And that’s true. So, anyway, thank you again so much, Vanessa, for taking your time, for all you do. Like I said, I have the privilege of knowing all you do behind the scenes and I appreciate it. You have a wonderful staff. Your staff is wonderful.
Vanessa Finley: Yes, we do. You’re awesome.
Jill Francisco: Thank you so much and we’ll be looking forward to seeing you soon. So, Vanessa, what is the easiest way for people like I said, they know the website, but if they want to get email NALA, say, so to speak, and get it directed possibly to you or whoever the staff may be that they want some more information on?
Vanessa Finley: So the absolute best way to reach out to us with really anything is to email us at [email protected]. So N-A-L-A-N-E-T @ N-A-L-A-N-E-T dot O-R-G, that goes to our membership services rep and they will either directly answer or filter it off to whoever else can answer that. We answer those emails. That doesn’t go into black hole. You can also call us at (918) 587-6828. And again, that also we have live people here answering the phone to help you. If you get our voicemail, truly it is because we are talking to someone else and we will call you back if you leave a message.
Jill Francisco: That’s right, because you do not have a staff of 25 or 30 or even more than people might assume that you do. I mean, like, what do you have, eight?
Vanessa Finley: No, we have a staff of 16 now.
Jill Francisco: You’ve been building it up.
Vanessa Finley: We’re growing because there’s so much to do.
Jill Francisco: Well, that makes me happy, too. So, anyway, hopefully people — like I said, the listeners will reach out to you. This is all great. So go paralegals. We’re just super excited about it. Thank you so much again and for our listeners, I hope you will join us next time on the Paralegal Voice.
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