The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
I assume that most of us have limited funds for professional membership dues (especially with the current economy), either through our employer or out-of-pocket. In addition, many of us tend to spend our professional dues budget to join local and state groups, in no small part so that we can use their resources to access fellow state law practitioners. I am currently a member of the N.C. Bar Association Paralegal Division and the N.C. Advocates for Justice Legal Assistant Division (at a cost of several hundred dollars per year paid by my employer), and am active in both state associations in one or more capacities, including executive committee member, specialty section member, CLE speaker, listserv contributor and volunteer.
While reading the most recent issue of Legal Assistant Today, I started thinking about broadening my professional worldview by joining a national association for paralegals, but then wondered, “Which one is the best fit for me and the best buy for the cost of the annual dues?” In a perfect world, I could join them all, but the economic reality is that I can only join one, maybe two, at best.
I identified the following national associations as possibilities (excluding more specialized groups for practice areas, management, educators and technology), and included their annual membership dues for non-students (click on the association abbreviation for the link to their membership information):
AAPI (American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc.) – $20.00
NALA (National Association for Legal Assistants) – $125.00
NALS (The Association for Legal Professionals) – $135.00
NFPA (National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc.) – $85.00 (or join your local chapter)
If I left out a national association, please let me know! Now I need to examine the benefits of membership in each national association, including accessibility to and applicability of continuing legal education seminars and national conferences, certification programs, publications and networking opportunities. I’ll do my usual chart summary (remember that attorney who nicknamed me “PH” or “Perfectionist from Hell”?) and share it with you soon.
In the meantime, I’d like to hear from you regarding your recommendations for a national association, via reader comment and/or answering the single survey question found on this blog. Thanks in advance for your feedback!