NALS is dedicated to enhancing the competencies and contributions of members in the legal services profession. NALS Accomplishes its mission and supports the public interest through:
- Continuing legal education and resource materials
- Networking opportunities at the local, state, regional and national levels
- Commitment to a Code of Ethics and professional standards
- Professional certification programs and designations
NALS Code of Ethics & Professional Responsibility
Members of NALS are bound by the objectives of this association and the standards of conduct required of the legal profession.
Every member shall:
- Encourage respect for the law and administration of justice
- Observe rules governing privileged communications and confidential information
- Promote and exemplify high standards of loyalty, cooperation, and courtesy
- Perform all duties of the profession with integrity and competence
- Pursue a high order of professional attainment
Integrity and high standards of conduct are fundamental to the success of our professional association. This Code is promulgated by NALS and accepted by its members to accomplish these ends.
Canon 1. Members of this association shall maintain a high degree of competency and integrity through continuing education to better assist the legal profession in fulfilling its duty to provide quality legal services to the public.
Canon 2. Members of this association shall maintain a high standard of ethical conduct and shall contribute to the integrity of the association and the legal profession.
Canon 3. Members of this association shall avoid a conflict of interest pertaining to a client matter.
Canon 4. Members of this association shall preserve and protect the confidences and privileged communications of a client.
Canon 5. Members of this association shall exercise care in using independent professional judgment and in determining the extent to which a client may be assisted without the presence of a lawyer and shall not act in matters involving professional legal judgement.
Canon 6. Members of this association shall not solicit legal business on behalf of a lawyer.
Canon 7. Members of this association, unless permitted by law, shall not perform paralegal functions except under the direct supervision of a lawyer and shall not advertise or contract with members of the general public for the performance of paralegal functions.
Canon 8. Members of this association, unless permitted by law, shall not perform any of the duties restricted to lawyers or do things which lawyers themselves may not do and shall assist in preventing the unauthorized practice of law.
Canon 9. Members of this association not licensed to practice law shall not engage in the practice of law as defined by statutes or court decisions.
Canon 10. Members of this association shall do all other things incidental, necessary or expedient to enhance professional responsibility and participation in the administration of justice and public service in cooperation with the legal profession.
NALS… no longer an acronym. Still THE association for legal professionals.
It was 1929 in Long Beach, California, and Eula Mae Jett along with several of her colleagues established a group that met and discussed topics affecting their careers as legal secretaries. The focus of these meetings shifted to education and the popularity grew. These meetings continued and the word of their success spread across the country. By 1949 chapters had developed similar groups and the National Association of Legal Secretaries was formed. NALS began to hold meetings not only on the local level but expanded to include state, regional, and even national meetings focusing on the legal services industry. This was the first time anything of this nature would take place.
NALS was formed and began moving ahead with the goal of enhancing the careers of legal secretaries. As the profession evolved so did NALS. The information needed by legal secretaries was changing along with their job descriptions and the information provided by NALS paralleled this shift. Diversity of membership reflected a changing legal services industry.
After several years of discussion on the topic of a name change to better reflect the nature and membership of NALS, it was determined that NALS would no longer be used as an acronym but rather as a name. This was determined because it was evident something needed to change but the rich history could not be abandoned. NALS determined to go with the new name along with the tag line “…the association for legal professionals” in 1999.
Today NALS remains a leader in the legal services industry offering professional development by providing continuing legal education, certifications, information, and training to those choosing the legal services industry as their career. NALS members represent every area of this industry from paralegals and legal assistants to legal administrators and office managers. Because of this diversity and an openness to welcome all members of the industry, NALS offers a broad spectrum of expertise to make the programs offered valuable to all members of the legal services industry. This allows NALS members to learn about other areas of the industry, making career enhancement as well as advancement easily attainable.
Legal Assistant / Paralegal Definition Adopted
In July 2002 the NALS Board of Directors adopted the following definition of a ‘legal assistant/paralegal,’ as also adopted by the ABA . The current definition reads as follows: