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The official blog of the NALS Board of Directors, used as a timely resource for sharing information directly with NALS members.

 

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Spring Forward to the Rightsize

Posted By 2017 NALS Board of Directors, Thursday, May 4, 2017

NALS Board Blog: May 2017Many folks decide to purge at this time of year.  They get rid of things that are no longer useful.  We call it an annual spring cleaning.  We often declutter the garage or organize the basement.  We pick up those projects that we did not finish last fall.  We transition our homes and offices from winter to summer.

 

In addition to spring cleaning, this is also the time of year when people work off those extra pounds they packed on during the holidays.  I am hitting the treadmill a lot more because my jeans just do not fit like they used to. 

 

Here at the NALS Resource Center, we are spring cleaning too—only this is a little different.  Instead of just cleaning out the office, we are actually planning to “rightsize.”  What does it mean to rightsize?  I am glad you asked.  Rightsizing means to convert (something) to an appropriate or optimum size.  What does that mean for NALS?  Again, I am glad you asked.  It means we are taking this opportunity to move forward and embrace our future.  We are looking forward to finding an office space that is more suitable for our work environment. 

 

In keeping with the technology trends, Lydia, our Communications Manager, has been doing a fantastic job in her new virtual office as she prepares to move to a different part of the country.  With only three full-time staff members remaining in the building, it is appropriate to find a location that better suits our needs.  In preparation for this transition, the NALS Resource Center building has recently been placed on the market for sale.  We are forever grateful for the ten years’ worth of memories and we look forward to creating new memories in our new NALS home.

 

The great Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”  Let’s all spring forward to the right size. 

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What does #unshakeable mean to you?

Posted By 2017 NALS Board of Directors, Wednesday, April 12, 2017

NALS Board Blog - UnshakeableWhat does #unshakeable mean to you? This sign was used recently at a high-level club soccer showcase.  At this tournament, high school age girls play several games over the weekend while college scouts watch and evaluate their skills and abilities.  As we all know, sometimes the pressure gets to us and the girls do not always perform their best.  It appears as though the sponsors of this tournament are trying to impress upon the girls that they need to be #unshakeable and not let the pressure get to them so they can perform their very best.  That there is no finish line because the sky is the limit and you are never finished learning the game of soccer and growing as a player.

 

As legal professionals, we work in a high-level, high-pressure environment, where we always have people watching us and evaluating our skills and abilities.  We all feel the pressure at times, and do not always perform at our best but we must remember not to allow the stress and pressure to shake our confidence—we too can be #unshakeable!  There is also no finish line for our careers as we should always be learning and growing as a legal professional.

 

One of the best benefits of being a NALS member is the fantastic community we have.  We are always there for each other, whether we need a referral, help in another jurisdiction, a new job, or just for support.  Our NALS Pals are the absolute best!  With the upgrade to our online member community, is has never been easier for us to connect with each other.

 

NALS also offers CLE, both in person and online.  NALS has webinars for purchase and even webinars that are free to members.  You can use these webinars to learn about a new area of law and get the CLE hours you need to recertify.  You can also use these webinars for your local monthly meetings or to fill a spot for your annual state meetings.  The possibilities are endless!

 

Don’t forget, the 66th Annual Education and Networking Conference is being held in Norfolk, Virginia on October 4-7, 2017.  The Virginia Task Force is working hard to get quality speakers and education for this conference.  Keep checking back for additional details regarding the education opportunities.  This conference also offers you the ability to network in-person with other attendees, including two new exciting events that are available for you to attend.  Check it out and register at NALS.org/Norfolk2017

 

Remember, the sky is the limit and there is no finish line—we need to challenge ourselves continually to remain legal professionals who excel and are known for greatness.  Let NALS help you!  All of the offerings NALS has either at conferences or online are there to allow all legal professionals to continue to learn, grow, and remain excellent.   Be #unshakeable and join in with all NALS has to offer! 

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Board of Directors Retreat Recap

Posted By 2017 NALS Board of Directors, Thursday, March 16, 2017

NALS Board RecapThis past Thursday through Saturday, the Board met in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the NALS Resource Center.  To start our retreat, Carl, Tammy, Tara, and Amylyn went to The Escape in Tulsa, a physical adventure game in which players are locked in a room and have to use elements of the room to solve puzzles in order to escape the room.  We were tasked with saving Oklahoma City’s water supply from being poisoned.  We are happy to report that we came together as a team, solved the problem, and saved Oklahoma City with 12 minutes to spare! 

 

While Darlene and Nakia were not able to join us in person due to family emergencies, through the wonders of modern technology, we were able to communicate with them throughout the weekend.

 

Equipment Provided by NALS Foundation through Crowdfunding

 

Speaking of the wonders of technology, did you happen to catch the Facebook Live video we did on Saturday afternoon?  If not, you can click here to see Carl, Tara, and Amylyn in all of their glory in the midst of a couple of intense days of brainstorming, problem solving, and decision making.  The rest of this blog will expand in more detail the items we highlighted in our video!

 

If you attended the conference in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, then you know that NALS and the NALS Foundation asked members to help us raise the money we needed to purchase equipment to record and post information and potentially some educational sessions at our conferences. We have only purchased one set of the equipment for now but will continue to raise funds and hope to have at least one more set by the time we are in Norfolk this October. 

 

Without the generosity of the NALS Foundation and our members, we would not have been able to purchase this equipment.  Thank you again to everyone who donated to help make this happen and to allow NALS to move forward  into the future of providing video clips, information and educational offerings for our members and the legal industry.  You can still donate to the equipment crowdfunding campaign. The NALS Foundation can always use your support. 

 

Please consider clicking here and making a tax-deductible donation to Foundation.

 

Facebook Live

 

Your NALS Board meets at least once a month to discuss the status of the association, projects, committee work that is taking place, and future endeavors of NALS.  This year, we want to make sure you, the member, have the most up-to-date information available.  Therefore, after each of these meetings, one Board member will do a Facebook Live session to let you, the members, as well as those in the legal industry, know what we are doing at NALS.  We will announce these live sessions a couple of days in advance, in case you want to join for the live broadcast.  However, if you cannot attend the live broadcast, you can always watch it at a later date.  Please ask us any questions you may have, comment, and share the video with your fellow NALS members in your chapters.  We want to make sure you know what is going on in the association, because it is OUR association.

 

You will also see a Board Blog within a few days after the Board meetings. These Board Blogs will expand upon the information provided in the Facebook Live sessions and provide you with links to the information.

 

Virtual Conference

 

Last year the members were asked if they wanted one or two conferences per year.  The majority stated one conference, so NALS listened.  However, we know that our members still want the help to excel as leaders for NALS, they want professional development sessions, and they need ways to get CLE credits for their certifications.  Out of these needs comes the Virtual Conference.  Here are some specifics for you on the conference:

 

What is it?  The Virtual Conference is a way for you, the member, to gain education to help you (1) be an effective NALS leader, (2) gain professional development skills, and/or (3) earn CLE credits for recertification of your ALP/PLS/CLP/PP.

 

Attendees can earn up to 22 hours of CLE.  If you purchase both the leadership and the CLE tracks, at the price of $299, you are essentially paying $13.60 per CLE credit.  What a deal!!  If you do not want or need the leadership portion, you can purchase just CLEs for $199.  NALS is offering 14 CLEs for $199!  That means that you are only paying $14.22 per CLE credit! When is the last time you paid under $15 for an hour of CLE?   You will receive a unique link to the CLE sessions for your use throughout the year. This means you can get the education and CLE credits that you need while sitting in your pajamas!  You get to put these sessions into your schedule instead of having to move your schedule around the times the CLEs are offered.

 

There are three launch dates for the materials for the conference, February 15, March 20, and April 1.  Access to the leadership materials is made available to you after your registration and you have access to them for 30 days.  After April 1 all the sessions will go on sale separately but at an increased cost, so take advantage of the conference rate and register prior to April 1 to get the best deal. Please note that the information you receive in the leadership portion has been enhanced with videos and links on where to find tips and tricks to enhance your members’ experience with NALS.  If your chapter used to encourage your leaders to attend the Professional Development conference in Tulsa, then your chapter and leaders should consider purchasing the leadership materials portion of the conference. 

 

For more information on the professional development and educational CLE sessions that are being offered, visit NALS.org/Virtual2017.

 

NALS 66th Annual Education & Networking Conference

 

You may have already noticed that the registration for our October conference in Norfolk is open.  Make sure to take advantage of the early bird registration. Also, last year’s hotel room block sold out way in advance of our cutoff date.  If you are planning on attending the conference, make sure to get your room reservation made!  For more information on how to register for the conference and the hotel contact information, visit here.

 

This year, NALS will be providing two fun, inexpensive events for attendees on Thursday and Saturday nights.  Thursday’s event will be based on the Escape Room theme in a table format.  Due to the nature of this event, we will have to limit it to the first 50 people who sign up.  Saturday’s event will be a scavenger hunt designed to get you out of the hotel and to see some of the items in the nearby area. 

 

The registration for Norfolk will be updated in the very near future with the information for the two added evening events. We will post online when those are added and remember the Thursday night event is limited to 50, so you will want to get your registration in asap to reserve your slot. 

 

Certification Exams and Study Materials

 

The Board would like to congratulate everyone who sat for any of the NALS exams this month.  If you are currently studying for one of the exams, we want to remind you that we have many materials out there to help you in this endeavor.  One of the newest study aids is one that NALS has been working towards offering for quite some time!  Thank you again to the NALS Foundation. Because of their dedication to NALS, we have the ability to offer mock exams for people who are studying for all three exams!

 

The funding from the NALS Foundation allowed NALS to purchase the Learning Management System (“LMS”) that makes these mock exams available. This is also the system that was used for the online leadership conference.

 

When you purchase access to the mock exams, you are purchasing access for either 30 or 60 days.  If you miss a question while taking a mock exam, you will have information provided to you with citations and references on where you can learn more about the information in each question.  The LMS system allows you to take the mock exams over and over again during that time period and will give you the questions in a random order.  This will help you know if you are truly studying the materials and understanding them, instead of just knowing the answers to a mock exam.  You can purchase access to the mock exams by following this link.

 

National Industry Certification Update

 

As you know, our certification recognition among the industry is very important.   We wanted to share with you some exciting things that recently occurred. First, the South Carolina Board of Paralegal Certification has met and voted on recommending to the Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, the PP certification as an appropriate basis for applying for the South Carolina Certified Paralegal program.  This is GREAT news!  A lot of hard work went into making sure NALS was equally recognized.  A special thank you goes out to the NALS Industry Certification Task Force and members in South Carolina in helping us see this through!

 

Other exciting trends include the Washington State LLLT program, which is in the process of expanding into Estate and Healthcare law. They are working to develop a testing procedure concerning these new areas. Also, the Utah Supreme Court has approved the creation of the Limited Paralegal Practitioner program, very similar to the LLLT program in Washington State.  Currently it will cover Family law but they will be expanding into Landlord tenant law. The Oregon State Bar has also restarted the conversation of the creation of their version of the LLLT program. We share this information with you so that you can see that these governing entities for these new paraprofessional roles all equally recognize the PP as a method to demonstrate a paralegal’s core competency. More work is to come on making sure our certifications are weighted equally across the country, so we will need your help!

 

The next Board meeting is currently scheduled on Saturday, April 15. 

Look for an announcement regarding the date and time for our next live broadcast shortly thereafter.

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Professional Development Goals. Where do you begin?

Posted By The 2016-2017 NALS Board, Thursday, February 16, 2017

Professional Development GoalsThe November 1981 issue of Management Review contained a paper by George T. Doran called There's a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management's Goals and Objectives. It discussed the importance of objective goals and the difficulty in setting them.


The SMART method can be applied to setting professional development goals. SMART is a mnemonic device for remembering five characteristics of a desirable goal. The exact word that corresponds with each letter varies, but a common variant is:

  • Specific –  What are you going to do? Why is this important? What do you want to ultimately accomplish?
  • Measurable –   If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Establish a concrete criteria for measuring progress.
  • Attainable –   You will feel a little stretched, but with real commitment you should be able to do this!
  • Realistic –   Be clear on how what you’re doing is going to benefit you. It will go a long way to keep you motivated.
  • Timely –   By when? “Someday” is not an answer. Establish an end date. Hold yourself to it.

As the economy fluctuates and business priorities change, funding for employee professional development is often the first to be cut. It is no secret professional development allows us, as employees, to function more efficiently and prepares us for future roles.


NALS continues to recognize the importance of professional development and we’re very excited to offer a new way for you to have access to the wealth of knowledge our membership holds. The Ed on Demand Task Force is diligently working on an NALS 2017 Virtual Leadership Course and Education Series. You are now able to invest in yourself and your career whenever it is convenient for YOU. Our goal is to equip you, our members, with the skills to keep up with the changing trends in the legal support profession, perfect your current skills, learn new skills to align yourself with new job opportunities, and learn tips and tricks to make your NALS chapter more successful.

 

Dale Smith Thomas, our keynote speaker at the 2016 NALS Murfreesboro Conference, very clearly advised, “Any goal that isn’t written down is a wish.” Having a place where you can create a list of things you want to accomplish, track your progress, and hold yourself accountable is the recipe for success! Now that you know what you want, let us help you get there. Register today for NALS’ first ever online leadership course and education series and take the first step to reaching your professional development goals!

 


References: 

 

http://community.mis.temple.edu/mis0855002fall2015/files/2015/10/S.M.A.R.T-Way-Management-Review.pdf  

 

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Many Hands Make Light Work: Why YOU Should Be A NALS Volunteer

Posted By The NALS Board, Tuesday, January 17, 2017

We have all heard this idiom before, but have you ever thought of it when you think about all the opportunities and benefits that NALS provides to you, both professionally and personally?  Volunteering for anything—whether for an association, for a charity, or for a project at work or in your local area—offers more than just a benefit for the community you are serving.  

 
According to an article in Forbes, there are five benefits to volunteering that many do not often realize are possible,:

  1. Volunteering time makes you feel like you have more time.  Surprisingly, research has shown that individuals who give time to a cause outside of their regular work or personal routines often feel as if they have more time. We know there are only 24 hours in a day, but wouldn’t it be nice to feel you are not as rushed because you are remarkably accomplishing more in that time frame than you thought possible?

  2. Volunteering your skills helps you develop new skills. Before you volunteered, did you know how to organize a big fundraising event or lay out a newsletter or build a website?  Learning new skills is just one of the many benefits of volunteering.  Employers and organizations have found the technical and leadership skills that people attain through volunteering to be beneficial, and thus many have begun to invest more in those programs and in the people who seek out volunteer opportunities.

  3. Volunteering your body helps you have a healthier body.  When you volunteer, you increase your physical activity level and some have even been able to combat depression through social activity.  Studies have even shown that volunteering can lower your risk of heart disease.  This sure sounds easier than going on a strict diet, doesn’t it?

  4. Volunteering your experience helps build your experience.  This may seem like a no-brainer statement, but many who have taken time to volunteer have gained enough experience to make a career switch or bolster their résumé enough to advance beyond their current positions.  Have you been looking to expand your role at work, make more money, or broaden your experience base?  Volunteering can help you do just that!

  5. Volunteering your love makes you feel more love.  Studies have found the more people volunteer, the happier they are.  “Volunteering builds empathy, strengthens social bonds and makes you smile.”  Disneyland may arguably have the right to call itself “the happiest place on Earth,” but shouldn’t you also be able to make your heart the “happiest place” anywhere?  Volunteering with friends helps get you to that place.

 

NALS has many opportunities for volunteers.  No job is too big or too small when many people get together to do their little bit to advance the greater mission.  

  • Are you afraid to try something new?  Well, we have awesome and skilled volunteer leaders and staff who can help you whenever you have questions.  

  • Don’t have too much time to give?  NALS has task forces and committees which can offer smaller opportunities to contribute for limited periods of time or engagement.  

  • Not sure where to look to volunteer?  Look no further than our website for opportunities big and small, short- and long-term.  And if you are confused as to where you think you might fit in, you can always reach out to a board member (email us at board@nals.org) or to any NALS Resource staff member, and we will be happy to talk to you about your interests and find a place for you.

 


CLICK HERE TO VIEW NALS VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

 

Tags:  committee  leadership  volunteer 

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7/1/2017
NALS 66th Annual Education & Networking Conference: Early Bird Deadline

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Lydia A. Goodner (Galaz)NALS Communications + Meetings Manager

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