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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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A New Year Equals New Beginnings

Posted By NALS Admin, Friday, January 1, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A New Year Equals New Beginnings


2016 has arrived and we have an exciting year ahead. Just around the corner is the final NALS Professional Development & Education Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma. You will not want to miss it! Ensure you have made your hotel reservations at the Doubletree Warren Place to get the NALS special rate. The room reservation deadline of February 10 is fast approaching. The NALS rate will only be available until the block is full or February 10, whichever comes first. 

 

We hope you will also make plans to attend and be a part of the Grassroots-Level Think Tank (GLTT). The GLTT will be held at the conference on Thursday, February 25, at 9:00 a.m. The GLTT will meet with the NALS Board of Directors to brainstorm and develop the purpose and direction of the association. Our facilitator will again be Jay Moore. To learn more and sign up for the Grassroots-Level Think Tank, please visit: www.nals.org/GLTT 


NALS Adds Specialty Areas to Its Specialty Certificate Program


NALS is pleased to announce the addition of seventeen new specialty topics to its Specialty Certificate Program! Featuring a new total of twenty-one specialty offerings, the NALS Specialty Certification program will be even better designed to assist legal professionals who wish to go above and beyond, set themselves apart from the competition, and make their area of expertise known! By providing these additional specialty options, NALS is allowing a wider range of professionals to demonstrate their expertise in specialized areas of law and obtain recognition for their efforts. A full list of Specialty Certificate options are below: 

 

Administrative Law

Appellate Law

Bankruptcy Law

Business Law

Civil Litigation

Contract Law

Corporate Law

Criminal Law

E-Discovery

Elder Law

Employment Law 

Estate Planning/Probate

Family Law

Immigration Law

Insurance Law

Intellectual Property 

Juvenile Law

Law Office Management

Personal Injury Law

Real Estate Law

Trial Management

 

Any individual currently holding a NALS Professional Paralegal (PP) or Professional Legal Secretary (PLS) certification may obtain a specialty certificate after earning a minimum of 50 continuing legal education (CLE) hours in one of the specialty tracks designated by NALS within their five-year certification validity period.

 

- NALS 2015 Board of Directors

Tags:  #NALSPD  GLTT  Professional Development & Education Conference  specialty certificate program 

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Asked And Answered

Posted By NALS Admin, Wednesday, November 4, 2015

WE Asked and YOU Answered!  

As NALS leaders, we have asked a lot of the entire membership over the past couple of years.  We asked you to consider the future of our association as you voted to change our governance structure to a five-member board.  After that measure passed, we have asked you to answer multiple surveys and provide continuing feedback to a number of questions we posed on a variety of subjects.  We have asked and you have answered time and time again.  We ask you to continue to engage with us so that we can continue to bring you products and services which provide value to you as a NALS member and to your career as a legal professional. 

 

NALS Award of Excellence

Three very deserving members were selected as finalists for NALS’ highest recognition, the Award of Excellence.  Kathleen R. Amirante, PP, PLS; Ruth Schaub, PP, PLS-SC, AIC; and Kathy Sieckman, PP, PLS-SC, ACP rose to the challenge by going through the rigorous process leading up to the announcement of the 2016 Award of Excellence recipient.  We congratulate Kathleen R. Amirante, PP, PLS, our 2016 NALS Award of Excellence recipient!  You and both of our finalists are outstanding in your accomplishments and should be recognized for all that you have done and continue to do in performance of your jobs and in service to NALS members and the legal community at large.  Bravo!

 

Grassroots Level Think Tank (“GLTT”)

Beginning in March 2015, this group of forward-thinking individuals, which included members, chapter leaders, and national volunteers began to meet to discuss the future of the association.  The GLTT gives members and leaders the opportunity to gather together and share experiences, find bright spots, spark innovation, and design solutions for the future—all in hopes of making NALS work better for its members and the legal community.  As a result, we have begun to discuss what is—and what is not—working within our organization and start the process of brainstorming potential improvements that will meet the needs of our members at all levels.  As we shared with you in the May 2015 issue of the NALS docket, the GLTT identified four topics that are most critical to NALS members and to legal professionals:  time, cost, value, and identity.  Most of what the Board and NALS committee members have been working on in recent months has centered around these topics.  

 

But this conversation is not over.  We are still inviting everyone to be a part of this continuing dialogue.  The next in-person meeting of the GLTT will be in Tulsa at the Professional Development & Education Conference in late February.  You can sign up to participate on our website at www.nals.org/GLTT.  We hope you will join us so we can hear from you.

 

Conference Survey Recap 

We know the value of your time and your money is very important to you.  Because of this, we asked NALS members and other legal professionals to answer a survey dealing with conferences.  The purpose of this survey was to take the pulse of where people stand, what people want, and what is most important to conference attendees.  Here are some of the highlights of what respondents said:

 

64% want to attend a conference once a year

65% prefer to attend a conference in the fall

43% want to attend either a two-day conference on Friday and Saturday or a three-day conference on a Thursday through Saturday

67% say they prefer one event containing both CLE and leadership opportunities

38% would prefer to attend a conference where half a day is spent on education and the other half on leadership/professional development

52% said that hotel room rates are more important than destination

63% want social networking events and luncheons included in the cost of registration

 

YOU asked and WE answered!

As a result of your input and engagement when we asked the questions, we have been able to answer with a variety of changes to our products and services.  And that action has not and will not stop.  We are committed to continuing to serve the needs of the legal professional through the delivery of quality legal education, offering and promoting professional certifications, and providing opportunities for networking and continuous learning.  We are thrilled to announce some of the following additions and changes to NALS products and services, all for your benefit.

 

New Specialty Certificates

Beginning in January 2016, NALS will begin to offer a total of 21 specialty certificates in the following areas:

 

Administrative Law

Appellate Law

Bankruptcy Law

Business Law

Civil Litigation

Contract Law

Corporate Law

Criminal Law

E-Discovery

Elder Law

Employment Law

Estate Planning/Probate

Family Law

Immigration Law

Insurance Law

Intellectual Property 

Juvenile Law

Law Office Management

Personal Injury Law

Real Estate Law

Trial Management

 

With the addition of these specialty areas, we have answered the requests of many members for NALS to provide more opportunities for members’ certifications to stand out.  A specialty certificate is perfect for the certified PLS and PP who seek to go above and beyond—setting themselves apart from the competition—and making their area of expertise known!  We encourage everyone to look at obtaining a specialty certificate as an opportunity to further enhance your careers and NALS certifications.  

 

NALS Mock Exams—Online!  

With advances in technology, and in response to the stated desires of students and those teaching and studying for NALS certification exams, it is time for our association to “get with the times.”  You have asked for it and we are answering.  Thanks in large part to a grant from the NALS Foundation and the hard work of dedicated committee volunteers, NALS is pleased to announce it will soon be rolling out a new, robust LMS (learning management system) which will give us the ability to provide mock exams online and later, even certification exams!  By the spring of 2016, we will be in beta-delivery mode of mock exams for the ALP (Accredited Legal Professional) exams, with later releases of the other certifications’ mock exams as they are developed.  As each stage of this developing project is ready for launch, we will continue to update you.

 

Partnering with Related Legal Associations 

Adding value to your membership with NALS is just one of the many things your Board is committed to achieving.  Acting on the suggestions of the GLTT, the Board has been actively pursuing partnerships with related legal associations, such as the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA), the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE), and others.  Our hopes are that, as we continue to build relationships with the many players in the legal industry, NALS will be better positioned to serve the needs of legal professionals throughout the entire country and beyond.  That being said, the process is ongoing.  As more comes out of these continuing conversations, we will be sure to let you know.  Promoting you as a professional and as an indispensable asset to employers and the legal community is just a part of our mission.

 

NALS Conferences

It is no secret that it has been getting more difficult and more expensive for members to attend two conferences each year.  Often, you have been forced to make the choice between one or the other—either because of time concerns, financial strains, or other considerations.  An overwhelming majority of those we have polled have responded they think only one conference a year is needed and/or possible given their limited means.  Because of this, and after careful consideration of the results of the conference survey (discussed above) and the fact that we have had declining numbers at the annual Tulsa conference in recent years, the Board has voted to offer only one dynamic and comprehensive education and leadership conference each year in the fall.  

 

Consequently, this makes our upcoming NALS 2016 Professional Development & Education Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the last one to be offered in the late winter/early spring.  This is not sad news, we say, but an opportunity to answer the needs of many.

 

What does one conference a year look like? Merging a robust professional development and leadership-training track into one fantastic multi-track education conference is the vehicle which will take us into the next outstanding chapter of the association’s future.  NALS will continue to offer superior continuing legal education alongside opportunities to obtain the skills, qualifications, and experience that allow you to make progress in your career.  We are confident we have nothing to lose and everything to gain by delivering what you and your peers have been asking for.

 

Free Certification Exams  

Yes, you read that right.  Aside from the prospect of joining us to celebrate the next chapter in NALS conference offerings and kicking off a new NALS leadership term, the NALS Board has voted to offer certification exams—completely free of charge—at the final Tulsa conference in February 2016.  If you have been holding off on taking a NALS certification exam or retaking parts of an exam, now is the time to take advantage of this limited-time offer.  Free exams will be offered to anyone who is fully registered to attend the 2016 NALS Professional Development & Education Conference—this is a savings of anywhere from $40 to $225!  

 

The exams will be offered on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the DoubleTree Warren Place (6110 South Yale Avenue in Tulsa) prior to the regular conference scheduling. This will give you the ability to take advantage of the full conference education, committee orientations, or the opportunity to participate with the Grassroots Level Think Tank (GLTT), if you are so inclined.  

 

To participate in this free examination opportunity, you must be registered and paid in full for the NALS 2016 Professional Development & Education Conference. There is a ticketed event called “NALS Certification Exam” listed on the registration form. Once your registration is fully processed and the “NALS Certification Exam” ticketed event option is selected, the NALS Resource Center staff will send you a promo code via email. Once this promo code is received, you may then complete the application process for the exam of your choosing for the March 2016 exam period, listing the NALS 2016 Professional Development & Education Conference as your test site. The promo code will reduce the amount due to zero once you reach the payment page. The deadline to apply for this free examination opportunity is January 15, 2016. To view full details, please visit: www.nals.org/news/258237

 

We know that this is a lot to digest and take in and we are sure that you will have more comments and suggestions you would like to share with us as we go forward.  Please remember you can always reach us by email (board@nals.org) or through our NALS website contact forms.  Our Resource Center staff is also available to answer questions.  We are always listening and doing what we can to answer your concerns.  So keep engaging!

 

Until next month ….

 

- NALS 2015 Board of Directors

 

Tags:  #NALSPD  certification  Professional Development & Education Conference 

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Recap: 2014 Professional Development & Education Conference

Posted By NALS Admin, Wednesday, May 28, 2014
In spite of the threats by Old Man Winter, attendees at the 2014 Professional Development & Education Conference warmly welcomed the new Board of Directors and the diversity of each. With the assistance of the Leadership Identification Committee and members like you, this diverse group was elected based on their respective skills and talents to help take NALS into the future. From the first meeting of the Board, the energy, excitement, and passion were quite evident and they did not waste any time to start the “visioneering” work to ensure that the organization remains relevant, not only today but also in the future.


Changes to the conference this year included the implementation of a Conference Kick-Off Reception and a “Meet & Greet” networking cocktail hour with breakouts for state and local chapter leaders. Networking is a key component for any successful professional, and these new events allowed conference attendees to meet and mingle with the NALS Leadership Team, state and local chapter leaders, and conference attendees nationwide. These exciting changes are just the beginning of what the Board envisions for NALS.

 

During its first official strategic planning meeting, the NALS Board of Directors came together to develop the vision that will propel the organization into the future, setting us apart from the competition. From previous and current SWOT analyses, the Board realized that the greatest strengths of NALS include networking, our members, and the knowledge that is shared inward. As an organization, we have the urgency to remain relevant within the industry and within the world. However, while NALS members possess a wealth of knowledge, NALS as a whole has not been actively sharing that knowledge outward. Imagine the power unleashed if we share our “centers of excellence” outward and allow the world to experience our strengths! NALS staff and Board are currently researching mechanisms that will allow us to begin sharing NALS’ knowledge, not just with our members, but also with the legal community and beyond.

 

Also as a result of its first meeting, the Board noted that education and certification are extremely important to our members. However, we realized that in order to remain relevant, the means for delivering the education and certification to our members must be revamped. Technology is the future. The Board is currently addressing the fact that education at your fingertips and the ability to track certification credits online must be made available to our members, potential members, and all others interested in NALS.

 

Based on their studies and feedback from the 2014-2015 committee leaders, the NALS Board has conceptualized a new website, with enhanced functionality for CLE tracking, and a new smartphone app that allows us to network with others around the world, acting as a conduit for answers to legal questions. The Board held an open forum where they shared this vision. Below are two videos of the Board’s presentations during this forum.





We ask you, and especially our chapter leaders, to please carve out about 30 minutes of time at your upcoming annual state conferences and/or local meetings and present these videos to your members. Our goal is that we engage the members in attendance and receive their immediate ideas and feedback on the vision of the future of NALS that we have presented. We are also providing a downloadable link to a facilitator guide (bottom of page) to aid you in leading the discussion and returning feedback to us, as well as a handout for each member in attendance. Please help us gather the valuable and necessary feedback that we know each of you has to offer.

 

The Board was able to obtain feedback from state and local chapter leaders, members of the NALS national leadership team, and all other conference attendees. The feedback is currently being analyzed and used as the Board researches options for our new website and smartphone app. All suggestions are welcome as we begin the research phase, so feel free to send comments to board@nals.org.

 

The biggest strength of NALS is our amazing members. Without each and every one, we would not be what we are today, and the potential of what we will become tomorrow would not be as great. The legal knowledge and answers can be found within our very own members, and the Board is ready to reach out and join hand and hand with the membership in moving NALS forward to create the “NALS of Tomorrow.” Be ready, members, as we are coming to YOU for the answers!

- NALS 2014-2015 Board of Directors 


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Tags:  #NALSPD  Professional Development & Education Conference 

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