About the Chapter
NALS of Tucson & So. AZ (formerly Tucson Legal Secretaries Association and Tucson Legal Support Association) has over 50 years of history serving the Tucson and Southern Arizona legal community. The chapter’s membership has legal professionals who work for sole practitioners, mid-size law firms, large law firms, the courts, and other related legal areas. At least 10 to 12 firms in the Tucson area are represented.
What makes this chapter of NALS strong is the diversity of the members’ ages, experiences, legal knowledge, and skills. Each member is unique and special. They learn from each other and are building lasting friendships. (Isn’t that what NALS is all about?)
There is a lot to learn from NALS of Tucson & So. AZ (NTSA). They keep their association fresh through various educational opportunities, member suggestions, chapter celebration events, meeting other members of the legal community, and working together for charity.
Service in the Chapter
This chapter leads by example in holding education of members as one of the central activities. Twenty-two members are certified and most have achieved multiple certifications. NTSA strives to keep everyone sharp by offering many opportunities of continuing legal education for seasoned members and exam preparation for newer members. NTSA holds monthly general/CLE meetings and offers other educational events for their chapter. They also coordinate CLE with other legal professional associations in the area.
NTSA shares their love of education and the legal profession by holding a raffle at every monthly meeting to support their annual Scholarship Program. This scholarship assists with books, registration fees, and other school needs, as well as awarding a one-year NALS membership. Invitations with the application for the NTSA scholarship are sent once a year to high schools, trade schools, and local colleges that teach legal courses.
The monthly NTSA email of announcements to members has proven to be very fruitful for the chapter. The newsletter includes an open request for ideas from the members. Some of the members’ ideas include training sessions and valuable brainstorming sessions. The members post the NTSA flyers in their office or share with other staff in their firm. This is a great way to share “what NALS can do for you” with others.
NTSA celebrates members through annual events like the Awards & Appreciation Banquet and Installation of Officers in April, the Summer Social in August, and the Holiday Mixer in December. These themed events are a way for the members to unwind, play, and visit, free from the pressures of the job.
NTSA has had success in growing their chapter by hosting an annual membership drive in February and/or March of each year. There is always a theme, such as Mardi Gras, Western, and others, and games such as bingo or legal trivia are played. Influential court personnel are invited to speak at these meetings. NTSA also hosts a breakfast get-together to introduce other legal secretaries, legal assistants, and paralegals to the association.
National NALS Service
Many NTSA members have gone on to serve in state, regional, and national positions—even as high as President of NALS. Currently, several members are serving on the national NALS level. Audrey Saxton, PP, PLS, is serving NALS as a Board Member; Bonnie Hole, PP, PLS, RP, CNSA, CPCA, ACP, is serving NALS as the Chair of the Certification Board; and Nancy Anderstrom, PP, PLS, AACP, is serving NALS as the Co-chair of the Certification Board.
Building Their Name and Membership
NTSA works to promote their association to other law firms in many ways. They have a liaison with the Pima County Bar Association (PCBA). This is a reciprocal relationship. The liaison prepares information on NTSA activities for The Writ, the monthly publication for the PCBA members. It is free advertising of all the great things NTSA is doing for the Pima County Bar, opportunities for the NTSA members, and how NTSA supports their community. NTSA also donates time to the PCBA for functions requiring assistance. For instance, the PCBA and the Young Lawyers Division hold an annual Judicial Reception. NTSA has volunteered to manage the registration table at this reception for so many years that the judges and attorneys know the NTSA members by name!
Relationship With Other Associations
NTSA has some members who belong to other professional and legal associations and serve to coordinate and share CLE with other legal groups. In 2015, NTSA co-sponsored the Tucson Paralegal Association’s Annual CLE Seminar, which was very well received by all attendees.
For the past two years NTSA hosted the NALS of Tucson & So. AZ annual December Holiday Mixer. The purpose is to enable professionals from all areas of the Tucson legal community to meet and network in a social setting; to mix, mingle, and celebrate the holidays. NALS of Tucson & So. AZ finds sponsors for the event, generally legal vendors and supporters of the organization, to assist with providing the food and drinks. One of the caterers was Caridad Community Kitchen, associated with the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. A group of local attorneys provide live music.
Another fun event NTSA has is the Collaborative Networking Happy Hour coordinated with the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA), and the Tucson Paralegal Association (TPA). The happy hours are well attended and a nice time to relax and get to know other legal professionals.
Service to the Community
NTSA has always had a commitment to yearly charity projects. The NTSA Board gives the members a choice of three to five charities and the members make their collective choice. Then the NTSA members collect items throughout the year specifically for that charity.
One year, the NTSA members chose the Veterans’ Association and collected clothing, books, purses, shoes, personal items, puzzles, wheelchairs, and many other items to give to the local VA Hospital for the veterans. It was a very successful and greatly appreciated project.
Another NTSA choice for community service was the Bowling for Backpacks! event. This event had members, family, and friends attending a fun evening of bowling after collecting school supplies and backpacks to donate to local area schools in need. This project was enjoyed by all for three years, when it was time to try something new.
The most recent charity activity for NTSA was Make Way for Books. The mission of Make Way for Books is to provide quality early educational experiences by giving books to under-resourced sites and offering early educational workshops for educators and parents. Each year, MWFB serves more than 30,000 children and families and 700 educators in nearly 300 preschools in the Tucson area. The members of NTSA collected 233 new and gently used books during the year-long book drive to donate to Make Way for Books. On March 30, 2016, Wendy Carpenter, PP, PLS, President of NTSA, and Nancy Anderstrom, PP, PLS, AACP, Parliamentarian and Local Finance Chairperson, delivered the books to the organization.
Working together on a large project is the “glue” that keeps the chapter going. This core group has a commitment to NALS, to legal education, the legal community, and charity service too. NTSA clearly demonstrates how interesting and fulfilling the journey of NALS can be.