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Goodbye, 2018. Hello, 2019!

Posted By 2018 NALS Board of Directors, Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Hey NALS Pals!  What a year this has been.  I mean, who could have imagined all the great things that we accomplished this year? Let’s take a peek at some of the fantastic projects developed by the NALS national volunteers and staff in 2018. 


With the esteem of the current Award of Excellence to the introduction of several new awards highlighting members of our association for their integrity and dedication, recognition was a big highlight of 2018.

The NALS Award of Excellence is presented annually to recognize outstanding achievement in association leadership and professional development. It is the top honor a member can receive from NALS. In 2018, the Award of Excellence was awarded to Kerie Trindle Byrne, PP, PLS-SC, CP from NALS of Phoenix. You can view more about Kerie here: https://www.nals.org/news/428612/NALS-Announces-The-2018-NALS-Award-of-Excellence-Recipient.htm.

The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Paula Steffey, PP, CLP-SC, CWCP from Michigan. This award was established back in 2017, and this is the second NALS member to be recognized for their national volunteer efforts. You can read more about 2018’s winner here: https://www.nals.org/news/407412/NALS-2018-Volunteer-of-the-Year-Announced.htm.

The 2018 NALS Board of Directors recognized that NALS-dedicated members needed to be acknowledged for their work and endeavors that they perform for not only our association but for the legal community as a whole. Out of this realization, a new award was born. The award is given to acknowledge a member whose commitment to NALS embodies the NALS mission statement made up of four words: Engage, Inspire, Enhance, and Promote. The inaugural winner, Susan Mano from Pennsylvania, was announced at the NALS 67th Annual Education + Networking Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Read more about Susan in the Winter 2018 @LAW Magazine. 

During the October 2018 online membership meeting, Board of Directors and staff select and highlight the contributions of one outstanding member of our association. In 2018, there were two recipients of this recognition. Wendy Carpenter, PP, PLS, from Arizona, was recognized as Outstanding Member during the October online membership meeting and Lisa Cadungug, PP, PLS, from Oregon, was recognized during the December online membership meeting. You can see Wendy’s and Lisa’s announcements at NALS.org/News.


This is the moment many of our members, future members, and educators have been waiting for. A compiling of education materials for the legal support professional that rivals all. This easy-to-use course is only the cost of your membership dues, which vary based on state and local affiliations. This course is free to access by all members, in good standing, for personal or chapter use. The Virtual Legal Training Course (VLTC) is an online learning system created to provide you with preparation for the Accredited Legal Professional (ALP) exam. This course is a fundamental review of materials that can help a person study and guides them into topics and course material that will introduce them to the legal support industry. It provides an overview of the U.S. legal system with an additional focus on the role of the legal profession. Topics will include the operation and structure of the federal and state criminal and civil law systems; federal and state court organization; basic computer, research, and writing skills for the paralegal; resume creation; and a basic introduction of various areas of law. Find out more about this course here: https://www.nals.org/page/LTC.

In 2018, the introduction of SAGEs task force has been pivotal to the expansion of several education and certification benefits for examinees, students, educators, members, and future members. This task force is responsible for preparing study materials and educational resources for our exam candidates. SAGEs stand for Someone who Assists, Guides and Educates, each volunteer on the task force is ready and able to assist with educating up and coming individuals to the legal support field. Two of their achievements have been NALS Study Hall and NALS Study Hall Live events. The NALS Study Hall is an online discussion group that provides any examinee to view resources and materials on the variety of topics that each of our exams covers. Study Hall is free to members and certification examinees. Out of the discussions in the group SAGEs developed the NALS Study Hall Live! Events. These events are live-only webinars taught by a SAGE task force member who is well-versed in the topic presented. The topics are based on the NALS Basic Manual for the Legal Professional (BMLP) and NALS Advanced Manual for the Legal Professional (AMLP) textbooks and resource materials. Many of the sessions hold a question and answer period at the end of the webinar. SAGEs also schedule a full Exam Q&A so that certification examinees and educators can connect and ask questions on the material.

In education, NALS kicked off the year with our Virtual Leadership Course. Many members may have attended the NALS Annual Professional Development and Education Conference hosted in Tulsa each year. This conference provided 8 hours of leadership development for chapter leaders and volunteers. In 2016, NALS converted this conference into an online course + discussion group. This course was developed to provide resources for the NALS leadership teams and in-depth descriptions to systems, processes, and the relationship between state, local, and national levels of this association. If you’re new to leadership and you’re looking for tools to help you succeed, this course is available all year and is updated and upgraded with new content each year. You can find the 2018 course here: https://www.nals.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=998087&group=

An excellent benefit for NALS members is the offering of continuing legal education. Education can be expensive so as a way to help our member to offset the cost, seasonal legal-lympics events were created. Similar to the Olympics, which is typically hosts sporting events, legal-lypmics is a  5-weekday event featuring 5 hours of continuing legal education. Each registrant will instantly receive the links to access their educational ‘event’ for each day. This CLE "challenge" can be viewed on demand, on your own time. Each day's challenge will be wrapped around a specific topic or theme, then require you to take an online quiz that will distribute CLE to your account. Legal-lympics will take place twice a year through NALS.org/Events. You can find the latest one here: https://www.nals.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=1159956&group=


We continued the virtual education trend by making our exams accessible online. We now offer the Accredited Legal Professional (ALP), the Professional Legal Secretary (PLS)/ Certified Legal Professional (CLP) and the Professional Paralegal (PP) certification exams online. That means you can take our exams anytime, anywhere. NALS Foundation had a significant role in making these online exams possible. NALS Foundation continually stays true to the core purpose of funding quality education projects. The NALS Foundation was able to fund the online exams project FULLY. Anyone who has donated to the NALS Foundation, we say a big thank you to each of you as well! You can register and view information about these online exams here. 
Since March, we have had more than 100 successful examinees become certified. Throughout the year, we’ve had nearly 70 people recertify, and about 24 people obtained their Continuing Legal Education (CLE) and/or Specialty Certificate (SC).  Congratulations to you all! View and share the pass list, recertifications, and specialty recipients here: NALS.org/CertRecogs.

NALS Goes Virtual
Over the summer, the NALS Resource Center building was sold. All staff converted to virtual offices for NALS and NALS Foundation and have been working remotely to conduct our day-to-day business. Our addresses for billing and general mail have changed, you can see those here: https://www.nals.org/news/405116/NALS-Resource-Center-and-NALS-Foundation-Address-Change.htm.

Things have been going smoothly, and we’ve even started some new business practices. For example, state and chapter member rebates will now be issued by electronic funds transfer (EFT) instead of by paper check. An email to your treasurer will be sent with the member detail on each ACH transfer so you can properly maintain your records. This move is especially handy for your chapters as treasurer changes, and changes of addresses will cut down on time it takes for you to receive your rebates, provided your chapter's bank account doesn't change. Making this process more efficient. 

The NALS @Law is a quarterly magazine that provides its members with valuable information including, but not limited to, educational and substantive law articles, including topics on office trends and ethics.  This magazine is included as part of a NALS membership but is also available for non-members to purchase with a one-year subscription. Past issues of the @Law are also accessible to members only in PDF format. As of June 2018, NALS Board of Directors has decided to move this publication into a digital-only PDF format, with delivery through email following the current quarterly publication schedule. You can find more details here: https://www.nals.org/news/396953/Law-Transition-from-Print-to-Digital-Only.htm.
Events + Membership

In September, we hosted the 67th Annual Education and Networking Conference in Phoenix, AZ. There, we reignited our passion for NALS and remembered our #NALSWhy is so important to each of us. The Board held a pre-conference session where we invited everyone to brainstorm their vision and join a national task force, committee, and board. During our closing session, we shared some of our testimonials, and it was a fantastic experience. You can find a conference overview in the Winter 2018 @LAW Magazine.

NALS Resource Center has seen over 300+ members come through the online membership meetings over 2018. This is an incredible resource for members in state and local chapters who need to get the latest details on national events and projects or members-at-large that want to get involved or be included in the discussion. Look for the 2019 online membership meetings at NALS.org/Events
As you can see, this year has been full of remarkable ways to stay connected, meet new #NALSPALS, and understand the power of being #BetterTogether. The NALS Board of Directors and staff would like to thank our volunteers and members for your efforts in making this year so great. Next year, NALS turns 90 years old, and we’re looking forward to a grand jubilee!


Cheers to the new year!

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NALS is Moving Forward!

Posted By 2018 NALS Board of Directors, Monday, July 16, 2018
Updated: Monday, July 16, 2018

NALS Board BlogWith the help of our members, Resource Center staff and the NALS Board, we sold the building!  As of July 2018, the Resource Center sold and netted us just over $300,000.  This means that all Resource Center staff will now connect with us virtually.  As you may already know, our association, like many others, has seen a decline in membership numbers within the association.  There’s been a nationwide trend of dwindling and/or disbanding chapters.  While this may be challenging, we have decided to tackle this head on.  Step one was to sell the building so that we could continue to provide our existing members with the best in networking, certification, and education while we explore options to recruit and retain new members to help our association thrive! We understand this is an ongoing effort and we embrace the changes ahead of us. As we transition into the virtual world, let’s celebrate some of our virtual accomplishments.


Certification and Education


Over the last few years, we have developed some great new virtual options such as the amazing Online Study Hall group lead by our Certification + Education Manager, Maria Easterly.  Maria put together the Study Hall for those interested in sitting for a NALS Certifications Exams.  This group helps with study tips, guides, and provides a place for test-takers to share their experiences in preparing for the exam(s).  As an added resource, we also encourage test-takers to purchase flashcards in the NALS store on our website. And we also have partnered with Paralegal Education Group to provide additional study resources and exam prep for the PP exam. 


Speaking of exams, if you haven’t already heard, our ALP and PLS/CLP exams are available online, and we are working on preparing the PP exam to join our other exams soon.  That’s right!  You can sit in the comfort of your own home, in your pajamas, and take a NALS Certification Exam.  There is a $45 cost for this feature on top of the exam fee that covers the cost of an online proctor. 


Membership Benefits


Don’t forget, NALS offers specialty sections.  If you would like to join a group of professionals who share the same types of work experiences, then join the section that best fits your needs.  You will find valuable resources for each area in the sections.


Last week, we hosted another online membership meeting.  If you haven’t joined one in the past, please consider joining the next meeting October 8, 2018.  These meetings give you an opportunity to tell us about your success stories.  We want to know about the study groups you have.  We want to hear about the student members and those who are new to our association.  We also want to know about the great things happening in your state and local chapters.  The online membership meeting is also a great networking opportunity for those who are not able to attend the national conferences.


Supporting Legal Education


Lastly, we are so excited about the wonderful online opportunities that the NALS Foundation has offered.  We have earned medals in the virtual 5k, we participated in the Full Circle 30/360 Campaign and many state and local chapters have received grants for their innovative ideas.  The NALS Foundation has greatly supported our association and we appreciate the donors and each of the trustees.


Let Your Voice Be Heard!


Now, we must take on the challenge as an association of evaluating our association model and what is needed and what we must let go of to have a sustainable future.  We want you to be a part of this conversation. We will begin the discussion in Mesa/Phoenix at our upcoming conference in September. Please plan on attending or making sure your local and state associations are represented. Your voice is important to us. This is our association and we must work together to ensure it is sustainable for many years to come. What does NALS mean to you? Your added voice is an important part to this conversation.



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November 2017: #BetterTogether: A Recap of NALS 66th National Conference

Posted By NALS Board of Directors, Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2017

NALS Board Blog - NALS 66th Annual Recap ArticleThis year’s annual education and networking conference was one of the best conferences to date.  We kicked off the conference with a welcome reception where all attendees were invited to come and visit with all their NALS Pals.  Attendees were greeted at the door by the NALS Board and first timers were welcomed with a “celebration tunnel.” 


The next morning, the conference started with our keynote speaker international speaker, author, and former legal secretary from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Cheryl Wood.  Cheryl excited us with her passion and relation to the legal industry.  She reminded us that we’re all winners and that winning was “in our DNA”!  Cheryl talked to us about strengths and weaknesses and how when we rely on others in our weak areas, it makes us better—because we’re better together.


After the keynote, we headed into various CLE and professional development/leadership sessions such as Bankruptcy, Litigation and the Use of Social Media, and Cultivating Leadership to name a few.  We had several other exciting, entertaining, and informative sessions over the next few days.  We also enjoyed a superhero-themed event sponsored by the NALS Foundation where we met some superheroes we already knew and quite a few new superheroes. 


Lastly, just before we wrapped up the conference with our inspiration station and closing session, we awarded the NALS Award of Excellence to Debra Taylor, PP, PLS, and acknowledged and thanked the Norfolk Education Task Force chair, Tara Jean Brown, and her committee for putting together great education.


While 2017 has been a fantastic year, we have some amazing events coming in 2018, starting off with the NALS 2018 Virtual Leadership Course and Education Series in March; Adventure Tulsa, April 6-7, 2018; Leadership Appreciation Day, July 5, 2018; and the NALS 67th Annual Education and Networking Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, September 20-22, 2018. View our events online at NALS.org/Events.


We hope to see you in 2018!

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July 2017: Have You Joined A Section?

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

NALS Networking and Specialty SectionAs you have undoubtedly heard, NALS…the association for legal professionals (NALS) celebrated its 88th birthday on July 5th with our Leadership Appreciation Day.  Thank you to everyone who registered for this event.  We loved seeing all of the notes in my Facebook feed about the people who received their pins and cards from NALS.  While many things have changed since NALS was started in 1929, a couple of things remain consistent.  One – our members are our most important asset, and two – we work hard to move with the needs of our industry.  Without these two things, NALS would not have stayed around for the last 88 years.


One of the ways that NALS is working toward becoming the association of the future is making sure that we are helping our members have the information they need at their fingertips.  The NALS Networking and Specialty Sections that you have read and heard about are one of the many stepping stones in this never-ending quest to make sure our members have resources that they need to succeed in their jobs.


Currently, we have the following interactive sections for members:

- Criminal Law – hosted by Robert Harmon, PP.  

- Corporate Law – hosted by Carl Morrison, PP-SC, RP, AACP.

- Real Estate – hosted by Lisa Cadungug, PP, PLS. 


The Criminal, Corporate, and Real Estate sections are interactive sections meant to be a place where members who work, or are just interested in, these areas can go to get the latest information, help from a fellow NALS pal regarding a situation, and discuss items that come up in your workday.  Not only will the section hosts be posting information in these groups, the members of these sections are encouraged to post information, ask questions, and help each other survive!  In fact, in the Criminal section, Robert has developed a couple of fun items already.  First, he has Topic Tuesday, where he posts information and hosts a discussion about a case or criminal law topics.  Robert has also introduced Podcast Fridays.  The podcasts he shares have either an interesting story or informative topic. 


NALS also currently has two additional sections that are the beginnings of one-stop resources for those members who work in multiple city, county, and/or state jurisdictions.  These sections will be a never-ending work in progress, but here is a sample of what can be currently found in these sections.


- Resource: Courts In All 50 States – being managed by NALS.  The cost to join this section is $20 a year.

- State Court Resources: Here you will find Court forms and instructions

- State Constitution and Legislation Information

- Judiciary Links For The State: Here you will find links to Court Rules, Court Opinions, and other information from the judiciary for the state

- Regulations and State Agency Information

- Additional State Resources: such as the Attorney General, State Government, Law Library, and Bar Association.


This section is a true work in progress.  Soon NALS will be adding county information for each state.  Members of this section are welcome and encouraged to let us know the links/companies/resources that they use in their state and county, as well as those that they run when they have to navigate into new jurisdictions.  Chances are if they need/use a resource, other members will need to use that information too.


We would like to give a shout out to all of Amylyn's students this quarter for helping add to the county information to the Courts In All 50 States Section.  Your hard work will be added to the sections in the appropriate states in the very near future.


Resource: Federal Courts – being managed by NALS. The cost to join this section is $10 a year.


This section, like the State Resources section, is all things for federal courts.  It too is a work in progress.  To those of you who practice in federal court, we would love to hear what other resources/information you would like to see included in this section.


Joining one, or all, of these sections is easy.  Just:

  1. Sign into your NALS account at NALS.org/Login
  2. Go to NALS.org/Sections and click on the sections you would like to join
  3. Put the desired section into your cart and check out
  4. Be sure to check that you have received the confirmation email, because this is where NALS will send the final notice that you have been added to the section. If you do not receive your confirmation email, send an email to communications@NALS.orgYou will receive that notice within 48 hours of purchase.

Once you are a member of any Section, here is how you access that group:

  1. Sign into your NALS account at NALS.org/Login
  2. Click on Groups in the top menu
  3. Click on the section and see what is new, post questions/information, etc.

Finally, NALS is in the process of adding more sections, but we want to hear from you as to which sections you would like to have added.  Contact us at board@NALS.org to let us know what you would like to see as future sections.


See one of our amazing volunteers post and follow us on Instagram. . .


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What's New at NALS?

Posted By NALS Board of Directors, Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Updated: Friday, June 23, 2017

Are you taking advantage of new and exciting member benefits being offered? NALS has made a big push to update and improve member benefits. We recognize times are changing and we refuse to be left behind. You, of course, are invited along for the ride! As an organization, we know our most valuable assets are our members. We strive to provide content and services which allow you to engage with fellow members, inspire you to reach for more knowledge of the legal field, enhance your experience as legal professionals, and promote your specialized skills to current and future employers.



Connect with your NALS Pals (explore #NALSPALS) on a platform that looks and feels like social media outlets we use every day. Our new environment allows you to expand your relationships with and easily connect to other members. You can now share articles, register for conferences, access your Professional Development Journal, catch up on the latest news, and offer encouragement to your community in an arena you will find familiar.

There are a couple of ways to access the new platform:

  • Desktop:  Log in to NALS.org just as you always have and then select “My Profile.” You will find a much more user-friendly experience, allowing you to connect to your NALS Pals.
  • Mobile: Additionally, you can search for and download the SocialLink app from the iPhone or Android app store. Use your NALS.org log-in credentials to access this new platform.

@NALSorg on Instagram

NALS has a new Instagram account. It is graduation season and we are reaching out to new members of the legal community to offer our congratulations. Join us in showing the Instagram community how much support NALS members have to offer. Follow us @NALSorg.

 NALS Networking, Specialty, and Resource Sections

You asked for it! Sections are here!! You are now able to connect to people and content geared specifically to the practice area you are in or any practice area you are interested in exploring. Section subscriptions start as low as $10 for one year of access. Currently the Corporate Law, Criminal Law, and Real Estate sections are live and ready for you to subscribe. Be on the lookout as more sections roll out in the coming months. Visit: NALS.org/Sections


The Basic Legal Training Course—Online!

The Basic Legal Training Course has been revamped and will soon be accessible to members and nonmembers in a new online format. For years this course has assisted individuals in acquiring the skills necessary to become viable legal support professionals. The objective of the online course is to provide access to updated education and study materials so members and nonmembers can prepare for the Accredited Legal Professional certification exam.

Online Exams

NALS is close to launching online exams. Soon you will have the ability to take certification exams from the comfort of your home or office. Why get certified? You will be verifying your skills and demonstrating your knowledge of the legal support practice. This will naturally lead to unlocking new opportunities. Mock Exams are already available for all current members, future members, and students.


NALS 2017 Virtual . . . Education Series: CLE still available online!

It is not too late to take advantage of the 2017 Virtual Leadership Course and Education Series. This virtual conference allows you to take advantage of education and leadership training on your schedule. Find out what everyone has been talking about. Links: Education Sessions | Leadership Course

National Conference

Our 66th Annual Education and Networking Conference is fast approaching. Early bird registration ends July 1, 2017. The conference will be in the beautiful city of Norfolk, Virginia, October 4-7. We are proud to present Cheryl Wood as our keynote speaker. You do not want to miss this! Register today!

Webinars and Online CLE

Be sure to review the catalog of online webinars and education series in our OnDemand Library and NALS.org/Store. You have access to 60+ webinars and 100+ presentations and handouts from our most popular conference sessions—most of which are free to you as a NALS member.

These are just a few of the benefits afforded NALS members. NALS is the only place you will find so many resources in one location for legal support professionals. In the real world employers will not provide you with assistance in getting through a tough project; they expect you to just get it done. Let NALS help.

If you are not seeing content that would benefit your career, let us know! We are your professional organization. We are here to work for you.


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Amylyn Riedling PP PLS-SC2019 NALS Board of Directors
Nakia A. Bradley-Lawson2019 NALS Board of Directors

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