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I Am Eula Mae

Posted By Kathy Sieckman, PP, PLS-SC, ACP, Tuesday, December 12, 2017

I Am Eula MaeWhile we were at the NALS Conference in Norfolk, Virginia, this past October, one of the things the Board brought up was a future campaign using the hashtag “#IAmEulaMae.” This hit my heart straight on and I was overcome with emotion, excitement, and enthusiasm about the Board’s vision using that hashtag. The more I thought about it once the Conference was over, the more I realized that the many, many years of my NALS membership, the certifications I have earned, the leadership positions I have held, and the truly amazing people I have had the opportunity to meet all meant that I am NALS. I am the legal support profession. I am Eula Mae.


In 1929, Eula Mae Jett was a legal secretary in Long Beach, California. As she was filing something with the court one day, the clerk mentioned to her that she and her friends should get together and figure out the court rules and how to correctly file things. This seemed to spark something in Eula Mae and she did gather her colleagues to meet to discuss things impacting their career. As word of the success of these meetings spread across the country, other chapters were started. Twenty years later, NALS was born to bring these groups together for state, regional, and national meetings. This was the beginning of networking and education for legal support professionals across the country.


Eula Mae epitomizes a legal support professional who was proud of her career, who was interested in learning as much as she could to improve her career, who loved what she did, and who made new friends and acquaintances she could call on with questions to help her do her job even better. Eula Mae obviously didn’t just have a job—she had a career and obviously it was a career she was very proud of.


I never had the opportunity to meet Eula Mae, but I find many similarities in our parallel lives.


Eula Mae was employed in the legal field. I’ve been employed in the legal field since 1980.


Eula Mae filed documents in court. I’ve physically filed documents in court.


Eula Mae met with other legal secretaries to learn things to help her career. I’ve attended meetings and conferences across Arizona and the US since 1985 that have undoubtedly helped my career.


Eula Mae’s vision created an association that saw the value of certification. I see the value of certification.


Eula Mae was proud of her career. I am proud of my career.


Eula Mae wore dresses, stockings, heels, and gloves every day to work on her typewriter without fax machines, photocopiers, email, internet, webinars, college paralegal courses, and electronic court filing. And that’s where the similarities end, although I did work with a fancier wardrobe and did work without fax machines, email, and internet.


So even though I now work with all the conveniences of the modern law office, I still feel the spirit of Eula Mae. Her vision that became NALS has changed my life. Has it changed yours? I truly believe that Eula Mae lives in every NALS Member. That spirit is why we’re all NALS Members. This is the introductory article in a series that will continue with different ways the Spirit of Eula Mae lives on in NALS and in each of us. So take a deep breath, think about how much like Eula Mae you really are, and be proud of this career you’ve chosen. #IAmEulaMae

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