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What Happens After You Reach The Top? A Career in NALS and Beyond

Posted By Allison Streepey, B.A., CRS, PLS, Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2019

Patti Infanti, PP, PLS, Legal Administrative Assistant for Ballard Spahr LLP, has been a legal professional most of her life and a member of NALS since 1995.   In this time she has served in high capacity in her local and state chapters and for all members through NALS national task forces and boards. You can see her natural talents coming out from her service to NALS. In her local chapter, NALS of Philadelphia, Patti served as President twice, First Vice President/Membership Chair twice, PLS Study Group Chair, Bulletin Editor, and Website Chair.  For the state chapter, NALS of Pennsylvania, Patti served as President, President-Elect, Parliamentarian, First Vice President/Membership Chair, Reporter Editor, and Website Chair.  For the national level of NALS, Patti Infanti has been President, President-Elect, Secretary-Treasurer, and Education Director. Patti says the highlight of her leadership service to NALS was winning the 2005 Award of Excellence and taking the oath of office as NALS 2010-2011 President.  The highlight of her career in NALS was “passing the PLS Exam and becoming a NALS member.”

Life has been full for Patti Infanti, and even though her NALS career is continuing, she somehow found the time to start her own daily money management business. “Though I have since closed the business, it was an interesting and enlightening experience.”  She also was the Managing Editor of the Paralegal Today magazine.  I had the good fortune of meeting Patti at one of the Regional Meetings and had a million questions for her.  Here is what she said recently:

NALS Career 

Why Did You Join NALS?

I was teaching an Adult Education Legal Secretary course and the textbook being used mentioned NALS and the PLS Exam. I contacted NALS and obtained information about the PLS Exam. I studied using borrowed books and passed the two-day, seven-part exam on the first try.  After that, I was invited by the Philadelphia Chapter to attend their annual Installation of Officers. I was so impressed with the leadership and professionalism of the officers and members, I joined. The rest is history. 

How does your membership in NALS assist you in your career?

Being a member of NALS and, in particular, attending national events has given me the ability to think beyond my little corner of the world and see the big picture. Being active in NALS can help you understand client issues and business decisions law firms make, how to think ahead and to be prepared for possibilities that could present during a case, and furthers excellence in the legal profession.

What has been your favorite event, service, task in the local and state NALS chapters?  

Website Chair for both NALS of Philadelphia and NALS of Pennsylvania, as well as Parliamentarian for NALS of Pennsylvania.  I also enjoyed being editor of the Bulletin for NALS of Philadelphia and the Reporter for NALS of Pennsylvania.

What were the best fundraiser and membership events?  

Breast Cancer Awareness Secretarial Tea; Secretaries Night Out networking events. 

How about networking – do you have NALS pals that you hang out with?  

Without a doubt, networking with other NALS members, no matter what the Forum, is my favorite activity.  There is a core group of NALS of Philadelphia members who participate in nearly every local and NALS of Pennsylvania event, so we all hang out together.  At national conferences, I catch up with many, many NALS members from across the country.

Who, in NALS, has been your role model? 

My first role models were Janet Greco, PLS, and Beth Cummings, PLS, here in Philadelphia.  They were my early mentors too!  Also, many of our past presidents who exude professionalism, showing me the way.

Do you have a favorite memory from a National NALS event? 

I have so many wonderful memories from NALS national events. Winning the 2005 Award of Excellence ranks as one; taking the oath of office as NALS 2010-11 President is another.  Other than those, (i) being dressed as W.C. Fields at the 2011 Conference in Irvine, California (individual members, chapters, states, or regions made donations to dress any member for a NALS Red Carpet Foundation event); (ii) traveling around Oregon on a bus to visit the Multnomah Falls and Mount Hood (and stopping at a cute little general store along the way); (iii) visiting oh-so-many regions, states, and chapters and meeting so many NALS members during my term as President; 

What is your greatest accomplishment in NALS, besides being President?

Early in my NALS “career,” I was the Philadelphia Chapter’s PLS Study Group Chair.  As Chair, I was thrilled to write an article about the benefits of NALS certifications and invite area legal secretaries to attend an information meeting.  The Philadelphia Chapter’s Study Group was structured in such a way that those studying could easily become members.  We had a large crowd at the information meeting, resulting in nearly 20 participants in the Study Group who also became members.  The Study Group was so successful that it won the Founder’s Award (Jett Awards) that year.  It was thrilling!

What has NALS given you?

A clear sense of my contribution to the legal services community; a real sense of professionalism; and a desire for excellence in my career and life.

What would you tell a new member of NALS?

NALS is the single most important, career-altering decision you will ever make for yourself, and getting head over heels involved with NALS is exhilarating and satisfying as you watch your hard work blossom to fruition.  Join and get involved!  

Professional and Personal Life

Do you have a favorite part of your job?

Don’t laugh --- I LOVE making huge documents “pretty.”  I know many people have difficulties understanding Microsoft Word, but I actually enjoy implementing styles to make documents look their best.

How do you spend your spare time?

I sing in my church choir (I am no soloist, but I love to sing); I am a Stephen Ministry Leader; I’m in the process of little-by-little cleaning out the clutter and updating my house.  I also love jigsaw puzzles which I play on my tablet – it’s so relaxing.

I love the Clan of the Cave Bear series of books by Jean Auel.  I have them all and re-read them periodically.

Who (a living person) inspires you the most? 

My sons inspire me.  They are so smart and interesting – I keep asking myself, “When did this happen?  When did they get so grown and wise?”

Do you do any volunteer work?

As I mentioned, I am a Stephen Ministry Leader tasked with building parish awareness of the Ministry, training Stephen Ministers, meeting with care receivers (those people who are ministered to), organizing the twice per month meetings, counseling the Stephen Ministers to keep everyone on track, and a host of other things that go along with that.  

Do you have a favorite project? 

Right now decluttering and updating my home is my favorite project.

Do you have interesting hobbies or plans for the future? 

I will do a little traveling soon, but currently, the church choir and Stephen Ministry is about all I can handle at this time.  

Patti has experienced many of the best and worst experiences that life has to offer.  2018 was a tumultuous year for her and her family.  Her childhood sweetheart husband, Mike, passed away in April.  Two months later, their son Anthony was ordained as a Catholic priest.  Just before Thanksgiving, their other son, Joseph, married Alexis—the daughter she always wanted. Note that, through it all, she continues her service to others through her ministry – in life and in NALS.


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Susan J. Mano says...
Posted Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Patti has always been a person you could go to for help in anything mostly work things for me her friendship and honesty means a lot too many.
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