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Bullying in the Workplace: Identifying the Types—Have You Met One?

Posted By Charlene Sabini, CLP, ALP, Friday, November 18, 2016

Bullying in the WorkplaceIs there currently a U.S. law against workplace bullying?


No.
The United States is last among the industrialized western democracies. The U.S. completely ignores workplace bullying in its vast collection of laws.

Is there a law in my state?


No.
No state has an anti-bullying law for the workplace. Remember, there is a big difference between having a bill or bills introduced (potential laws), compared to laws that have been passed by both houses in the state legislature and signed into law by the governor.[1]

These are questions and answers we do not want to see. But we do.

So, don’t we already have federal employment discrimination laws that might also cover bullying? In only 20% of cases do our anti-discrimination laws actually apply. This is difficult to understand. In order to claim sexual harassment, racial discrimination, or hostile work environment, the recipient of the mistreatment must be a member of a protected status group (based on gender, race, disability, ethnicity, religion, etc.). For example, a white female bullied by a white female (or a man of color bullied by another man of color) are not protected. “Technically, bullying is a form of violence—certainly verbal, but non-physical. One of our preferred synonyms for workplace bullying is ‘psychological violence.’ However, violence policies and laws always focus on the acts and threats of physical violence—striking someone (battery), or threatening someone so that they fear being physically hurt (assault). The one exception is the inclusion of verbal abuse in violence policies. So bullying that is verbal, but not physical, is completely legal.”[2]

Let’s further define this kind of bullying:  workplace bullying is a repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons by one or more aggressors. It is clearly abusive conduct that is threatening, intimidating, or humiliating. It can also be interference with one’s work or sabotaging of one’s work, as well as various kinds of verbal abuse.[3]

It is often about control—control of the targeted person, not unlike domestic violence. It can be an act of commission or omission (withholding vital resources from the targeted person). It can escalate to involve others, and it ultimately undermines legitimate business interests when the bully’s personal agenda supersedes the work itself.[4]

The specific types of workplace bullying are many and often terrifying. One category is Threats to Personal Standing and can include:

  • Spreading rumors, hurtful gossip, or innuendos
  • Yelling, name-calling, mocking, insulting, or ridiculing
  • Unwanted physical contact or physical gestures that intimidate or threaten
  • Invalid or baseless criticism
  • Accusatory or threatening statements
  • Faultfinding or unwarranted blaming
  • Displaying offensive photos or objects
  • Temper tantrums, mood swings, or shouting
  • Humiliation, public reprimands, or obscene language
  • Ganging up against a coworker
  • Aggressive posturing

Another category is Threats to Professional Standing and can include:

  • Denying access to resources, assignments, projects, or opportunities
  • Stealing or taking credit for another’s work
  • Interfering with someone’s work performance
  • Failing to return phone calls or messages
  • Little or no feedback on performance
  • Withholding information essential to perform one’s job
  • Toxic emails
  • Flaunting status

Yet another is Control or Manipulation Tactics:

  • Failing to invite someone to an essential meeting
  • Threatening job loss
  • Excessive monitoring or micromanagement
  • Assigning tasks that cannot be completed by deadline; setting unrealistic goals
  • Interference or sabotage
  • Ignoring a coworker with the intent to harm or control
  • Treating a worker differently than peers and coworkers
  • Ostracism, isolation, dissociation, or exclusion from others
  • Refusal to take responsibility
  • Excessive, impossible, conflicting work expectations or demands
  • Inequitable and harsh treatment
  • Other objectionable behavior designed to torment, isolate, pester, or abuse

Example:  Angela:  Fired by a Bully

“I worked for the Law School Admission Counsel, the company which administers the LSAT. My boss never liked me and why she hired me is still unclear. She bullied me extensively, yelling at me in front of my coworkers, threatening my job privately in her office, and discouraging alliances with coworkers. She treated people similarly in other departments, yelling at them in meetings. I tried to appease her until she threatened my job . . .”[5]

And it is not unusual that the company bullies are visible to other employees in the company. They are the proverbial “elephants in the room,” not unlike perpetrators of domestic violence. In their battering way, bullies minimize, deny, sidetrack, and blame their targets, hoping to avoid accountability for their actions.[6]

Anton Hout, founder of OvercomeBullying.org, identifies eight bully types:

  1. The Screaming Mimi. This is the most easily recognizable type of workplace bully. Screaming Mimis are loud and obnoxious, and their abusive behavior is meant to berate and humiliate people. They thrive on the notion that others fear them.
  2. The Two-Headed Snake. To a coworker’s face, this employee acts like a trusted friend or colleague. However, when the coworker is out of earshot, this person will destroy his colleague’s reputation, stab him in the back, and even take credit for his work.
  3. The Constant Critic. This bully’s goal is to dismantle other people’s confidence through constant—and often unwarranted—criticism. A critic will look for any possible flaw in someone’s work and labors tirelessly to kill that person’s credibility. Impeccable work? No problem:  this type of bully is not above falsifying documents or creating evidence to make others look bad.
  4. The Gatekeeper. Every office has at least one employee who gets off on wielding his or her power over others—regardless of whether that power is real or perceived. Gatekeepers deny people the tools they need—whether it is resources, time, or information—to do their jobs efficiently.
  5. The Attention Seeker. This type of bully wants to be the center of the action at all times. They will try to get on their superior’s good side through consistent flattery and even come on as kind and helpful to their peers—especially the newer employees. However, if coworkers do not provide the right amount of attention, these bullies can quickly turn on them.

    Attention seekers are often overly dramatic and relate everything to something that is going wrong in their own lives to garner sympathy and control. These bullies also have a tendency to coax personal info out of new employees—only to use it against them later.
  6. The Wannabe. This is an employee who sees himself or herself as absolutely indispensable and expects recognition for everything. But Wannabes are not usually very good at their jobs. To compensate, these bullies spend a majority of their time watching more competent workers and looking for areas of skilled workers’ performance to complain about.

    Wannabes will demand that everything is done their way—even when there are better ways of doing things. Because they are automatically opposed to others’ ideas, they will do everything in their power to prevent changes to their work processes.
  7. The Guru. Generally, there is nothing wrong with this bully’s work performance. In fact, it is not unusual for a Guru to be considered an expert in his or her own niche area. What these bullies offer in technical skill, however, they severely lack in emotional maturity.

    Gurus see themselves as being superior to their coworkers. As a result, they do not consider how their actions will affect others, are not able to fathom the possibility that they can be wrong, and do not accept responsibility for their own actions. In addition, because these bullies feel as though they are “above it all,” they do not always feel compelled to follow the same rules as everybody else.
  8. The Sociopath. Intelligent, well-spoken, charming, and charismatic, sociopaths are the most destructive bullies of all. Reason: They have absolutely no empathy for others, yet they are experts at manipulating the emotions of others in order to get what they want.

    These bullies often rise to positions of power within the company, which makes them extremely dangerous. Sociopaths tend to surround themselves with a circle of lackeys who are willing to do their dirty work in exchange for moving up the ranks with them.

The best defense a company can have against workplace bullying is a clearly worded policy that prohibits any type of bullying behavior.[7]

Clearly, workplace bullying can take many forms and wear many guises—all unpleasant and all destructive. There is no federal law that applies to bullying specifically. In some cases, when bullying is based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or religion, “bullying” overlaps with harassment and schools are legally obligated to address it. Here in Oregon matters of workplace bullying overlap somewhat with bullying phenomena primarily at schools and universities:  the terms used in the Oregon anti-bullying laws include harassment, intimidation, or bullying, and this covers cyberbullying as well. The following groups are listed under Oregon educational anti-bullying law:  race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, familial status, disability, and source of income.

“Although a number of states have considered anti-bullying legislation, none has yet to pass such a law. That does not necessarily mean bullying is legal in every situation, however. Bullying is illegal when it violates federal or state laws prohibiting discrimination and harassment in the workplace.” (These laws protect employees from harassment based on the previously mentioned characteristics.) “If a workplace bully is targeting an employee based on a protected characteristic which could qualify as illegal harassment, the employee would have a ‘hostile work environment’ claim if the unwelcome conduct is severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would find it to be offensive, hostile, or abusive. To date, neither federal law nor the law of any state prohibits workplace bullying outright.”[8]

 


  1. http://www.healthyworkplacebill.org/faq.php, The Healthy Workplace Bill, by Gary Namie, Director, last viewed October 22, 2016

  2. Ibid.

  3. http://www.workplacebullying.org/individuals/problem/definition/

  4. Ibid.

  5. https://www.thebalance.com/types-of-bullying-2164322, Sally Kane, July 25, 2016, last viewed October 22, 2016

  6. Ibid.

  7. http://www.hrmorning.com/8-workplace-bully-personality-types/, Tim Gould, July 19, 2016;  last viewed October 22, 2016

  8. http://labor-employment-law.lawyers.com/employment-discrimination/workplace-bullying-the-meanest-of-the-mean.html, Lisa Guerin, J.D., Boalt Hall at the University of California at Berkeley, last viewed October 23, 2016


Charlene Sabini, CLP, ALP, is legal assistant for attorney David Vill in juvenile law matters in Eugene, Oregon. She is Director of Education for her local chapter, NALS of Lane County in Eugene, and has enthusiastically occupied that position for over four years. She is editor of her chapter’s bimonthly newsletter, NALS in Motion, which has been published unfailingly for nearly four years. She has earned three successive NALS CLE Awards and plans to sit for the PP exam in March 2017. She is a proofreader on the NALS Editorial Board and has contributed articles/essays for the NALS docket and @Law. Charlene is an affiliate member of the Lane County Bar Association and was responsible for initiating that level of membership with the bar for nonlawyers in 2014. She also petitioned the Oregon State Bar Association to allow guest speaking attorneys at nonlawyer education meetings to receive CLE credit (which was formerly not allowed in Oregon) and was successful. She is also a 13-year volunteer with the Lane County Sheriff’s Office in Eugene, has served as the county sheriff’s newsletter editor, and is currently serving as the county jail librarian. The Oregon State Sheriff’s Association/Jail Command Council awarded Ms. Sabini the Jail Volunteer of the Year award in 2009.

Tags:  legal  legal assistant  legal career  legal education  legal job skills  legal jobs  legal office  legal professional  legal professional training  nals  office procedures  paralegal  paralegal office 

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Ask Eula Mae: Work v. Law School Decision

Posted By NALS Editorial Board, Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Ask Eula MaeDear Eula Mae:

I have an ALP certificate and work part time for an attorney as an office clerk but lack the hours needed for a four-year law study program in lieu of going to law school.  Most of my duties are as a personal assistant and I do not have much to do.  I am taking the Multi-State Professional Exam (MPRE) this week “just for fun.”  How do I get my foot in the door without much legal experience?  Should I bite the bullet and go to law school or stay on my current path and hope to find work in a more robust office?

New Hampshire Newbie


 

Dear New Hampshire Newbie:

Well, you have a lot going on and a lot of questions!  This is good!  There are several things in your letter to consider:  (1) you need hours for a four-year law study program, (2) you need more to do in your job, (3) it sounds like you really want to work in a law office, and (4) you are trying to decide whether or not to go to law school.  Let’s take these one at a time.  

  1. You need hours for a four-year law study program.  Are you in college or looking for certification hours?  Either way, if you love the law, you can find classes to attend through professional organizations such as NALS, technical schools, or online classes at your local university.  

  2. In your current job, start with the boss.  The boss needs to know you need more to do and you are willing to learn.  Bosses are a great resource for legal professionals for career ideas and maybe as a mentor.  You could interview the boss about his experience in law school.

  3. If your goal is to work in a law office, there is much to learn right where you are.  If you have exhausted the resources there (after talking with the boss, of course), then it might be time to move on to a busier office.  Legal work can take place in many areas.  You can work directly for an attorney at hospitals, corporate offices, title companies, insurance companies, utility companies, etc.  As your own research project to help you decide your next step, it might be good to look at other areas that have legal assistants.

  4. A big decision such as whether or not to go to law school is not one to make quickly.  There are many reasons for this and the main one is to absolutely know why you want to go to law school.  It is a big commitment.  First, you will have to finish your undergraduate degree and then secure the funding to pay for law school.  This is a job in itself.  Then you will need to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).  All of this could take some time, but that is really not a problem because you can go to school any time in your life.

 

What makes your main question difficult is the fact that there are so many options!  Now, how to make a big decision:  make a comparison chart with a list of what you could do (law school v. legal assistant, paralegal certification, etc.).  For each item, make columns of time involved, resources available and needed, costs, and list the positives and negatives of each.  You have plenty of time to decide.  You can always go to law school and working as a legal assistant until you are ready will better prepare you for law school.  The real answer to your question is for you to follow your heart.  You will be fine whatever you choose to do.

 

Eula Mae Jett

 

Submit Your Questions To Ask Eula Mae By Clicking Here.

 

 

Tags:  ask eula mae  legal  legal education  legal job skills  legal jobs  legal professional  paralegal 

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Your Chapter—Your Message

Posted By Charlene Sabini, PLS, ALP, Monday, September 5, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Your Chapter - Your MessageYou have a local NALS chapter. Your chapter has members, scheduled events, education classes, enjoyable projects, fund-raisers, you-name-it. And you are proud of your local chapter. So, then, who knows about you? Probably just your local members. Unless . . . you publish a chapter newsletter!

 

Oh, and do not worry about the expense of printing such a thing. The electronic world and the Internet have so completely changed our marketing, promotion, and advertising options that producing and distributing something like a newsletter is now virtually cost free!

 

The mechanics of creating a newsletter are exquisitely simple really. Just decide what to put in it and start writing. It can be a project initiated and completed by one person in your membership, a small group project, or a board of directors project. Ultimately, one person will need to coordinate and finalize the contents and design it. But, again, there is nothing difficult in doing this.

 

You are stumped for design ideas? Content? Hmm. No problem. Just research other NALS chapter newsletters for their look, their content, their frequency of publication. Better still, research beyond that for newsletters from other industry groups for style and design. You will find dozens and dozens to choose from. Perhaps your local utility companies issue newsletters or some state agency does the same. Or perhaps a local charitable agency does so. Many of them might likely be online, so you can easily research them from the comfort of your own computer. Pick up printed newsletters wherever you see them. They are very useful resources.

 

Your content can easily comprise (1) what your local NALS chapter is doing, (2) who your local members are and what their personalities and community activities are all about, (3) what your state NALS organization might be doing, and (4) guest columnists with educational or interesting articles that would benefit readers. And lots, lots more. Just look at what our national NALS docket has been doing for so long electronically. The NALS docket is a typically good example of relevant content. But be sure to examine what other newsletters contain too. Those are your real-life examples that may be worth emulating.

 

You also have the privilege of creating your own mailing list and sending your newsletter to whomever you please. I actually created our mailing list from scratch. It started with about 600 recipients and is now hovering at about 900. Admittedly this mailing list creation was the publishing element that took a little time and patience, but it was the only way to develop the mailing list—one that targets attorneys, judges, and their support staff. What made my list creation easier was access to a local printed directory of all attorneys, judges, and other legal community references which is published annually by an independent process serving company. I simply entered them one by one, but you can create a list from scratch any way you please. 

 

You can publish your newsletter as frequently or as infrequently as you wish. Ours goes out without fail every other month on the first day of those months. We have not missed a publication date since we began the project in August 2012. Some NALS chapters publish every month; others only quarterly. It is your choice. Our local newsletter, NALS in Motion, began as a humble two-page affair, and quickly ballooned into a nine-page extravaganza. We have received numerous compliments on the format and content and gratitude for putting our chapter on the map nationally. And that is a major point: putting your chapter’s profile before the public eye on a consistent and regular basis! What our newsletter has done for our local chapter’s membership levels—and attendance at our monthly education meetings—has been noteworthy, to say the least. We have developed a reputation for consistency, quality, and content. And people are paying attention to it.

 

I will admit there are a number of software types that could be used for your newsletter production—even MSWord—but I have used MS PowerPoint as a design foundation for years. The flexibility in PowerPoint is delightful and the application is more powerful than ever (I am using MSOffice 2013 applications). When I am finished creating the PowerPoint file, I simply use Adobe Acrobat to convert the file to a PDF that nearly anyone can receive without difficulty or distortions, and it can be attached to email messages with ease.

 

Newsletters work! They really do. The electronic option is nearly limitless. Do you have a creative person in your chapter who needs an outlet for their talents? There is your editor. A well-edited newsletter will offer a valuable visual profile to your chapter and may start a chain reaction in your area—or across the country—if your newsletter is seen by others who were looking for just such inspiration. Newsletters can be growth enhancers for your chapter. That alone is reason enough to initiate one.

 

Your chapter has a character and an image, whether you realize it or not at the moment. It is your privilege to tell everyone how alive your chapter is! Do not hesitate to give your chapter a national image with its own dynamic newsletter!


 

Charlene Sabini, PLS, ALP, is legal assistant for attorney David Vill in juvenile law matters in Eugene, Oregon. She is Director of Education for her local chapter, NALS of Lane County in Eugene, and has enthusiastically occupied that position for over four years. She is editor of her chapter’s bimonthly newsletter, NALS in Motion, which has been published unfailingly for nearly four years. She has earned three successive NALS CLE Awards and plans to sit for the PP exam in September 2016. She is a proofreader on the NALS Editorial Board and has contributed articles for the NALS docket and @Law. Charlene is an affiliate member of the Lane County Bar Association and was responsible for initiating that level of membership with the bar for nonlawyers in 2014. She also petitioned the Oregon State Bar Association to allow guest speaking attorneys at nonlawyer education meetings to receive CLE credit (which was formerly not allowed in Oregon) and was successful. She is also a 13-year volunteer with the Lane County Sheriff’s Office in Eugene, has served as the county sheriff’s newsletter editor, and is currently serving as the county jail librarian. The Oregon State Sheriff’s Association/Jail Command Council awarded Ms. Sabini the Jail Volunteer of the Year award in 2009.


Tags:  administrative  legal education  legal professional  nals chapters  paralegal 

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Career Corner: Workplace Bullying

Posted By Tashania Morris, MSHRM, ALS, CDF, CPC, Monday, August 22, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Career Corner - Workplace BullyingWorkplace bullying is a serious problem which affects many individuals on a daily basis.  Sometimes people are not even aware that they are being bullied or are too afraid to speak up out of fear of being fired.  Did you know that workplace bullying can have a direct impact on your work performance and can hinder your career?  It is defined as a “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators.  It is abusive conduct . . .” (http://www.workplacebullying.org/).  We can all agree that kids in school should not be bullied; however, it is constantly tolerated in an office.  Listed below are some traits of abusive conduct:

  • Threatening, humiliating, or intimidating, or
  • Work interference—sabotage—which prevents work from getting done, or
  • Verbal abuse

(http://www.workplacebullying.org/)

 

No one should have to go to work every day being afraid of what might happen, work in fear of making a mistake, and worry about losing their job. 

 

How Can You Identify Workplace Bullying? 

 

Sometimes it is easy to spot workplace bullying.  It may be the boss who constantly yells at his legal secretary and belittles her/him.  It is ostracizing an employee at work simply because he or she is a bit different.  It is throwing things, withholding resources, gossiping, and sabotaging someone’s work. Sometimes it is hard to identify when you are being bullied.  After all, we are all adults and bullying is for kids, right?  Wrong.  I once worked at a firm where most of the paralegals had been at the firm since its inception and they felt there was little or no space for newbies.  They would groan and moan loudly about the growth of the firm and reminisce about the days when the firm was much smaller.  My department was new and consisted of another young lady and me.  Upon being hired, we expressed our interest relatively early about how we would love to learn and grow with the firm.   


The attorney loved our enthusiasm and began inviting us to the paralegal meetings so we would feel a part of the team.  I remember going to one of the meetings and hearing one of the paralegals whisper loudly to the next, “What are they doing here?  They are not paralegals.”  An awkward silence followed.  Most of the time we would ignore the comments.  We did not want to lose the opportunity we were given and, most of all, we were young, inexperienced, and needed the money.  I remember asking questions and being told, “You did not learn that in paralegal school” or “You cannot print over here” simply because the printer we were using was broken and we had to print somewhere.  We had to get the work done even if it meant listening to someone complain the entire time we were using “their” printer.  Eventually the way we were being treated was brought to the attorneys’ attention and a meeting was held.  As a result, we were often given the cold shoulder.  My coworker decided to quit before the 90-day probation period was over.  It was not an environment in which she felt she could thrive.  I stayed a little while longer because I kept looking at the bigger picture and eventually the rude comments occurred less frequently and the working environment changed for the better.  They had to accept the fact that the firm was growing and there was nothing they could do about it. 


Statistics show that:

  • 49% of adult Americans have been bullied or witnessed it.
  • 80% of bullying is legal, but still occurs.
  • 72% of bullies outrank their targets.

(Healthy Workplace Bill)

 

Physical Impact of Bullying


Bullying in the workplace not only affects your career, but it also affects your health.  Bullying may cause serious health issues including, but not limited to, anxiety, stress, and panic attacks.  If an employee already has serious medical conditions, having to cope with a stressful work environment can be deadly.  Due to the high stress they are experiencing, an employee could suffer a stroke or a heart attack as a result of being bullied at work. 


Bullying can impact someone’s work, causing them to lose their job.  If a person is being ostracized and not given any work, ultimately this will affect their work morale.  If employees are constantly being belittled, they feel they are not good enough and may start producing less out of fear of making a mistake or being yelled at.  They may not volunteer, speak up, or share ideas as frequently because doing so may get a reaction from the bully they are trying so desperately to avoid—especially if the person hates conflict or is extremely introverted. 


Not only does bullying impact the worker, but it also affects the company’s bottom line.  If a manager has a bad temperament, very few people will want to work with that individual.  The team will constantly have a high turnover until something is done about the manager’s behavior.  The cost of absenteeism will increase because the employees do not enjoy being at work and in the hostile environment that the bully has created.  Absenteeism can account for a loss in productivity.  Bullying can cost the company a lot of money because the employee who is being affected might need to go to the doctor more frequently.  Stress affects the body in a number of different ways.  It pays to have a healthy working environment where people enjoy coming to work and getting the job done.


Workplace Bully Institute found that:

  • 27% have current or past direct experience with abusive conduct at work.
  • 72% of the American public are aware of workplace bullying.
  • Bosses are still the majority of bullies.
  • 72% of employers deny, discount, encourage, rationalize, or defend it.
  • 93% of respondents support enactment of the Healthy Workplace Bill.

How to Deal With a Bully

 

It is important to bring it to your supervisor’s attention and document everything.  Keep detailed notes of what has taken place.  If there are witnesses, jot this down as well.  This might be needed in the future if the person seeks to disclaim what you are saying.


Stand up for yourself in a professional manner.  Do not stoop to the level of the bully hurling insults.  At the end of the day you do not want to be remembered for starting a brawl in the middle of the office.  If the bully is your supervisor, get HR involved as quickly as possible.  If the bully is your boss, I would suggest looking for employment elsewhere especially if that person has no intention of changing.   If you are able, mediate the conflict.  It is a good thing to move on and count it as a learning experience.  Sometimes people might not realize they are bullies especially if they have a type A personality. Getting a third party involved is always essential.  It might not be something you can solve by yourself.  It might make the situation worse.


If you are an office bully, it is important to evaluate your actions and really think about the other person’s feelings.  Start working on alternative ways to get your points across.  It is never okay to belittle others.  Workplace bullying should not be tolerated.



Tashania Morris, MSHRM, ALS, CDF, CPC, started her career as a paralegal.  She has over six years’ experience in the legal field specializing in the areas of foreclosure and bankruptcy.  She recently completed her master’s degree in human resource management which has equipped her with the tools needed to think strategically and develop creative solutions to problems in the workplace.  As a Certified Professional Coach and Career Development Facilitator, she loves all things career and personal development.  Tashania is able to recognize people’s skills and abilities and enjoys working with individuals to figure out their “why.”  Her mission is to engage, empower, educate, and promote change from within.  If you have any questions about any of the articles written, suggestions about something you would like Tashania to write about, or enjoyed reading the article, send her a quick note.  You can reach Tashania at Tashania_m@hotmail.com.

References:



Tags:  career corner  legal career  legal education  nals  paralegal  paralegal career 

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Want to Know More About the Law and Your Specialty?

Posted By Allison Streepey, B.A., CRS, PLS, Monday, August 8, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 2, 2016

American Bar AssociationAssociate Membership in the American Bar Association Awaits You

 

The American Bar Association (ABA) now has a new category of membership for those who are interested in the work of the ABA.  The Associate Membership is for paralegals, law librarians, and other non-lawyers interested in the law.  The mission of the ABA is to improve the administration of justice through practical resources for its members through equally serving “our members, our profession and the public by defending liberty and delivering justice as the national representative of the legal profession.”   

 

Why should you do this?  If your goal is to become proficient in your chosen specialty, this is the opportunity to sharpen your skills through networking with colleagues, increasing your expertise, and expanding your opportunities.  Associate Membership is $177 per year, beginning in September.  If you join before that, the additional amount will be prorated and included with your annual dues.  For an additional charge, there are specialty groups to join with your membership which allow “more in-depth examination of issues, regulations, and national trends.”  Specialty groups include Business Law, Family Law, Litigation, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, among many others.  There are forums available for you to “explore and monitor new areas of law as they emerge on a national scale.”  Membership includes the annual subscription to the monthly ABA Journal as well as online resources including the specialty areas.  The ABA website has a directory of ABA Approved Paralegal Education Programs should you decide to continue your legal education with a degree.  For more information, see http://www.americanbar.org/membership/dues_eligibility.html.


 

Allison Streepey, B.A., CRS, PLS, is currently the Departmental Business Manager for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ Office of Educational Development.  She worked in research administration for many years following a legal assistant role in contract, real estate, and estate planning law.  She loves being a member of NALS and learning about the members and the activities of NALS’ legal education.


Tags:  American Bar Association  legal career  legal education  legal professional  legal professional training  membership 

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