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NALS 2018 Volunteer of the Year Announced

Thursday, July 5, 2018   (4 Comments)
Posted by: NALS 2018-2019 Board of Directors
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Paula SteffeyThis year NALS held its second year of NALS Leadership Appreciation Day. This day is, not only our association anniversary but is also reserved to recognize all current leadership and volunteers that make NALS function to its highest quality.

Volunteers are at the heart of NALS' work and success!

Because of the contributions of volunteers’ time, talent, and expertise, NALS can provide the essential education and tools, a vibrant online community, and exceptional experiences and relationships that we all value so highly. 

Each year over 150 volunteers step into various roles on the national,  state, and local chapter platforms to fulfill and continue the mission of NALS. This year, NALS celebrated with the theme of '#TeamNALS' 
In addition to having this event annually, NALS Board of Directors along with NALS Resource Center have chosen a 'Volunteer of the Year.' From our national pool of volunteers and leadership, one person that exemplifies the exact definition of character, dependability, and leadership will be chosen and honored with this award.

For 2018, that person is Paula Steffey, PP, CLP-SC, CWCP from Michigan.

Maria Easterly, NALS Certification, and Education work closely with Paula on various education and certification task forces and products. Here is what Maria has to say regarding Paula's dedication:


Yesterday, a man called my office inquiring about our business model and products; skilled in the areas of marketing and online presence. He offered to assist my department in making our products more appealing to our members.


After a small pause, I told the rather eager salesman, “...though we sell educational products and certification exams, NALS’ true commodity is its members. How do you propose to sell a membership to a member or a member to another member?” Rather perplexed, the salesman, after an even longer pause and a series of “hums,” said, “Uhm…. I have not heard that one before.”


However contrived my statement to the salesman may have sounded, it is the absolute truth; a truth that I believe in earnestly and whole-heartedly. My attachment to this truth grows more and more each day as I bear witness to the endless acts of kindness, devotion, and passion displayed by our membership across the globe.


Though I view all our members as shining examples of professionalism and dedication, none burn as brightly, in my eyes, as Mrs. Paula Steffey, PP-SC [“Squared”], CLP, CWCP. For some people, volunteering is a simple act of kindness, but for Paula, it is a way of living.


Whether you are dedicating your time to NALS of Michigan or the multiple national tasks forces you joined voluntarily, you continuously embody the spirit of NALS—EVERYDAY you engage, inspire, enhance and promote the true meaning of legal support professional and what it means to be a member of our organization. 


Words cannot express the level of respect and admiration I have for you as a person and all that you represent. To quote an anonymous writer, “…good people are like candles, they burn themselves up to give others light.” Thank you for burning so brightly, Paula. And thank you, a million times over, for being a shining beacon for our organization. 


Paula was presented her award, in-person, by Tara Hughes, PP-SC, ACP, RP, NALS Board of Directors President and Kathy Sieckman, PP, PLS-SC, ACP with the assistance of Heidi Hopper, PP, PLS at the NALS of Michigan 57th Annual Meeting and Educational Conference in Bellaire, Michigan. View embedded video below for the full presentation. 


Add Paula on NALS.org/Login Social Member Platform here. (Login Required)



NALS Member Spotlight – Paula Steffey, PP, CLP-SC, CWCP

By Allison Streepey, B.A., CRS, PLS

Paula Steffey, PP, CLP-SC, CWCP, is a paralegal certified in civil litigation and personal injury (PP, CLP-SC) and is a Certified Workers’ Compensation Professional (CWCP). She is currently a legal assistant at Goidosik Morse Disability Law Group in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Paula has experience in civil litigation, corporate, real estate, estate planning and administration, landlord-tenant, criminal law, family law, juvenile abuse and neglect, health care law, international law, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and social security disability.  Paula’s motto is “Where there is a will, there is a way.” She loves the law and is wholly dedicated to her career at work, at NALS, and in her community.  

For the first 12 years of her career, Paula was the legal assistant for three sole practitioner attorneys, who each worked in a different area of law. This was demanding of her skills and focus which helped when preparing for the certification exams. 

At the beginning of her career, one of the attorneys she worked for had a copy of the NALS of Greater Kalamazoo’s Attorney Directory.  This tool is what sparked her to look into the Association.  She couldn’t afford the membership at that time but would check the website frequently.  She wasn’t sure how but just knew that NALS could help her move forward in her career. 

In 2014 Paula moved to Veritas Law Group where they encouraged their employees to join a professional organization, and they paid for her membership!  “That gave me the opportunity to see first-hand what NALS was all about and this is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”  Her career has flourished since she joined NALS and the attorneys that she used to work for have commented that her self-confidence has grown.  

Having no formal education in the legal field did not make any difference in achieving certification.  She had hands-on experience and the best knowledge from the attorneys she worked for in her legal career.   “The NALS certifications have given me the opportunity to prove to myself that I can do this and have shown my current employer that I am committed to a legal career and not just a paycheck. Because of that, he had gone above and beyond to mentor and taught me when I was studying for the CLP and PP exams.  Attorneys in other firms that I’ve met through my NALS association have also been there to mentor me for the exams. This one-on-one specialized training has meant the world to me, just knowing that they all believed I could do this.”

Paula also takes advantage of everything that NALS has to offer.  “I thoroughly enjoy all of the CLE opportunities at all levels of the organization. I have learned so much that I can utilize day-to-day, plus there is the opportunity to reach out to other members of our state and others for assistance when needed. Having a network to turn to when your boss asks you to do something where you don’t know where to begin is amazing!”

Even though she has only been a member of NALS for four years, she has served on many committees at all levels of the Association. The highlight of her career with NALS is the service on the national level.  In NALS of Greater Kalamazoo, Paula served as Treasurer, Program Committee member, the Holiday Charity Project, Programs and Reservations Committee Co-Chair, Certification Committee Chair, and the ongoing Ways & Means-Attorney Directory Project.  In her state association, NALS of Michigan, she has served as the Vice President of Membership & Marketing, Executive Secretary, Marketing Committee Chair, Finance Committee Chair, and the Legal Education Co-Chair. Her personal goal has been to try to visit as many chapters in Michigan as possible and attend as many events and/or CLE opportunities as possible.  When the time for socializing is available, it is usually with a NALS pal.

After she achieved her certifications, Paula has been dedicated to helping others make theirs happen. She even stepped out of her comfort zone to help with the Study Hall Live! Series this February. “I love being the Certification Chair of our chapter. It is a pleasure to compile information and put together study materials. I have also started a “Certification Corner” for our local newsletter with quizzes and puzzles each month. I have also made myself available to assist members in other chapters who are studying. I put together a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the information and providing it to anyone who is interested, including NALS Certification Chairs in other states.”

“NALS has given me self-confidence and has provided the tools necessary for me to go further in my career than I ever thought possible. I have grown leaps and bounds both professionally and personally since joining NALS.  I would tell new members who are aiming for certification that ‘you can do it’ and ‘where there is a will, there is a way.’  Everyone encouraged me, and I am happy to help others.”

After Paula attended her first national conference in 2016, she discovered her passion is in writing and certification.  She has enjoyed using this passion on the national level as the Host of the Civil Litigation Specialty Section (2017-2018); and continues her service as part of NALS’ S.A.G.E.S. Task Force (2017 – present); and Manuals Task Force (2017-present). Paula’s favorite activity in NALS is “being on the national Editorial + Marketing Board (2016-present), and ANYTHING certification related.” 

Paula is married with two adult children, a step-daughter, and a “very spoiled golden retriever.” She loves to roller skate, crochet, and dabble in every kind of craft.  She has been selling her hand-crocheted items at craft shows for 23 years. She also crochets items for charity, domestic assault survivors in particular.  “For them to have something hand-made with love is priceless.” 

Paula is still growing in her career.  She is a member of the paralegal section of the Michigan Association for Justice and is enrolled in an online criminal justice certificate program. Paula is in the process of writing several substantive law articles.  With all her experience and achievement, Paula has a lot to teach, and members of NALS are happy to learn from those with as much skill and dedication as Paula.  She is an excellent example of living her beliefs and sharing her knowledge.



Nancy Thomas PLS says...
Posted Tuesday, July 31, 2018
We are blessed to have Paula as a member of our chapter, NALS of Greater Kalamazoo, and NALS of Michigan. She is a wonderful person, devotes many hours to our association, and truly deserves this recognition.
Helene L. Wood PP PLS TSC-RE says...
Posted Monday, July 30, 2018
Congratulations, Paula! Well-deserved recognition for all you do for NALS.
Jennifer Yocum (Joy) says...
Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2018
How fabulous! I am a newbie who has greatly enjoyed my interaction with Paula. Congratulations!
Laleise D. Curtiss says...
Posted Thursday, July 5, 2018

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