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Chapter Start-Up Guide
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You can start a NALS chapter in YOUR area. All it takes is interested, dedicated people. Together, you’ll be able to choose the name of your chapter association, what educational topics are chosen for your continuing legal education seminars, how often you meet, where meetings are held. You’ll also be able to create the governing bylaws for your chapter, decide how much your local dues will be, and you’ll elect your own officers and directors, and more.

As a chapter of NALS, your chapter will gain national recognition, acceptance and cooperation from your state and local bar associations, notification of national, regional, and state NALS events, benefits of association, accessibility, input into planning national, regional, and state conferences, and more.

NALS has a very simple procedure for beginning a chapter. There are a few specific NALS “rules,” and other than those, YOU (and the other interested people in your chapter) will have all the say-so in the day-to-day operations of your chapter. Below, we’ve put the most frequently asked information into a question and answer format. Please contact us if you’d like additional questions and answers posted here. Thank you for your interest in starting your own chapter, and here’s wishing you a happy future with NALS.


Q&A About Starting a NALS Chapter

What do we do to start a chapter?

Requirements to Form a Local Chapter: At least five persons who meet the criteria for membership are required to organize a chapter.

What’s the definition of “criteria for membership”?

Who May Become a Member? Persons engaged in work of a legal nature. A person serving a sentence for a felony conviction is not eligible for membership. NALS members each agree to be bound by the NALS Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

We have the five persons who are qualified and interested. Now what?

Assistance. NALS will appoint a NALS representative to assist your temporary chairman in calling your first meeting, filling out the proper paperwork, and submitting your Application for Charter to NALS for processing. Just let NALS know you are ready for the representative.

What happens at our first meeting when the NALS representative is there to assist?

The NALS representative will present information to your group about NALS history and will go over the advantages of membership, as well as information specific to your state association. One person from your group will be appointed to serve as temporary chairman of the meeting. The chairman will appoint a temporary secretary for the meeting. Each person will introduce themselves and if not already completed, applications for membership in NALS will be filled out and gathered together.

Resolutions will be made, discussed, and adopted regarding the formation of a chapter. Decisions will be made regarding (1) the name of the new chapter, (2) annual dues to be assessed by your new chapter, (3) bylaws for the conduct and regulation of the business of the association, (4) bank account to be used, (5) date and time of the regular meetings. There will be an election of officers and/or directors, then the oath of office is administered. The president will appoint committee chairs (not necessarily at the meeting, but soon thereafter), announcements will be made (concerning the next meeting, and any other business). The meeting is then adjourned.

No mention of money has been made yet. Doesn’t it cost anything?

Membership Applications. Each member will pay national dues, state dues, plus whatever local dues your new chapter has decided upon. Because every state and chapter sets their own dues, we are unable here to tell you exactly how much those costs will be. Contact info@nals.org to find out. There is an additional one-time new member processing fee of $10 for new applications.

What happens AFTER that first meeting?

The NALS representative will assist your secretary in forwarding the application for charter, the new chapter officer roster, membership applications and dues, and uniform chapter bylaws to NALS for processing. You’ll soon each receive welcome letters and information from NALS that will assist your new chapter. You’ll already know what YOU want to do, so you can start doing it!

We have no idea what we want to name our chapter. Any suggestions?

Many NALS chapters still have the words “legal secretaries association” or “association of legal secretaries” in the name. There are also chapters named “NALS of Anytown.” It’s really up to people that want to form the chapter!

What if we do not have five people interested, but still want to enjoy the benefits of membership and there is no chapter near us?

Join NALS as an individual member, and get privileges and benefits of other members. Some chapters allow “primary” and “secondary” membership and there’s a possibility that even though you are not close enough to a chapter to travel to the meetings on a regular schedule, you could still join and receive the mailings and information from them. Contact the NALS Resource Center to find out specifics and for more information about your particular location.

NALS has many membership options. We let YOU choose the one that fits YOUR needs. Fill out a NALS membership application and get started today!

Other Questions?
Contact Us!




Chapter Start-Up Materials Packet

NALS has also prepared a comprehensive “Chapter Start-Up Materials Packet” that has all of the forms, sample wording, and “scripts” for you to use if you would like to have more detailed information on getting started. It even includes “uniform chapter bylaws” for you to customize for your own association. If you would like the “Chapter Start-Up Materials Packet” emailed to you, please contact NALS Membership Services Coordinator here.

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