Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Congratulations! Northeast Florida Paralegal Association Celebrates 25th Anniversary

The members of the Northeast Florida Paralegal Association (NEFPA) have good reason to celebrate: The Association has been serving the Jacksonville FL area paralegals since 1984!

The Jacksonville, Florida Daily Register reports that members of NEFPA) celebrated the organization’s silver anniversary on September 17th. They served cake, of course, and also opened a time capsule that was put in place when the Association was formed.

Shown here are new board members: Treasurer Nancy O’Grady, Secretary Carol Marin, President Cindy Houston, Vice President of Professional Development Lucia Fernandez, Vice President Committee Liaison Dana Welcker and NALA Liaison Kathryn Howell. (Not Pictured were First Vice President Cathleen Reid and Second Vice President Mary Richard).

Per the Daily Register: 'The organization has grown to 203 members and serves paralegals from St. Augustine to Fernandina. It was founded in 1984 as Jacksonville Legal Assistants, Inc. and two of the charter members are still active with NEFPA, Barbara Jernigan and Donna Hoffman.

"One of our charter members told me that (NEFPA’s) first operating budget was $1,000,” said Cindy Houston, NEFPA President. “Our current budget is $35,000. So we’ve not only grown in membership, but also in the services that we can offer.”

One of the highlights of the 25th anniversary celebration was uncorking the time capsule that was created when the NEFPA was founded. Items inside the tube included old photographs, newsletters, professional surveys, business cards of former presidents and an old banner.

The name on the banner may have changed through the years but the organization’s mission has remained the same: “to encourage a high order of ethical and professional attainment, further education among members of the profession, cooperate with local, state, and national bar associations, establish fellowship among its members and members of the legal community.”

NEFPA also encourages its members to gain certification through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and offers a review program for the certification.

One of its members gained national attention this year by being recognized as the American Association of Justice 2009 Paralegal of the Year. Linda Whipple was honored with the award at the American Association of Justice convention in San Francisco this year.

The organization is not only about advancing the profession, but also giving back to the community. Throughout its previous year the organization provided a holiday party for children living at Gateway Community Development Center, worked with The Missing Link of Jacksonville to help those who suffered spousal abuse and supported the military by assembling care packages for those serving overseas."

NEFPA will host the 35th Annual Convention of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) July 14-17, 2009. For more information about NEFPA to to http://www.nefpa.org/.

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