By Ana Fatima Costa, RPR, CSR
In January 2015, The Bar Association of San Francisco launched its first non attorney section with a mission to instill an ethos of professionalism in all legal paraprofessionals, which includes but are not limited to paralegals, legal assistants, legal nurse consultants, and other non-attorney legal professionals, especially those who have chosen to make a career in the legal field.
The Paralegal Section’s Executive Committee includes paralegals representing different areas of law, a legal recruiter, legal nurse consultant, court reporter and litigation secretary. They share a common goal: to uplift the legal professionals they serve through education.
This dynamic team demonstrated its commitment to tackle the daunting challenges confronted by paralegals in their everyday work through relevant workshops presented by leaders in their area of expertise:
• Can You Bill for That? The Ethics of Billing Practices in Working with Paralegals by former certified paralegal-turned-lawyer Therese “Teri” Cannon, author of a paralegal textbook still being used in paralegal courses throughout the country: Ethics and Professional Responsibility for Paralegals.
• Employing Interns and Volunteers: The Laws You Need to Know
• Surrogacy: Medical, Emotional, Ethical and Legal Issues
• Family Law Disclosure Forms: The Ins and Outs
• How to Identify and Prevent Un-authorized Practice of Law
For a full list and to purchase via webcast, DVD or OnDemand, visit www.sfbar.org/onlinecle and search by the paralegal category.
But it’s not all work. The Paralegal Section’s first mixer drew 100 participants– confirmation that it was meeting a need for support, connection, education (and fun!).
The section’s holiday mixers honor legal professionals and law firms that are dedicated to making a difference. (This year’s holiday mixer is on December 7. Register at www.sfbar.org/calendar.)
Why join? Some comments from the leadership team:
“Through this section, you learn how all non-attorney legal professionals (including vendors) work together to support you and your clients.”
“I enjoy meeting those just starting out in their legal careers and connecting them to resources and opportunities that can enhance their careers.”
“It has opened my eyes to the broad variety of skills and expertise my fellow legal paraprofessionals bring to the practice of law every day.”
“Very few organizations have the ability to connect so many individuals under one common umbrella that also offers value to each person.”
More reasons to join:
1. First-in-line opportunities for job posts through the Paralegal Section’s listserv
2. Participation in quality MCLE programs through live attendance or webcasts
3. Ability to attend other BASF programs at discounted rates
Give yourself a gift this holiday season and beyond: Unlock the power of membership and take advantage of the many benefits the Paralegal Section and BASF have to offer! Join or renew now at www.sfbar.org/join.
Ana Fatima Costa is the Paralegal Section’s Marketing Coordinator. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.