What is a Paralegal?
As defined by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), a Paralegal is a person, qualified through education, training or work experience to perform substantive legal work that requires knowledge of legal concepts and is customarily, but not exclusively, performed by a lawyer. This person may be retained or employed by a lawyer, law office, governmental agency or other entity or may be authorized by administrative, statutory or court authority to perform this work. Substantive shall mean work requiring recognition, evaluation, organization, analysis, and communication of relevant facts and legal concepts.
WHY JOIN A PROFESSIONAL
If you are interested in furthering your career, joining a professional association is a good start. There are associations for nearly every profession or area of interest and many have national, state and regional chapters available to join. An association is a synergistic group, meaning that the effect of a collection of people is greater than just one person. So, how exactly can becoming part of this synergistic group help further your career goals? Here are some benefits of joining an association.
Enhance your network:
For most people, creating professional relationships is important, and joining a group allows you to have a sense of security and trust. From this, you are able to support and help one another in reaching your professional goals. Associations sponsor numerous events throughout the year that allow you to connect with your peers. You can share ideas, ask for advice, volunteer to be a speaker or become a member of a committee. Since most associations have national or local conferences, you can participate and have the opportunity to learn about breaking news in your career, learn "best practices" or new ideas, hear about key achievers in your field and also meet and brainstorm with others who are also looking to share and learn new information. Another benefit of enhancing your network is that you may find a mentor to help you with your professional needs or you may be in a position to become a mentor to someone else. Giving back can be the greatest reward and benefit. Participating in forums, chat groups or discussion boards sponsored by the association is also a great way to grow your network. This allows you to use your peers as sounding boards and often make some great friends with the same interests as you.
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