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SSF and Affiliates

Types of Affiliate Membership

The Solo, and Small Firm Section makes it a point to offer several different types of membership to non-attorney affiliate members.

Affiliate members are included in all SSF events. SSF recognizes several different categories of affiliate membership:

Paralegals and Legal Assistants - Paralegals and Florida legal assistants are eligible for affiliate membership in SSF. Membership dues for paralegals and legal assistants are $40 per year. For the purposes of this section's bylaws, the terms paralegal and legal assistant are interpreted to mean:

(1) a person who is qualified through education, training, or work experience and who assists an attorney in the delivery of legal services, in a capacity or function which involves the performance of specifically delegated work under the supervision and direction of an attorney who is a member in good standing of The Florida Bar, which work, for the most part, requires a sufficient knowledge of legal concepts that, absent such legal assistant, the attorney would perform the task; and

(2) who has satisfied the following minimum requirements:

(A) Successful completion of the certified legal assistant or paralegal (CLA/CP) examination of the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc.; or

(B) Graduation from an ABA-approved program of study for legal assistants or paralegals; or

(C) Graduation from a course of study for legal assistants or paralegals, which is institutionally accredited and which requires not less than the equivalent of 60 semester hours of classroom study; or

(D) Graduation from a course of study for legal assistants or paralegals, other than those set forth above, plus not less than 2 years of in-house training as a legal assistant or paralegal, and whose attorney/employer attests that such person is so qualified; or

(E) A bachelor's degree in any field, plus not less than 3 years of in-house training as a legal assistant or paralegal, and whose attorney/employer attests that such person is so qualified; or

(F) Seven years' continuous employment as a legal assistant or paralegal, and whose attorney/employer attests that such person is so qualified.

Legal Administrators - Florida legal administrators are eligible for affiliate membership in SSF. Membership dues for legal administrators are $40 per year. For the purpose of this section's bylaws, a Florida legal administrator shall mean any person employed by a law firm, corporate legal department, government, judicial or legal agency, or other entity devoted primarily to the practice of law, regardless of the title by which the person is classified with the entity, if such a person devotes the majority of his/her working time to the performance of managerial and administrative duties connected with the entity.

Law Students - Any full-time student in good standing of a fully accredited Florida law school interested in the purposes of this section is eligible for affiliate membership upon application. Affiliate memberships for law students do not require payment of annual dues. Any student affiliate member who ceases to be a full-time student in good standing of a fully accredited Florida law school, for any reason other than graduation, shall no longer be a member of this section. Upon graduation and receipt of the J.D. degree a student affiliate member shall continue as a student affiliate member of this section for one year beyond graduation or until the affiliate member is admitted to The Florida Bar, whichever shall first occur.

Law Professors - Any law professor who is employed as a faculty member of a law school that offers a traditional law curriculum leading to its students obtaining a juris doctorate degree and being eligible to take a state bar examination in at least one state is eligible for affiliate membership upon application and payment of this section's annual dues for law professors. Membership dues for law professors are $40 per year.

Paralegal News

NALA, Inc., the national organization for paralegals and legal assistants, has changed its credential design to reflect the optional use of the CLA (Certified Legal Assistant) designation or the CP (Certified Paralegal) designation, for paralegals who have successfully completed the intensive CLA examination. The certificate can be requested by e-mail: nalanet@nala.org

Paralegal Resources

Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc. is the state chapter for Florida paralegals. There are ten chapter affiliates in Florida for paralegals. Additional information on the state and local chapters (including upcoming CLE seminars and Job Bank information) can be obtained at pafinc.org

The Florida Bar's Registered Paralegal Program

The Florida Bar has established a Florida Registered Paralegal program to recognize those paralegals who have met certain education, training, or work-experience criteria. View additional information about the requirements for certification as a Florida Registered Paralegal.

Tips

One of the best things you can do for your paralegals (and your practice) is encourage their participation in local chapter events, including monthly meetings, educational seminars, and pro-bono projects involving the community. This provides another way to get your firm's name known, and is very beneficial for the continuing growth and education of your paralegal.

Your paralegal can volunteer to take photographs of the guest speaker at the next community event or legal organization's monthly meeting, and then send a copy of the photo (with captions identifying the persons in the photo) to the local newspaper, as well as to the guest speaker (and this is another way to have your firm's name mentioned).

Executive Council Representative

Paralegals and legal assistants are represented on the SSF Executive Council by Priscilla Horn, CP, FRP. Priscilla is a nationally certified paralegal and Florida Registered Paralegal with extensive experience in the areas of automobile negligence, personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death and nursing home litigation matters. She is a past president of the Dade County and Brevard County paralegal chapters, and remains active in paralegal organizations on both state and national levels. Ms. Horn has consecutively served as CLA Representative for the SSF Section of the Florida Bar since 1995. You may contact her at pris2323@yahoo.com.

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