This month’s Association Spotlight is focused on the Oregon Paralegal Association (“OPA”). OPA has worked to advance and promote the paralegal profession since its founding in 1979 and has over 288 members.
To celebrate its 35th anniversary, on April 28, 2014, OPA hosted a fundraiser for The Lawyers’ Campaign for Equal Justice (“CEJ”). The event raised $5,000 for CEJ. Additionally, OPA supports many other non-profit organizations through its thriving Pro Bono Committee. These include, but are not limited to, Classroom Law Project, Victim Rights Law Center, Officer Buddy Bear, Dress for Success, The Oregon Innocence Project, and Wills for Heroes.
OPA prides itself on being an organization that caters to paralegals working in various areas of the law. With over twenty-five specialty groups, there is something for everyone. Some of the most popular specialty groups include Litigation, Corporate, Debtor/Creditor, and Estate Planning and Administration. These specialty groups frequently offer fantastic CLEs at no cost to OPA members.
OPA also offers quarterly CLEs that are offered at a low cost to its members through its CLE Program Committee. Usually the topics for these CLEs are ones not covered by OPA's specialty groups, or include topics with broad appeal to various areas of the law.
In addition to free and low cost CLEs, members also enjoy benefits including a job bank, a mentor/mentee program, monthly member socials, and subscription to the bimonthly OPA publication, the Paragram.
OPA has created, and this fall will be offering, two student scholarships for students enrolled in paralegal programs. The scholarships will be awarded on an annual basis. OPA is also currently offering two certification scholarships for the 2014/2015 fiscal year, one for PACE® and one for PCCE™.
OPA provides resources on its website for its members in a members-only section, which includes specialty group resources, job bank information, updates on legal developments, and links to other helpful resources.
In 2013, the Oregon State Bar formed a task force to consider the adoption of Limited License Legal Technicians (“LLLT”) in Oregon. OPA has an ad hoc committee focusing on the issue of LLLT. In January 2014, OPA co-hosted with the Pacific Northwest Paralegal Association, a town hall meeting on the LLLT issue. Leaders of both the Oregon and Washington legal communities participated.
OPA has not slowed down since its 35th Anniversary in April. There are several excellent events planned for its members in the near future.
On June 27th, OPA will be celebrating Oregon’s Paralegal Day by hosting a free event for all Oregon paralegals (members and nonmembers). Part of the Paralegal Day celebration will be collecting clothes for Dress for Success and raising money for the Oregon Innocence Project.
On October 24-25, 2014, OPA will be hosting its annual convention in Seaside, Oregon. The convention will offer nine CLE credits and plenty of opportunities to network with vendors and other paralegals.
The most exciting news OPA has to share is that NFPA's board has selected OPA as the host of the 2015 NFPA Joint Conference! The 2015 NFPA Joint Conference will be held May 1-3, 2015 in downtown Portland in the Standard Insurance building. OPA looks forward to seeing you at the NFPA Joint Conference in Portland, Oregon! See you soon!
To find out more about the Oregon Paralegal Association, please visit: http://www.oregonparalegals.org/.