What are the highlights of the organization’s past?
Kansas Paralegal Association was incorporated on June 16, 1977, as a non-profit organization under the name of “The Kansas Legal Assistants Society.” In 1996, the organization officially changed its name to Kansas Paralegal Association (KPA). KPA became a member association of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (NFPA) in 1985. KPA members who have served as past NFPA Presidents include Jolene Miller (1988-1991) and Mary Thomas (1994-1996).
What pro bono/community service efforts does your organization undertake?
KPA strives to participate in various community service projects throughout our membership year, at both the state and local levels. Charities chosen this year to benefit from our District Holiday Mixers included the Homeless Veteran’s Project and Noah’s Bandage Project.
For more than a decade, KPA members and their families have participated in the American Heart Association Heartwalk at Lake Shawnee in Topeka, KS.
KPA members and their families also have participated in the National Kidney Foundation Kidney Walk at UMKC in Kansas City, MO since 2012.
What types of scholarships does your organization offer its members?
Every year KPA awards up to two Paralegal Certification Scholarships, with not more than one each year for PACE exam fees and not more than one each year for PCCE exam fees. Since 2010, six Paralegal Certification Scholarship recipients have successfully sat for and passed either the PACE or PCCE exam and continue to hold their designations today.
In an effort to promote formal paralegal education and provide financial assistance for those pursing a paralegal degree, KPA provides up to two Academic Scholarships each membership year to students enrolled full- or part-time in a college level program with an emphasis on paralegal or legal studies. The student must either reside in, work in, or be enrolled in a qualified program within the State of Kansas to be eligible.
Last year KPA established a Scholarship and Awards Committee to serve the Association in selecting recipients of the various scholarships and awards offered by KPA. The committee is compromised of five current KPA members in good standing, including the Education Director (committee chairperson), one District Director (alternating each year between KPA’s three districts) and three members at large.
KPA would like to thank our current Scholarship Sponsors for their support: NotaryAct and Rasmussen College.
How do you attract and/or increase membership?
KPA provides a local forum for exchange of ideas, creative development and continuing education, and promotes recognition of the profession as an integral partner in the delivery of legal services. In addition to free and low-cost CLEs, members also enjoy benefits including a job registry, access to free certification study groups, KPA’s Mentor/Mentee program, representation with the Kansas Bar Association, bi-monthly luncheons/social events and a subscription to In Brief..., KPA’s bi-monthly newsletter.
KPA also offers a one-year Qualified Fellowship to recent graduates of paralegal programs. Qualified Fellowship Recipients are granted complimentary limited access to a number of KPA membership benefits including newsletters, e-mail updates, job registry, membership directory, KPA membership event rates and more.
What are the top three events your organization has each year?
Annual Meeting and Seminar – This one-day event each June is geared toward professional networking and development of members and nonmembers. We begin the event with a Members Only Annual Meeting wherein the Board of Directors provides members with an update of the events and developments throughout the current membership year. The Annual Seminar portion of the event begins with CLE sessions at 9:30 am and lasting throughout the day. The event features two educational tracks, general and advanced, to meet the varying needs of our attendees. The luncheon is catered and features a keynote speaker, induction of the upcoming year’s Board of Directors and various awards and recognitions. Following the afternoon CLE sessions, we hold a social hour with cocktails, door prizes, networking and more. Many of our vendors at the event are gracious enough to provide excellent door prizes for this segment of the day.
District Mini-Seminars – In an effort to promote continuing education and to assist our members in achieving a sufficient number of CLE hours to renew their credentials at reasonable prices, KPA offers two mini-seminars in addition to the annual seminar and other bi-monthly CLE events. Typically the mini-seminar is a half day CLE event held in Topeka in the Spring and in the Kansas City area in the Fall.
Holiday Mixers – At the local levels, our District Directors and Advisory Councils host some fun holiday mixers for our members to attend in the Topeka or Kansas City areas. The events this year included hors d’oeuvres, drinks, networking, white elephant gift exchanges and collection of items for community service projects (specifically, the Homeless Veteran’s Project and Noah’s Bandage Project)
KPA District 2 Holiday Mixer
KPA District 3 Holiday Mixer
What types of companies sponsor your organization?
KPA is so grateful to the continued support of our sponsors and Annual Seminar Vendors:
Gold Sponsor: Registered Agent Solutions, Inc. (RASi)
Silver Sponsor: California University of Pennsylvania
Silver Sponsor: Aristocrat Process Serving
Silver Sponsor: Capitol Lien
Scholarship Sponsor: NotaryAct
Scholarship Sponsor: Rasmussen College
Bronze Sponsor: Sloan Law Firm
2015 Seminar Sponsors/Vendors – Law Firm of Tenopir & Huerter; Law Firm of Frieden, Unrein & Forbes; Modus; Complete Legal KC; Central National Bank; Appino & Biggs Reporting Service; Bradley Software; Kansas.gov; and RAC & Associates.
What schools are associated with your organization?
While KPA is not affiliated with any particular school’s program, we are strong supporters of the area paralegal programs including: Washburn University; Washburn Technical Institute; Johnson County Community College; Rasmussen College; National American University; and Newman University.
What future projects is your organization working on and/or planning for?
By far the biggest project we are working on for the 2015-2016 membership year is hosting the 2016 NFPA Joint Conference. The Joint Conference is being held April 29 – May 1, 2016 at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas, the “Air Capital of the World”. KPA will be organizing a happy hour event at Lou’s Charcuteria & Cocktails on Friday, April 29, 2016, for conference attendees, vendors, special guests and local members who want to network and socialize with national representatives and leaders. This event will include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a raffle drawing with proceeds being donated to the Newman University Paralegal Program to use as a scholarship for students in the program.
This membership year KPA also developed and recently released our 2016 Paralegal Compensation Survey to all members and non-members. This survey explores the duties and responsibilities, billing rates, compensation levels and benefits for paralegals in Kansas, and gathers information related to paralegal training, experience, certification, professional growth and continuing legal education. The deadline to take the survey is February 29, 2016, and we anticipate the final report and results will be released in the Spring of 2016. For more information check out the homepage of our website at www.ksparalegals.org
Lastly, in October, 2015 KPA was fortunate enough to have received an $886.00 grant award from the Foundation for the Advancement of the Paralegal Profession (FAPP) to empower and promote advancement in the paralegal profession through continued education and paralegal certification. The FAPP grant funds are being used to host a webinar-based certification preparation course to aid paralegals in preparing for either the PACE or PCCE certification exam and to purchase study materials (manuals and practice exams) in preparation to take the exams.
KPA looks forward to seeing you in Wichita, Kansas at the 2016 NFPA Joint Conference!