Summer is upon us. We have had a very wet May and now we are all ready for some sunshine and vacation time. Now is a good time to recharge and take the time to evaluate how we want to spend the rest of 2018 and put plans in place for 2019. Are you keeping pace with the changes in the legal industry? I have read several articles stating that available jobs in the legal field are down. Why is that? Are we safe?
Like with everything, clients want more for less. The legal industry is competitive and loyalty is not as important as the bottom line – both to the client and to law firm management. Richmond has many large law firms with global reach for their clients. There are also several boutique firms that provide expertise in a small area of law tailored to their client’s needs. Although Richmond rates are low compared to the rates of New York and Los Angeles attorneys, clients want more, and firms must manage their expenses – which unfortunately often means staff jobs and benefits are effected. Because people are working longer, it is not uncommon to see Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation Xs, and Generation Ys working alongside each other. With the technology and the Internet, many Traditionalists and Baby Boomers are not up to speed with the latest trends; and they may be paid more than their younger colleagues, which effects the bottom line. Although experience is priceless, not keeping up with the law and its processes is costly.
Has your job responsibilities changed in the last few years? Have the laws related to the area of law in which you work changed? What have you done to keep up with the changes? How do you make yourself invaluable to your employer? I am very fortunate to work for one of the larger firms in Richmond and, at the same time, I am, and have been involved with several of the paralegal studies programs at the University of Richmond and Reynolds Community College. I have also been very involved with RPA since 2008. I can tell you there are good people graduating from paralegal programs eager to start their career.
I encourage you to stay current in your field and take advantage of all opportunities to grow and be involved in Richmond Paralegal Association.
Enjoy your summer.
Kitty Bice, ACP
Mission and Purpose
The RPA Board met the first Saturday in January to discuss RPA’s mission and purpose for being. What is RPA’s mission? Our Mission Statement is “…to foster professionalism, continuing legal education, public service and networking for paralegals in Central Virginia.” What does that mean? It is a summary of opportunities and events that the Association provides to its members. It is a commitment to serve the needs of a professional paralegal.
What is the purpose of RPA? To define purpose, I believe you must dig deeper and work harder than define a summary of what an association does. Purpose requires creativity, focus, motivation, and interaction. From a professional standpoint, purpose is what makes you stand apart in your office. It is what you do that adds value for the client. Purpose is what makes you love spending your day as a paralegal. After discussion, members of the Board said they believed the Board’s purpose was to provide a professional face and voice for members to set them apart and be the best in the industry.
What is the benefit of being a member of Richmond Paralegal Association? It shows you are serious of about your career and that you are want to improve your skills and knowledge about your current field and/or want to know more about the various areas of law you may work. RPA offers multiple opportunities to learn and network with paralegals in the area. RPA sponsors CLE events, seminars and collaborative events with area schools and other professional paralegal groups. RPA works with non-profits that help those who can use our skills. As a NALA affiliate, RPA has access to salary information, laws and trends affecting the profession across the country.
- We are planning CLE topics including sexual harassment on campus and in the workplace, immigration, tax law changes, criminal law, family law issues, contract law, and healthcare law.
- We will offer one-hour sessions at the Williams Mullen with free lunches, a multi-CLE seminar at the University of Richmond, an evening event at J. Sargeant Reynolds in the Westend, and a fall event at one of the local breweries.There should be something for everyone.
- There will also be opportunities to volunteer and be involved with local charities and non-profit groups who need our skills and time.
- We have a new website which will be updated with changes in Rules, articles of interests, information about events that we are sponsoring, as well as, events being offered by others that you may be interested in.
- We will award two scholarships – one to a student and one to an active member.
- RPA will pay for a member to attend the NALA Conference Sessions in St. Louis in July.
- You have access to the Job Bank.
Your purpose for being a paralegal is more than what is in your paycheck! Focus, strive, investigate and put into action what you can do today that will make you standout tomorrow.
Welcome to RPA in 2018.
Kitty Bice, ACP