The National Federation of Paralegal Associations, or NFPA, recently held its annual convention in Portland, Ore. The convention was hosted by the Oregon Paralegal Association, and the theme was “Come to Oregon, Be a Paralegal Pioneer!” In conjunction with the annual meeting, the 35th anniversary of the NFPA was also highlighted. Board members Renee Mazzeo, first vice president, and Christine Flynn, secretary, traveled to Portland to attend and represent the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals at the four-day conference held at the Red Lion Hotel on the River Jantzen Beach. Paralegals from all over the United States converged for the opportunity to interact and network with other paralegal associations, reinforce lasting business relationships and partake in the various educational seminars and annual policy meetings.

Educational Seminars and Reception

The first day of the conference had more than 16 educational seminars with topics covering various aspects of the law, including federal issues, trial presentations, e-discovery, privacy and security issues, legal writing and ethics. These seminars brought together informative speakers and panelists.

The NFPA welcomed attorney and author Robert Dugoni as the keynote speaker. Dugoni provided an overview of his career in law as well as a review of his critically acclaimed novels. Following his speech, Dugoni attended a question and answer session with the attendees and participated in a book signing.

During the evening hours, attendees turned their attention to the NFPA trade show reception and 35th anniversary celebration.

Region Meetings and Harvest Dinner

Day two of the conference consisted of break-out sessions and meetings by the primary and secondary representatives of each NFPA region. Presently, the NFPA has five regions, and each region has various local and state paralegal associations based on state location. During these regional meetings, primary and secondary representatives for each local paralegal organization met to discuss general issues in the profession as well as debate positions on agenda topics. Day two of the conference also had a coordinator appreciation and networking luncheon where paralegals were honored for their commitment and dedication to the profession. Local paralegal leaders also attended workshops about strategic planning as well as an overview of the NFPA legislative process.

One of the highlights of the convention came on the evening of day two with the celebration of the harvest dinner. The evening was a joint event between the NFPA and the American Association for Paralegal Educators. The two organizations discussed issues and exchange ideas related to paralegal education as well as issues affecting the paralegal profession.

Policy Meetings/Agenda Topics and Awards Luncheon

Day three of the conference was composed of various policy meetings. An association roll call identified more than 100 primary and secondary representatives from more than 48 paralegal associations. At that time, more than 10 agenda topics were brought to the floor for review, debate and voting. These topics included changes to the NFPA bylaws and procedures as well as the approval of the development of a basic paralegal competency examination. At that time, nominations and balloting were also conducted with respect to the installation of the 2010 board of directors.

On day three, a luncheon was also held for the presentation of awards, including the Paralegal of the Year Award and Local Outstanding Leadership Award. The PAP received the 2009 Pro Bono Award. Additionally, Susan Witte, a member of PAP, was also honored and received a $3,500 scholarship issued by Thompson-Reuters.

Passing of the Torch to Philadelphia

Day four of the conference consisted of the completion of the policy meetings and the formal adoption of the 2010 NFPA budget. Also, Mazzeo and Flynn participated in the passing of the torch to the 2010 annual meeting host coordinator program. Mazzeo and Flynn offered a presentation titled “Make History in Philadelphia.” They also addressed the primary and secondary representatives and encouraged attendance at the 2010 NFPA convention in Philadelphia. Representatives were treated to an overview of Philadelphia, along with maps, event guides and small Liberty Bells in anticipation of the 2010 convention. The day closed with the installation of the new 2010 NFPA Board of Directors.

The PAP welcomes the opportunity to host the 2010 NFPA annual convention in Philadelphia. The convention is scheduled to take place from Oct. 7-10. You can pre-register for the 2010 NFPA convention at www.paralegals.org or e-mail info@paralegals.org for additional information.

Christine Flynn is a defense litigation paralegal at Swartz Campbell. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the field. She serves as
chairwoman of the litigation committee of the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals. She is a member of the ethics board as well as the ad hoc committee for access to legal services at the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. Flynn also
serves on the Paralegal Studies Advisory Board at the Community College of Philadelphia.

Renee Mazzeo is a litigation paralegal at Thomas Thomas & Hafer, where she assists attorneys in general liability, property – SIU and
personal injury and property damage matters. She has been a member of the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals since 2000. Mazzeo serves on the PAP’s board of directors as first vice president and is secondary delegate to the National Federation of
Paralegals.