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Christine Flynn and I attended the 2018 NFPA Convention in Seattle, Washington from Thursday, October 25, 2018 through Sunday, October 28, 2018. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to serve you as the NFPA Primary Representative for The Philadelphia Association of Paralegals (“PAP”).. Prior to the convention, our wonderful Region IV Director Becky Reedy, conducted five conference calls for the Region IV delegates to discuss the topics. This was necessary due to the number of topics to be discussed on Friday, October 26, 2018 at our Region IV meeting. There were a total of 15 Agenda topics and one Bylaw Amendment presented to the delegates of the NFPA convention. I have listed a summary of the Agenda Topics and the Bylaw Amendment as well as the results of each vote.
Bylaw Resolution No. 1 was approved unanimously by all 37 delegates in attendance. This Bylaws Resolution provided that any proposed budget submitted to the delegate assembly for approval should be balanced or projecting no deficit. In the event financial constraints require submission of a deficit budget, a ¾ affirmative vote of the delegate assembly is required.
Agenda Topic No. 1 provided that effective January 1, 2019, the number of times an individual may take either the PCCE or PACE are limited to three times in any two year period from the date of the original exam attempt. The applicant for the exam is limited to three times with at least six months between each attempt even when they must wait two years until they may attempt to take the exam again. This agenda topic passed with a vote of 36 approval and 3 against.
Agenda Topic No. 2 provided to add the term substantive to any term relating to the experience required to take either the PCCE or PACE. The reasoning for the presentation of this topic is that it was determined that some individuals were continuously retaking the PCCE and PACE, thereby possibly receiving the same questions. This agenda topic was passed with 38 in favor and 1 against the topic.
Agenda Topic No. 3 provided for an eligibility pathway be added to the PACE eligibility to allow for experienced military paralegals to apply for PACE for active duty, retired, former military, or the reserve component of any branch of the US Armed Forces, qualified in military operation specialty with the rank of Staff Sergeant (Army and Marines, Petty Officer First Class (Navy), or Technical Sergeant (Air Force), or higher as a supervisory paralegal within that branch of service and 12.0 hours of CLEs including 1 hour of Ethics CLE, within two years preceding the exam application. NFPA has been very active in the past few years in recruiting military professions and as such as new NFPA Organization has been created called the Judge Advocate General Association of Legal Paraprofessionals. This NFPA Association is based in Region III (the Judge Advocate General headquarters are in Tennessee) and provides an avenue for Army Paralegals to join NFPA. Currently, the JAQ Corps have been promoting the PCCE and many of the military paralegals have taken and passed PCCE. As a result of this agenda topic passing(38 in favor and 1 against), these military paralegals will now be able to take PACE under the criteria noted. Also note that in most cases, the military professionals would need to have a bachelor’s degree in order to be promoted to the rank specified in the agenda topic.
Agenda Topic No. 4 resolved that the current Paralegal marketing Plan be revised to include governmental agencies as a target group, adding the following section to the Target Markets section of the Plan for Marketing the Paralegal Profession, as follows: Some governmental agencies, such as the Department of Labor issue regulations relating to the paralegal profession, and as such, they have multiple references to our profession on their websites and printed materials. It is our goal to ensure that all governmental agencies use our profession’s preferred term “paralegal” when referring to members of our profession and that they terminate the use of the ambiguous term “legal assistant.” This agenda topic was passed by the delegate unanimously with a vote of 37-0.
Agenda Topic No. 5 resolved that NFPA adopt a revised Position Statement on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity, prepared by the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, to amend its 2006 Position Statement on Diversity and that the revised Position Statement on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity should be reviewed every two years by the Diversity and Inclusion Committee to continue to research and ensure the Position Statement is correct. This agenda topic was passed unanimously by the delegates with a vote of 38-0.
Agenda Topic No. 6 resolved that NFPA amend its judging criteria to include a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee on the judging panel for the Justice Champion Award pursuant to the policies, procedures, and guidelines for the award. This agenda topic was passed with 37 in favor, and one abstention.
Agenda Topic No. 8 resolved that NFPA shall make uniform and consistent all position statements and resolutions relating to education and accreditation as follows: (a) that an ad hoc committee be formed under the purview of the Vice President and Director of Positions and Issues, Vice President and Director of Professional Development and Vice President and Director of Paralegal Certification, (b) that the ad hoc committee’s sole duty and task is to review all position statements and resolutions made absolute by the delegation, which relate to education and accreditation of educational institutions that offer paralegal or non-attorney legal education, (c) to present a written report of the ad hoc committee’s recommendations to the delegates at the 2019 NFPA Annual Policy Meeting on how the education recommendations be made uniform and consistent, either by amending or supplementing current position statements/resolutions or by creating new position statements/resolutions, and (d) upon approval of the delegation of the committee’s recommendations, the committee will amend or supplement all position statements and currently in place resolutions in need of revision to comply with the committee’s approved recommendations. This agenda topic was approved unanimously by 38 delegates.
Agenda Topic No. 9 resolved that an Ad Hoc Committee be appointed to review criteria for individual awards and recommend enhancements of such criteria and methods for verifying statements made in nominations generated outside of the local association. The reasoning behind the presentation of this agenda topic is that previously an award nominee was not known to the local NFPA association. This agenda topic was approved unanimously by the delegates 37-0.
Agenda Topic No. 10 was the controversial dress code. Although there is a provision in the NFPA Standing Rules, a specific notation was made in the original convention brochure specifying that all convention attendees, shall wear either professional or business attire defined as suits (with tie) for men, paired with a solid-colored dress shirt. Suits, pants suites or dresses with jacket for women. Neutral colors and conservative footwear for all. After a few objections, the dress code for the convention was amended to not require suits but still provide for dress pants, or dress skirts. The original agenda topic resolved that all delegates, board members and officers attending NFPA authorized business events including, but not limited to, regional meetings, annual conventions, and policy meetings shall wear either professional or business casual attire including suits, ties, sports jackets, blazers, clean and non-form fitting jeans, conservative shirts with collars, blouses, sweaters, cardigans, skirts, dresses, pantsuits, dress slacks, corduroy slacks, khaki slacks and conservative dress shoes or sandals. All other clothing shall not be acceptable. There was extensive debate prior and during the convention regarding this agenda topic. In short, the Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association and the Paralegal Association of Wisconsin presented a friendly amendment with the following resolution: All delegates, leaders, board members and officers attending NFPA authorized business events, including, but not limited to, regional meetings, conferences and annual conventions, and policy meetings, shall strive at all times to positively represent the paralegal profession through attire consistent with our profession. This agenda topic was ultimately passed with a vote of 34 in favor and 3 against
Agenda Topic No. 11 provided for the creation of a special fund for individual Pro Bono, Association Pro Bono, and Justice Champion Awards. Concerns were discussed as to the additional responsibilities for the Treasurer and additional costs incurred for the CPA. After further discussion, this agenda topic did not pass with a vote of 14 in favor and 23 against.
Agenda Topic No. 14 provided for the publication of the Report on the State of the Paralegal Profession every three years and that the Committee for the State of the Paralegal Profession present the “Updated State of the Paralegal Profession Report” under the guidance of the Vice President and Director of Positions and Issues and Vice President and Director of Professional Development every three years, beginning with the 2021 NFPA Annual Convention in Portland, Oregon. This agenda topic was unanimously approved by the delegates with a vote of 39-0.
During convention, the following individuals received awards and recognition:
Additionally, the delegates also elected the 2019 NFPA Board as follows:
Serrano, RP - President
Mindi Schaeffer, M.S., RP, OSBA, AACP - Vice President & Director of Profession Development
Lori Boris, RP, MnCP - Vice President and Director of Positions and Issues
Linda Odermott, RP - Vice President and Director of Certification
Yvonne DeAntonio - Vice President and Director of Membership
Lisa Lynch, CRP - Vice President and Director of Marketing
Barb Peppersack - Treasurer and Director of Finance
Mianne Besser - Secretary and Director of Operations
Cothary - Region I Director
Susan McNicholas, ILAP - Region II Director
Lori Wagner, RP, IRP - Region III Director
Becky Reedy - Region IV Director
Josie Estes - Region V Director
Valerie Wilus, RP, Pa.C.P. - Board Advisor
Thank you again for electing me to the Board of the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals so that I could represent you at this wonderful, event filled convention. At the Thursday Board Meeting, after wonderful presentations from the National Capital Association of Paralegals, Georgia Paralegal Association and Cleveland Association of Paralegals, the Board of Directors voted to hold the 2022 NFPA Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Although I have attended NFPA Conventions from 2013-2017, this was my first convention by which I was an actual delegate. I am also on the advisory board of the Widener University Delaware Law School Paralegal Program and have been since 2011. There was an opening for Education Coordinator and since I met the requirement of being on an advisory board for a paralegal program, My father, Howard K. Tuck, Ph.D., was a college professor and Vice President of Academic Affairs at West Virginia State College of Graduate Studies. Being a daughter of a professor, one could say that education is in my blood. I stepped up to the plate and ran for this vacant position. So, not only was I a first time delegate, but also put together and gave a speech to all of the delegates and guests at the policy convention on Saturday morning, October 27, 2018.
The 2019 NFPA Convention will be held from October 10-13, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Rochester. If you have any questions regarding the convention, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.