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May 20, 2024

Paralegal Networking

Michele A. Shipley, RP®, member of the ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals Approval Commission and Corporate Paralegal at Allegis Group in Hanover, Maryland

Whether you are a paralegal student, a seasoned professional, or somewhere in between, it’s a great idea to build a network of colleagues that includes paralegals, attorneys, vendors, and other legal professionals. A strong network can help you build connections for job opportunities, find a vendor, find a form or template, get an answer to a question, discuss an idea, work through a problem, or ask for help when you can’t find the answer. You may also find a friend!

You can seek out and join your local or state paralegal association, some of which are affiliated with larger national organizations like the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) or National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Most associations need new volunteers and would love fresh ideas and your time.

You can also network with local, specialty, and state-wide bar associations, typically as an associate member. Here you can network with attorneys and other non-attorney members. Many associations offer comparable benefits to their non-attorney/associate members for a discounted rate.

You can also become a member of the American Bar Association!

There are a number of ways to build a strong network of legal professionals.

There are a number of ways to build a strong network of legal professionals.

You can network with your local paralegal education program. They could be looking for volunteers for their Advisory Board or volunteers to be a guest speaker, talk to classes or mentor students.

You can also volunteer with our local Pro Bono or Legal Aid clinics or with veteran’s organizations.

You can also network on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn.

I began networking with the Maryland Association of Paralegals, a local affiliate of the NFPA over twenty years ago. I served in various roles on the Board. Sometimes when my husband couldn’t watch our kids, they came with me to meetings. It wasn’t ideal, but the rest of the Board was supportive. That led me to become more involved with NFPA, which then led to my involvement with the ABA, I also became an associate member of the Maryland State Bar Association.

Here are some links to help you find the association(s) that might be right for you.