The Tucson Paralegal Association (TPA) began in 1979 under the name Tucson Association of Legal Assistants (TALA). It is an affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), and subscribes to the same goals and philosophy. There were 32 people that became either active, associate, student or affiliate members during the first meeting held in December 1979.
Today, TPA's members are dedicated to obtaining and sustaining the original goals and philosophy of fellowship, education and professionalism.
TPA was a catalyst in the establishment of the Legal Assistant Program at Pima Community College over 35 years ago. Early members recognized the need for qualified legal assistants in the community. Their efforts resulted in a pilot course in the spring of 1982 entitled “Introduction to Legal Assistant” and a full program was offered the next fall. Tucson’s legal community is fortunate and reaps the benefits of this consistently well-regarded ABA-approved program. We are proud to be a part of the heritage of this program.
One of the most important benefits of membership is the guidance, support, and assistance of the CLA Study Group and TPA’s focus on NALA certification. An ongoing study group prepares members for each exam.
TPA provides quality speakers and educational credit at monthly meetings. In addition, a full day seminar is held annually in September. These educational programs are interesting, current, and draw members who need to maintain certification as well as other members, students, law firm employees and attorneys.
The Board and committee members meet on the last Tuesday of each month. This lively and dedicated group manages TPA’s business and goals and maintains the core mission – all while looking to attract new members and establish new goals and directions for TPA.
TPA’s name change several years ago required a new name for its quarterly newsletter known as “TALAFAX.” A majority of members voted in favor of “TPA Times.” In line with a national trend, many members are choosing to use Paralegal rather than Legal Assistant and CLAs are choosing to use CP.
TPA’s rich history of community service includes volunteer projects with the Pima County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers’ Division (“Meet A Lawyer Day”) and donations of money, clothing and school supplies to a local school district. TPA is working to reestablish a cooperative program with Pima Community College, students enrolled in its Legal Assistant Program, and TPA to accomplish several goals, including:
- Encourage interaction and communication,
Provide additional resources and support (mentoring and internships);
Supplement educational efforts (special programs at the college); and,
Promote benefits of TPA membership and certification.
TPA’s Job Bank
is a resounding success as a resource for both members looking for a job and employers looking for a qualified paralegal. Also, in an effort to assist students and others seeking an entry-level position, postings include a variety of non-paralegal positions, but services are only offered to members.
While we enjoy a respected presence in Tucson’s legal community, we constantly look to boost our influence by expanding membership, encouraging certification, keeping abreast of current law and technology, and reflecting professionalism in all we do.