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By: Alison Barjaktarovich (Guest Blogger)

Greetings, TPS readers! Today, we’re here to tell you about 6 great paralegal conferences you can attend in 2012. Nothing like learning, meeting and mingling with your fellow paralegals!

National conferences offer a great way for paralegals to expand their legal knowledge and network with others in the field. Below is information on five of the top paralegal conferences of 2012. Paralegals who are interested in attending one of these conferences can visit each event’s website for additional information. 

National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
2012 Convention: Venture North to Alaska, The Last Frontier
Anchorage, AK, September 27-30, 2012

Paralegals who are members of a paralegal association that belongs to the NFPA can attend this unique convention, taking place at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa in Anchorage, Alaska. The four-day event includes a variety of educational sessions, workshops, speakers, and exhibitors. Participants can also take part in “Blue Jeans for Bison,” by donating at least $5 to wear their best blue jeans to Friday’s happenings. The convention’s social event also takes place on Friday evening at the Anchorage Museum. Attendees will enjoy a buffet dinner, dancing, and a chance to explore the Alaska History Gallery and the Artic Study Center.

National Association of Legal Assistants & Paralegals (NALA)
37th Annual Meeting & Summer Institutes
July 25-28, 2012, Omaha, NE

The NALA paralegal conference centers around its classroom-based workshops, which are led by experts in various legal fields. Participants can choose from one of five institutes – Bankruptcy, E-Discovery, Family Law, Personal Injury, and Real Estate – ensuring that their time is well-spent learning about the  topics most relevant to them. Attendees can also elect to participate in an “Essential Skills” workshop, designed to be a shorter version of NALA’s Certified Paralegal (CP) Examination preparation course. 

Ark Groups
5th Annual Women Legal Conference 2012
June 7, 2012, New York City

Apologies to the male paralegals, but Ark Groups’ Women Legal Conference 2012 is included because there’s no denying that females far outnumber males in the profession. This one-day conference is held at the AMA Executive Conference Center in New York, and offers an opportunity for women working in the legal field to network and brainstorm. The main focus of the Women Legal Conference is to start and continue a dialogue about the advancement and retention of women in the profession, and how women can best navigate their careers in law.

Association for Legal Professionals (NALS)
61st Annual Education Conference & National Forum  
October 18-21, 2012, Portland, OR

In its 61st year, the NALS Annual Education Conference & Education Forum offers its participants a chance to earn up to 18.5 hours of CLE credits. Attendees can choose from four different tracks, including Litigation/Civil Law, Corporate Law, Estate Planning/Family Law, and General Practice. Paralegals may find this conference particularly relevant as it’s specifically created for non-attorneys working the legal field. The conference also includes a Gala Event with a “Casino Royale” theme.

May 22-23, 2012, Los Angeles, CA

Technically a trade show versus a conference, LegalTech is put on by the legal media company ALM twice a year. The East coast event was held in January, but the West coast LegalTech will take place in Los Angeles later this month.

Attending LegalTech is a great way for anyone who works in law to learn about the newest technology and trends in the field. LegalTech offers five tracks for its attendees choose from, including:

  • Law Firm Digital Security
  • Corporate Legal Operations
  • Advanced IT Best Practices
  • Litigation Techniques, Trends, & Technology Innovations
  • Emerging Technology

Participants will take part in a series of programs within their chosen track and will have access to the  large exhibit hall full of legal vendors. The event also includes a cocktail reception where paid attendees can mingle with exhibitors.

International Paralegal Management Association (IPMA)
28th Annual Conference & Expo
October 10-12, 2012, Vancouver, BC

Paralegal managers, or those who aspire to manage paralegals, will find IPMA’s hallmark event to be a great professional development and networking opportunity. The conference portion of the event includes 22 educational workshops in areas such as human resources, finance management, and practice management – all tailored to be specifically relevant to paralegal managers. Attendees will also get the chance to listen to dynamic speakers, attend the large vendor expo, and network with their colleagues.

The benefits of attending a paralegal conference extend beyond gaining legal knowledge and up-to-date info on the latest trends. Networking and socializing with other paralegals from across the country can result in long-term mutually beneficial professional relationships, and often results in a paralegal returning to his or her firm with fresh, new ideas and strategies gained from a colleague.

Alison Barjaktarovich is a paralegal and writes for Criminal Justice Degree Schools, a career site where you can find 9 interviews with leaders in the paralegal field and a directory of paralegal programs from California to New York.

Are you planning to attend one of these conferences? Perhaps another one? If so, we’d love to hear about it, so leave the information/details via a comment!  After all, knowledge is power and sharing is caring. Your fellow TPSers will love you for it!

Have a most fabulous day in paralegal land! We’ll see you next time.