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Who are Paralegals? As defined by NALA… “Paralegals, also known as legal assistants, are a distinguishable group of persons who assist attorneys in the delivery of legal services. Through formal education, training and experience, legal assistants have knowledge and expertise regarding the legal system and substantive and procedural law which qualify them to do work of a legal nature under the supervision of an attorney.”
The Legal Assistants Association of New Jersey, Inc. ("LAANJ") is a non-profit association formed in 1982 to foster and promote uniform educational standards and practice guidelines for the legal assistant. LAANJ also promotes the education of the public for the advancement and improvement of the legal assistant profession.
In 2007, LAANJ, after a vote of the general membership, legally changed it's name to the Paralegal Association of New Jersey Inc. ("PANJ"). At that time, PANJ joined other national and local organizations as the industry moves away from Legal Assistants and towards Paralegal.
PANJ is affiliated with The National Association of Legal Assistants ("NALA"). NALA has developed a voluntary certification examination. Those who succeed in passing the exam are entitled to use the designation "CLA" - Certified Legal Assistant or "CP" - Certified Paralegal. Specialty Examinations in certain practice areas are also available to be taken by those who have attained CLA status and those passing the specialty examination are entitled to use the designation of "CLAS". There are two Certified legal Assistant Specialists in New Jersey, one in litigation and one in real estate. NALA also provides PANJ with national representation in matters that affect the legal assistant profession. Each member of PANJ is bound by NALA's code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility.
One of the benefits of membership in PANJ is accessibility to the Job Bank. Law firms, corporations, agencies and others with jobs available contact the PANJ Job Bank Committee, who in turn makes the information available to any of our members upon their request. The PANJ Job Bank contains positions available for both the experienced paralegal and one just entering the workforce.
Monthly dinner meetings are held, except for July and August. The meetings are structured as seminars/lectures at which guest speakers present substantive topics of current interest. Notices of meetings are mailed to all members.While PANJ does not discriminate against people's sex, race, age, religion, or national origin, PANJ does reserve the right to refuse membership.
2016-2017 PANJ Executive Board President: JoAnne Haffeman Recording Secretary: Grace Kelly Corresponding Secretary: Jennifer Ciaburi Treasurer: Carol Snyder NALA Liaison: Christine Principe, CP
Trustees at Large: Nazmia Abedrao, Nyree Benitez, Allison Long, Michelle Mando, Sarah Robinson, Jennifer Smith, Ivette Torres Members of the NJSBA Special Committee on Paralegals: Nyree Benitez, JoAnne Haffeman, Sarah Robinson, Jennifer Smith, ACP Committee Chairs: Job Bank: Denise Zangoglia Newsletter Editor: Joanne Haffeman