Your Vision for AAPP

Your Board of Directors would appreciate your ideas concerning where you see the Association going in the next year.  Are our needs changing with regard to how we interact with one another?  Do you prefer face-to-face meetings or electronic delivery of such matters as learning opportunities and our Annual General Meeting?  Please feel free to post a comment.

11 thoughts on “Your Vision for AAPP

  1. Cathy

    As a new member, I would like the opportunity to meet the members in person, putting a face to the name is important. Electronic information helps keeps people up to date on information, events and other items.

  2. Ayla

    Personally, I enjoy seeing people face to face. As Cathy said, emails are great for relaying messages but I think people who are a part of the AAPP need to be more proactive about attending events. Otherwise, what is the point in the AAPP? We’re all busy but making time once in a while for an organization dedicated to our field of work is well worth the time and effort.

    1. AAPP Board Post author

      Thanks Ayla. It was great to meet you at our last social event and see your enthusiasm for our profession and share ideas and knowledge. AAPP is our voice for communicating with stakeholders in the legal industry and we need to safeguard it. Without leadership from and commitment by members of our Association, we will cease to exist like many non-profit organizations have done.

  3. Melissa

    While social events are great, I would like to see some career related events (ie: lunch and learns, speakers, etc). I’m sure most of us already have busy social calendars, but might be more inclined to make room (over the lunch hour or after work) for a presentation on a topic that relates to their career.

    This could start internally, where members could present a topic in their area of expertise. As interest is gained, we could branch out and ask external experts to speak on various topics.

    Another idea might be to offer “round table discussions” on various topics. This could be offered via conference call, and would give members the opportunity to bounce ideas and processes off each other. This could be a quarterly call, where members could send in questions, issues, ideas in advance of the session and their fellow members can provide guidance where they see fit.

    1. AAPP Board Post author

      Thanks for your post Melissa. In previous years lunch hour and after work events were not well attended. The Board is working on developing electronic means for members to engage in such learning opportunities. Once sufficient members take part, the next step will be to group members into law practice area so more specific learning can be done. However More volunteers are needed to make this happen.

  4. Bev Boyden-Van Staden

    Electronic connection is the best way in these days of an already hectic lifestyle for many. We’ve got to find a way gather new members for AAPP and to group ourselves together (students, legal assistants and paralegals) as a united front so that AAPP can be our voice in these changing times.

    The public is demanding change (see: http://www.nationalmagazine.ca/Articles/Recent4/The-client-driven-revolution.aspx); the Canadian Bar Association has been looking into the crisis across Canada for awhile now; other Provinces have already done studies and implemented change; and changes for Alberta are just around the corner.

    The common thread I see is a desire for an access to justice system that meets the needs of every member of the public. The obvious answer (to me) is that the best approach (to fixing the problem) would be a ‘team approach’… lawyer, paralegal, and legal assistant … because we are all in this together (as a team) to best serve the client. Strong resistance to needed change is going to be there and thus convincing the decision makers of the benefits to making such changes is going to be tough.

    The biggest hurdle for AAPP right now is membership numbers (we need more members!), after which the next hurdle will be lobbying for change and having our ‘voices’ heard by the decision makers through AAPP.

    1. AAPP Board Post author

      Well it’s been awhile since Bev’s last post and changes have already been made and suggested by the Justice Ministry. The latest announcement is the formation of triage desks at Alberta court houses – a change that was recommended by all attendees at the Joint Action Forum meeting in November. Often when people are faced with turning to the Courts it is because of pre-existing social challenges: poor living conditions, mental health issues, family discord, etc. We need to address underlying conditions as well as what brings the person to the Court. Law firms are examining their business structures to address needed changes in affordability of legal services. Another possible change suggested was to raise the cap for small claims to $50,000 to allow more people to represent themselves. We need to ensure that we are equipped to handle the added demand for paralegals and work with the Colleges to create comprehensive courses so that graduates can step into a paralegal role sooner. Currently it is a combination of education + years of experience + building trust = paralegal.

  5. Pinar

    Rather than one or the other, AAPP should strive to offer a mixture of face-to-face and electronic means of communication.

    Also, when it comes to career related events (e.g. lunch-and-learns), since membership is never stagnant, it would be beneficial to bring them back. Such events should be the back-bone of the association. While other events are important for networking, opportunities for continuing education are, in my opinion, more important. Perhaps these can be a little more structured and formal, and coordinated with employers (i.e. lawyers). Otherwise, it becomes a network of dinner and coffee dates, plus pressure at the time of AGM to volunteer – all for the price of membership (I believe it is $100/yr for regular members). It just may not be worth it for some.

  6. Lorretta Klein

    I agree wholeheartedly Pinar. The AAPP Board has been working on re-establishing professional development opportunities through Membership Groups and reaching out to the Canadian Bar Association, Alberta Branch, with respect to accessing their resource library. As the access to justice issue continues to drive the need for systemic changes in our civil and family law areas, the demand for qualified paralegals will only grow. Are we, as professionals, ready to embrace that need and mentor our legal assistants to reach for this level of responsibility?

    1. AAPP Board Post author

      I’m pleased to announce that our first meeting of the Membership Groups is planned for mid-November in Calgary. A fan-out will be sent to our members with the details. This topic was discussed at our Annual General Meeting on October 18, 2014 and all were in agreement that this is needed in order for our members to connect and continue to add to their professional development.

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