From the president: We're expanding our membership

Inviting Florida Registered Paralegals to join us adds value to the organization.

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  • | 1:05 a.m. April 4, 2024
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  • The Bar Bulletin
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Recently, your board of governors made a historic decision to meet a need, seize a compelling opportunity and advance the Jacksonville Bar Association’s mission.

We are expanding our membership criteria beyond attorneys and law students only to include Florida Registered Paralegals.

We recognize the critical role that paralegals, legal assistants, office managers and other support staff play in the delivery of legal services and the operation of most law offices.

Blane McCarthy

In the past we were hesitant to expand membership beyond lawyers for fear of opening a door that may become wider than intended.

Evaluating this issue, we felt that offering membership to Florida Registered Paralegals strikes the right balance.

To quote from the Florida Bar’s website, “a Florida Registered Paralegal (FRP) is a paralegal who has met the education, training, certification and work experience required for voluntary registration as set forth in Chapter 20 of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar.

The criteria for becoming a Florida Registered Paralegal are above and beyond what is required to do paralegal work in Florida. FRPs must also take 33 hours of continuing education every three years to maintain their status. These distinctions help set FRPs apart from their peers.” 

The Florida Bar’s oversight of the Florida Registered Paralegal program imposes on FRPs a similarly stringent third-party vetting that our attorney members experience.

That gave us peace about narrowly expanding membership to include others also subject to The Florida Bar oversight and professional standards. 

Your board of governors believes that Florida Registered Paralegal membership advances the Jacksonville Bar Association’s mission “to encourage collegiality and serve our members in the practice of law, aid in the administration of justice and foster respect for the law and the legal profession.” 

We feel that allowing FRPs into our membership adds value to the organization as a whole, bringing new perspectives to our focus, providing mutually beneficial networking opportunities between our lawyer and FRP members, giving our programming a larger audience and providing FRPs with a robust and productive source of continuing education.

Starting this month, the JBA will accept membership applications from Florida Registered Paralegals.

The JBA’s website provides the platform to join and delineates the cost and benefit differences between FRP All-Inclusive and FRP A La Carte memberships. 

To our more than 200 local Florida Registered Paralegals, we are eager to welcome you into the JBA.

To our current attorney members, please encourage, if not underwrite, your FRPs to join. 

As I have repeatedly declared during my presidency, the Jacksonville Bar Association builds community so you can better enjoy being a lawyer.

The JBA community is expanding. Hopefully, your career enjoyment will do likewise.

Blane McCarthy is a certified circuit mediator with Miles Mediation & Arbitration.



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