After 18 months of planning, the Empire State Alliance of Paralegal Associations (ESAPA) held its first statewide paralegal conference celebrating its 25th year anniversary.
The location was the Holiday Inn in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The date was Friday May 2, and Saturday, May 3. Wow, what a whirlwind weekend. Being the ESAPA representative from the Rochester area, I needed to be there early to assist with any last minute things to be done — stuffing bags, getting printing projects finished, set up, and on and on.
Finally we were all set for Friday night’s registration and reception. The board members scrambled to change and, at 5 p.m., were networking with arriving paralegals and the sponsors who had set up tables.
The sponsors provided everyone with great information about the products and services they offer. Some of the sponsors even had raffle prizes to win at the end of the evening. The big hit of the night was the DJ. Hudson was his name and his company was KidDJ. Hudson was a ninth-grader with his own business.
If we could instill in our children anything, Hudson demonstrates what we would do. He was polite and very businesslike for his young age. His father approves all of his contracts. Hudson had this crowd of paralegals in his hand. He played the music that got their feet dancing and kept them all dancing. This was a perfect end to a long day of tying up any loose ends before the actual conference on Saturday.
The conference began with a hot breakfast and then the CLE sessions started. The CLEs were: E-Discovery & Computer Forensics, Matrimonial Law, Bankruptcy Law, Technology in the Law Office, Ethics for Paralegals, Probate & Trust Law, Healthcare Law and a Leadership Forum after lunch.
I attended 4 of the sessions and from my point of view they were awesome. The speakers kept you interested. They made you think and then they made you laugh. No problem falling asleep here. I also heard from some of the other paralegals that the other sessions were just as invigorating.
I heard from one person that the E-Discovery & Computer Forensics, taught by our local D4 representatives, was one of the best they had ever attended. Congratulations to our local D4 company for a job well done. During the luncheon there was even a fashion show, “Business Wear and Non-Business Wear: What is allowed at the office.” It was fun and broke up the day.
After a little time to ourselves, it was off to the Celebratory Dinner. What a rush it was being in Saratoga Springs (a horse town) at the dinner hour with the start of the Kentucky Derby at any moment. All I can say is “Wow!” We turned on the TV in the ballroom and watched the race. What tension in the room as the horses ran the race. Cheers and toasts and it was over that quickly and the dinner began.
After opening remarks were made, a brief history of the alliance was done. Then the keynote speaker was introduced, Anne Erickson, who is the president and CEO of the Empire Justice Center.
We have a local office here in Rochester. She spoke about many things and then touched on something she is working on with Judge Jonathan Lippman. He created a task force to Expand Access to Legal Services in New York of which Anne is a leading member. She is a very powerful speaker and believes that paralegals have an important role in all of this. She definitely captivated the crowd.
After dinner and recognition of the past chairs, we were allowed to say a few words. I started with thanking my association for allowing me to be a part of such a great event. We pulled it off and now as I look back, it was fantastic.
The Paralegal Association of Rochester is presently in the middle of electing their board of directors and wants to remind all VOTING members to please return their proxies to Jane Gorski. If anyone did not receive their proxy please contact Jane at JGorski@boylancode.com. The new board will be sworn in at the annual dinner on May 22 at Hose 22 restaurant.
Deborah King is a paralegal and PAR’s primary representative to the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.