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Annual Meeting Report

Via Sharon Davis, PLS, State Director:

The AALS 44th Annual Meeting and Educational Conference was held April 27 – 29, 2012, at the Clarion Resort on the Lake in Hot Springs, Arkansas. NEALSP members in attendance were Andrea Hicks, PLS, Mimi Jumper, Charlie Patterson, Belinda Penn, PLS, and Sharon Davis, PLS.

Beginning on Friday, April 27th, New Member Orientation was held from 5:15 – 6:00 p.m. and was open to all new members to give them the opportunity to learn what AALS is all about. Legal education for Friday was in the area of Real Estate, led by Attorney Travis Morrissey, who is the son of AALS member, Sue Morrissey. After the legal ed, a Gala Celebration and 50th Anniversary was held honoring Garland County LSP. Light refreshments were served with entertainment provided by Delta Donnie and East End Eddie.

On Saturday, Opening Ceremonies were conducted with the Color Guard from Hot Springs High School ROTC presenting the flags. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Ann Simmons, and the Code of Ethics/Mission Statement was led by Andrea Hicks, PLS. All members sang the National Anthem. A welcome speech by Mayor Ruth Carney was followed by the introduction of our special NALS guests, Helene P. Wood, PP, PLS-SC, TSC-RE, NALS President, Reba Peden, PP, PLS, Region 6 Director, and our own Doris Compton, PP, PLS, NALS President Elect. Judges for the AALS History Book Competition and Award of Excellence Competition and introduced by Marie Schoenfeldt, PLS, were Steve Oliver, Prosecuting Attorney for the 18th Judicial District, Terry Askew, Attorney at Law, Ted Nobles, Personal Trust Officer with Community First Trust Company.

Following the Opening Ceremony, legal education was provided by Cathy Underwood, lead paralegal instructor for Pulaski Technical College on the subject of ethics, “Avoiding Legal Malpractice, the Paralegal’s Role”. Cathy reviewed the Rules of Professional Conduct, specifically as they applied to legal support staff. She stated the most common complaint that is received by the Bar Discipline Office deals with communication between the client and the attorney. She stressed the importance of keeping communications open with the client and keeping the client informed of the status of the case.

After the break, legal education was provided by Alan Malzewski, CPA, on the subject of forensic accounting. Mr. Malzewski is a certified fraud examiner and explained his role and duties in examining client’s bank records, employee records, etc. He also explained the role of a valuation analyst and their importance in determining the value of property, especially in decedent’s estates.

At noon, AALS members enjoyed the Recognition Luncheon with Certification Chair Rita Thatcher, CPS, ALS recognizing all members who have attained the ALS, PLS and PP certification. She also recognized the NALS Certification Exam Administrators. Keynote speaker, Helene P. Wood, PP, PLS-SC, TS-RE, NALS President, inspired all of us with her encouraging words to always strive to better ourselves and keep learning and growing in our roles as legal support professionals.

The Annual Business meeting convened at 1:30 p.m. There were seven (7) chapters present, with two members-at-large, Linda Adair, PLS, and Mae Humphries, PLS, CLA, one first time attendee, Helene Wood, and two visitors, Helene Wood and Reba Peden. All AALS past presidents were recognized. President Cheryl Summerhill, PLS, appointed Linda Adair, PLS as timekeeper, Sue Holder, PLS, Rita Thatcher, CPS, ALS, and Doris Compton, PP, PLS, as tellers. The Consent Agenda was approved as printed.

Kim Wiles, AALS Secretary, then presented the EC Recommendations. The following recommendations were unanimously approved:

  • Recommendation No. 1: Payment of the $178.00 cost of a $15,000 indemnity bond.
  • Recommendation No. 2: Payment of $30.00 for electrical hook up for the AALS booth at
  • the Arkansas Bar Meeting. This was needed so that a power point presentation could be utilized.
  • Recommendation No. 3: Distribution of NALS luggage tags and candy as handouts at the AALS Booth along with the purchase of a Gregg Reference Manual to give away as a door prize.
  • Recommendation No. 4: Payment of the $500.00 registration fee for Janet Gordon, PP, PLS, AALS President Elect, to attend the 2012 NALS Annual Meeting and Educational Conference.
  • Recommendation No. 5: Reimburse AALS Historian, Belinda Penn, PLS, $164.51 for AALS history book costs.

The floor was then opened for bids for the 2014 AALS Annual Meeting. NEALSP made a bid for the meeting. After presenting a skit, NEALSP won the bid.

There was only one timely bid for the 2013 Fall Business Meeting submitted by Saline Co. LSP. There being no further bids, a vote was taken and Saline Co. won the bid. Reba Peden, Region 6 Director, then gave a report on the Region 6 meeting scheduled for July 13-16, 2012, at the Sheraton St. Louis City Center. Earlybird registration will be $125.00 with a deadline of June 1. From June 2-15, registration will be $140.00 and after June 15, it will increase to $155.00. The St. Louis chapter is planning a river boat cruise which is included in the cost of registration.

President Cheryl then announced that White Co. LSP won both the AALS United Award (collection of box tops) and the AALS Golden Spoon Award (Pampered Chef parties). Certificates of Appreciation were then given by President Cheryl.

After announcements were made, the meeting was adjourned until the Awards Banquet and Installation of the 2012-2013 AALS officers.

At 6:30 p.m. the AALS 44 Anniversary th Celebration and Awards Banquet was held with welcome by President Cheryl Summerhill, PLS, and recognition of past presidents by Mimi Jumper. Invocation was given by Ann Simmons, with dinner following. After dinner, the presentation of awards was held and the following winners were announced:

  • $500.00 grant – Christina Pinner, sponsored by White Co. LSP
  • $500.00 grant – Neelam Vious, sponsored by Linda Adair, PLS, Member-at-large
  • $1,000.00 scholarship – Ryan Morgan, sponsored by NEALSP
  • Chapter Achievement, Category A: White Co. LSP
  • Chapter Achievement, Category B: Greater Little Rock LSP
  • History Book Award – NEALSP
  • Membership Award – Saline Co.LSP for highest percentage of increase in members
  • AALS Wants You Campaign – E-2 – Mimi Jumper, Danny Looney, Andrea Hicks, PLS, and Kim Wiles; E-3 – Marie Schoenfeldt, PLS. Since Marie recruited the most new members she received $100.00 personally from President Summerhill and her chapter (Garland Co.) will receive $100.00 toward a membership event from AALS.
  • Arkansas Traveler Award was presented to Helene Wood, for most miles traveled to anAALS meeting
  • President’s Award – White Co. LSP
  • Award of Excellence – Mimi Jumper

After the awards, the Installation Ceremony was led by Installing Marshal, Steve B. Jordan, Attorney and boss of Janet Gordon. After the installation and passing of the gavel, outgoing President, Cheryl Summerhill, pinned incoming President, Janet Gordon, with the traveling President’s pin. AALS President, Janet Gordon, PP, PLS, then pinned President Cheryl Summerhill with her outgoing President’s Pin. Historian Belinda Penn, PLS and Sharon Davis, PLS, then presented Cheryl with her history book (4 volumes!). Toast to the outgoing president was led by Judy Davis, then Janet presented her 2012-2013 President’s Message, setting her theme for the year as AALS Symphony, Working Together in Harmony.

On Sunday, Officer and Chair Orientation was led by Cheryl Summerhill, PLS, Janet Gordon, PP, PLS, and Doris Compton, PP, PLS. They each gave an overview of the duties of the State Director, state and local officers, and the membership. A question and answer session was held following their presentations.

After the break, the AALS 2012 Spring Business Meeting was called to order by President Janet Gordon, PP, PLS. Sharon Davis, PLS, led the Pledge of Allegiance and Mae Humphries, PLS, CLA, led the members in the reading of the NALS Code of Ethics, and NALS Mission Statement. New members of the AALS Board were then sworn in by President Janet Gordon.

President-elect, Mimi Jumper, reported to the members on the membership competition. She will be keeping track of new members that are recruited throughout the year, with the winner to receive $100 personally from her, and the winner’s chapter to receive $100 toward a membership function from AALS. She reminded the members to put their member number on each new application for membership that they have recruited, or if it is completed online, to let her or NALS know that you have sponsored that new member so you will be given credit.

Reports for the meeting were then given. Danny Looney reported that the raffle sales profited $121.00 to be used toward the Leadership Retreat The AALS Silent Auction netted $375.00 and Lighten Your Loan netted $32.86 and one safety pin. Marie Schoenfeldt, PLS, Annual Meeting Chair, stated she did not have the final figures but estimated that after costs, the association would net approximately $3,000, with AALS receiving $1,500 and Garland Co. $1,500. Final figures would be provided to the members as soon as they could be determined. After announcements were made, President Janet presented the new board members with music tokens as a reminder of their duties to AALS Symphony, and the meeting was adjourned.

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