BYLAWS OF THE SOUTH JERSEY PARALEGAL ASSOCIATION
NAME AND ADDRESS
1.1 The name of this Corporation is SOUTH JERSEY PARALEGAL ASSOCIATION, hereinafter “SJPA” or “the Association”. The mailing address of the Association shall be designated by the president and approved by the Board of Directors, hereinafter “the Board”.
2.1 The purpose of SJPA shall be:
- to engage in any non-profit activity within the lawful purposes for which non-profit corporations may be organized under and pursuant to the provisions of the legislature of the State of New Jersey, Title 15A, N.J.S.A., as amended;
- to promote and maintain high standards in the paralegal profession;
- to encourage continuing legal education and be a resource center for educational and career opportunities;
- to promote the education of the legal profession and legal community in the use of paralegals including the scope of paralegal responsibility;
- to monitor and participate in developments in the paralegal profession;
- to maintain a communications network among paralegal associations and other members of the legal community and;
- to perform all things incidental to the accomplishment of the foregoing purposes.
DEFINITION OF PARALEGAL
3.1 A paralegal is a person qualified through education, training, or work experience, who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, governmental agency, or other entity in a capacity or function which involves the performance, under the ultimate direction and supervision of an attorney, of specifically delegated substantive legal work, which work for the most part, requires a sufficient knowledge of legal concepts that, absent such assistance, the attorney would perform the task.
Classes of Membership
4.1 The Association shall have four classes of membership consisting of voting members, associate members, student members and sustaining members and shall not discriminate with regard to any class of membership because of race, religion sex, national origin, age, sexual preference or physical handicap.
4.2 A voting member is:
(a) any person with a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree in paralegal studies/legal technology who is currently employed or retained by an attorney as a paralegal;
(b) any person with a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree in any field, plus a paralegal certificate who is currently employed or retained by an attorney as a paralegal;
(c) any person with a Certificate from an ABA-approved or AAfPE-member paralegal education program or from a paralegal education program offered by an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and offering courses at the post-secondary level, who is currently employed or retained by an attorney as a paralegal;
(d) any person with a Certificate from a non-correspondence paralegal program which is not ABA-approved or an AAfPE member or from a paralegal education program offered by an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and offering courses at the post-secondary level, and who is currently employed or retained by an attorney as a paralegal, and has two consecutive years, whether prior or current, of paralegal experience;
(e) any person who is employed or retained by any attorney as a paralegal and who has three consecutive years, whether prior or current, of paralegal experience.
4.3 A voting member shall be entitled to vote on all matters, shall be entitled to hold an office in the Association, and shall be entitled to serve as a member or as a chair of any committee as set forth in Article X at the discretion of the president.
4.4 A voting member shall be entitled to vote in person or by individual written proxy. A member may appoint another member and one alternate as proxy, and may submit a written proxy ballot. The proxy must be submitted to the recording secretary or to the member who holds the proxy, if other than the recording secretary. All proxies shall be delivered to the secretary to be affixed to the minutes for that meeting.
4.5 An Associate member is
(a) any person who is employed or retained by an attorney as a paralegal who does not meet any of the criteria for voting membership;
(b) any person who is a graduate of either: a non-correspondence paralegal education program; or a paralegal education program that is ABA approved; or an AAfPE member; or one that is offered by an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and offering courses at the post-secondary level, but currently unemployed;
(c) any person previously employed or retained as a paralegal, but currently unemployed;
(d) any person who is a member in good standing of an NFPA-member Association other than SJPA;
(e) any person who is currently a paralegal manager, coordinator or administrator, and who applies their past experience and/or education as a paralegal in their current position.
4.6 An Associate member shall not be entitled to vote on any matters, but shall be entitled to serve as a member of any committee or as the chair of an administrative committee as set forth in Article X, §10.2 at the discretion of the president.
4.7 An Associate member, upon employment as a paralegal, shall immediately apply for voting membership upon satisfaction of the qualifications under Article IV, §4.2 of these Bylaws and will be responsible for the difference in dues between Associate membership and Voting membership.
4.8 A Student member is any person who is currently enrolled in either: a non-correspondence paralegal education program; or a paralegal education program that is ABA approved; or an AAfPE member; or one that is offered by an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and offering courses at the post-secondary level.
4.9 A Student member shall not be entitled to vote on any matter, but shall be entitled to serve as a member of any committee or as the chair of an administrative committee as set for in Article X, §10.2 at the discretion of the president.
4.10 A Student member shall immediately apply for Associate membership upon satisfaction of the qualifications under Article IV, §4.5 and as such, will be responsible for the difference in dues between Student and Associate membership
4.11 A Sustaining member shall consist of any person, partnership, corporation or other entity supporting the goals and purposes of the Association.
4.12 A Sustaining member shall not be entitled to vote on any matters, but shall be entitled to serve as a member of any committee but not as the chair of any committee as defined in Article X, at the discretion of the president.
4.13 Application form shall be submitted in writing, together with the appropriate annual membership dues, to the membership chair for review and processing, subject to verification and Board approval.
4.14 Annual dues for each class of membership shall be determined, fixed and assessed from time to time by the Board. Further approval by the membership shall not be required; however, notice of any change in the amount of dues shall be furnished to all members at least thirty (30) days in advance of the effective date.
(a) Dues shall be payable at the time of application and shall be due annually thereafter.
(b) Members are required to submit a renewal application annually.
(c) Members who fail to pay their dues within sixty (60) days of the due date shall be considered delinquent. Membership, with all rights and privileges, may be terminated without notice.
(d) No dues shall be refunded, except at the discretion of the Board.
4.15 Any SJPA voting member in good standing on June 22, 1992 shall retain voting member status so long as the conditions under which they originally became eligible for voting membership continue.
4.16 A member whose membership lapses must re-apply for membership under the criteria in effect at the time of re-application.
Termination of Membership
4.17 The Board, by a majority vote, may terminate or suspend a member for cause after a hearing scheduled at the discretion of the Board.
4.18 Nonpayment of dues within sixty (60) days of the due date shall be considered delinquent and the membership may be terminated.
Resignation of Member
4.19 Any member may resign by submitting a written resignation to the membership chair. The resignation shall be effective when received by the membership chair if no effective date is stated. However, resignation shall not relieve the member of the obligation to pay any dues, assessments, or other charges accrued and unpaid.
Transfer of Membership
4.20 Membership in the Association is not transferable.
5.1 Regular meetings of the Association shall be held at such time and place as fixed by the president. Notice of the date, time, and place shall be furnished to all members at least ten (10) days prior to the meeting. The presence of five percent (5%) of the voting members shall constitute a quorum.
5.2 An annual meeting of the Association shall be held in May of each year. The purpose of this meeting is to elect officers, submit written reports of officers and committee chairs, and conduct any other business that may come before the meeting. The presence of five percent (5%) of the voting members shall constitute a quorum.
5.3 Special meetings of the Association or the Board may be called by the president or at the request of a majority of the Board, or upon written request of five percent (5%) of the voting members. Notice of the date, time, and place shall be furnished to all members at least five (5) days prior to the special meeting. The presence of five (5) voting members shall constitute a quorum.
Board of Directors’ Meeting
5.4 The Board shall hold regular meetings at such time and place as may be designated by the president. Notice of the date, time and place shall be furnished to all members of the Board at least five (5) days prior to the meeting. The presence of five (5) voting members shall constitute a quorum.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Members of the Board
6.1 Members of the Board shall consist of elected and appointed officers and standing committee chairs.
6.2 The president shall fill any temporary or permanent vacancy of an officer by appointment with the approval of a majority vote of the Board.
6.3 The president shall fill any temporary or permanent vacancy of a committee chair by appointment without the need for Board approval.
Powers and Duties
6.4 The Board shall have general supervision of the affairs of the Association between its business meetings, fix the hour and place of the meetings, make recommendations to the Association, and shall perform such other duties as are specified in these bylaws. The Board shall be subject to the orders of the Association, and none of its acts shall conflict with action taken by the Association.
6.5 The Board shall have the power to incur and pay all budgeted expenses of the Association. In no event shall the Board incur an expense in excess of five hundred dollars ($500) beyond the approved budget without the approval of the voting members.
6.6 Each individual serving on the Board shall have one vote.
6.7 The Board shall periodically review powers and duties of administrative and policy committees set forth in the SJPA Procedures Manual.
6.8 Outgoing Board members shall deliver all files to incoming Board members no later than the Board meeting following the election. Files for unfilled Board positions shall be delivered to the president-elect at the same time.
6.9 Incoming Board members shall review the file and be generally familiar with the contents by the next scheduled Board meeting.
6.10 Formal notice to the members of committee work product shall be submitted to the Board for its approval prior to such notice.
6.11 The term of office shall be one (1) year from the date of installation or appointment until a successor shall be elected, appointed and installed.
6.12 Members of the Board shall be members in good standing of the Association. A director may not hold more than two (2) positions on the Board, elected or appointed, unless at the discretion of the president.
Removal of a Director
6.13 Any director may be removed from office for cause by the affirmative vote of a majority of the Board.
6.14 A director may be removed from office by the affirmative vote of a majority of the Board should the director be absent from three (3) consecutive Board meetings.
6.15 Written notice of removal shall be furnished to the director by the recording secretary within twenty (20) days of removal
6.16 Removal from the Board shall not affect the member's rights and privileges as a member of the Association, provided that the member meets the membership requirements as defined herein.
Resignation of a Director
6.17 Any director of the Association may resign at any time by giving written notice to the president and the recording secretary. Such resignation shall take effect on the date of receipt of notice, or at the time specified therein, whichever is later. The acceptance of a resignation shall not be necessary to make it effective.
Officers to be Elected
7.1 The elected officers of the Association shall be President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Treasurer, Primary Representative to NFPA, and Secondary Representative to NFPA.
7.2 The term of office shall be one (1) year or until a successor is duly elected and installed.
Duties of Officers
7.3 These officers shall perform the duties prescribed by these bylaws, by the parliamentary authority adopted by the Association and as set forth in the SJPA Procedures Manual as well as such other duties as may be required from time to time by the Board or the President.
Nomination of Officers
7.4 Nominations shall be required from voting members not less than sixty (60) days prior to the election.
7.5 The nominating committee shall present a slate of candidates to the members either by publication in the Association newsletter or by mail.
7.6 Nominations may be accepted from the floor until the time of the election.
Election of Officers
7.7 The officers of the Association shall be elected by a majority of the voting members present at the May meeting of the Association and shall be installed at the June meeting each year.
7.8 Voting shall be by ballot or by written proxy, except where there is but one (1) candidate for any office. In that event, the election for that office may be by hand or voice vote.
Officers to be Appointed
8.1 The appointed officers of the Association shall be Parliamentarian and Corresponding Secretary.
Appointment of Officers
8.2 These officers shall be appointed by the president and the term of office shall coincide with that of the appointing president.
Duties of Appointed Officers
8.3 These officers shall perform the duties prescribed by these bylaws, by the parliamentary authority adopted by the Association and as set forth in the SJPA Procedures Manual as well as such other duties as may be requested from time to time by the Board or the president.
CODE OF ETHICS
9.1 Every member of the Association shall, within the parameters of New Jersey law, adhere to the Model Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility published by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.
9.2 Every member of the Association shall adhere to court opinions, the Rules of Professional Conduct as stated by the American Bar Association and the New Jersey Rules of Court and the court opinions, Rules of Professional Conduct and Court Rules of any other State in which they are employed.
9.3 The vice president of the Association shall receive complaints regarding violations of this Article and shall present them to the board which shall direct such action as it deems necessary.
10.1 The standing policy committees of the Association shall be Delivery of Paralegal Services, Membership, Nominations and Elections, Pro Bono Publico, and Professional Development.
10.2 The standing administrative committees of the Association shall be Continuing Education, Fund Raising, Job Bank, Meetings, Newsletter, Programs, Public Relations, and Paralegal Educational Convention.
Ad Hoc Committees
10.3 Ad hoc committees shall be appointed by the president, with the approval of the Board, as the need arises, to carry out a specified task, at the completion of which it automatically ceases to exist.
Duties of Committees
10.4 Committee members shall perform the duties prescribed by these bylaws, by the parliamentary authority adopted by the Association and as set forth in the SJPA Procedures Manual.
11.1 The funds of the Association shall be kept in a banking institution chosen by the treasurer with the approval of the Board.
11.2 The signature of the officers as required by the banking institution will be necessary for withdrawals and shall not be less than two officers.
11.3 All expenses covered in the Association's current annual budget will be automatically approved for payment. The Association shall provide funds to the extent possible to pay the reasonable expenses incurred by any member in connection with duties or services performed as requested by the Board or the assembly of SJPA.
11.4 Items which exceed the amount allocated in the budget shall be presented to the Board for approval except as provided in Article VI, §6.5.
12.1 The current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall be the parliamentary authority of the Association except where these Bylaws contain inconsistent provisions, in which case these Bylaws shall prevail.
ACTION WITHOUT MEETING
13.1 The Board may act without a meeting if fifty-one percent (51%) of the Board consents to such action, provided such action is ratified at the next Board meeting.
14.1 The Association shall indemnify its Board of Directors to the full extent permitted by law.
DISSOLUTION OF SJPA
15.1 In the event of the dissolution of the Association, all property and assets shall be distributed to a non-profit charitable organization, as defined by the Internal Revenue Code, to be selected by a majority of the voting members of the Association.
15.2 Notice of the dissolution of the Association shall be given to all voting members at least fifteen (15) days prior to the dissolution.
AMENDMENT(S) TO BYLAWS
16.1 These bylaws may be amended at any meeting of the Association by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present provided that written notice of the proposed amendment(s) shall have been given to each voting member at least fifteen (15) days preceding the meeting.
16.2 Before adoption by the membership, if necessary, the amendment(s) are to be sent to NFPA by the Primary Representative for approval pursuant to current NFPA policies and procedures.