NALS of Michigan swears in first male president, a Grand Rapidian



By Cynthia Price

Legal News

In its rich 55-year history, NALS of Michigan never had a male president until last Saturday.

Wil Antonides, a paralegal in the Grand Rapids Plunkett Cooney office, was installed as President at a banquet that closed out the conference held by the state chapter of “the association for legal professionals.”

Antonides had previously served as president of the NALS of West Michigan chapter, and he chose colleague Lynn Philp, the former NALS of Michigan Executive Secretary, to perform the swearing-in.

NALS, in addition to offering opportunities for camaraderie and general education, sponsors a certification program for legal support personnel, allowing those who have succeeded at the course to use initials after their names which indicate proficiency. The three certifications are: ALS, the basic level of proficience; PLS, the advanced 

level; and PP, Professional Paralegal, for those who are at advanced levels and are also paralegals.

Just recently, ALS and PLS certifications were changed to ALP (legal professional rather than legal secretary) and CLP to reflect the changing roles of legal assistance professionals. (Because that change is so recent, they are used interchangeably.)

Members also must subscribe to a code of ethics and professional responsibility.

At the banquet, something called the Clara Lagow award, named after the Texas NALS member who developed the PLS certification program in the late 1950s, was given to the Michigan chapter with the highest percentage of members who achieve ALS, PLS, and PP certifications over the past year. The Grand Traverse Chapter won the 2015 prize.

Another West Michiganian was given the prestigious Legal Professional of the Year Award. Teresa M. “Teri” Garber, PP, PLS-SC, a paralegal at Hackney Grover, PLC, is a former NALS of Michigan (as well as NALS of West Michigan) president who has a well-deserved reputation as a consummate professional.

Garber later gave the toast to Antonides, who is an ALP, after his installation. Also sworn in were  Kathy Ann Blunck as Vice President of Membership and Marketing; Paula Steffey, CLP,  Executive Secretary; Julie Cowles, PP, PLS, now Vice President of Education and Certification; and Jodi Velez, PLS, as  Treasurer.

Antonides said in his address that he hopes to shake things up a bit, and ask “What if?” without fearing change. He particularly mentioned the website and formats of meetings, though he emphasized that he has no current plans other than to start asking members and potential members what they might like to see done differently.

After the ceremony closed, NALS members kicked back for some entertainment from the Soul Practitioners, a 10-member band composed of attorneys from Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, and Southeast Michi-gan. Just founded in 2016 though many have played together in the past, the group plays mostly Motown and Rhythm and Blues.