Heartland Paralegal Association ("HPA") is a not-for-profit professional organization dedicated to the advancement of the paralegal profession by promoting the benefits of effective and increased utilization of paralegals within the legal communities.
HPA promotes high ethical standards for its membership and supports a voluntary national certification to identify paralegals who have demonstrated a high degree of competency in the profession, as well as, providing continuing legal education for its members.
HPA is dedicated to providing a network of professional support to paralegals throughout the Kansas City metro area including Jackson County, Missouri, and Johnson and Wyandotte Counties in Kansas.
Heartland Paralegal Association, as it is now known, began in 2001 as Heartland Association of Legal Assistants. The charter members belonged previously to another organization based outside the Kansas City area. Luncheon meetings required a vacation day because of the distance, and board meetings were held by teleconference. Members felt disjointed.
Seven ambitious paralegals decided it was time to break out and form a totally new organization aimed at paralegals in and near the Kansas City metro area. The process began in January 2001. The name was selected, a logo was designed, and officers were elected.
Being affiliated with a national organization was important. Since some charter members were Certified Legal Assistants (now known as Certified Paralegals, designated by the initials "CP"), the natural choice was the National Association of Legal Assistants & Paralegals ("NALA"). Affiliate status was granted in March 2001.
Part of our most recent growth is a result of staying informed with professional trends. One such trend is the recognition that the legal assistanting profession had evolved over the years into more of a distinction between the terms "legal assistant" and "paralegal". In recent years, the preference for "paralegal" gained strength. At HPA's April 2010 general membership meeting, a vote was taken and the tally was clear. The membership prefers to be referred to as "paralegals". The organization's name was was changed to Heartland Paralegal Association.