HUNTINGTON – Jill I. Francisco, a paralegal at Dinsmore and Shohl, LLP in Huntington, was recently elected vice president of the National Association of Legal Assistants/Paralegals (NALA).


Jill Francisco
Jill Francisco

As part of her role as vice president, Francisco will serve on the NALA board of directors during the 2016-2017 operational year.


“I am very honored to be elected as VP of NALA,” Francisco told The West Virginia Record. “I love and am very passionate about NALA and the paralegal profession as a whole. I am thrilled to be in the position to make a difference to ensure that NALA and the paralegal professions continue to thrive well into the future.”


Francisco is a licensed certified paralegal who started working as a paralegal at Huddleston Bolen LLP in 1997. She joined Dinsmore and Shohl in February 2015 as a result of Huddleston Bolen’s merger with that firm.


Francisco previously served as NALA’s second vice president from 2014 to 2016, as secretary from 2012 to 2014, as treasurer from 2010 to 2012, as affiliated associations director from 2008 to 2010 and as a member of NALA’s professional development committee from 2003 to 2006.


“The VP position, first and foremost, is to be ready to fulfill any duty that the president assigns,” Francisco said. “The VP must also be prepared to step into the role as president, if needed.”


In addition, Francisco said the NALA vice president is in charge of membership. In that capacity, the vice president is charged with promoting membership and writing a membership column for NALA’s quarterly magazine, “Facts & Findings.”


From 2004 to 2006, Francisco served as the charter president for the NALA Affiliated Association, Legal Assistants/Paralegals of Southern West Virginia. She currently serves on the advisory board for the Mount West Community and Technical College legal assistant program, is the legal assistant representative on the Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia board of directors, and serves on the Marshall University Big Green Scholarship board of directors.


Francisco obtained her bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Marshall University in 1994. She lives in Kenova, West Virginia, with her husband, Shawn, and their son, John David.


Francisco said her goal as NALA vice president for the upcoming year is to ensure that the association continues to make decisions consistent with its mission statement. She said NALA leads the paralegal profession by providing a voluntary certification program, continuing legal education (CLE) and professional development for all paralegals.


“I want to continue to assist NALA in continuing to provide new CLE opportunities for all paralegals to help them prosper and advance in their career,” Francisco said.


Francisco said she also wants to continue her focus on mentoring new NALA members and new paralegals.


“It has always been a priority for me to speak to and mentor students that are enrolled in paralegal educational programs and to share my knowledge and experience with them,” Francisco said. “I believe this is essential in order for the paralegal profession to be around for many years to come.”

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