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PPA's Mentoring Program 

PPA believes in furthering the success of our members and, with that in mind, we are looking for paralegals of all levels to be mentors, mentees, and champions of our profession. If you are an experienced paralegal, we welcome the benefit of the wisdom of your experience. If you are new to the profession and need some help and/or direction about how to move ahead in your newly chosen career, the PPA mentoring program is here to help. And, if you are mid-level in your experience, we welcome your insights. 

If you are interested in volunteering as a mentor, seeking a mentor, or want more information about the mentoring program, please contact Anne Newcomer at atnparalegal@gmail.com.

Check out this article by Deb Wallman on "The Importance of Being a Mentor."   Being a Mentor.DOCX

Pro Bono – What is it and how can I help? 

Pro Bono is providing legal services for no charge, in particular to those with low income.  There are many opportunities for paralegals to participate in pro bono projects in the greater Pittsburgh area. 

Pittsburgh Paralegal Association ("PPA") is deep in tradition with pro bono projects in the region.  Over the years, PPA has worked with many institutions to facilitate programs such as Neighborhood Legal Service ("NLS") and YWCA.  Today we partner with Pittsburgh Pro Bono Partnership to help facility any program they need help with.  Our current Pro Bono Chair is a liaison with the Partnership.

In addition, we are a member association with National Federation of Paralegal Association ("NFPA"), which provides pro bono opportunities nationally.  The National Federation of Paralegal Associations has great information on pro bono programs and how paralegals can help.  Check out the Pro Bono page of the NFPA website.

The Community Justice Project, which is a member of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) has offices in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Scranton, Hazleton, and Reading. It is an impact-case firm and offers assistance with housing and employment discrimination, property tax equity, and other cases involving due process rights.


PLAN https://palegalaid.net/ (this is a good reference for anyone in the state to look up their regional legal aid office)

Neighborhood Legal Services is an Allegheny County legal aid organization and provides legal aide to those with immediate needs in areas such as housing eviction appeals, fair housing, employment work, etc. There are also offices in Beaver, Butler, and Lawrence Counties.  https://www.nlsa.us/ 

Other local pro bono organizations are:

Westmoreland County - Laurel Legal Services https://laurellegalservices.org/ 

Southwest PA counties legal aid https://spla.org/ 

Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project (PILP) https://pailp.org/ -- This is a legal aid group focusing on civil rights of incarcerated individuals, including denial of religious freedom and access to adequate healthcare.

The Pro Bono Center. This is not a "legal aid" group per se -- this is the Pittsburgh-based group founded by the Allegheny County Bar Association that has a listing of private bar attorneys who take on pro bono work http://www.pittsburghprobono.org/Pittsburgh_Pro_Bono_Partnership.asp 

Duquesne University has a legal aid clinic, so does the the University of Pittsburgh.

If you are a paralegal or Pro Bono Project coordinator looking to get involved or need paralegal support with a project feel to contact the PPA Pro Bono Chair Diana Roth at droth006@gmail.com.

Paralegal Certification vs. Paralegal Certificate – Why do I need either?

Briefly stated, a paralegal certificate is earned by attending a paralegal education program.

Having a paralegal certification means you have met certain prerequisites, such as education requirements or years of experience. You may have also taken and passed an exam to become certified.

There are several paralegal certifications available. In Pennsylvania, you can earn the Pennsylvania Certified Paralegal (Pa.C.P.) credential.

Through NFPA you may take the Paralegal Core Competency Exam or the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam. 

Learn more about the NFPA certifications here.

Merriam-Webster defines Certificate as "a document that is official proof that you have finished school or a course of training."

The Cambridge Dictionary defines Certified as "approved by an official organization to do a particular job because you have successfully completed its examination and proved that you have the necessary training and qualifications."

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