Criteria for Membership

MEMBERSHIP

Section 3.01. Classes of Members. There shall be five classes of members consisting of Voting Members, Associate Members, Student Members, Affiliate Members, and Subscribing Members.

Membership shall be open to any Paralegal (as defined in Section 2.03 of the Bylaws) who is an employee of, or self-employed on a freelance basis by, an attorney, a law firm, corporate legal department, government, judicial or legal agency, or any other organization devoted primarily to the practice of law, regardless of the title by which the person is classified within the organization, and meet the following criteria:

(A) Voting Members. Any person who meets the requirements set forth below and such additional standards as the Membership Committee may from time to time prescribe may become a Voting Member.

(1) Shall be currently employed as a Paralegal under the direct supervision of an attorney and performing substantive legal work 80% of the time, have eight (8) hours of substantive continuing legal education within the past 12 months, and meet at least one of the following criteria:

(a) Board Certified Paralegal through the TBLS and have been employed as a Paralegal for at least one year.

(b) Certified Legal Assistant/Certified Paralegal through NALA and have been employed as a Paralegal for at least one year.

(c) Bachelor's Degree or higher degree in any field and have been employed as a Paralegal for at least one year.

(d) Completed an ABA approved program of education and training for Paralegal and have been employed as a Paralegal for at least three years.

(e) Been employed as a paralegal for at least five consecutive years.

A Paralegal who has been a Voting Member and is temporarily unemployed may renew his or her membership and shall continue to retain Voting Member status and all attendant rights and privileges for period of up to one year following such unemployment. If such person remains unemployed for more than one year, his or her membership status will be changed to Associate Member. Determination of continued Voting Membership in the Association shall be based upon verification of previous Voting Membership status and signature of an attorney or Voting Member of the Association attached to the membership renewal form.

Additionally, to maintain Voting Member status, a renewing member must submit with his/her renewal form verification of completion of eight (8) clock hours of continuing legal education as outlined in the Continuing Legal Education Policy detailed in Section 3.02 of these Bylaws. Such verification may be on forms approved by the Board of Directors of the Houston Metropolitan Paralegal Association, the State Bar of Texas, the American Bar Association, the National Association of Paralegals, and such other organizations as may be approved by the Board of Directors of the Association. Members who renew without such verification will be renewed as Associate Members as described in Article III, Section 3.01(B) of these Bylaws.

Only Voting Members are entitled to vote on matters which require the vote of members of the Association and only Voting Members shall be eligible to serve as an officer, director, chairperson of a standing committee, or chairperson of a special committee of the Association.

PHP - Professional Houston Paralegal. Any person who meets the Voting Members requirements set forth in section 3.01 (A)(1) before July 1, 1998 and such additional standards as the PHP Committee may from time to time prescribe, may become a PHP member and be eligible for the benefits available for such membership as determined by the PHP Committee. In order to become a PHP member and use the PHP designation, the member must verify with the PHP Committee that they have met the following PHP criteria:

(a) shall be a Voting Member in good standing having met all the Voting Membership requirements;

(b) shall be employed as a Paralegal under the ultimate direction and supervision of a licensed attorney;

(c) shall have a minimum of ten (10) clock hours of continuing legal education per year and shall adhere to the provisions outlined in the Continuing Legal Education Policy detailed in Section 3.02 of these Bylaws;

(d) shall have a 4-year degree; and/or an associate's degree plus five (5) years experience as a Paralegal; and/or an associate's degree plus successfully completed and maintained the CLA/CP, TBLS or NFPA certifications and/or been employed as a paralegal for at lest ten (10) consecutive years.

(e) verify all of the above with the PHP Committee by submitting a verification and application for PHP Designation to the PHP Committee for approval; or

(f) shall have been a PHP on or before January 1, 1999, and shall submit verification of continued employment as a Paralegal and of continuing legal education hours in a form approved by the Board of Directors of the Association.  The verification and application can be submitted for review and approval by the PHP Committee at any time. All PHPs will be required to reapply to use the PHP designation annually. Only Voting Members of the Association shall be eligible to make application to become a PHP.

(B) Associate Members (Non-Voting). Any person who meets the requirements set forth below and such additional standards as the Membership Committee may from time to time prescribe may become an Associate Member.
(1) Shall meet at least one of the following criteria:

(a) Presently employed as a trial coordinator, legal LAN administrator, supervisor of a Paralegal program, or like position (as determined by and at the sole discretion of the Board of Directors of the Association) within a law firm, corporation, or agency.

(b) Completed a Bachelor's Degree or higher degree in any field.

(c) Completed an ABA approved program of education and training for Paralegals.

(d) Completed a minimum of sixty (60) semester hours (or equivalent quarter hours) of which fifteen (15) are substantive legal courses.

(e) Been employed as a paralegal for at least five consecutive years.

PLUS, ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:

(a) Currently employed as a Paralegal under the direct supervision of an attorney and performing substantive legal work 80% of the time.

(b) Currently employed as a trial coordinator, legal LAN administrator, supervisor of a Paralegal program, or like position (as determined by and at the sole discretion of the Board of Directors of the Association) within a law firm, corporation, or agency, and has previously been employed as a paralegal.

A Paralegal who has been an Associate Member and is temporarily unemployed may renew his or her membership and shall continue to retain Associate Member status and all attendant rights and privileges for period of up to one year following such unemployment. If such person remains unemployed for more than one year, his or her membership status will be revoked.

Associate Members cannot vote or hold office. Associate Members are entitled to renew as a Voting Member upon meeting the criteria for Voting Membership under Article 3.01 (A). An Associate Member in good standing may fully participate in the affairs of the Association by serving on any standing or special committee as defined in Article VIII of these Bylaws (except where such participation is not granted pursuant to Article VIII of these Bylaws. HMPA Bylaws - Page 4

(C) Student Members (Non-Voting). Any person who is currently enrolled in a formal course of study for Paralegals at a college, university, junior college, or post-secondary school, which course of study requires resident classes or courses for completion of such Paralegal program which would qualify the applicant to meet the educational requirements to take the CLA/CP and/or TBLS examinations, may become a Student Member by meeting such additional standards, if any, as may from time to time be prescribed by the Membership Committee. A Student Member in good standing may fully participate in the affairs of the Association by serving on any standing or special committee as defined in Article VIII of these Bylaws (except where such participation is not granted pursuant to Article VIII of these Bylaws). After the Student Member has graduated from a formal course of study, he or she may remain a Student Member for no more than two (2) years. After the expiration of this two (2) year period of time, the student must upgrade his or her membership to that of Voting or Associate Member by submitting to the Membership Committee the appropriate application and receiving approval from the Membership Committee.

(D) Affiliate Members (Non-Voting). Any law firm, agency, association, educational institution, corporation or other entity interested in supporting the Paralegal profession and the Association may become an affiliate member by meeting such additional standards, if any, as may from time to time be prescribed by the Membership Committee.

(E) Subscribing Members (Non-Voting). Any paralegal association or other professional association that receives the Association's regular publications as approved by the Board of Directors annually may become a Subscribing Member.

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