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Melissa Hamilton named president of National Association of Legal Assistants


The National Association of Legal Assistants installed its 2020-2021 Board of Directors during July’s 2020 NALA Conference @ Home, the organization’s first virtual annual conference. During this historic conference, long-time NALA member Melissa J. Hamilton, ACP, from Bismarck, was sworn-in as NALA’s new President.

“As President, I want NALA to lead the way in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion among members, volunteers, staff, and potential members,” Hamilton said. “I also remain committed to keeping NALA the preeminent resource for individual and professional success

“My grandma, who lived to a healthy 96 years of age, always told me that no matter what life throws at you, you put one foot in front of the other and you keep on going,” Hamilton added. “That is what I fully intend to do. Even with all the things that 2020 has thrown at us, we will prevail.”

During the virtual conference, Hamilton received a letter of congratulations from North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford, and First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum, and a special video message from her boss, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

“Her colleagues and supervisors, the lawyers she works with, have given her incredible accolades for her excellent work, for her thoroughness, and the meticulous process by which she does everything that she accomplishes,” Stenehjem said in the video. “[NALA] is very fortunate to recognize Melissa’s abilities and to advance her to this important position. You will be extremely excited about the effort she puts into what she does here, just like she does in everything she accomplishes for our office.”

NALA Active members voted for the following newly-elected board members announced at the virtual conference: Vice President Debra L. Overstreet, ACP, from Porter, OK; Secretary Cheryl J. Nodarse, ACP, from Saint Johns, MI; Treasurer Michele T. Pfeiffer, ACP, from Anaheim, CA; Area 1 Director Dana G. Welcker, ACP, from Fleming Island , FL; Area 2 Director Angela A. Oberle, ACP, from Great Bend, KS; and Area 3 Director Vicki L. Kasper, ACP, from Midvale, UT. The leadership of NALA’s Affiliated Associations re-elected Peonca S. Grier, CP, from Orlando, FL, to represent them on the Board as the Affiliated Associations Director and Bridget M. Stuhr, ACP, from Wahoo, NE, as the Affiliated Associations Secretary.

Continuing to serve in their current NALA Board of Director roles are At Large Directors Debby J. Sawyer, ACP, from Nashville, TN, and Richard Hahn, ACP, from San Jose, CA; Continuing Education Council Chair Deborah M. Paul, CP, Mobile, AL; and Certifying Board Chair Kimberly A. S. Brown, ACP, from Bennington, NE. Melissa M. Klimpel, ACP, from Bismarck, ND, will also join the Board as the Professional Development Committee Chair.

NALA – The Paralegal Association is the nation's leading professional association for paralegals. As a non-profit organization, NALA provides continuing education, professional certification, and professional development programs for paralegals - from novice to experienced professionals. NALA members are located throughout the United States. The association, founded in 1975, represents over 18,000 paralegals through its individual membership and NALA affiliated associations. More information about NALA can be found on