How We Got Started

Legal assistants at the Gunhus, Grinnell, Jeffries, Klinger, Vinje & Swanson Law Firm in Moorhead, Minnesota, approached other working legal assistants in the Fargo-Moorhead area in the fall of 1981 to determine if there was an interest in establishing a professional organization for legal assistants in the Red River Valley area. They received an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from those contacted. 


An organizational brain-storming session was held at Moorhead State University on October 15, 1981. They discussed many things, including how to organize such a group. Those present recognized that there were already two national organizations, as well as a Minnesota organization, that locals could participate in. Many voiced that their location was a stumbling block for in-person participate in those organizations. They felt that a local organization would provide the opportunity to get to know other people working in the same profession through networking opportunities, as well as provide educational seminars for membership. 

Objectives included meeting the professional and continuing education needs of legal assistants in the area, promoting ethical standards for legal assistants, and broadening the public understanding of the function of the legal assistant. As a result, Red River Valley Legal Assistants was begun in 1982.  

The first few meeting were held primarily to determine what the "needs" were and did not have speakers or educational programs. By the Spring of 1982, they were ready to discuss affiliation and on May 25, 1982, they had representatives from National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), National Federation of Paralegal Association (NFPA), and Minnesota Association of Legal Assistants (MALA) at the meeting. 


At the next meeting on July 27, 1982, they voted to affiliate with NALA and have continued affiliation with NALA since that time. NALA offered its affiliates their resources and experiences, and assisted them in their efforts to enhance the professional development of  individual members. 


An amendment was adopted on March 20, 2003 by the majority of the directors and voting members to change the name from 'Red River Valley Legal Assistants' to 'Red River Valley Paralegal Association' (RRVPA).

The Red River Valley Paralegal Association is comprised of members from Eastern North Dakota and Western Minnesota. We actively participate in our communities, serving as representatives of the ever growing paralegal job market.


Our organization is led by a board of directors, which meets on a quarterly basis. Member participation is encouraged through a committee of choice in alignment with personal interests.


RRVPA hosts several CLE opportunities throughout the year, culminating in an annual seminar which is generally held in Fargo, North Dakota. In addition, RRVPA members enjoy a large network of other paralegal in which to ask questions, share knowledge, and build relationships.


Our organization is truly unique and we hope you join us!

Who We Are Now