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 found an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from those persons contacted. An organizational brain-storming session was held at Moorhead State University on October 15, 1981. At that time they discussed how they would like to see this group organized.Although they recognized that there were already two national and a Minnesota organization that we could individually participate in, our location was a stumbling block for them to do that in person. They felt that a local organization would provide the opportunity to get to know other people working in the same profession, provide networking opportunities, and inform and provide educational seminars. 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 our 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 our individual members.
The original Board of Directors was as follows:
Margaret A. Colby, CLA
Kathryn L. Colvin, CLA
The original Officers were as follows:
Margaret Colby, CLA - President
Karen Walton - Vice President
Kathy Colvin, CLA - Secretary
Donna Christianson - Treasurer
Susan McKigney - NALA Liaison
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).