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About the Missouri Paralegal Association


On January 15, 1987, by formal declaration, the Missouri Alliance of Paralegal Associations (MAPA) was created as a central forum and unified voice for Missouri paralegals. MAPA perceived the need for an organization with membership open to all Missouri paralegals. On November 12, 1998, the delegates unanimously agreed that, because representation by MAPA was contingent upon membership in a local paralegal association, MAPA was not able to meet the needs of all paralegals throughout the state. MAPA created a new organization and, upon doing so, was dissolved.

The Missouri Paralegal Association (MPA)

MPA was incorporated in 1998 as a Missouri non-profit corporation.  Paralegals who live or work in Missouri are direct members of the Association. The Missouri Paralegal Association was a member association of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) from 2009 - December 2022. MPA has agreements with several other paralegal associations, and the spirit of collegiality and cooperation ensures all of our members obtain additional benefits (such as virtual networking and additional CLE's) at no additional cost. 


The purpose of the Missouri Paralegal Association shall be to serve paralegals and to advance the paralegal profession by the following means:

Develop and advance the highest quality standards for education, ethical responsibility and professionalism;

Serve as a unified voice for Missouri paralegals;

Promote the independence and self-direction of the paralegal profession;

Monitor, support and participate in changes and developments in the paralegal profession on local, state, national and international levels;

Increase the knowledge of the public, the judiciary, and the legal community regarding the paralegal profession; and

Advance, foster and promote the paralegal profession.


The State of Missouri shall be divided into three districts to be identified as follows:

  • Western District
  • Central District
  • Eastern District


Determination of district membership for voting members shall be based in most cases upon the business address of the voting member or the school address of the student member.

Board of Directors

It is the responsibility of the Board to establish policy and further the advancement of MPA’s mission statement, purposes and goals.

The 15 person MPA Board consists of:

  • Directors from each District (12) 
  • Non-voting Board Advisor 
  • Non-voting attorney
  • Non-voting member of the public at large


Executive Committee

The Executive Committee shall report to the Board of Directors and shall run the daily operations of MPA. Officers of the Executive Committee include:

  • President (who will serve as a non-voting Chairperson)
  • President Elect
  • Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer



The Standing Committees of MPA are:

  • Budget and Finance
  • Membership
  • Education
  • Ethics & Disciplinary
  • Professional Standards
  • Elections




Past Presidents

2024-2025 - Marney Cullen
2023-2024 - Paddy Grogan / Marney Cullen
2022-2023 - Olivia Harmon
2021-2022 - Kristi Kline

2020-2021 - Karla Hardin/Kristi Kline

2019-2020 - Stephanie Lindquist / Karla Hardin

2018-2019 - Jenn Moden

2017-2018 – Karla Hardin

2016-2017 – Kathy Widman

2015-2016 – Lisa Goacher

2014-2015 – Kerry Noe

2013-2014 – Kerry Noe

2012-2013 – Virna Camacho

2011-2012 – Virna Camacho

2010-2011 – Kathy M. Widman

2009-2010 – Dori DeCook

2008-2009 – L. Jane Jacobs

2007-2008 – Karla Hardin

2006-2007 – Debra Wells

2005-2006 – Jennifer Crisp

2004-2005 – Lynda Fraza

2003-2004 – Jackie Harkrider

2002-2003 – L. Jane Jacobs

2001-2002 – Pamela J. Spencer

2000-2001 – Jackie Harkrider

1999-2000 – Jackie Harkrider

1998-1999 – Incorporated by Pamela J. Spencer, Donna Ferkel, Jennifer Crisp, Diane Hook, Jackie Harkrider and Marie Smith

President's Message



Greetings to all MPA Members!

As we begin the 2024-2025 year for the association, I am reminded by that old adage “many hands make little work”. MPA committees this year have accomplished so much, but with even more hands helping, our association can accomplish so much more! There is an incredible wealth of knowledge, skills and talent among paralegals across the State of Missouri just waiting to be given a voice and opportunity to make a difference. MPA provides that opportunity.

During the 2023-2024 year, MPA committees did amazing work in repositioning MPA to adapt and respond to the changes continually taking place in the legal field today. The educational committee created several excellent topic series and a roster of individual CLEs for our members to enjoy, as well as put together topical roundtable discussions offering an exchange of ideas and networking opportunities – all accessed without ever leaving the office. Our Annual Membership Meeting, held in July, was hosted at Adam Puchta Winery, one of Missouri's oldest wineries and was an enjoyable and memorable event as we conducted association business, swore in n ew board members, and then spent a great time enjoying friendship, fine wines, good food, live music and lots of laughter! 

As we embark on a new fiscal year, we look forward to continuing discussions with the Missouri State Bar and state legislature on what the paralegal profession looks like moving forward, and collaborating with other state paralegal associations in joint CLE projects and opportunities for networking. I am grateful for the continued spirit of congeniality, creativity and collaboration nurtured by both old and new board members and am excited about the opportunities to come. Although miles apart, our members support each other on all levels, fostering growth as professionals and, at the same time, forming friendships that continue to stand strong regardless of distance.

As a member of the paralegal association in my city, I know that local paralegal organizations support their members, and applaud them for it. As a proud member of MPA, I recognize it is the ONLY paralegal association in Missouri which provides statewide support for all paralegals (and aspiring paralegals), regardless of education, certification, firm size, local affiliation or locale. My time and energy could not be better spent working to better the future of the paralegal profession than with MPA. As we begin our 2024-2025 season, I invite you to join hands with us in continuing MPA’s work and vision to make your voice heard.


Marney Cullen

MPA President

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Updated in early 2020, the American Bar Association defines a paralegal as:

"A paralegal is a person, qualified by education, training or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible."

Under this definition, the legal responsibility for a paralegal’s work rests directly and solely upon the lawyer.

The National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) defines a paralegal as a person, qualified through education, training or work experience to perform substantive legal work that requires knowledge of legal concepts and is customarily, but not exclusively, performed by a lawyer.

MPA proudly adopts these definitions, and recognizes a distinction between a paralegal and other members of the legal staff.

Paralegals may be retained or employed by a lawyer, law office, governmental agency or other entity or may be authorized by administrative, statutory or court authority to perform this work. Paralegals may also freelance, but this is rarely done directly to the general public and instead is contracted through a supervising attorney/employer. Substantive legal tasks include work requiring recognition, evaluation, organization, analysis, and communication of relevant facts and legal concepts.

Because we are not licensed attorneys, paralegals are not able to give legal advice, set fees, appear as counsel of record in court or sign pleadings or other court documents in a representative capacity. Paralegals many times are responsible for handling tasks such as legal writing, research, investigation and other forms of documentation for the lawyers they work with.

Please note that members of the MPA do not provide legal advice of any type.