In the spring of 1979, a small group of law firm leaders in Nashville, Tennessee met to discuss law firm salaries and benefits. A key member of that meeting was Doug Berry who stated that he had belonged to a local ALA chapter in Dallas, Texas. The idea that Doug planted grew and in November of that same year eight individuals held their first organization meeting to form the MTALA chapter. The National Association of Legal Administrators reviewed and approved the application and Charter, and on April 17, 1980, MTALA was officially chartered at a special meeting nearly one year after that first initial meeting.
From the humble beginnings of eight members, the Chapter has grown to over 40 members today. More important than numbers, the support provided legal administrators in the middle Tennessee and south-central Kentucky area has grown as well. Chapter leaders have provided the vision to take chapter functions from monthly speaker luncheons to include numerous resources to members and the profession. We have co-hosted an annual state-wide retreat held in conjunction with the Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga chapters annually since 2001 and have presented several educational seminars for our members. We have compiled an annual support staff salary survey since 1981 and have participated in annual community challenge projects along with the national association since 1999. The MTALA supports the ALA Annual Educational Conference and Exposition by paying the registration fee for a first time attendee since 1999. In addition, we have provided a $250.00 scholarship to Nashville Tech for a graduating high school student interested in legal secretarial work and a $250.00 scholarship to a 2nd year Nashville Tech student from 1990-1993.
In 2007, the MTALA hosted the Region 2&3 Annual Conference at the Opryland Resort & Convention Center. The ALA Annual Educational Conference and Exposition has been hosted by the Chapter twice. In 1991 at the Opryland Hotel and again in 2015 at the Music City Center. With the support of our business partners, thousands of dollars of scholarship money is provided for members to attend the Annual Conference. MTALA is most proud of the leadership roles our members have filled at the Regional and National levels. We are the only Chapter to produce two Presidents who served in consecutive years. Paula Barnes served as National President in 2014-2015, and Teresa Walker served in that capacity from 2015-2016. For over 37 years, our chapter has produced, developed and empowered leaders in the legal industry. MTALA continues to attract the best the legal world has to offer.
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