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VERMONT PARALEGAL organization News

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  • 09/28/2022 12:50 PM | Melinda Siel (Administrator)

    Congratulations to the Vermont Paralegal Organization’s (VPO) Robyn Sweet for winning this year’s Individual Pro Bono Award during the National Federation of Paralegal Association’s (NFPA) convention in Cleveland. The VPO Board nominated Robyn for this award in recognition for the many hats she wears at home and in the community.

     She is a biological parent, a stepparent, an adoptive parent, and a foster parent. At the time of her nomination, she was a paralegal at Cleary Shahi & Aicher, PC in Rutland Vermont and she served as Secretary on the Board of the Vermont Foster/Adoptive Family Association (VFAFA). She recently transitioned to a Risk Management Specialist position to Rutland Regional Hospital and resigned her board position.

    To paraphrase a recent story in the Rutland Herald, as a foster parent, Robyn signs up for a little bit of heart break to help another family be successful. Foster children are abruptly thrown into a legal situation they often don’t understand when the state takes custody of them for their protection. They are among the most vulnerable populations involved in the legal system. They succeed when they have positive adults in their lives – people like Robyn – who show them that they care.

    Robyn opens her home to children, at times on short notice and with no real expectation of how long they will be with her. She advocates for the child’s needs wherever it is necessary: at school, in medical settings, with Vermont’s Department of Children and Families (DCF), and everywhere else. She becomes their caregiver while their parents work through services to help them become safer parents. She and her husband, Bill, have been foster parents since 2014. They have had over 40 children in their home, sometimes for a day and sometimes for a year or more.

    Robyn has been involved with VFAFA for about 7 years. She helps enact their mission “…to empower, support, and unify foster and adoptive families by strengthening the systems that care for Vermont’s children.” She has served as Vice President in the past. Robyn’s primary role as Secretary is to communicate with foster and kinship families to make sure they have the information they need to best care for the children in their homes.  Additionally, she is helping them revise their bylaws. VFAFA president Debbie Boyce greatly appreciates her paralegal expertise as they make these revisions. The organization has been in existence for 40 years and the bylaws have not historically had the attention they have needed. Robyn also helps the Board award funds for children in care to participate in special activities or for scholarships for higher education.

    In addition to these tasks, Robyn is working with Vermont’s Foster/Kin Care Manager to develop a welcome letter for all who accept children in their homes through DCF. Because of Robyn’s past experiences, she has a unique perspective to offer to those who are welcoming children in their homes.

  • 10/04/2021 2:29 PM | Caitlin Belcher

    Click HERE for press release from Attorney General Donovan

    "The Vermont legal community together raised $6,845.00, which will supply more than 11,431 meals for Vermonters.  All funds donated went directly to the important work of the Vermont Foodbank. Food and other items donated were brought to local food shelves or meal sites partnered with the Vermont Foodbank. In the five-year history of the food drive, the Vermont legal community has raised more than $50,000 and collected over 11,000 food items.

    Lucia White, CP, Pro Bono Chair of the Vermont Paralegal Organization expressed VPO’s gratitude for the opportunity to participate in helping alleviate hunger in Vermont. “The timing of this year’s food drive allowed participants to donate food items at our CLE Conference. Paralegals eagerly filled up bags to help other Vermonters.”"

    - highlight from press release

    THANK YOU for all your support!

  • 09/14/2021 7:47 AM | Caitlin Belcher

    Looking to connect with others in the legal field?  Need CLEs?  Join the Vermont Paralegal Organization (VPO) for the 2021 conference!

    Click here for the 2021 VPO CLE Brochure for more information on the upcoming VPO conference.

    Where:  DELTA HOTELS BY MARRIOTT BURLINGTON 1117 Williston Road South Burlington, Vermont

    When: September 14th 

    Time: 9-3:30pm-  You can participate in a full or half day, see brochure for details on pricing and scheduled CLEs.

    Cost: see brochure for details on pricing, lunch included in pricing.

    The VPO will be collecting non-perishable items for the Vermont Foodbank at this event. Please bring something to donate.

    Questions? Contact: Carie Tarte 489-5258 Louise Reese 859-7063

    Please bring 


  • 09/03/2021 4:03 PM | Caitlin Belcher

    VPO is excited to be a co-sponsor of this year's Vermont Legal Community Fighting Hunger Food Drive! The drive will be held from September 3 through 17 and will benefit Vermont Foodbank and local food shelves. 

    You can participate in the food drive in a few ways: 

    1) Bring non-perishable food donations to the sign in table at the VPO Conference on Tuesday, September 14 at Delta Hotels by Marriott, 1117 Williston Road South Burlington, Vermont.

    2) Bring your food donations to the office of Lynch and Foley weekdays between 8:30 and 5 at 7 Washington Street, Middlebury. You can leave your donations in the lobby. 

    3) Through a financial donation at the Vermont Foodbank VPO page.

    Please contact Lucia White at if you would like more information. 

  • 06/16/2021 5:30 PM | Caitlin Belcher

    June the new VPO Board on June 16th at 5:30pm for their first Board meeting.  Open to VPO Member's only.  

  • 05/19/2021 4:53 PM | Caitlin Belcher

    Governor Scott signed a proclamation May 11th, 2021 proclaiming May 19, 2021 as Vermont Paralegal Day.  Take a moment to celebrate your accomplishments in the profession.  Happy Paralegal Day!

    Paralegal Day Proclamation signed by Governor Scott.

  • 05/19/2021 12:30 PM | Caitlin Belcher
    • 05/19/2021 @ 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM
    • Zoom

    Save the Date! 

    Our 2021 Annual Meeting with officer elections will be held online on May 19 at 12:30 pm. We won't have CLE at this meeting because we hope to have an in person CLE meeting in the fall. But you won't want to miss it because after voting, we will have a town hall with the newly elected board members to discuss future directions for the organization. Please mark your calendars and plan to cast your vote! 

    We have several open positions - if you ever thought about being on the board, now's a great time! 

  • 04/20/2021 6:03 PM | Caitlin Belcher

    Are you a credentialed member?


    If so, you may have submitted your third-party CLE materials to NFPA for approval towards your biennial renewal in the past.  In the Spring of 2020, however, NFPA announced that it was no longer offering this service.  In its place, it decided that member organizations can now begin to self-approve its own members’ CLE credits.  The VPO is now offering this service at no cost to members!  If you’ve attended a 3rd party CLE that needs approval before submitting your renewal package to NFPA, please read the following documents which describe the new process for approvals.  Also included is an Approval Application (Note:  applications must be submitted within three months of CLE completion.)  Once an Application is approved, the member will receive an Approval Certificate for use with their renewal package.


    Please contact Krista Cadieux, VPO Certification Ambassador, at with questions.”

    VPO Certification Flowchart.pdf

    Third Party CLE Application for Approval.pdf

    Guidelines for Third Party CLE.pdf

    Letter to Credentialed Members (CLE Process).pdf

  • 04/06/2021 12:00 PM | Caitlin Belcher
    • 04/06/2021 @ 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
    • Zoom - register for the link

    Do you have questions about Odyssey File and Serve? Andy Stone, Odyssey Project Team Leader with the Vermont Judiciary, will be on hand to answer questions in a members only free Zoom Lunch-n-Learn CLE on Tuesday, April 6 from noon to 1:00 pm. You can send your questions in advance to or ask them the day of. Please register by 5:00 pm on Friday, April 2, to have the Zoom link emailed to you. Hope to see you then! 

  • 04/05/2021 2:37 PM | Caitlin Belcher

    Vermont Paralegal Organization, Inc. Celebrates 30 Years!

    Thirty years ago, the role of a paralegal in Vermont law firms and corporations began to grow and expand. Trudy Seeley, a paralegal at that time, and a founding member of the Vermont Paralegal Organization (VPO), reached out to other legal professionals around the state and asked if they would be interested in forming a group to share information and support one another in their expanding roles. This effort lead to a small group of enterprising paralegals forming what would  become the VPO. In November of 1990, the group had their first meeting at the Vermont Law School.It was an informal 5 hour bring-your-own lunch event held on a Saturday. In 1992, the VPO became a member of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) in an effort to have a presence and voice on the national level. In 2016, paralegals from all over the country convened in Burlington for the NFPA Annual Convention, hosted by the VPO. A small but mighty group of VPO volunteers coordinated and managed the four-day event that included a day of seminars, and two full days of policy meetings. The VPO officially incorporated in 2019.

    After Champlain College discontinued its Paralegal program, members of the VPO sought another higher education institution to take on the program. In January of this year, two VPO board members met with Marni Leikin at the ACE Academy at Burlington Tech Center to discuss how to bring a paralegal program back to Vermont. As of today, we are on a path to creating such a program with a partnership of the VPO, ACE Academy at Burlington Tech Center, and a state higher education institution. It is expected that the Paralegal Certificate Program will roll out in January of 2021. We owe a very special thank you to Marni Leikin for embracing our ideas for the program and making it happen in a short 8 months, and to James Knapp, Esq., of First American Title Insurance Company, who from the day Champlain College announced the discontinuance of the only paralegal program in Vermont, has been our biggest supporter and partner to finding another institution to carry on a Paralegal Program and who will be one of the instructors when the program rolls out. We are very excited to celebrate this undertaking as part of our 30-year celebration.

    The VPO is proud to be a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the paralegal profession by offering its members networking opportunities, continuing legal education (CLE), pro bono opportunities, leadership training, and a quarterly newsletter filled with information to keep paralegals up to date on legal issues. The VPO maintains a code of conduct, promotes high standards of integrity among paralegals, and fosters relationships with local and state bar associations. The VPO’s Annual Meeting and Conference includes seminars that provide CLE credits which are presented by generous and supportive members of the Vermont Bar Association and individuals who specialize in related fields. All VPO members are afforded membership in NFPA. Through affiliation with NFPA, VPO members stay current on paralegal issues on a national level as well as contribute to the development of NFPA policy. The VPO offers an annual scholarship and guidance in the process of earning certification through the NFPA Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE®) and/or the Paralegal CORE Competency Exam (PCCE), which involves educational or experiential prerequisites and passing a standardized exam.

    The VPO owes much of its current success to the many past and present members, and the attorneys,

    law firms and corporations who have supported its mission since 1990. The VPO is fortunate to have attorneys who present seminars on a regular basis and the list of supporting presenters continues  to grow every year. The VPO would also like to thank the following firms and attorneys with VPO members:

    Atlas Legal Services, LLP; Barber & Waxman; Behrens Venman & Sussman, PLLC; Cleary Shahi & Aicher; Darby Thorndike Kolter & Nordle, LLP; Dinse P.C.; Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC; Dunkiel Saunders; Elliott Raubvogel & Hand, PLLC; Facey Goss & McPhee P.C.; Green Mountain Power; Hehir Law Office, PLLC; Heilmann, Ekman, Cooley & Gagnon, Inc.; Joseph Greenbaum; Lab Partners Associates, Inc.; Langrock Sperry & Wool, LLP; Law Office of David I. Schoen; Law Office of Ruth Kinney, Esq.; Law Offices of Fred V. Peet; Law Offices of Steven A. Bredice PLC; Law Offices of F.J. von Turkovich, P.C.; Liberty Mutual; Lisman Leckerling, P.C.; Little & Cicchetti, P.C.; Lynch & Foley, P.C.; Lynn, Lynn, Blackman & Manitsky, P.C.; Main Street Middle School; Maley and Maley, PLLC; Marathon Health; Martin, Harding and Mazzotti; McClintock Law Office, P.C.; McCormick, Fitzpatrick, Kasper & Burchard; Nanci A. Smith, Esq. PLLC;  Northern Vermont Paralegal Services, LLC; Numbers Matter; Oliver L. Twombly Law Office, P.C.; Paul Frank + Collins P.C.; Pease Mountain Law, PLLC; Pinto MacAskill PLLC; Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC; Ryan Smith & Carbine, Ltd.; Sheehey Furlong & Behm P.C.; Stackpole & French Law Offices; Stark Law, PLLC; State of Vermont; The Law Office of William J. Fisk, PLC; Unsworth LaPlante, PLC; Vermont Attorney General's Office; Vermont Attorneys Title Corporation; Vermont Department of Labor; Vermont Energy Investment Corporation; Vermont Land Trust, Inc.; Vermont Law School; VOSHA Review Board; VT Office of the State Judge Advocate; VT Army National Guard; and Zalinger Cameron & Lambek PC.

    The all-volunteer Board of the VPO began planning a dinner event to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Unfortunately, as with so many similar events, due to the restrictions of COVID the event has been cancelled. The VPO hopes to hold its celebratory event in 2021.

    If you are interested in more information about the VPO, becoming a member, membership benefits, or its history, please visit the VPO website at

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vpo als ice bUCKET CHALLENGE

Sep 4, 2014

On September 4, 2014, several members of the Vermont Paralegal Organization Board and Committees accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and nominated the Capital District Paralegal Association and the New York City Paralegal Association to accept the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! VPO participants were Carie Tarte, Corinne Deering, Cathy Foutz, Lisa Contois Laramee, Evelyn Wetzel, Ashley LaRose, and Heather Moreau. Click here to watch the video!

Congratulations Kristin Mattes

Oct 1, 2012

The VPO congratulates Kristin Mattes who was selected by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations as the 2012 recipient of the Individual Pro Bono Award for exhibiting outstanding dedication and service in the area of pro bono service to the public. Kristin is the Pro Bono Committee Chair for the VPO, and a Paralegal for the law firm of Sheehey Furlong & Behm in Burlington. Click here to read Kristin's nomination submission.

VPO to Host 2016 NFPA National Convention

Oct 1, 2012

The Vermont Paralegal Organization was chosen to host the 2016 National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) National Convention in Burlington! The VPO submitted a bid and presentation at the convention this year in Alaska and we were chosen to be the hosts for the 2016 convention. We are all very excited about this news and hope that our members will support and assist us with the planning and organizing of this event. It will be a great opportunity for all Vermont members and for the legal community to become more familiar with NFPA and its benefits to paralegals.

Exhibit Sticker Fundraiser and New Member Benefit

May 11, 2012

The VPO has obtained a new member benefit and has launched a fundraising effort all in one exciting opportunity for you! We have coordinated with to offer members a 15% discount on an Adobe Plug-In that creates any color exhibit sticker, with any words that you desire, on your PDF trial exhibits, deposition exhibits, or any documents requiring this type of sticker! What a great option!! You can virtually "sticker" your documents in one quick step saving you time and money in copying and scanning your exhibits. To find out more about this great All-in-One E-Sticker, click on the link below to get the brochure and coupon code for ordering the plug in. Get it Now!! The fundraiser which saves you 15% will also earn 15% for the Vermont Paralegal Organization. It's a win-win for everyone. Get your Adobe Plug-In now!! 15% Offer expires July 5, 2012. Brochure and Coupon Code

March Appearances

Mar 23, 2012

The Vermont Paralegal Organization attended two events this month to promote the organization to the legal and educational community.

The VPO had an Exhibitor's Table at the Vermont Bar Association's Mid-Year Meeting on March 23, 2012, at the Hilton Hotel in Burlington. Thank you to Board Members who covered our table to meet and greet VBA members and other exhibitors in attendance at the meeting. Board Members Carie Tarte, Lisa Laramee, Laure Noyes, RP, Louise Reese, Corinne Deering, RP and Heather Moreau, were in attendance on behalf of the VPO. The VPO congratulates Patricia Benelli, Esq., of Chester who won the VPO's Door Prize of free admission to its Annual Meeting and CLE on May 10, 2012.

On March 26, 2012, the VPO was present at Champlain College's Career and Internship Fair on the College's campus. Champlain Alums and VPO Members Melissa Young and Ashley LaRose were present on behalf of the VPO to talk to students about their careers as paralegals and about the benefits of joining the VPO. Thank you to Melissa, Ashley and Carie Tarte who spent their afternoons on campus talking with Champlain's students. Congratulations to Champlain student Kenneth Nosek who won the VPO's Door Prize of free admission to its Annual Meeting and CLE on May 10, 2012.

VPO - Dress Barn VIP Night

Oct 6, 2011

On Wednesday, October 26, 2011, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., the Dress Barn is offering VPO members a VIP Night where members will receive a 15% off discount on purchases. You will most likely be greeted by a VPO member, who also works at the Dress Barn, and all you need to do is identify yourself as a VPO member (on the honor system), and you will receive the discount.

It's time to change over to your fall/winter wardrobe. Visit the Dress Barn on Wednesday the 26th and receive a 15% discount! Happy Shopping!

VPO Activism Rewards Program

Jul 20, 2011

The VPO announced its Activism Rewards Program on July 20, 2011 at the Hump Day Summer Social. The purpose of the Rewards Program is to increase membership in the VPO and encourage our members to become active and involved in the Organization. The Rewards Program will continue until the VPO Annual Meeting to be held in April or May 2012. For more information and to find out how to earn your "entries," click here.

VPO Raises $4,918.40 Making Strides

Feb 26, 2011

The VPO recently received notice from the American Cancer Society that it raised a total of $4,918.40 in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Chittenden County event in October 2010. Congratulations and Thank You to the members of the VPO Team who participated in this worthwhile event.

SAVE THE DATE: The 2011 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event will be on October 16th. Let's hope for less wet weather this year so we can keep our feet dry! The start time this year will again be 1:00 p.m.

Developing Pro-Bono Opportunities

Dec 30, 2010

Through the hard work of our Pro-bono Committee Chairperson, Kristin Mattes, and with the assistance of Attorney Jacqueline Majoros of Vermont Legal Aid, the VPO will have the opportunity to become involved with the Vermont Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. At the annual meeting of the Vermont Probate Court Judges Association on December 3, 2010, the Probate Judges unanimously endorsed the proposed involvement of the VPO in long term care ombudsmanship as probate court designees under 18 V.S.A. §§ 9701(25) and 9702, subject to adequate support by means of a training, and perhaps certification, program. The VPO will keep members advised as we move forward with this opportunity.

VPO Exhibits at VBA Mid-Year Meeting

Mar 19, 2010

The VPO was pleased to be able to participate as an Exhibitor at the Vermont Bar Association's 53rd Mid-Year Meeting on Friday, March 19, 2010, at the Hilton Hotel in Burlington.

The VPO's Exhibit Table included copies of The Paralegal Perspective, the VPO Newsletter, membership applications, PACE Brochures, Sponsorship Applications and information, and a Pro Bono informational brochure outlining what the VPO can offer attorneys to accomplish providing pro bono services.

In addition, the VPO had a raffle for a VBA Member to win free attendance for his/her paralegal to the VPO's Annual Meeting and Conference in May. The exhibit table and our large poster board outlining the benefits of becoming a VPO member gave the VPO a presence with the State Bar Association, and reminded local attorneys of the importance and benefits of VPO membership for their paralegals.

Diane Brown and Missy Woessner, RP providing a presence at the VPO Exhibit Booth featured above.

Tina Wiles Receives Roger A. Perry Award

Oct 15, 2009

The VPO is proud to announce that Tina Wiles, former Region V Director and Past VPO President, has accepted the Champlain College Alumni Council's 2009 nomination for the Roger A. Perry Award. The award is given to alumni who show great leadership in his or her career, outstanding service to the community, and/or a notable accomplishment. Tina will be receiving her award on Saturday, October 24, 2009, at ECHO Science Center and Museum in Burlington, Vermont. Please join us in congratulating Tina Wiles on receiving this award.

Burlington Free Press Article, Champlain College to honor alumni

Vermont Paralegal Organization, Inc.
P.O. Box 5755
Burlington, VT  05402-5755

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