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CALSPro: An In-Depth Look with Larry Kirlin

Monday, August 13, 2018

We recently interviewed Larry Kirlin, the current president of CALSPro (California Association of Legal Support Professionals), for some insight on why associations matter for process servers. Read on for insight into CALSPro and their recent efforts to improve membership.

Association History / Background

What is the founding mission of CALSPro?

Our association was founded with the urgent mission to defeat a specific piece of pending legislation that would have allowed for the service of process via US Mail. Had our association failed in its mission our industry would not exist today.

When was your association founded?

December 9, 1969

What are the benefits of membership with your association?

Benefits include Legislative Advocacy, Dispute Resolution, Education, Industry News, Interagency Pouch Network, Job Sharing, Mobile Application, Networking and Vendor Discounts.

Why should every industry professional in your state be a member?

The first and foremost reason every industry professional should be a member because it is their personal responsibility to protect the industry from adverse legislation. All other reasons are secondary but that’s not to say our other benefits aren’t important. For instance, there is no better place to stay educated and informed about our industry than by being a CALSPro member. Additionally, the business-to-business (B2B) networking opportunities available through active participation in the association are key to building and growing your business.

Why should a professional NOT in your state be a member?

The primary benefit for non-California members is B2B networking. We encourage our members to use other members, both within and outside California. Our state is the single largest legal marketplace in the world and exports more jobs to more places than any other state. Being a CALSPro member gives you an advantage over non-members competing for work from our state.

What type of training programs does your association offer?

Our association offers live and online training on the laws and craft of process serving. The CALSPro Certified Process Server (CCPS) designation was established to acknowledge those process servers who have extended their professional education and successfully passed the CALSPro process server certification examination. The CCPS examination is administered by the CALSPro Continuing Education Committee and consists of a comprehensive series of questions relating to the law. The CCPS designation has become a mark of distinction and is proudly displayed by our members’ name in the member directory.

What makes CALSPro different from other associations?

Our legacy is our strength. Since 1969 we have developed policies and procedures that foster the open sharing of ideas. Outside of CALSPro, it is rare for industry competitors to work together so collaboratively to solve problems and give support. I don’t think most people realize that members from CALSPro, formerly known as CAPPS, originally formed NAPPS.

What does it cost to join?

The cost for a full, Active or Vendor membership is $350 per year. Independent Contractor and Associate membership are $100. Supporting members pay only $50. For detailed information about membership benefits and eligibility, visit CALSPro’s website.

CALSPro members also benefit from ServeNow discounts to bolster their online marketing.

Current CALSPro Landscape

Larry, tell us about yourself (background in the industry and the association, etc)?

My first job in the industry was as a Microfilm Camera Operator (aka Filmer) back in 1991. I worked my way up through sales and operations, eventually becoming a shareholder in an attorney service. I now work for the largest company in our industry, First Legal, as a Regional Manager. I joined CALSPro in 2008 and attended the annual conference for the first time that year. I was appointed as chairman of the Membership Committee in 2010 and elected to the board of directors for the first time in 2011, earning the Rookie of the Year Award. I was elected as Vice President in 2014 and 2015 and have been serving as president since being elected at the 2016 annual conference.

What made you want to be CALSPro president?

Having served in the military, I have a strong sense of duty and responsibility. I felt it was appropriate to share my time and abilities with the association and industry that has given me a successful career. Without the willing volunteers at CALSPro, our industry would have failed back when I was a mere toddler. I owe it to our members to give back to what has given me so much.

Who’s on the board?

A group of amazing professionals. Seriously though, the current Board of Directors includes Chad Barger, Tom Bowman, Andrew Gowing, Ken Hastings, Mark Manchester, Robert Porambo, Anita Pasillas, Kristian Pujol, Jay Roll, Lauri Rowland and myself.

How have you (or your company) benefited from CALSPro?

Prior to working at First Legal, I worked for a smaller company that based a large portion of their business on work from CALSPro members. Now that I work for a much larger company, the personal relationships and industry information are the key benefits.

Any other scenarios you can share where a company or member (or the industry) has benefited significantly from CALSPro?

It’s hard to overstate the benefits that companies and members receive from CALSPro. The list of legislative achievements alone can fill a book. If you are a member and you can’t immediately identify the benefits, it is simply because you aren’t paying attention. Being involved and informed is the way to turn a $350 investment into a thriving business.

What are the current legislative initiatives the association is involved in?

We are currently working on a legislative change that will expand the hours that notice can be delivered to the home of a self-represented litigant. If adopted by the legislature, this change will be a significant benefit to our members and the entire legal community. Outside of this initiative, we are watching for the effects of the Dynamex decision on our industry. If you aren’t familiar with Dynamex, it is a recent decision by the California Supreme Court that could effectively eliminate the ability for companies to utilize independent contractors, and in our specific situation, independent process servers. This is the hottest topic in our industry today and sure to change the way our members do business here in California.

What are the current initiatives that you, your board and committees are focused on?

In the summer of 2017, CALSPro held a Strategic Planning Session to reset the direction of the association and ensure its survival for another generation. Out of this meeting, a dozen large and small recommendations were made. Our leadership team has spent the last 12 months implementing these recommendations. The most significant of these include a restructuring of membership categories and dues, remote electronic voting, improved marketing/communications, a mobile application for process servers and a webinar option for the CCPS course. The implementation of these changes has resulted in membership growth and a tremendous shift in momentum. We are now a more modern, vibrant organization with a bright future ahead of us.

What are some new initiatives that the current administration has prioritized?

Legislation continues to be our priority but membership growth and financial stability are always standing nearby. We continue to look for ways to attract new members and give our current members a reason to renew. We are also working to leverage our unique position in the industry to attract sponsors, which will result in financial stability without raising our annual dues.


Source: ServeNow

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