LSI's History

One day in 1929 a young legal secretary in Long Beach named Eula Mae (Smith) Jett, was chagrined to find that a paper she brought to the office of the County Clerk had not been properly prepared and it was necessary for the Clerk's staff to correct it so it could be filed with the court. The County Clerk suggested it would be very helpful if the legal secretaries throughout the county got together to learn what was required in the preparation and filing of legal documents. The idea was enthusiastically received and soon they were meeting on a regular basis to increase their knowledge. Quickly news of the Long Beach meetings spread to neighboring counties where legal secretaries displayed interest in forming similar organizations. In 1934, representatives from Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena and San Diego met to consider banding together in one association. At the conclusion of that two-day session, the California Federation of Legal Secretaries had been organized with the aim of educating legal secretaries in legal procedures.

Shortly thereafter, a Code of Ethics, as well as a slogan, motto and official colors of blue and gold were adopted. By 1940 the Federation had 12 member chapters and the California Federation of Legal Secretaries formed a California nonprofit corporation known as Legal Secretaries, Incorporated (LSI). During the war years of WWII, efforts were directed at holding this new organization together since travel was curtailed and many members enlisted in the armed services or went to work in war plants, but they retained their memberships. The association did continue and in post-war years began to grow. In 1949 there were 23 local associations. Until 1981 LSI was a part of the National Association of Legal Secretaries, when it split and formed Legal Secretaries, Inc. of California and by 1992 there were 60 local associations with almost 4,000 members.

The LSI motto of "We Serve" was revised in 1993 to its present "Excellence through Education." In May 1939, honorary membership was conferred upon Founder Eula Mae Jett. In 1986, the California Certified Legal Secretary® (CCLS) program was adopted and in March 1989, the first CCLS® examination was held in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The examination is administered twice yearly in both Northern and Southern California. Most local chapters have CCLS® study groups to assist in preparation for the exam. All legal secretaries in the State are encouraged to study and take the exam to earn this prestigious lifetime honor.

The Legal Specialization Sections (LSS) were conceived in 1986, during Joyce Seymour's presidency of LSI. At present there are six specialization sections: Civil Litigation; Family Law; Law Office Administration; Criminal Law; Transactional Law and Probate/Estate Planning. The sections offer workshops in each specialization area at each conference. LSI members are encouraged to join the sections and at LSI quarterly and annual conferences may attend workshops and seminars at no charge.

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Orange County Legal Secretaries Assn.
P.O. Box 28391
Santa Ana, CA 92799
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