LPI Local Chapter Spotlight: Merced County LPA


Location:         Merced, CA

Chartered:       August 13-15, 1982


MCLSA – An Association of Hope and Prosperity.  That is the title of an article written about Helen Avis Wright.  She was a past president of Merced-Mariposa County Legal Secretaries Association formed in 1964 and that organization disbanded in approximately 1978.  Helen was a charter member of Merced County Legal Secretaries Association.  She passed away October 4, 1982.

Merced County Legal Secretaries Association received its charter at the First Quarterly Board of Governors’ Meeting in Palo Alto held August 13-15, 1982 and had its Installation of Officers on August 28, 1982.  The first slate of officers:  President Mary Pish, Governor Kathy Martin, Vice President Linda Pruett, Secretary Cheryl Simons, Treasurer Evelyn Houston, and Parliamentarian Winnie Mitchell.  Some of the charter members are still active members of our association including Kathy (Martin) Foster and Dorothy Knox.  Many of our Association’s past presidents are still active in MCLPA as well – Rhonda Amezua, Stephanie Harrison, Dorothy Knox (MCLPA Lifetime Member), Marla Weathers, CCLS, Lorraine Bettencourt, PLS, CCLS, and Kathy Foster.

MCLPA has hosted quarterly and annual conferences from Yosemite to Modesto.  Our members have volunteered as LSI section leaders and Lorraine Bettencourt, PLS, CCLS is a Past President of LSI.  And who can forget Mr. Hospitality, Don Lee, an Honorary Member of both LSI and MCLPA.

MCLPA has always been involved in education for the legal professionals.  According to our archives, Helen Wright established the first educational program for LSI and served as LSI’s Legal Procedure Chairperson in 1970.  We continue that legacy through programs at our meetings, updates on changes in the law and procedures, brown bag seminars, and other educational programs.  Our members attend a wide variety of educational programs and seminars through LSI, MCLPA, our local Bar Association, other local associations, and Bay Area Forums.

As technology advances, we strive to keep up with the changes.  We have come a long way from manual typewriters, correcting with chalk, and taking dictation to computers with programs that automatically correct for us and prepare and format documents by speaking to them.  No longer do we rush to meet the deadline of printing and distributing our monthly bulletins.  There are email and other forms of social media to disseminate information to our members.

Networking is very important to our members as well.  Over the years, friendships have developed that last a lifetime.  Along the way, we lost dear friends.  Some have moved and others have passed away.  But their memories remain in our hearts.  And we have made new friends as we encourage others to join MCLPA and take advantage of the benefits offered by our local association and LSI.

Our slogan is “When we honor, promote, and educate, we can go beyond all our dreams and expectations.”  Our color is Gold – golden friendships and the golden rule – education.  And our motto is “Honor, Promotion, and Education.”

Our name has changed to Merced County Legal Professionals Association and we have accomplished many goals since that summer day in August 1982, but the hope is still there and so is the dream of making MCLPA prosper, year after year.

Current Board:

PRESIDENT: Emily Uribe

VICE PRESIDENT: Marla Weathers

SECRETARY: Mary Jo Diaz and Martha Guzman

TREASURER: Alice Contreras

GOVERNOR: Xochitl French




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