Certification

What is Certification

In the working environment, professional certification is a time-honored process respected by both employers and those within the career field. Certification is voluntary, not imposed by government. It is time limited, which means that those with the certification must fulfill ongoing educational requirements to keep the certification current, and the criteria for certification is recognized in the community.

As of November 2013, there are over 17,711 Certified Paralegals and over 3000 Advanced Certified Paralegals in the United States. Over 26,000 paralegals have participated in this program. The growth of these programs is impressive.

NALA Receives Accreditation of the Certified Paralegal program from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The NCCA has accredited the NALA Certified Paralegal certification program for a five-year period, expiring April 30, 2019.

1) Certification Program

Established in 1976, the Certified Legal Assistant ("CLA") or Certified Paralegal ("CP") program has enabled the profession to develop a strong and responsive self-regulatory program offering a nationwide credential for legal assistants. 

The Certified Paralegal/Certified Legal Assistant program establishes and serves as a:

  • National professional standard for legal assistants.

  • Means of identifying those who have reached this standard.

  • Credentialing program responsive to the needs of legal assistants and responsive to the fact that this form of self-regulation is necessary to strengthen and expand development of this career field.

  • Positive, ongoing, voluntary program to encourage the growth of the legal assistant profession, attesting to and encouraging a high level of achievement.

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2) CP Credential

Use of the CP credential signifies that a paralegal is capable of providing superior services to firms and corporations.       

  • National surveys consistently show Certified Paralegals are better utilized in a field where attorneys are looking for a credible, dependable way to measure ability.

  • The credential has been recognized by the American Bar Association as a designation which marks a high level of professional achievement.

  • The CLA or CP credential has also been recognized by over 47 legal assistant organizations and numerous bar associations.

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3) ACP Credential

The credential awarded includes the paralegal's certified status and demonstration of advanced knowledge in the specific practice area or areas.

To receive the ACP credential, all candidates must be Certified Paralegals in good standing and:

  • Submit a completed learning contract for each APC course taken within 30 days of enrollment.

    • The learning contract asks candidates for certification to outline learning objectives for the course and reviews information about self-directed learning.

  • Complete all modules and exercises in the course and all course requirements.

    • Note: The Personal Injury Core Course also requires completion of a grade 90% or better on the course pre-test.

    • This requirement is waived for those with the ACP credential in Discovery and Trial Practice Submit a completed statement of completion to advise the board the course work is completed, discuss how learning objectives were met, and request the award of the credential.

    • Some APC courses will require additional items.

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