At this time, there are no mandatory licensing requirements for paralegals in the United States. However, many paralegals have chosen to obtain voluntary certification because of the added recognition and personal satisfaction they gain by obtaining this added designation. Certification creates a standard by which the competency level and experience of paralegals can be evaluated.
Many educational institutions throughout the United States offer paralegal certificate programs. However, the two most prevalent programs through which most of our members seek certification are the ones offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA).
NALA offers a two-day comprehensive exam that awards those who successfully pass it with the Certified Legal Assistant (“CLA”) or Certified Paralegal (“CP”) designation. NFPA offers a four-hour Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (“PACE”) after which those who successfully pass it can use the Registered Paralegal (“RP”) designation. To be eligible to take either exam, paralegals must meet certain experience and/or educational criteria.
To obtain more information on these paralegal certification programs, please visit the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) websites.