Certification in the paralegal profession usually refers to any means by which a paralegal or legal assistant has sought to establish, through the oversight of a professional organization, that they have acquired and can exhibit the skills needed to perform the duties associated with the job of paralegal.education, examination, or both.

By this same point, certification should be seen as means of improving one’s standing cosmetically.  It is simply a means of measuring competence and ability, not a means by which to qualify for employment.

The most recognized means of certification recognized in the legal profession is the National Association of Legal Assistants’ (NALA), though there others, and they each have different requirements for certification.

The CLA/CP certification requires varying levels of existing experience and education, typically pertaining to having completed an NALA, American Bar Association (ABA), or American Association For Paralegal Education (AAfPE) accredited paralegal training program.

In the case of an individual having a bachelor’s degree in a field other than legal assistant/paralegal studies, they must have an additional year of experience as a paralegal under a lawyer’s supervision. 

The Advanced Paralegal Certification is usually given to experienced paralegals that focus more specifically on specialized fields of the law, like property, malpractice, tort, criminal, and so on.

Other certification exams include the American Alliance Certified Paralegal (AACP) credential, which is administered by the American Alliance of Paralegals (AAP).   The National Federation of Paralegal Associations offers the Registered Paralegal credential. Both require additional course work in order to renew their certification every two years.

Certification can also be extended to paralegal institutions, as well with AAfPE  To be certified with either organization, the program must meet elevated standards of education quality, not limited to extensive diversity and depth of studies offered, combined with a substantial emphasis on ethics, and they must maintain those standards through ongoing periods of review and renewal every 5-7 years.




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