Paralegal Certification: The Ultimate Guide

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]ational Paralegal Certification Exams

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[highlight]Click A Link To Jump Directly To The Certification You Are Interested In[/highlight]

CORE Registered Paralegal (CRP)  |  PACE Registered Paralegal (RP)  |

Certified Paralegal (CP); Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)  |  Professional Paralegal (PP)

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NFPA Paralegal Core Competency Exam – CORE Registered Paralegal (CRP)

 

Quick Facts For CRP Paralegal Certification

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  • Cost: $215 nonrefundable
  • Retest: 6 month waiting period and another $215
  • Administration: Computer based
  • Test Length: Two and a half hours
  • Testing Times: Every day except holidays and Sundays.
  • Renewal Requirements and Fee: $25/annual and eight hours of CLE every two years plus one hour of ethics.
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Summary of Content

Established in 2011, the CORE Registered Paralegal Exam is a core competency exam allowing applicants to pass the exam and demonstrate general competency in the domains of paralegal practices and substantive areas of law; both listed below:

Paralegal Practice

  • Paralegal Practice
  • Ethics and Professional Practice
  • U.S. Legal System
  • Branches of Government
  • Legal Research
  • Legal Writing and Critical Analysis
  • Communication
  • Law Office Management and Legal Technology
  • Civil Litigation

Substantive Areas of Law

  • Business Organizations
  • Contracts
  • Criminal
  • Estates, Wills and Trusts
  • Family
  • Real Estate
  • Torts

Education and Eligibility Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject and a paralegal certificate.
  • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, no experience or CLE needed.
  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject + 1 hour of ethics or six months experience.
  • Associates degree in paralegal studies.
  • Paralegal certificate from a program that meets the requirements set forth in NFPA’s Short Term Paralegal Program + 1 year of experience and six hours of CLE including one hour of ethics.
  • Active duty, retired, or former military personnel qualified in a military operation specialty as a paralegal with 1 hour of Ethics CLE.
  • Candidates within two months of graduating and registered for the PCCE by a Paralegal Studies Program Director or involved in PCCE Assurance of Learning (AoL) Program.
  • High school diploma or GED + 5 years of experience and 12 hours of CLE including one hour of ethics.

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NFPA Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam –PACE Registered Paralegal (RP)

 

Quick Facts for RP Paralegal Certification

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  • Cost: $225 (member) $250 (non-member) + $25 nonrefundable application fee
  • Retest: 6 month waiting period and another $250 (member) or $275 (non-member)
  • Administration: Computer based
  • Test Length: Four hours.
  • Testing Times: Every day except holidays and Sundays.
  • Renewal Requirements and Fee: $25/annual and twleve hours of CLE every two years plus one hour of ethics.
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Summary of Content

Established in 1996, the PACE Registered Paralegal Exam is an advanced competency exam allowing applicants to pass the exam and demonstrate advanced competency within the domains: Administration of Client Legal Matters, Development of Client Legal Matters, Factual and Legal Research, and Factual and Legal Writing:

Substantive Areas of Law

  • Bankruptcy
  • Corporate Law
  • Civil Litigation
  • Contracts
  • Criminal
  • Estates, Wills and Trusts
  • Family
  • Intellectual Property
  • Real Estate
  • Torts

Education and Eligibility Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject from an accredited school + 3 years of paralegal experience.
  • Bachelor’s degree and completion of a paralegal program in an institutionally accredited school and a minimum of 2 years substantive paralegal experience.
  • Associate degree in paralegal studies obtained from an institutionally accredited ABA approved paralegal program + six years of paralegal experience.
  • Four years of legal experience prior to December 31, 2000.

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NALA Certified Paralegal (CP) / Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) Exam

 

Quick Facts for CLA Paralegal Certification

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  • Cost: $225 (member) $250 (non-member) + additional test site fees from $40-$47 per section.
  • Retest: $50 per section + test site fees.
  • Administration: Computer based
  • Test Length: 8 hours over 5 total sections.
  • Testing Times: January, May, and September in major US cities.
  • Renewal Requirements and Fee: $50/annual and 50 hours every five years including 5 hours of ethics.
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Summary of Content

Established in 1975, the Certified Paralegal and Legal Assistant Exam is a competency exam allowing applicants to pass the exam and demonstrate competency within the basic domains necessary to be a paralegal or legal assistant.

Exam Composition

  • Communications – 1.5 hours
  • Judgment & Analytical Ability – 2 hours
  • Ethics – 1 hour
  • Legal Research – 1.5 hours
  • Substantive Law – 2 hours

The test is also broken into smaller sections based on the applicants choice. Applicants can chose from administrative law, bankruptcy, business/corporate organization, family law, criminal law, and procedure, litigation, probate and estate planning, or real estate. All applicants must take an exam covering the American legal system.

[highlight][note: As of May 2011, Judgment and Analytical Ability is solely an essay.][/highlight]

 

Education and Eligibility Requirements

  • Graduation from an ABA approved legal assistant program or post-baccalaureate program.
  • Bachelor’s degree program in legal assistant studies or legal assistant program of 60 or more hours consisting of 15+ hours in substantive legal courses.
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus one year of experience as a legal assistant.
  • High school diploma or equivalent plus seven years of experience as a legal assistant under the supervision of an attorney + 20 hours of CLE within the two year period prior to the exam.

 

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NALS Professional Paralegal Exam (PP)

 

Quick Facts for PP Paralegal Certification

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  • Cost: $200 (member) $250 (non-member)
  • Retest: $50 per section (member) or $60 per section (non-member)
  • Administration: Computer based
  • Test Length: 1 day
  • Testing Times: First Saturday of March and last Saturday of September in most major metro areas.
  • Renewal Requirements and Fee: $75/annual and 75 hours every five years including 5 hours of ethics.
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Summary of Content

Established in 2004, the Professional Paralegal Exam is a competency exam designed to test written communications, legal knowledge and skills, ethics and judgment, and all other substantive areas of law.

Exam Composition

  • Part 1: Written Communication
  • Part 2: Legal Knowledge and Skills
  • Part 3: Ethics and Judgement
  • Part 4: All substantive areas of law: administrative law to worker’s compensation.

Education and Eligibility Requirements

  • Five years of experience performing paralegal duties.
  • Two years waived (3 required) for paralegals with a paralegal degree.
  • One year waived (4 required) for candidates with a post-secondary degree + successful completion of the PLS exam.


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