Certified Legal Assistant (CLA), Certified Paralegal (CP) and Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP) designations - Administered by NALA, the CLA or CP examination is the first step for individuals to become recognized for their level of knowledge and competence as paralegals. This two-day examination is is administered three times a year and covers federal procedure in areas such as legal research and writing, general law, communications skills and each paralegal may select 4 substantive topics on which to be tested. Successful completion of the NALA exam entitles the paralegal to include the designation of Certified Legal Assistant "CLA" or Certified Paralegal "CP" after his/her name to distinguish them as obtaining the nationally-recognized standard in paralegal competence. Previously, NALA offered a CLAS designation that evolved in 2006, to become the current certification program which includes specialized advanced courses (ACP) for paralegals who are already certified. An updated study manual was published in October, 2014. For more information including test dates, testing centers, and details about becoming a Certified Paralegal, see our NALA Info page.
CLA® is a certification mark duly registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (Regis. No. 1131999). Any unauthorized use is strictly forbidden.
CP® is a certification mark duly registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (Regis. No. 2864940). Any unauthorized use is strictly forbidden.
Registered Paralegal (RP) designation - administered by the NFPA, this examination is a 4-hour exam based on five areas of legal administration and development of client matters, fact research, legal writing and office administration. This nationally-recognized examination and certification process is called the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam ("PACE"). Successful completion of this national certification examination entitles the paralegal to include the designation of PACE-Registered Paralegal "RP" after his/her name to distinguish them as obtaining the nationally-recognized standard in paralegal competence. For more information about the PACE examination, CLICK HERE
Although CFPA is not a NFPA-affiliated association, our goal is to promote professionalism within the paralegal field and CFPA recognizes as NFPA as a national organization that promotes continued education and professionalism.
National Paralegal Reporter, NFPA, PACE Registered Paralegal, RP,
PACE, NFPA - The Leader of the Paralegal Profession and the NFPA design
logo are all Registered Trademarks/Service Marks of NFPA; NFPA - Your
partner in your profession, PACE - The Standard for Excellence, NFPA
Tech Institute and the PACE design logo are Trademarks/Service Marks of
PP designation -is administered by NALS which established a professional paralegal certification in 2004. Any person who has five years’ experience performing paralegal/legal assistant duties (a candidate may receive a partial waiver of one year if he or she has a post-secondary degree, other certification, or a paralegal certificate; a candidate with a paralegal degree may receive a two-year partial waiver). The exam covers written communications, legal knowledge and skills, ethical judgment and skills, and substantive law. Successful completion of this national certification examination entitles the paralegal to include the designation of Professional Paralegal "PP"after his/her name as a means by which to distinguish themselves as having obtained this nationally-recognized standard in paralegal competence.
CFPA is not affiliated with NALS but recognizes NALS as a national organization whose mission is to promote continued legal education and professionalism.
To help curb certification confusion, NFPA prepared a COMPARISON CHART between the NALA CP, NALS PP and NFPA RP certifications. It's a great help to see the similarities and differences that are out there in the options facing a paralegal seeking certification. It should be noted that the this comparison chart has not been updated since 2007 -- the NFPA portion is accurate, but the NALA portion has not and it has changed -- although the bulk of the comparison is still accurate.
Florida Certified Paralegal (FCP) designation - is administered by Florida's only statewide paralegal association, the PAF. This is a state-specific examination for Florida Paralegals who seek
to further distinguish themselves as specialists in Florida law. A prerequisite to taking this examination is having already achieved the designation of CLA/CP/ACP , RP or PP. A
day-long seminar to prepare for this examination held at the University
of Central Florida in October. The examination takes place afterward
completion of this Florida-law specific certification examination
paralegal to include the designation of Florida Certified Paralegal (FCP)
after his/her name to distinguish them as obtaining an advanced level of competence of Florida law.
is not officially affiliated with PAF as a charter association, but has
partnered with PAF to provide CLE seminars and supports the FCP
certification administered by PAF.
The Florida Registered Paralegal Programis not a certifying program, but a voluntary registration program administered by the Florida Bar. For more information about being certified as a paralegal, please read above.
Application - AREVISED APPLICATION PACKETcan be obtained from the Florida Bar website. For more details, go to the Florida Bar website www.floridabar.org and look under the Professional Practice menu tab on the left for Florida Registered Paralegal Program. The registration fee is $150.00. Online FRP Profile - Once your Florida Registered Paralegal application has been approved, you can manage your contact information with the Florida Bar online by logging in to the MEMBER LOG IN on the home page of the Florida Bar website. Click here for instructions on how to OBTAIN A PASSWORD.
Submit CLE hours Online - You are now able to post continuing education credits online for your FRP continued legal education requirement with the Florida Bar. Get INSTRUCTIONS on how to post your credits or see ourSEMINARSpage for step by step instructions for how to post NALA-approved Seminars, including CFPA-sponsored seminars. After credits have been posted, they can be reviewed by checking your continuing education history.
Renewal - Annual renewal statements will be mailed to your record address around July before the renewal year. Annual renewal fee is $150.00 and must be paid by August 15. If you do not pay by August 15 before the renewal year, you will be assessed a $40.00 late fee bringing your total renewal to $190.00. If you do not pay the $190.00 by October 1, before the renewal year, your FRP registration will be revoked. You will be able to pay by check or online with a credit card. You need a password to pay online.
Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Registered Paralegals
This page was excerpted from the Florida Bar Association's website. For more information about Florida Registered Paralegals, click the Florida Bar logo above to be redirected to the official Florida Bar website.
Q: Do I have to register in order to work as a paralegal in Florida? A: No, registration is voluntary. You may continue to work as a paralegal without registering.
Q: What is the registration deadline? A: Unless you are using the grandfathering provision, there is no deadline.
Q: I no longer see grandfathering on the application. May I still apply using experience alone? A: No. As of March 1, 2011, you may no longer use grandfathering in order to register as an Florida Registered Paralegal. Therefore, you may no longer use experience alone as a basis for eligibility for registration. If you wish to register you must meet the education/work experience or certification requirement for eligibility. If you apply under the grandfathering provision after March 1, 2011, your application will be rejected. Please note the application fee is not refundable.
Q: But I still see the grandfathering provision in the rule. Why? A: The rule was adopted by the Supreme Court of Florida. There is a procedure for making changes to the rule. Unfortunately, that procedure takes some time. Because of this, the language is still in the rule. However, the rule also says that any attestation under the grandfathering provision must be received by The Florida Bar not later than 3 years after the effective date of the chapter. The chapter became effective on March 1, 2008. Consequently, on March 1, 2011, you could no longer use grandfathering for eligibility. The rule will be changed as soon as possible.
Q: How do I find out if my paralegal degree is from an approved paralegal program? A: An approved paralegal program is a program approved by the American Bar Association ("ABA") or a program that is in substantial compliance with the ABA guidelines and accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency approved by the United States Department of Education. You may contact your school to determine whether they meet the requirement or check the ABA website, www.abanet.org, the U.S. Department of Education website, ope.ed.gov/accreditation (note -- there is no www before the address), or the American Association for Paralegal Education.
Q: How do I find out if my degree is from an accredited institution? A: The degree has to be from an institution accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency approved by the United States Department of Education or the Florida Department of Education. You may contact your school to determine whether they meet the requirement or check the U.S. Department of Education website, ope.ed.gov/accreditation (note -- there is no www before the address) or the Florida Department of Education website, www.fldoe.org.
Q: I heard that the $150 application fee was waived for the first year. Is this true? A: No. A $150 application fee must be submitted with the application in order for it to be processed. An application submitted without the fee will be returned.
Q: I have worked for my current employing attorney for 2 years but he has knowledge about my prior paralegal experience. Can my current employing attorney fill out the attorney attestation? A: Your current employing attorney can only attest to the 2 years you've been working for him/her. You will need your former employer(s) to attest to your paralegal work experience while working for them.
Q: I contacted my university/community college about getting verification of my degree. I was told that I needed to contact the National Student Clearing House to obtain that verification. Will this verification from the National Student Clearing House be sufficient evidence of my degree? A: Yes.
Q: I am trying to qualify based on education and work experience. Can I use my paralegal work experience in another state when calculating my work experience? A: Only paralegal work experience for a member of The Florida Bar counts for purposes of work experience. If you were working for a member of The Florida Bar in the other state, you can count that paralegal work experience. If you were not working for a member of The Florida Bar, you cannot count that paralegal work experience.
Q: I have been working as a paralegal in Florida for the last 2 years. Before moving to Florida I worked as a paralegal for an out-of-state licensed attorney for 10 years. Can I be grandfathered into the Florida Registered Paralegal Program? A: No, only paralegal work for a member of The Florida Bar counts as paralegal work experience. You would have to qualify by certification or by education and work experience after you worked for a Florida attorney for the requisite amount of time.
Q: The application asks for the number of hours I have performed paralegal work. Is this billable hours only? A: No. Include the total number of hours you have worked in the past year performing paralegal work whether billable or not.
Q: I have taken some continuing education courses. Can I submit those towards the 30 hour requirement? A: Only courses taken after your registration date may be used towards the 30 hour continuing education requirement.
Q: Once I am registered, what designation may I use? A: The rule provides that "[a] Florida Registered Paralegal shall disclose his or her status as a Florida Registered Paralegal at the outset of any professional relationship with a client, attorneys, a court or administrative agency or personnel thereof, and members of the general public." You may either say Florida Registered Paralegal or FRP. However, if you state FRP, you must also state paralegal. For example: J. Doe, FRP Paralegal Law Office
Q: I am also certified by another organization. When listing my credentials, which do I list first? Do I need to list all of my credentials? A: You should check with the other organization. The Florida Bar rule does not control the order. However, you must state that you are a Florida Registered Paralegal. (see question above as to disclosure requirement)
Q: I have worked for several attorneys. How many attestation forms do I need? A: You need 1 form for each attorney that you have worked for during the years you are using for the qualifying criteria.
Q: I am using education and work experience as my qualifying criteria. Do you need a certified copy of my degree? A: No.
Q: I am an independent paralegal. I provide services to attorneys and to the public. May I register as a Florida Registered Paralegal? A: No, you may not register as a Florida Registered Paralegal. In addition, you may not use the title paralegal in providing services directly to the public. Doing so constitutes the unlicensed practice of law. Q: I have a degree from a foreign country. Can I use that degree to meet the eligibility requirements? A: No. Under the rule your degree must come from a United States institution that meets the requirements of the rule. The degree must be an associates, bachelors or juris doctorate degree. Q: One of the attorneys I worked for is deceased. Without an attestation from the years that I worked for that attorney, I do not meet the eligibility requirements. What can I do? A: First, we need the name of the deceased attorney. If there was an inventory attorney appointed, you can submit an attestation from the inventory attorney. The inventory attorney would have access to the deceased attorney's files and would be able to determine whether you primarily provided paralegal services. If there is no inventory attorney, you can provide an attestation from someone else in the firm with knowledge of your employment. If the attorney was a sole practitioner, contact FRP counsel at email@example.com.
Q: What is the annual renewal fee and when is it due? A: The annual renewal fee is $150.00. Generally, it is due July 1 of each year and considered late after August 15. If late, a $40.00 late fee is added. If the renewal fee + late fee is not paid by October 1, your FRP status will be revoked. If any of these dates fall on a Saturday or Sunday, the date is extended to the following Monday. The annual renewal statements are mailed at the end of May or beginning of June. If you are registered as an FRP prior to the date the renewals are mailed, you will be mailed a renewal statement. For example, if you are registered May 1, you will be mailed a renewal statement and must pay the renewal fee to keep your FRP status. Your renewal fee is different from your application fee. Even if you paid your application fee close to the date your renewal fee is due, you will need to pay the renewal fee to keep your FRP status.