To regulate or not to regulate? It seems there is no shortage of opinions when it comes to the paralegal licensing regulation debate. And valid arguments can be made on both sides about whether state-level licensing or certification should be required like it is in so many other professions – from nursing to accounting.

Legal support services have always been self-regulated in the sense that paralegals take it upon themselves to earn professional credentials voluntarily, and the attorneys that hire them are responsible for screening out job candidates they don’t feel meet the criteria to work along side of them.

Featured Programs:


As it stands, certification at the state level is almost always offered through the state’s paralegal professional association, not the state bar association and not through a state government licensing authority of any kind – and, it is always voluntary. Even in the handful of states of states where certification is available through the bar or some other authority, for most paralegals in most roles it is completely voluntary and usually completely unnecessary.

Before we present the arguments on both sides of the debate, let’s take a look at why the possibility of licensing regulations has become such a hotly debated issue in the first place.

A paralegal’s job is no joke. They have serious responsibilities that have serious ramifications. Sure, the buck ultimately stops with the lawyer because paralegals must work under their direct supervision and guidance, but an incompetent paralegal can still cause a lot of problems.

Direct client interaction… Paralegals spend a considerable amount of time interacting with clients, often serving as the face of the law firm. An ABA Business Law Section survey revealed that 95 percent of attorneys reported that their paralegals communicate with their clients at least weekly through email or written correspondence, while 93 percent reported their paralegals talk on the phone and 70 percent meet with their clients face to face at least once a week.

In fact, it is not uncommon for paralegals to have more frequent contact with clients than the attorneys themselves. Paralegals who provide clients with inaccurate or false information or those who overstep their boundaries with clients can jeopardize the reputation of the attorney and the firm, causing serious problems that could impact the client-attorney relationship… and the bottom line.

Handling important documents… And while paralegals do often spend a considerable amount of time on clerical duties, these duties carry a lot of weight. For example, in the corporate environment, paralegals draft and prepare corporate charter documents, including amendments and merger documents. In business, paralegals draft documents for corporate and partnership dissolutions, loan documents, and UCC filings. And in real estate, they are called upon to handle everything from draft leases to title searches to mortgage releases. In civil or criminal litigation, the success of a case being brought before a court can hinge on the timeliness and accuracy of filings.

Mistakes made on these types of documents could be catastrophic, and repercussions could range from lost or delayed business mergers and real estate deals to law firms losing important clients—and their reputation in the process.

In short, law firms, corporations and court systems cannot afford to have less-than-fully-qualified paralegals working for them. Which brings us to the conversation about the possibility of regulation through state licensure

Couldn’t some established mandatory educational minimums and perhaps even a licensing exam go a long way to ensure law firms and the courts that a paralegal is fully prepared for what the job entails? … Or would licensing regulations be just a costly and unnecessary barrier to the profession that adds more complication and expense than it’s worth? And herein lies the debate.

The Push for State Licensure in the Paralegal Profession: Why State Licensure Would Promote Higher Standards

You’re a proponent of the mandatory credentialing of paralegals at the state level. You believe that state licensing will allow paralegals to distinguish themselves from other legal support professionals, display a level of competence to employers, clients, and the courts, and establish minimum requirements to practice.

Lawyers use paralegals to increase profits, lower billing rates for their clients, and free up their time so they can focus on their cases. While the work of a paralegal may differ slightly from one state to the next or from one firm to the next, the common thread is that they perform substantive legal work under the supervision of an attorney. Since lawyers must meet strict state guidelines to provide legal services, including passing the bar and holding state licensure, wouldn’t it make sense for paralegals to be held to a minimum standard too?

One of the biggest contentions on this side of the debate is that because there are no barriers that restrict entry into the paralegal profession, the difference in the level of knowledge from one paralegal to the next can be significant. For example, a paralegal can enter the profession with little more than a high school education and a certificate in paralegal studies. On the other hand, many paralegals choose to go the extra mile and earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies, or even a graduate degree in legal studies with a focus on a specific area of law.

Further, simply completing a program in paralegal studies doesn’t really provide much information to an employer or client. Some paralegals may graduate at the head of the class, while others may have skated by with a steady C average.

While the American Bar Association (ABA) has attempted to define educational standards by offering a voluntary approval process for paralegal programs, there is still a lack of universally agreed upon criteria for what constitutes a quality paralegal program. Recent estimates reveal that just 22 percent of all paralegal programs in the U.S. hold ABA approval, with many institutions choosing to forgo the expensive – and some would argue, restrictive – approval process. Further, the ABA does not approve online programs, even though distance education has become widely accepted in nearly every industry, from healthcare to accounting, and despite the fact that most of the country’s most respected institutions now offer online programs that are just as rigorous as their campus-based options.

While virtually any educational option out there for entry-level paralegals may provide the bare bones foundation needed to enter the profession, state licensure would ensure that paralegals have attained, and are able to demonstrate, the level of knowledge needed to successfully handle the rigors of the job. In other state-regulated professions, earning state licensure generally involves qualifying through education and/or experience, passing an exam, and maintaining the license through continuing education.

And in all other licensed professions, there is at least some measure of consistency state to state when it comes to meeting the qualifications for licensure. Whether we’re talking physician assistants and nurses, teachers and therapists, accountants and financial planners, or electricians and plumbers, most states have similar or identical educational minimums and often offer some version of the exact same licensing exam. This has given licensed professionals the freedom of professional mobility, allowing them to relocate or otherwise take work in other states. At the same time, it offers employers the assurance that a job candidate that has been licensed in another part of the country is just as qualified as a local licensee. As businesses continue to look for opportunities to break into new markets and as people more often relocate to areas with more job opportunities, this kind of state-to-state uniformity has proven to be the only practical solution.

Some paralegals in support of regulation also argue that state certification/licensure would go a long way in distinguishing them from other legal professionals like legal secretaries and file clerks. They argue that because they assist in the delivery of complex legal services that are above and beyond that of other legal support professionals, they should hold a mandatory credential that displays this higher level of competence.

Finally, it is becoming more and more common for paralegals to work on a freelance basis and offer their services as independent contractors instead of working for attorneys directly. Since most states define the role of the paralegal as being adjunct to an attorney, without a license or other type of credential it can be argued that performing services without attorney oversight amounts to the unauthorized practice of law. In fact, California, Arizona and Washington State have already begun to require state authorization for anybody offering legal document services independent of an attorney, and more states are expected to follow suit.

Pushing Back: Why Some View State Licensure for Paralegals as Impractical and Unnecessary

You’re an opponent of state licensing for paralegals. You argue that the industry is already self-regulated. Since paralegals work under the supervision of licensed lawyers, the implementation of mandatory credentials will do little more than burden the state with unnecessary costs and discourage individuals from entering the profession.

Opponents to state licensure for paralegals have plenty to say, and plenty of strong arguments to back up their position.

Thanks to voluntary certification through nongovernmental professional associations like NALA: The Paralegal Association, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), and NALS: The Association for Legal Professionals, paralegals have plenty of options for setting themselves apart from their colleagues and demonstrating their advanced level of knowledge and commitment to continuing education.

All three of these organizations offer paralegals the option of basic certification and advanced certification; either general advanced certification or advanced certification in a specific area of law.

In most states, the role and practice parameters of a paralegal are already defined, either through state law, the state bar association or through paralegal professional associations. And, as licensing opponents would argue, these definitions are already mostly consistent from state to state. In virtually all cases, paralegals, by definition, are only allowed to perform substantive legal tasks while under the direction and supervision of a state-licensed attorney. And, thanks to clear definitions laid out by national organizations like NALA and the NFPA, today’s paralegals enjoy a strong identity and a clear scope of practice that is consistent throughout the country.

While the role of the paralegal may have been muddy decades ago, the contemporary paralegal role is quite clear.

It should also be mentioned that many courts and paralegal organizations believe that any mandatory regulation of paralegals may hinder the growth of the profession. For example, NALA opposes mandatory regulation, instead encouraging voluntary self-regulation through its national certification program.

A common concern among proponents of paralegal licensing is that some independent paralegals that don’t work under the direction of an attorney are already providing legal services beyond the scope of their defined role, and that without some regulatory body in place, there has been no enforcement of rules concerning what they can and cannot do, and no real consequence for stepping over the line. But opponents would counter that argument by saying the legal document preparation services and other tasks that paralegals know how to perform are relatively limited so, in reality, there really is no serious threat to the public.

Finally, many opponents to licensure argue that the very nature of what is expected of paralegals requires them to have a higher level of education and expertise than in years past, and as a result, attorneys are setting a higher bar for employment. Lawyers need to be able to put their trust in the paralegals they employ. This has effectively forced paralegals to take it upon themselves to meet high standards if they want to land a job, which makes legislating higher educational standards completely unnecessary. The ABA even notes that California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona are among an increasing number of states with law firms that now frequently prefer the paralegals they hire to hold a four-year degree.

Just a Handful of States Offer Some Form of Certification or Licensure Through the State Bar Or Other Authority

To date, any type of credentialing at the national or state level remains completely voluntary. The only gray points that exist are in a few states (California, Arizona and Washington) where paralegals that choose to offer certain services independently, would be required to be registered, certified or licensed. The operative word here is choose, in that there is no legal obligation to go through a credentialing process unless the paralegal chooses to offer expanded services or work independently.

Before examining the regulation of paralegals at the state level, it’s important to define the different forms of regulation: certification, licensing, and registration.

Licensure, the most restrictive form of credentialing, protects the title, the role, and the profession, as well as the safety and welfare of the public. When a state requires a license for a certain profession, only those holding a state license can practice and hold the title. Licensure is mandatory and is enacted and backed by legislation and enforced by a state government licensing authority.

Certification is a voluntary form of credentialing that exists in most professions, whether or not the profession in licensed. It should be noted that some states use the term ‘certification’ to denote official practice privileges for certain professions, in which case it effectively means the same thing as ‘licensing,’ but this isn’t very common. Certification through nongovernmental agencies (whether public or private), allows professionals in an industry or profession to earn a designation that demonstrates a level of expertise or knowledge above the minimum usually required to practice.

Registration is the most simple of all regulatory options and usually means that an individual has registered with the appropriate state agency for the right to hold a title. Registration may be voluntary or mandatory, and education and training requirements may be part of registration.

The state bar associations in Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida offers paralegals the option of earning state certification through the state bar association. The Texas bar association has taken certification one step further by offering certification in one or more of six areas of law. In Indiana, paralegals can voluntarily register through the state bar association, and once accepted, use the credential “IRP” (Indiana Registered Paralegal) provided they meet specified education and experience requirements. The certification and registration options available in these states do not come with the ability to perform expanded functions or the freedom to work without attorney oversight, however.

In California, Arizona and Washington, there is some level of expanded independence that results from the credentialing process…

In California, independent paralegals that choose to offer legal document preparation services must be registered as Legal Document Assistants (LDA) through the California Association of Legal Document Assistants, while in Arizona, paralegals who choose to offer legal document services independently must earn the Legal Document Preparer (LDP) certification through the Board of Legal Document Preparers.

Washington State has by far the most progressive rules, both in terms of the regulatory environment and in terms of the services paralegals can offer when properly credentialed. Paralegals who choose to earn the Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) designation through the Washington State Bar Association by meeting certain requirements (associate’s degree through an ABA-approved program with specified credit hours in specific courses, plus exams) can actually advise and assist clients on matters that fall within certain practice areas.

In any and all other states where voluntary certification is offered, it’s available through the state paralegal associations and does not come with any expanded practice privileges.

Voluntary Certification and Membership with State Paralegal Associations

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY DC

Alabama

Alabama Association of Paralegals (AAPi) – Offers five levels of membership:

  • Associate Member – Requires meeting one of the following conditions:
    • Be currently employed as a paralegal
    • Meet the requirements of an Active Member except that you are not employed as a paralegal
    • Be a paralegal studies graduate without adequate work experience to become an Active Member
    • Be directly involved in the supervision of paralegals, such as a law office manager or administrator
  • Student Member – Requires you to be a paralegal studies student who is not employed full-time as a paralegal
  • Sustaining Member – Open to any firm, corporation, association, educational institution, or other entity related to paralegals
  • Lifetime Member – Requires you to be a retired paralegal with at least ten years of experience as an Active Member, having served at least two terms on the Board of Directors
  • Active Member – Requires you to be employed as a paralegal in Alabama working under the supervision of a licensed practicing attorney, plus meet one of the following requirements:
    • Have a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in paralegal studies from an ABA-approved program
    • Have a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in paralegal studies from an institutionally accredited program that includes 60 semester credits, with 15 of those in substantive legal courses, plus six months of paralegal work experience
    • Have a bachelor’s degree in any subject plus two years of paralegal experience
    • Have a paralegal certificate from a program that was at least 24 credits, plus one year of paralegal work experience
    • Have five years of paralegal work experience under the supervision of a licensed, practicing attorney
    • Have a Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)

Alabama ALS – Affiliated with NALS with the following local branches:

As NALS affiliates the local chapters encourage NALS certifications and membership.

NALS membership levels are:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

Alaska

Alaska Association of Paralegals (AAP) – Offers five classes of membership:

  • Full Membership – Open to any employed paralegal
  • Associate Membership – Open to anyone interested in the paralegal profession
  • Student Membership – Open to any full-time student who is not employed as a paralegal
  • Sustaining Membership – Open to any group, association, law firm, corporation, institution, or person interested in supporting the AAP
  • Government Membership – Open to any employee of a city, state, federal, or military branch of government

Fairbanks Association of Legal Assistants (FALA) – A National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) affiliate, FALA offers these levels of membership:

  • Active, Associate, and Student Memberships require current membership in NALA
  • Sustaining Memberships are offered for individuals, organizations, and institutions

Arizona

Arizona Board of Legal Document Preparers – This board sponsors the Legal Document Preparer (LDP) Certification, required by Arizona law for anyone who prepares legal documents without the supervision of an attorney. To be eligible for the LDP Certificate you must pass an exam and qualify with one of the following:

  • High school diploma or GED, plus two years of law-related experience
  • Four-year bachelor’s degree plus one year of law-related experience
  • Paralegal certificate from an ABA-approved program
  • Paralegal certificate from an institutionally accredited program that requires the completion of at least 24 semester credits
  • Certificate of completion from a program specifically designed for legal document preparers
  • Law school degree

Arizona Paralegal Association – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), this association offers four classes of membership:

  • Voting Membership – Open to paralegals employed in Arizona who are supervised by an attorney and meet one of the following conditions:
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal studies program
    • Graduate of an institutionally accredited paralegal studies program that includes 60 semester credits, 15 of which are substantive legal courses
    • Graduate of a paralegal studies program plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Graduate of a bachelor’s degree program in any subject, plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • At least three years of law-related experience that includes six months of in-house paralegal training
    • At least two years of in-house training as a paralegal under the supervision of an attorney
    • Passage of NALA’s Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) exam
  • Non Voting Membership – Open to paralegals who meet all the requirements for Voting Membership except being employed in Arizona
  • Student MembershipOpen to students who are enrolled in a formal paralegal training program, within or outside of Arizona
  • Sponsorship MemberOpen to:
    • Persons who are members of bar associations
    • Persons who are members of an educational field that accepts the concept of paralegals
    • Persons who are involved in the promotion of the paralegal profession
    • Educational organizations that have a paralegal curriculum
    • Other paralegal associations regardless of location

Maricopa County Association of Paralegals (MCAP) (formerly Legal Assistants of Metropolitan Phoenix (LAMP)) – Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the MCAP offers three levels of membership:

  • Active
  • Associate
  • Student

NALS of Phoenix – A NALS affiliate, this organization offers these levels of membership:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

Tucson Paralegal Association (TPA) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), the TPA offers four types of membership:

  • Active Membership – Eligibility requires meeting one of the following:
    • Graduate from an ABA-approved paralegal studies program
    • Graduate from an institutionally accredited paralegal studies program that is at least 60 semester credits
    • Graduate from a paralegal studies program plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Graduate from a bachelor’s degree program in any subject, plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Have at least three years of law-related experience that includes six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Have at least two years of in-house training as a paralegal under the supervision of an attorney
    • Passage of NALA’s Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) exam
  • Associate Membership – Eligibility requires meeting on of the following:
    • Have seven years of law related experience under the supervision of a member of the bar association
    • Have the Professional Legal Secretary (PLS)/Certified Legal Professional (CLP) credential sponsored by the paralegal association NALS
  • Student Membership – Open to any student enrolled in good standing at any school who is pursuing legal studies
  • Affiliated Memberships:
  • Society – Open to any local or state organization in harmony with the Arizona Paralegal Association or NALA
  • Individual – Open to:
    • Any currently employed paralegal whose field of expertise required specialized training in an ancillary area
    • Any member of the Bar Association who endorses the concept of paralegals/legal assistants
    • Any member of the educational field who endorses the concept of paralegals/legal assistants

NALS of Tucson and Southern Arizona – A NALS affiliate, membership is offered on these levels:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

Arkansas

Arkansas Paralegal Association (ArPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), ArPA membership is offered at the Voting and Student levels. Membership is open to anyone engaged in the following:

  • Actively working in the paralegal profession
  • A student or educator in the paralegal profession
  • An individual interested in expanding the paralegal profession

Association for Arkansas Legal Support Professionals (AALS) – As a NALS affiliate this association encourages NALS certifications and the following NALS membership levels:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

Northeast Arkansas Legal Support ProfessionalsA NALS affiliate offering these membership levels:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

Arkansas Paralegal AllianceA National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) affiliate.


California

California Association of Legal Document Assistants (CALDA) – If you provide or assist in providing services to someone who is representing him or herself in a legal matter then you must register with this association as a Legal Document Assistant (LDA). This applies if you independently offer your services for compensation in a manner that goes beyond what a secretary or receptionist would do. If you are employed by a member of the State Bar of California, such as an attorney, then you are exempt from this.

To be eligible to register as an LDA you must meet one of the following education requirements:

  • A high school diploma or GED, and either two years of law-related experience under the supervision of a licensed attorney, or prior to 1999 two years of experience providing self-help services
  • A bachelor’s degree in any field, and either one year of law-related experience under the supervision of a licensed attorney, or prior to 1999 one year of experience providing self-help services
  • A paralegal certificate from an ABA-approved program
  • A paralegal certificate from an institutionally accredited program with at least 24 semester credits in legal specialization courses

California Alliance of Paralegal Associations (CAPA) – This is the state-level organization affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). There are 12 local branches affiliated with CAPA with these general membership levels and requirements:

  • Voting Member – Open to any paralegal working in California for more than six months
  • Associate Member – Open to those do not qualify as a Voting Member who want to support CAPA or its local affiliate, such as paralegals with less than six months of experience and attorneys
  • Student Member – Open to paralegals with less than one year of experience, those who are enrolled in a paralegal training program, and/or paralegals who are trained in-house by an attorney employer
  • Sustaining Member – Open to any organization or entity that supports CAPA or its local affiliate

The 12 local affiliates of CAPA are:


Colorado

Colorado Association of Legal Support Staff (CALSS) – Offers four types of membership:

  • Active Member – For individuals licensed to practice law or engaged as a paralegal or secretary in a law office
  • Members-at-Large – For individuals who qualify to be an Active Member who are not members of a local chapter
  • Associate Membership – For individuals who are students or not directly employed in work of a legal nature
  • Active Life Membership – For those with a CALSS membership for more than 20 years

The local chapters of CALSS are:

Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association (RMPA) – A National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) affiliate with four membership levels:

  • Voting Member – Must be an employed paralegal
  • Associate Member – Open to individuals who support the RMPA
  • Sustaining Member – Open to firms, organizations, and businesses that support the RMPA
  • Student Member – Open to students enrolled in a paralegal program

Legal Assistants of the Western Slope (LAWS) – Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) offering four levels of membership:

  • Active Membership – Open to individuals who meet any of the following conditions:
    • Two years of paralegal work experience
    • One year of paralegal work experience and either a bachelor’s degree or a paralegal certificate from an ABA-approved program
  • Student Membership – Open to any student in good standing who is enrolled in a school’s paralegal program
  • Associate Membership – Open to individuals who meet any of the following conditions:
    • Less than two years of paralegal work experience
    • Less than one year of paralegal work experience and either a bachelor’s degree or a paralegal certificate from an ABA-approved program
  • Sustaining Membership – Open to individuals, law firms, corporations, or other entities who endorse the paralegal concept

Pike’s Peak Paralegals – Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), offering two levels of membership:

  • Active Membership – Open to anyone who meets any of the following conditions:
    • Graduate from an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate from an institutionally-approved paralegal program that is at least 60 semester credits
    • Graduate from a paralegal program and have at least six months of paralegal experience under the supervision of a licensed attorney
    • Have a bachelor’s degree in any field plus at least six months of paralegal experience under the supervision of a licensed attorney
    • Have three years of legal experience under the supervision of a licensed attorney, including at least six months of in-house training
    • Have at least two years of in-house training under the supervision of a licensed attorney
    • Passed NALA’s Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) exam
  • Student Membership – Open to any student in good standing studying to become a paralegal at any ABA-approved school
  • Associate Membership – Open to anyone who meets any of the following conditions:
    • Any member of the bar association who endorses the concept of a paralegal
    • Any member of the educational field who endorses the concept of a paralegal
    • Persons directly involved in the supervision of paralegals
    • Any individual, law firm, corporation, or paralegal education program representative who endorses the paralegal concept

Connecticut

Central Connecticut Paralegal Association (CCPA) – A National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) affiliate with four membership classifications:

  • Voting – Open to those currently employed as paralegals
  • Affiliate – Open to those who are not currently employed as paralegals
  • Student – Open to paralegal students
  • Sustaining – Open to anyone or organization committed to the paralegal concept

New Haven County Association of Paralegals (NHCAP) – A National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) affiliate with four membership levels:

  • Voting Member – Any employed paralegal
  • Affiliate Member – Anyone who meets one of the following conditions:
    • Previously employed as a paralegal but not currently
    • Completed a paralegal studies course but is not currently employed
    • Has previously been a Voting Member but who is currently not employed as a paralegal
  • Student Member – Anyone who is enrolled in a formal paralegal training program
  • Sustaining Member – Any state-accredited education institution which offers a legal education or continuing legal education courses

Delaware

Delaware Paralegal Association (DPA) – The DPA offers its own paralegal certification program and these five levels of membership:

  • Full Member – Any person who meets any of the following conditions:
    • Has a paralegal certificate from an ABA-approved program
    • Has a two or four-year degree in any field plus six months of paralegal work experience
    • Has three years of paralegal work experience
  • Charter Member – Paralegals who were DPA members before September 25, 1976
  • Associate Member – Any person who meets any of the following conditions:
    • Completed an ABA-approved paralegal program that has lead to employment
    • Has at least one year of paralegal work experience, but is not employed as such at present
    • Is employed full-time as a paralegal but does not yet have the work experience for Full Membership
  • Student Member – Anyone enrolled in a formal paralegal studies program
  • Sustaining Member – Open to any firm, association, or other entity that supports the objectives of the DPA

The DPA offers its paralegal credential – Delaware Certified Paralegal (DCP) – for paralegals who meet one of the following conditions:

  • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies and one year of paralegal experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field, a paralegal certificate from an ABA-approved program, and one year of paralegal experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus two years of paralegal experience
  • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies and three years of paralegal experience
  • Paralegal studies certificate from an ABA-approved program and three years of paralegal experience
  • Associate’s degree in any subject plus four years of paralegal experience
  • Paralegal certificate from a non-ABA-approved program plus four years of paralegal experience
  • Five years of paralegal experience

District of Columbia – Washington DC

National Capital Area Paralegal Association (NCAPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the NCAPA offers five categories of membership:

  • Voting Member – Open to those working as paralegals who meet either of these conditions:
    • Completed a paralegal certificate or degree from an accredited school or program
    • Have been employed as a paralegal for at least one year
  • Student Member – Open to any paralegal or law-related student enrolled full or part-time
  • Associate Member – Open to any currently employed paralegal who is not eligible to be a Voting Member, and part-time paralegal managers and administrators
  • Contributing Member – Open to anyone employed in the legal field who supports the paralegal profession
  • Institutional Member – Open to educational and legal institutions that support paralegals

Florida

The Florida Bar Association – This association offers the optional Florida Registered Paralegal (FRP) credential to paralegals who have one of the following:

  • A juris doctorate (JD) degree from an ABA-approved school plus one year of paralegal work experience
  • A bachelor’s degree in an approved paralegal studies program plus one year of paralegal work experience
  • A bachelor’s degree in any subject plus three years of paralegal work experience
  • An associate’s degree in paralegal studies plus two years of paralegal work experience
  • An associate’s degree in any subject plus four years of paralegal work experience
  • Registered Paralegal (RP) credential from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) or the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) credential from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)

Paralegal Association of Florida (PAF) – Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), this state organization has 12 local chapters. PAF sponsors its own paralegal credential and its local chapters have five classes of memberships:

  • Active Member – You can qualify for this through one of the following routes:
    • Have Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) certification through NALA
    • Graduate from a paralegal study program that is currently approved by the ABA
    • Graduate from an institutionally-accredited paralegal program that includes at least 60 semester credits
    • Graduate from a paralegal program and have at least six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Have a bachelor’s degree in any field plus at least six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Have at least three years of law-related experience that includes at least six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Have two years of in-house paralegal training
  • Associate Member – You can qualify for this via one of the following:
    • Be a Florida attorney
    • Be an educator in Florida
    • Be at least 55 years old and have been previously qualified for membership based on your occupation
    • Be a non-resident of Florida who would otherwise qualify for membership
    • Be a graduate of a paralegal program who has not yet gained six months of work experience
  • Sustaining Member – Open to the following types of entities that support the PAF:
    • Law firm
    • Title company
    • Banking company
    • Other type of company providing services to the PAF or law offices
    • Other law-related entity
  • Student Member – You can qualify for this through either of the following routes:
    • Complete at least six semesters of law-related courses
    • Complete at least three semesters of law-related courses and be employed full-time in a law-related field
  • Emeritus Member – These are retired paralegals who were formerly Active Members

PAF and its local chapters coordinate and offer these paralegal certifications:

  • The PAF’s Florida Certified Paralegal (FCP) credential
  • NALA’s Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential

To earn the PAF’s Florida Certified Paralegal (FCP) credential you must already be a CP/CLA and pass an exam administered by the PAF.

The 12 PAF local chapters throughout the state are:

Tampa Bay Paralegal Association (TBPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) and the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the TBPA offers five membership levels:

  • Active – To be eligible for this level you must be employed as a paralegal in Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas or Polk counties and meet one of the following:
    • Pass the NFPA’s PACE Exam or earn any of NALA’s certifications
    • Graduate from an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate from an institutionally-accredited paralegal program that includes at least 60 semester credits
    • Graduate from a paralegal program and have at least six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Have a bachelor’s degree in any field and at least six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Have at least three years of law-related experience under the supervision of an attorney, including at least six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Have at least two years of in-house paralegal training
  • Associate – To qualify for this membership level you must meet one of the following:
    • Be a member of the bar association and endorse the paralegal concept
    • Be a member of the educational field and endorse the paralegal concept
    • Be involved in the supervision of paralegals
    • Meet the qualifications for Active membership except the county-location-of-employment requirement
    • Paralegals without full-time employment who have completed a paralegal program
  • Emeritus – Open to retired paralegals
  • Student – Be enrolled in a paralegal studies program that meets TBPA standards
  • Sustaining – Available to law firms and other businesses that endorse the paralegal concept

South Florida Paralegal Association (SFPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) and the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the SFPA offers five membership levels:

  • Active – To be eligible for this level you must meet one of the following:
    • Graduate from an ABA-approved paralegal program that results in an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or 45-credit-minimum certificate
    • Have CP or CLA certification from NALA or RP certification from the NFPA
    • Have a bachelor’s degree in any field plus three years of paralegal experience
    • Have five years of work experience as a paralegal
    • Provisional Members who have maintained a current membership with the SFPA for at least one year, and who have at least three years of paralegal work experience
    • Anyone registered as a Florida Registered Paralegal with the Florida Bar
  • Associate – Open to any bar association members or those working in the educational field
  • Provisional – Open to those who have completed an SFPA-approved non-accredited paralegal training program comprised of at least 30 credits
  • Student – Open to those enrolled in a school’s paralegal training program
  • Sustaining – Open to organizations that support the principles of the SFPA

Southwest Florida Paralegal Association (SWFPA) (not affiliated with the Southwest Chapter of the PAF) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), SWFPA offers four membership classes:

  • Student – Open to any student enrolled in a school’s paralegal program, who has not passed NALA’s Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) exam
  • Associate – Open to anyone who meets one of these requirements:
    • Is a member of a bar association that endorses the paralegal concept
    • Is employed in the education field and endorses the paralegal concept
    • Is involved in the direct supervision of paralegals
  • Sustaining – Open to any person, corporation, law firm, or paralegal program representative who endorses the paralegal concept
  • Active – Open to anyone who meets on of the following:
    • Graduate of an institutionally-accredited paralegal program that includes 60 semester credits
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of a paralegal program plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Three years of law-related experience that includes six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Two years of in-house paralegal training
    • The Florida Bar Association’s Florida Registered Paralegal (FRP) credential
    • Has passed NALA’s CLA/CP Exam

Central Florida Paralegal Association (CFPA) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the CFPA offers four types of memberships:

  • Student Member – Open to any full or part-time student in good standing who is majoring in law-related studies and who is not currently employed as a paralegal
  • Associate Member – Open to anyone with law-related experience
  • Patron Member – Open to anyone who is a member of a bar association, any educator who endorses the paralegal concept, or any other entity that supports the legal profession and advocates the paralegal concept
  • Active Member – To qualify for this you must meet one of the following:
    • Be a Florida Registered Paralegal (FRP) with the Florida Bar
    • Graduate from an ABA-approved paralegal program and have at least 960 hours of paralegal work experience within the past two years
    • Graduate from an institutionally-accredited paralegal program and have at least 960 hours of paralegal work experience within the past two years
    • Graduate from a paralegal program and have at least six months of in-house paralegal training, plus at least 960 hours of paralegal work experience within the past two years
    • Have a bachelor’s degree in any field, have at least six months of in-house paralegal training, and have at least 960 hours of paralegal work experience within the past two years
    • Have at least three years of law-related experience under the supervision of an attorney that includes at least six months of in-house paralegal training, and at least 960 hours of paralegal work experience within the past two years
    • Have at least two years of in-house paralegal training and at least 960 hours of paralegal work experience within the past two years
    • Pass NALA’s CLA/CP Exam or the NFPA’s PACE Exam

Georgia

Georgia Association of Paralegals (GAP) – Affiliated with the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), GAP recognizes three types of membership:

  • Regular – Open to currently employed paralegals
  • Associates – Open to those currently seeking employment as paralegals
  • Student – Open to those currently enrolled in a paralegal education program

Atlanta Paralegal Association (APA) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the APA offers four levels of membership:

  • Active Membership – Open to paralegals and legal assistants
  • Student Membership – Open to those enrolled in a paralegal program and recent graduates
  • Associate Membership – Open to lawyers, educators, and supervisors or paralegals
  • Sustaining Membership – Open to law firms, corporations, individuals, and paralegal program representatives

Southeastern Association of Legal Assistants (SEALA) – Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), SEALA offers four levels of membership:

  • Student Membership – Open to any student in good standing who is enrolled full-time in a paralegal program
  • Associate Membership – Open to those who meet one of the following:
    • Members of a bar association who endorse or are involved in the paralegal profession
    • Members of the educational field who endorse or are involved in the paralegal profession
    • Are involved in the direct supervision of paralegals
    • Law firms, corporations, and paralegal program representatives who endorse the paralegal concept
  • Sustaining Membership – Open to attorneys, educators, paralegal supervisors, individuals, school representatives, or companies that support the paralegal concept
  • Active Membership – Open to anyone who meets one of the following:
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of an institutionally-approved paralegal program that includes at least 60 semester credits
    • Graduate of a paralegal program plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Three years of law-related experience that includes six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Two years of in-house paralegal training
    • Passed NALA’s CP/CLA exam

NALS of Atlanta – This association is affiliated with NALS, offering these membership levels:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

Cobb County Legal Professionals Association – Affiliated with NALS, this association has six levels of membership:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

Hawaii

Hawaii Paralegal Association (HPA) – This association offers four levels of membership:

  • Voting Member – Open to anyone employed as a Hawaii paralegal or paralegal supervisor who was formerly a paralegal
  • Associate Member – Open to anyone who meets any of the following:
    • Is a paralegal outside of Hawaii
    • Was formerly employed as a paralegal
    • Is employed in the legal profession as something other than a paralegal
    • Has completed a paralegal education program
  • Student Member – Open to anyone who is a student in an official paralegal education program and not working as a paralegal
  • Sustaining Member – Open to any person or entity that supports the HPA

Hawaii Legal Support Professionals (HLSP) – An affiliate of NALS, this organization offers several types of membership:

  • Voting Member – Open to Hawaii paralegals
  • Associate Member – Open to paralegal educators, judges, or attorneys
  • Student Member – Open to students enrolled in a paralegal program
  • Secondary Member – Open to any NALS member from a different state

Idaho

Idaho Association of Paralegals (IAP) – This association offers four levels of membership:

  • Active Membership – To qualify for Active Membership you must be currently employed in Idaho and have at least six points according to the following, with no more than five points derived from education or work experience alone (a combination is necessary):
    • Graduate degree – five points
    • Bachelor’s degree – four points
    • Graduation from an ABA-approved paralegal program – three points
    • Associate degree in paralegal science – two points
    • Graduation from a non-ABA-approved paralegal program – two points
    • National Association of Legal Assistants’ (NALA’s) Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP) credential, formerly referred to as CLAS – two points
    • Associate degree – two points
    • Two years of college with no degree – one point
    • Work experience as a paralegal – one point per year
    • Certified Paralegal (CP) or Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential from NALA – one point
    • National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)’s Registered Paralegal (RP) credential – one point
  • Active-Status-Pending Membership – You can qualify for this if you meet all of the Active Membership requirements except for any of the following:
    • You lack one full year of work experience
    • You are relocating from another state and have not yet secured employment in Idaho
    • You’re a graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program but have not secured work or acquired enough work experience for Active Membership
  • Student Membership – Open to students enrolled in a paralegal program in good standing
  • Supporting Membership – Open to any member in good standing of a bar association and paralegal educators

Illinois

Illinois Paralegal Association (IPA) – Affiliated with the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the IPA sponsors its own paralegal credential and offers these four levels of membership:

  • Regular – Open to anyone who meets one of these requirements:
    • A paralegal employed in Illinois
    • An Illinois resident employed as a paralegal in any of Illinois’ neighboring states
  • Associate – Open to anyone who meets one of the following:
    • Illinois paralegals working part-time in the state
    • Those formerly employed as paralegals
    • Graduates of paralegal programs
  • Student – Open to temporary or permanent Illinois residents enrolled in a formal paralegal studies program, as well as residents of neighboring states attending paralegal programs in Illinois
  • Sustaining – Open to any person or entity that is interested in furthering the purposes of the IPA

The IPA sponsors the voluntary credential Illinois Accredited Paralegal (ILAP). To be eligible paralegals must be IPA Regular Members and meet one of the following conditions:

  • Master’s degree in paralegal studies and one year of paralegal experience
  • Master’s degree in any subject, a paralegal certificate, and one year of paralegal experience
  • Master’s degree in any subject plus three years of paralegal experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies plus one year of paralegal experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field, a paralegal certificate, and one year of paralegal experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus three years of paralegal experience
  • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies plus two years of paralegal experience
  • Associate’s degree in any field, a paralegal certificate, and two years of paralegal experience
  • Associate’s degree in any field plus three years of paralegal experience
  • Paralegal certificate plus four years of paralegal experience
  • Five years of paralegal experience
  • The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)’s Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential, or the NFPA’s Registered Paralegal (RP) credential

Central Illinois Paralegal Association (CIPA) – Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), CIPA offers four levels of membership:

  • Associate – Open to members of the bar association and the educational field who promote the paralegal concept
  • Student – Open to full and part-time students enrolled in a paralegal studies program
  • Sustaining – Open to anyone not directly involved in the paralegal profession but who supports the promotion of the field
  • Active – Open to anyone who meets one of the following:
    • Paralegal studies program graduate – certificate or bachelor’s degree
    • Has at least six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Has passed NALA’s Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) exam

Indiana

Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) – This association offers the voluntary Indiana Registered Paralegal (IRP) status to currently employed Indiana paralegals who perform substantive legal work under the direction of an attorney at least 70 percent of their time, who have been ISBA Affiliate Members in good standing for at least three years, and who meet one of the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any field with at least 12 credits in law or paralegal studies from an institutionally-accredited program
  • Bachelor’s degree and a paralegal certificate from an institutionally-accredited paralegal program
  • Associate’s degree/certification in paralegal studies from an institutionally-accredited paralegal program plus two years of paralegal experience
  • Have the Registered Paralegal (RP) or CORE Registered Paralegal (CRP) credential from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), or have the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) credential from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)

Affiliate Membership – You can qualify for Affiliate Membership with the ISBA if you are a paralegal who performs substantive legal work under the direction of an attorney at least 70 percent of their time and have one of the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any field with at least 12 credits in law or paralegal studies from an institutionally-accredited program
  • Bachelor’s degree and a paralegal certificate from an institutionally-accredited paralegal program
  • Associate’s degree/certification in paralegal studies from an institutionally-accredited paralegal program plus two years of paralegal experience
  • Have the Registered Paralegal (RP) or CORE Registered Paralegal (CRP) credential from the NFPA, or have the Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential from NALA

Indiana Paralegal Association (IPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the IPA offers four levels of membership:

  • Voting Membership – Open to any paralegal working within Indiana at least 70 percent of full time
  • Associate Membership – Open to anyone previously employed as a paralegal, graduates of paralegal programs, and any paralegals who work less than 70 percent of full time
  • Student Membership – Open to anyone enrolled in a paralegal studies program
  • Sustaining Membership – Open to any person or entity interested in supporting the IPA

Michiana Paralegal Association (MPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the MPA offers four levels of membership:

  • Voting – Open to any paralegal
  • Associate – Open to anyone who has completed a formal course of paralegal studies, but who is not employed as a paralegal
  • Student – Open to anyone enrolled in a paralegal studies program
  • Sustaining – Open to any entity that supports and promotes the MPA

Northeast Indiana Paralegal Association (NIPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the NIPA has four levels of membership:

  • Student – Open to anyone enrolled in a paralegal program
  • Associate – Open to recent graduates of paralegal programs seeking work, those with job duties that include paralegal responsibilities, and those who have previously been employed as paralegals
  • Voting – Open to those employed as paralegals as their primary occupation
  • Sustaining – Open to persons or entities who support the NIPA; successive levels of Sustaining Membership offer increasing advertising options (Basic, Silver, Gold, and Platinum)

Iowa

Iowa Paralegal Association (IPA) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the IPA offers four levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to paralegals employed at least 75 percent of full time
  • Associate – Open to anyone who has completed a paralegal educational program, anyone who has the Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential issued by NALA, or anyone who was formerly and Active Member
  • Students – Open to anyone who is a paralegal student in good standing and not employed as a paralegal
  • Sustaining – Open to members of the bar association, the legal profession, any individuals, and any entity that endorses the paralegal concept

Kansas

Kansas Paralegal Association (KPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the KPA offers eight levels of membership:

  • Affiliate – Open to any paralegal who meets the qualifications for Voting Membership, except for being employed
  • Sustaining – Open to any entity or individual who supports the KPA
  • Student – Open to anyone enrolled in a paralegal program
  • Educator – Open to any full-time paralegal educator
  • Retired – Open to any retired paralegal
  • Military – Open to paralegals on active duty
  • Qualified Fellowship – Open to those with a promotion code such as students, who would get this code from their paralegal program
  • Voting – Open to employed/retained paralegals who meet one of the following:
    • Post-secondary degree in a paralegal studies field
    • Bachelor’s or associate’s degree in any field plus one year of paralegal work experience
    • Certificate from a paralegal program and paralegal work experience that when combined totals at least three years
    • Three years of paralegal work experience

Heartland Paralegal Association (HPA) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), HPA offer three levels of membership:

  • Voting – Open to those who meet one of the following:
    • Passage of NALA’s Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) exam
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduation from a paralegal program of study that includes at least 60 semester credits of classroom study
    • Graduation from a paralegal program plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Bachelor’s degree in any subject plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Three years of law-related experience plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Two years of in-house paralegal training
  • Student – Open to students in good standing who are enrolled full or part-time in a paralegal studies program
  • Sustaining – Open to persons or entities that endorse the paralegal concept

Kansas Association of Legal Assistants Paralegals (KALA) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), KALA offers five levels of membership:

  • Voting – Open to those who meet any of the following:
    • Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) credential from NALA
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program and currently working as a paralegal
    • Graduate of a paralegal program that included at least 60 semester credits of classroom study, who is currently employed as a paralegal
    • Graduate of a paralegal program plus six months of in-house paralegal experience
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus six months of in-house paralegal experience
    • Three years of law-related experience plus six months of in-house paralegal experience
    • Two years of in-house paralegal experience
  • Affiliate – Open to anyone who meets one of the following:
    • Has been employed as a paralegal in the past but is not currently
    • Paralegal program graduate who has not yet found a job as a paralegal
    • Employed paralegal who does not meet the requirements for Voting membership
  • Sustaining – Open to persons or firms that are interested in supporting the paralegal profession
  • Student – Open to students in good standing who are enrolled in a paralegal program
  • Honorary – Open to anyone who has supported the goals of KALA, who KALA votes to declare an honorary member

Kentucky

Kentucky Paralegal Association (KPA) – This association offers its own optional Certified Kentucky Paralegal (CKP) credential. To earn this you must pass an exam, become a member of the KPA, and meet one of the following:

  • Graduate from an ABA-approved paralegal studies course, or one that has substantial compliance similarities
  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject plus one year of paralegal experience
  • Five years of paralegal work experience

The KPA offers five levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to any paralegal employed and supervised by a licensed attorney within Kentucky who meets one of the following:
    • Graduate from an ABA-approved paralegal studies course, or one that has substantial compliance similarities
    • Bachelor’s degree in any subject plus one year of paralegal experience
    • Associate’s degree in any field, completion of 24 credits from an ABA-approved paralegal studies course or one that has substantial compliance similarities, and one year of paralegal work experience
    • Five years of paralegal work experience
  • Associate – Open to anyone who meets the requirements for active membership except for one of the following exceptions:
    • Does not live or work in Kentucky
    • Not currently employed as a paralegal
    • Does not have one year of work experience
    • Does not have five years of work experience
  • Student – Open to any student who would be eligible for active membership upon graduation from their school
  • Adjunct – Open to any program director or educator of an ABA-approved paralegal studies course or course that has substantial compliance similarities to the ABA
  • Sustaining – Open to any attorney, law firm, business entity, educational institution, or bar association that shares the KPA’s goals and purposes

Louisiana

Louisiana State Paralegal Association (LSPA) – This association offers its own option credential, Louisiana Certified Paralegal (LCP). To be eligible for the LCP you must pass an exam and meet one of the following:

  • Graduate from an ABA-approved paralegal program
  • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies
  • Post-bac certificate in paralegal studies
  • Graduate from a paralegal program that is at least 60 semester credits, including at least 15 in substantive legal courses
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus one year of paralegal work experience
  • High school diploma or equivalent, seven years of paralegal work experience, and at least 20 hours of continuing legal education completed within the past two years

The LSPA also has four classes of membership:

  • Voting Member – Open to anyone who can meet one of the following:
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of a paralegal program that is at least 60 semester credits
    • Graduate of a paralegal program plus at least one year of paralegal work experience
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus one year of paralegal work experience
    • Three years of paralegal work experience
    • Holder of the National Association of Legal Assistant (NALA)’s Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) credential
    • Holder of the LSPA’s Louisiana Certified Paralegal (LCP) credential
  • Associate/Student Member – Open to anyone who can meet one of the following:
    • A student in good standing attending a paralegal course of study at a school approved by the LSPA
    • A working paralegal who does not meet the qualifications to become a Voting Member
  • Sustaining Member – Open to any individual or entity interested in supporting the LSPA
  • Honorary Member – Open to any individual who endorses the paralegal concept

New Orleans Paralegal Association (NOPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), NOPA offers four levels of membership:

  • Associate Member – Open to anyone who has completed a paralegal studies program, who has five years of paralegal work experience but does not meet the experience or educational requirements for voting membership, or who has been previously employed as a paralegal but is not currently
  • Student Member – Open to anyone who is enrolled in a paralegal studies course
  • Sustaining Member – Open to any entity that supports NOPA
  • Voting Member – Open to employed paralegals who meet one of the following:
    • Bachelor’s degree plus one year of paralegal work experience
    • Completion of an ABA-approved paralegal program or one that meets substantively similar requirements
    • Two years of paralegal work experience
    • Paralegal certification from a national organization

Maine

NALS of Maine – Offers local benefits and promotes national membership in NALS at these levels:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

Maryland

Maryland Association of Paralegals (MAP) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), MAP four levels of membership:

  • Active Membership – Open to any employed paralegal or anyone who has completed a paralegal training program
  • Student Membership – Open to anyone enrolled in a paralegal training program
  • Individual Sustaining Membership – Open to those who have completed their paralegal education who do not qualify for Active Membership
  • Sustaining Membership – Open to all entities that support the purposes of MAP

National Capital Area Paralegal Association (NCAPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the NCAPA offers five categories of membership:

  • Voting Member – Open to those working as paralegals who meet either of these conditions:
    • Completed a paralegal certificate or degree from an accredited school or program
    • Have been employed as a paralegal for at least one year
  • Student Member – Open to any paralegal or law-related student enrolled full or part-time
  • Associate Member – Open to any currently employed paralegal who is not eligible to be a Voting Member, and part-time paralegal managers and administrators
  • Contributing Member – Open to anyone employed in the legal field who supports the paralegal profession
  • Institutional Member – Open to educational and legal institutions that support paralegals

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Paralegal Association (MPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the MPA offers four levels of membership:

  • Voting – Open to employed paralegals
  • Associate – Open to those who have previously been employed as paralegals or who have completed a paralegal program
  • Student – Open to anyone enrolled in a paralegal program or serving in a paralegal internship
  • Sustaining – Open to entities that are concerned with the betterment of the paralegal profession

Western Massachusetts Paralegal Association (WMPA) – Affiliated with the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the WMPA offers four levels of membership:

  • Voting Membership – Open to anyone employed as a paralegal
  • Associate Membership – Open to anyone previously employed as a paralegal or who has graduated from a paralegal program
  • Student Membership – Open to anyone enrolled in a paralegal program or serving in a paralegal internship, who is not employed as a paralegal
  • Sustaining Membership – Open to individuals and entities concerned with the betterment of the paralegal profession

Central Massachusetts Paralegal Association (CMPA) – Affiliated with the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the CMPA offers four levels of membership:

  • Affiliate – Open to anyone who has been employed as a paralegal, or anyone who completed a paralegal studies course, but who is not employed currently as a paralegal or has been employed as a paralegal for less than five years
  • Student – Open to anyone who is enrolled in a paralegal studies program
  • Sustaining – Any person or entity interested in supporting the paralegal profession through the CMPA
  • Voting – Open to anyone employed as a paralegal who has one of the following qualifications:
    • Associate’s degree from a paralegal studies program with at least 60 semester credits that includes a minimum of 24 in paralegal specialty studies
    • Associate’s degree in any subject that includes a minimum of 24 semester credits in paralegal specialty studies
    • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies that includes a minimum of 24 semester credits in paralegal specialty studies
    • Bachelor’s degree in any subject plus a minimum of 24 semester credits in paralegal specialty studies

Michigan

State Bar of Michigan – This association offers section membership for employed paralegals who meet one of the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any field and graduate from an ABA-approved paralegal program
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus two years of in-house paralegal training
  • Associate’s degree in the paralegal studies field plus two years of in-house paralegal training
  • Associate’s degree in any field, graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program, plus two years of in-house paralegal training
  • Four years of in-house paralegal training

NALS of Michigan – This state-level NALS affiliate organization has several local chapter members throughout the state that all have these membership levels:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

The NALS local chapters throughout the state are:

Great Lakes Paralegal Association (GLPA) – Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), GLPA offers three levels of membership:

  • Student – Open to students enrolled in a paralegal program
  • Sustaining – Open to entities who support the paralegal concept and the GLPA’s mission
  • Active – Open to those who meet one of the following:
    • Have earned NALA’s Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential
    • Graduate from an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate from an institutionally accredited paralegal program that includes at least 60 semester credits of classroom study
    • Graduate from a paralegal course of study and have at least six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Have a bachelor’s degree in any field and at least six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Have five years of law-related experience under the supervision of an attorney that includes at least two years of in-house training as a paralegal

Minnesota

Minnesota Paralegal Association (MPA) – This association sponsors the voluntary credential Minnesota Certified Paralegal (MnCP). To be eligible for this you must meet one of the following:

  • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies from a program that is ABA-approved or institutionally accredited, plus four years of paralegal work experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies from a program that is ABA-approved or institutionally accredited, plus two years of paralegal work experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject, a post-bac paralegal certificate from a program that is ABA-approved or institutionally accredited, and two years of paralegal work experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject plus four years of paralegal work experience
  • High school diploma or equivalent, 10 years of paralegal work experience, and 10 continuing legal education (CLE) credits completed within the past two years
  • Law school graduate plus two years of paralegal work experience

In addition to the MnCP credential, the MPA offers different levels of membership:

  • Voting – Open to paralegals employed in Minnesota
  • Greater Minnesota Voting – Open to paralegals employed in Minnesota who live outside the Seven County Twin Cities Metro Area
  • Associate – Open to those who meet any of the following:
    • Not employed in the legal field and seeking first-time employment as a paralegal
    • Have previously been employed as a paralegal but are not currently
    • Are employed as a paralegal outside the state
  • Paralegal Educator – Open to anyone employed or previously employed as a paralegal educator
  • Student – Open to any student enrolled in a paralegal program or internship
  • Greater Minnesota Student – Open to any student enrolled in a paralegal program or internship that is located outside the Seven County Twin Cities Metro Area
  • Sustaining – Open to any entity that supports the MPA
  • Individual Sustaining – Open to any employee of an entity that does not wish to, or cannot, be a sustaining member

The MPA is an affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA).

NALS Twin Cities – A NALS affiliate, this organization offers these membership levels:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

Mississippi

Mississippi Paralegal Association (MPA) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the MPA offers five levels of membership:

  • Student Membership – Open to any students in good standing who are enrolled in a paralegal program
  • Associate Membership – Open to members of the bar association, educational field, law firms, and paralegal program representatives who endorse the paralegal concept
  • Affiliate Group Membership – Open to paralegal group or school-affiliated paralegal club
  • Inactive Membership – Open to paralegals who do not meet the requirements for active membership
  • Active Membership – Open to any individual who meets one of the following:
    • Passed NALA’s Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) exam
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program and current employment as a paralegal
    • Graduate of an institutionally-approved paralegal studies program that included at least 60 semester credits, and who is also currently employed as a paralegal
    • Graduate of a paralegal program plus at least six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Three years of law-related experience that includes six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Two years of in-house paralegal training

Mississippi Legal Professionals Association (MSLPA) – A NALS affiliate, this state-level association promotes these NALS membership and certifications. The MSLPA is made up of the following local chapter organizations:

NALS membership levels for these organizations are:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

Missouri

Missouri Paralegal Association (MPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), MPA offers four levels of membership:

  • Voting – Open to those employed as paralegals who meet one of the following:
    • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus a paralegal certificate from an approved school
    • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies plus one year of paralegal experience
    • Associate’s degree in any field, a paralegal certificate from an approved school, and one year of paralegal experience
    • Three years of consecutive paralegal experience
  • Associate – Open to those who meet the requirements for Active membership except for being employed as a paralegal
  • Affiliate – Open to any person who supports the MPA
  • Sustaining – Open to any entity that supports the MPA, with different marketing options available

NALS of Missouri – An affiliate of NALS this state association and its local chapters encourage NALS certification and offer these different levels of membership:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

The local chapters of NALS of Missouri are:

Saint Louis Paralegal Association (STLPA) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), the STLPA promotes NALA certifications and offers these levels of membership:

  • Voting – Open to employed paralegals who have completed a formal paralegal program or who have been employed as paralegals for at least two years
  • Associate – Open to any of the following:
    • Those currently employed as paralegals
    • Those who have been employed as a paralegal in the past
    • Those who have completed a formal paralegal training program
  • Student – Open to those currently enrolled in a formal paralegal training program
  • Sustaining – Open to business partners that select to sponsor the STLPA

Kansas City Paralegal Association (KCPA) – This association offers four levels of membership:

  • Affiliate – Open to anyone who is not employed as a paralegal or who cannot meet the requirements Voting membership
  • Student – Open to those enrolled in a formal paralegal studies program who are not employed full-time as a paralegal
  • Sustaining – Open to law firms, companies, and institutions that want to support the KCPA
  • Voting – Open to employed paralegals who meet one of the following:
    • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies, or a paralegal certificate
    • Bachelor’s degree in any subject
    • One year of paralegal work experience

Montana

Montana Association of Legal Assistants Paralegals (MALA) – Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), MALA offers one membership level that is open to all of the following:

  • Paralegals
  • Students and graduates of paralegal programs
  • Attorneys
  • Paralegal educators
  • Those formerly employed as paralegals

Nebraska

Nebraska Paralegal Association (NePA) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the NePA offers four levels of membership:

  • Active
  • Distance
  • Associate
  • Student

Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association (RMPA) – A National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) affiliate with four membership levels:

  • Voting Member – Must be an employed paralegal
  • Associate Member – Open to individuals who support the RMPA
  • Sustaining Member – Open to firms, organizations, and businesses that support the RMPA
  • Student Member – Open to students enrolled in a paralegal program

Nevada

Las Vegas Valley Paralegal Association (LVVPA) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the LVVPA promotes five levels of membership:

  • Voting – Open to paralegals and aspiring paralegals who meet one of the following:
    • NALA’s Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of a paralegal program that includes at least 60 semester credits of classroom study
    • Graduate of a paralegal program plus six months of in-house paralegal work experience
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus six months of in-house paralegal work experience
    • Three years of law-related experience that includes six months of in-house paralegal work experience
    • Two years of in-house paralegal work experience
  • Student – Open to students enrolled in a paralegal program, or graduates of such within the past 18 months who are not employed as paralegals
  • Associate – Open to any individual who meets one of the following:
    • Has qualified for active or student membership in the past three years but now employed in a non-legal field
    • Member of the Nevada Bar Association
    • Educators in the legal field
    • Attorneys and law professionals who promote the paralegal concept
    • Persons directly involved in the supervision of paralegals
  • Retired – Open to those who have been Active members of the LVVPA or another NALA organization for at least three years and who are retired
  • Benefactor – Open to any entity that supports the LVVPA

Sierra Nevada Association of Paralegals (SNAP) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), SNAP offers five levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to paralegals and aspiring paralegals who meet one of the following:
    • NALA’s Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of a paralegal program that includes at least 60 semester credits of classroom study
    • Graduate of a paralegal program plus six months of in-house paralegal work experience
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus six months of in-house paralegal work experience
    • Three years of law-related experience that includes six months of in-house paralegal work experience
    • Two years of in-house paralegal work experience
  • Student – Open to individuals currently enrolled in a paralegal program
  • Retired – Open to members of NALA or SNAP who have been members for at least three years and are retired
  • Associate – Open to anyone employed in a law-related field who does not qualify for Active, Student, Retired, or Sustaining membership
  • Sustaining – Open to individuals and entities who support the goals of SNAP

NALS of Nevada – This national organization has the following local chapters throughout the state. NALS and its following local affiliates encourage NALS certification and membership:

Membership is offered at these levels:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

New Hampshire

Paralegal Association of New Hampshire (PANH) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), PANH has four levels of membership:

  • Voting – Open to any individual employed as a paralegal
  • Associate – Open to any individual who has previously been employed as a paralegal or who has graduated from from a paralegal program and is not employed
  • Student – Open to any individual enrolled in a paralegal program or serving in a paralegal internship
  • Sustaining – Open to entities that work with PANH and that are concerned with the betterment of the paralegal profession

New Jersey

The Paralegal Association of New Jersey (PANJ) also know as the Legal Assistants Association of New Jersey (LAANJ) – Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), this association offers four levels of membership:

  • Regular Membership – Open to employed paralegals who meet one of the following conditions:
    • Passage of NALA’s Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) exam
    • Graduation from an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduation from an institutionally-accredited paralegal program that is at least 60 semester credits and includes 15 credits in substantive legal courses
    • Graduation from a paralegal program that is in substantial compliance with ABA guidelines, plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Three years of law-related experience plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Two years of in-house paralegal training
  • Student Membership – Open to students enrolled in a paralegal education program
  • Sustaining Membership – Open to all firms, corporations, and individuals interesting in supporting the PANJ/LAANJ

NJALS – An affiliate of NALS, this association offers six levels of membership:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

South Jersey Paralegal Association (SJPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the SJPA sponsors the New Jersey Certified Paralegal (NJCP) credential. To qualify for this you must be an voting member of the SJPA and meet one of the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies from an accredited school and one year of substantive paralegal experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject from an accredited school, a paralegal certificate from an ABA-approved program, and one year of paralegal experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject and three years of paralegal experience
  • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies and two years of paralegal experience
  • Certificate from an ABA-approved paralegal program plus three years of paralegal experience
  • Two years of paralegal experience plus one of the following:
    • Registered Paralegal (RP) credential from the NFPA
    • The National Association of Legal Assistants’ (NALA’s) Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential
    • Any other national credential approved by the SJPA

In addition to the NJCP credential the SJPA also offers four levels of membership:

  • Voting – Open to employed paralegals who meet one of the following:
    • Bachelor’s or associate’s degree in paralegal studies
    • Bachelor’s or associate’s degree in any field plus a paralegal certificate
    • Paralegal certificate from an ABA-approved or AAfPE-member program
    • Paralegal certificate from a non-correspondence program plus two years of paralegal experience
    • Three years of paralegal experience
  • Associate – Open to individuals who meet one of the following:
    • Employed as a paralegal but not meeting the conditions for Voting membership
    • Paralegal program graduate but not employed
    • Previously employed as a paralegal but currently not working in the field
    • Membership in good standing with another NFPA organization
    • Employed as a paralegal coordinator, educator, or administrator
  • Student – Open to anyone enrolled in a non-correspondence paralegal program
  • Sustaining – Open to any person or entity that supports the goals of the SJPA

New Mexico

State Bar of New Mexico, Paralegal Division – Membership in this division is open to employed paralegals who meet one of the following:

  • Graduate of a paralegal program in one of these genres: ABA-approved, associate’s degree, post-bac certificate, bachelor’s degree
  • Graduate from a post-secondary ABA-approved (or equivalent) paralegal program that consists of at least 60 semester credits that includes 18 semester hours of legal specialty courses
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus two years of substantive law experience – you can substitute 15 semester hours for one year of law-related experience
  • Graduation from an accredited law school
  • Certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), or another equivalent national or state credential via exam

New York

Greater New York Paralegal Association (GNYPA) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), this association offers four classes of membership:

  • Student Members – Open to those enrolled full or part-time in a paralegal program who are in good standing
  • Associate Members – Open to individuals who meet one of the following:
    • Members of the bar association who endorse the paralegal concept
    • Members of the education profession who endorse the paralegal concept
    • Persons directly involved in the supervision of paralegals
  • Sustaining Members – Open to individuals, law firms, corporations, and paralegal program representatives that support the paralegal concept
  • Active Members – Open to anyone who meets any of the following:
    • NALA’s Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of an institutionally approved paralegal program that includes at least 60 semester credits
    • Graduate of a paralegal program plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Three years of law-related experience plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Two years of in-house paralegal training

NALS of New York – The state-level affiliate of NALS, this association and its local chapters encourage membership in NALS and promote NALS certifications. The local chapters of NALS of New York are:

NALS membership is offered by these organizations at the following levels:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

Empire State Alliance of Paralegal Associations (ESAPA) – A state-level paralegal organization made up of the following local chapters:

Capital District Paralegal Association (CDPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the CDPA offers three levels of membership:

  • Affiliate – Open to anyone who is a legal educator, who is a former paralegal, or who has completed a paralegal program but is not currently employed as a paralegal
  • Student – Open to anyone enrolled in a paralegal program
  • Voting – Open to anyone who is a practicing paralegal

New York City Paralegal Association (NYCPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the NYCPA offers six levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to anyone who lives in the NYCPA area, who works as a paralegal, and who meets one of the following:
    • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies
    • Bachelor’s degree in any subject plus a certificate from a paralegal training program
    • Bachelor’s degree in any subject plus one year of paralegal work experience
    • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies and one year of paralegal work experience
    • Associate’s degree in any subject plus two years of paralegal work experience
    • High school diploma, a paralegal certificate, and three years of paralegal work experience
    • High school diploma and four years of paralegal work experience
  • Associate – Open to those who live or work in the NYCPA area who are paralegals or related to paralegals who do not qualify for Active membership
  • Student – Open to those currently enrolled in a paralegal program who do not meet the requirements for Active or Associate membership
  • Sustaining – Open to individuals and entities that support the goals of the NYCPA
  • Observer – Open to anyone who meets one of the following:
    • Works in the legal field outside of the NYCPA area
    • Does not work in the legal field but lives in the NYCPA area
  • International Affiliate – Open to anyone doing legal work anywhere outside the United States

Paralegal Association of Rochester (PAR) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), PAR has three membership levels:

  • Voting – Open to anyone employed as a paralegal
  • Student – Open to anyone enrolled in a paralegal program
  • Affiliate – Open to anyone

Western New York Paralegal Association (WNYPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), WNYPA has three levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to employed paralegals
  • Associate – Open to those formerly employed as paralegals, and those who completed a course of paralegal studies, but who are not currently employed as paralegals
  • Student – Open to students taking classes to enter the paralegal field

Onondaga County Bar Association, Paralegal Division – Offers affiliate membership open to paralegals.


North Carolina

North Carolina State Bar – This association offers the optional North Carolina Certified Paralegal (NCCP) credential for paralegals who meet these requirements:

  • US citizen
  • Have a paralegal studies degree from a program approved by the ABA or the North Carolina State Bar
  • Pass an examination

Once you’ve earned the NCCP you can refer to yourself as:

  • North Carolina Certified Paralegal (NCCP)
  • North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal (NCSB/CP)
  • Paralegal Certified by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Paralegal Certification

North Carolina Paralegal Association (NCPA) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the NCPA has the following membership levels:

  • General Member – Open to North Carolina residents who meet one of the following:
    • Paralegal school graduate who is or has been employed as a paralegal
    • Three years of continuous on-the-job paralegal training
    • NALA certification as a Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)
    • North Carolina Certified Paralegal (NCCP)
  • Associate Member – Open to North Carolina residents who meet one of the following:
    • Employed paralegals who have been working for less than three years
    • Graduates of paralegal training programs with no work experience
    • Paralegal educators
    • Licensed practicing attorneys
    • Former General Members
    • Meets General Membership eligibility but resides out-of-state
  • Student Member – Open to students enrolled in a paralegal education program
  • Patron/Sustaining Member – Open to persons and entities who support the NCPA
  • Affiliate Member – Open to paralegal associations in North Carolina
  • Paralegal Educational Program – Open to schools that offer paralegal education programs

Raleigh-Wake Paralegal Association (RWPA) – Offers two levels of membership:

  • General Membership – Open to individuals who meet one of the following:
    • Is or has been employed under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney
    • Has completed a paralegal training program
    • Is currently a North Carolina Certified Paralegal (NCCP)
    • Is an educator associated with paralegal training programs
  • Student Membership – Open to those enrolled in a paralegal training program

Metrolina Paralegal Association (MPA) – Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the MPA offers three levels of membership:

  • General Member – Open to those who meet one of the following:
    • North Carolina Certified Paralegal (NCCP) credential
    • Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential from NALA
    • Graduate of a paralegal program and currently employed as a paralegal
    • Three years of on-the-job paralegal training
  • Associate and Student Members – Open to those who meet one of the following:
    • Graduate of a paralegal program but not currently employed
    • Less than three years of paralegal work experience
    • Enrolled as a student in a paralegal program
    • Individuals, attorneys, and paralegal program representatives who endorse the paralegal concept
  • Patron – Open to persons and entities who support the goals of the MPA

Cumberland County Paralegal Association (CCPA) – Offers three levels of membership:

  • General – Open to those who live in Cumberland County who meet one of the following:
    • Graduate of a paralegal program with current or previous paralegal employment experience
    • Two years of on-the-job training as a paralegal
    • Certified Paralegal (CP) or Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
  • Associate – Open to those who live in Cumberland County who meet one of the following:
    • Six months of paralegal training
    • Graduate of a paralegal program
    • Paralegal program educators
    • Does not live in Cumberland County but otherwise qualifies for General membership
    • Licensed North Carolina attorney
  • Student – Open to students enrolled in a paralegal program

Catawba Valley Paralegal Association (CVPA) – Offers five levels of membership:

  • Professional – Open to paralegals, paralegal educators, and those employed in the judicial system
  • Associate – Open to retired or unemployed paralegals
  • Graduate – Open to recent graduates of paralegal programs
  • Student – Open to students enrolled in at least an associate’s degree program in paralegal studies
  • Educational Institution – Open to classes of paralegals with at least 25 students

Guilford Paralegal Association (GPA) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the North Carolina Paralegal Association (NCPA).


North Dakota

Red River Valley Paralegal Association (RRVPA) – Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the RRVPA offers four levels of membership:

  • Voting Member – Open to paralegals who meet one of the following:
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program at the bachelor’s, associate’s, or post-bac certificate levels
    • Graduate of a paralegal program that has at least 60 semester credits that includes 18 credits of substantive legal courses
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus either one year of paralegal training experience or 18 semester credits of substantive legal courses
    • National paralegal certification from an approved organization
    • Seven years of experience working as a paralegal
  • Associate Member – Open to employed paralegals or those in a related area of work who don’t meet the requirements for Voting membership
  • Student Member – Open to anyone enrolled full-time in a paralegal studies program
  • Sustaining Member – Open to any entity interested in supporting the paralegal profession and the RRVPA

Western Dakota Association of Legal Assistants (WDALA) – Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the WDALA offers four levels of membership:

  • Active Membership – Open to anyone who meets one of the following:
    • Passed the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) exam from NALA
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of an institutionally-approved paralegal program that includes at least 60 semester credits of classroom study
    • Six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Three years of law-related experience that includes at least six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Two years of in-house paralegal training
  • Associate Membership – Open to actively employed paralegals who do not qualify for Active Membership
  • Student Membership – Open to any student enrolled full-time in a paralegal program
  • Sustaining Membership – Open to individuals, law firms, corporations, bar association members, and members of the educational field, who support the paralegal concept

Ohio

Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) – This association offers an optional OSBA Certified Paralegal credential for paralegals who pass an exam, have had 12 hours of paralegal education in the past three years, have three professional references, and meet one of these requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject, completion of a paralegal program that is at least 20 semester credits, and one year of full-time paralegal experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies that is at least 124 semester credits and one year of full-time paralegal experience
  • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies that consists of at least sixty semester credits and five years of full-time paralegal experience
  • High school diploma or equivalent plus seven years of full-time paralegal experience

Paralegal Association of Northwest Ohio (PANO) – Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), PANO offers four levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to employed paralegals who meet one of the following:
    • NALA’s Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) credential
    • Passed the Ohio State Bar Association’s Certified Paralegal exam
    • Degree or certificate from an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of an institutionally-accredited paralegal program that includes at least 60 semester credits of classroom study
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus one year of in-house paralegal training
  • Student – Open to anyone enrolled in a paralegal school who is in good standing and does not qualify for another type of membership
  • Associate – Open to individuals who are not employers, attorneys, or educators, and who meet one of the following:
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program that included at least 16 semester credits related to paralegal studies, who does not qualify for Student membership
    • Eligible for Active membership except for being employed as a paralegal or meeting continuing legal education requirements
    • Three years of law-related experience that includes at least one year of in-house paralegal training

Paralegal Association of Central Ohio (PACO) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), PACO offers four levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to employed paralegals
  • Associate – Open to those not currently employed as paralegals
  • Student – Open to those currently enrolled in a paralegal course of study
  • Sustaining Affiliate Membership – Open to those not employed as paralegals who support the goals of PACO

Cincinnati Paralegal Association (CPA) – This association offers five levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to anyone who meets at least one of the following:
    • Currently employed as a paralegal
    • Graduate of a paralegal certificate or degree program, who is not currently employed as a paralegal
    • Previously employed as a paralegal but not currently
  • Associate – Open to those employed in the legal field who are not currently employed as a paralegal
  • Student – Open to students enrolled full or part-time in a paralegal studies program
  • Emeritus – Open to those not currently employed as paralegals, but who have been Active members for at least three years
  • Sustaining – Open to any person or entity that wants to support the CPA

Cleveland Association of Paralegals (CAP) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), CAP offers five levels of membership:

  • Voting Member – Open to currently employed paralegals who have one of the following:
    • Associate’s or bachelor’s degree with a paralegal studies component
    • Three years of paralegal work experience
  • Student Member – Open to students who are enrolled in an institutionally-accredited paralegal program
  • Sustaining Member – Open to legal services organizations or any other individual who supports CAP
  • Educator Member – Open to individuals who are currently teaching or directing courses in paralegal studies at an institutionally-accredited program

NALS of Northeast Ohio – An affiliate of NALS, this organization offers the following levels of membership with NALS and promotes NALS certifications:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Paralegal Association (OPA) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the OPA has four levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to people employed as paralegals as well as those with NALA certification
  • Associate – Open to those involved in the employment and supervision of paralegals, as well as members of the legal community who support paralegals
  • Student – Open to students enrolled in an institutionally accredited paralegal program
  • Sustaining – Open to those who promote the paralegal profession

Central Oklahoma Association of Legal Assistants (COALA) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), COALA offers four levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to those who have completed one of the following:
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program plus six months of paralegal experience
    • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies plus six months of paralegal experience
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field and employment as a paralegal for at least one year
    • Three years of paralegal work experience
    • Passage of a paralegal exam for national certification and employment as a paralegal for at least six months
  • Associate – Open to those who meet one of the following:
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program and less than six months of paralegal experience
    • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies and less than six months of paralegal experience
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field with employment as a paralegal for less than one year
    • Employed as a paralegal for at least six months
    • Passage of a paralegal exam for national certification and employment as a paralegal for at least six months
  • Affiliate – Open to those who meet one of the following:
    • Bar member who endorses the paralegal concept
    • Directly involved in the employment or supervision of paralegals
    • Employee, corporation, business, government agency, or paralegal program who is actively involved in the promotion of the profession
  • Student – Open to students in good standing and enrolled in an ABA-approved paralegal program

Tulsa Area Paralegal Association (TAPA) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), TAPA offers four levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to any individual who meets at least one of the following:
    • Passed NALA’s Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) exam
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of an institutionally-accredited paralegal program that has substantial similarities with ABA guidelines
    • Bachelor’s, associate’s, or post-bac in any field and two years of paralegal work experience
    • Graduate of an institutionally-accredited paralegal school with 60 semester credits of classroom study and either two years of paralegal work experience or a bachelor’s/associate’s degree
    • High school diploma and five years of paralegal work experience
  • Associate – Open to members of the bar association who promote the paralegal concept, paralegal educators, and those involved in the supervision of paralegals
  • Student – Open to students enrolled in a paralegal program
  • Sustaining – Open to non-paralegals who are related to the legal profession

NALS of Oklahoma – This association encourages membership on the following levels with its national affiliate NALS, as well as its paralegal certifications.

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

Oregon

Oregon Paralegal Association (OPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the OPA offers six levels of membership:

  • Associate – Open to the following individuals:
    • Formerly an active Regular member who no longer works as a paralegal
    • Graduates of a paralegal training program
    • Anyone interested in becoming a paralegal
  • Emeritus – Open to retired paralegals who have been regular, public sector, or associate members of the OPA in the past for at least three years
  • Public Sector – Open to practicing paralegals who work in an agency or law firm that provides services for the public interest, such as to indigent and low-income clients
  • Regular – Open to currently employed paralegals
  • Student – Open to full and part-time students who are enrolled in a paralegal studies program
  • Sustaining – Open to any individual or entity that supports the paralegal profession and the OPA

NALS of Oregon – This association is the state-level affiliate of NALS. It and its local chapters promote membership on the following levels with NALS and support NALS certifications.

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

There are seven local chapters of this association throughout the state:


Pennsylvania

Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations – This alliance of associations sponsors the volunteer Pennsylvania Certified Paralegal Program (Pa.C.P.). To qualify for this you must be working as a paralegal and have one of the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies plus one year of paralegal work experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject, a certificate or associate’s degree in paralegal studies from an ABA-approved program, and one year of paralegal experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject and three years of paralegal experience
  • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies plus five years of paralegal experience
  • One of the following national certifications:
    • The National Association of Legal Assistants’ (NALA)’s Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential
    • The National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)’s Registered Paralegal (RP) credential

The Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations is made up of several local organizations that each offer their own membership. Membership levels generally fall into these categories:

  • Voting – Open to any employed paralegal who meets one of the following:
    • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies
    • Bachelor’s degree in any subject plus a paralegal certificate
    • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies
    • Paralegal certificate plus one year of paralegal work experience
    • Two years of paralegal work experience
  • Student – Open to anyone enrolled in a paralegal education program approved by the Keystone Alliance member or the ABA
  • Associate – Open to anyone who meets any of the following:
    • Employed as a paralegal educator
    • Previously employed as a paralegal or paralegal educator
    • Completed a formal paralegal course of study
    • Previously a Voting Member
    • Currently employed as a paralegal but does not meet the qualifications for Voting Membership
  • Sustaining – Open to any individual or entity that supports the paralegal profession

The local paralegal associations that make up the Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations are:

Lancaster Area Paralegal Association (LAPA) – Affiliated with the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), LAPA has four levels of membership:

  • Paralegal – Open to anyone currently employed as a paralegal and qualified through education, training, or work experience
  • Paralegal Student – Open to recent paralegal graduates and those who are enrolled in a paralegal studies course that leads to employment
  • Associate – Open to those from law firms, educational facilities, and other business entities that support the paralegal profession and LAPA
  • Sustaining – Open to anyone who does not qualify for any other type of membership but who is interested in supporting LAPA

Bucks County Paralegal Association (BCPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the BCPA has three levels of membership:

  • Voting – Open to anyone who currently works as a paralegal, or who has worked as a paralegal within the last 18 months
  • Associate – Open to anyone who has graduated from a paralegal studies program, anyone whose work duties are secretarial, and anyone who has formerly worked as a paralegal
  • Student – Open to anyone enrolled in a paralegal studies course that would be entitled to work as a paralegal upon graduation

Lycoming County Paralegal Association (LCPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the LCPA offers four levels of membership:

  • Voting – Open to any Lycoming County resident who has worked as a paralegal under the supervision of an attorney for at least one year
  • Affiliate – Open to anyone who meets any of the following:
    • Worked as a paralegal for less than one year
    • Is a paralegal educator
    • Has worked under the supervision of a paralegal educator
    • Completed a formal course of paralegal studies but is not employed as such
    • Is a non-Lycoming County resident who is employed as a paralegal
    • Is a Voting member who has become unemployed as a paralegal
  • Associate – Open to anyone enrolled in a formal paralegal course leading to a paralegal job
  • Sustaining – Open to any entity that supports the LCPA

NALS of Pennsylvania – This is the state level affiliate of the NALS that promotes NALS certification and membership at the following levels:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

NALS of Philadelphia is a local chapter of this association.


Rhode Island

Rhode Island Paralegal Association (RIPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), RIPA offers four levels of membership:

  • Student Membership – Open to those enrolled in a certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree program in paralegal studies, who do not qualify for any other membership level
  • Voting Membership – Open to those who meet one of the following:
    • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies plus one year of paralegal work experience
    • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies plus two years of paralegal work experience
    • Certificate in paralegal studies plus two year of paralegal work experience
    • Five years of paralegal work experience
  • Associate Membership – Open to those who meet one of the following:
    • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies and less than one year of paralegal work experience
    • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies and less than two years of paralegal work experience
    • Certificate in paralegal studies and less than two years of paralegal work experience
    • Less than five years of paralegal work experience
  • Sustaining Membership – Open to corporations, law firms, and colleges/universities that support the paralegal concept and RIPA

South Carolina

South Carolina Bar – This association sponsors the voluntary credential South Carolina Certified Paralegal. To qualify for this you must have one of the following national qualifications:

  • Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
  • Registered Paralegal (RP) through National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)

Legal Staff Professionals of South Carolina (LSPSC) – This association is the state-level affiliate of NALS. It encourages NALS paralegal certifications, and promotes these levels of NALS membership:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

The local chapters that are part of the LSPSC and NALS are:

Palmetto Paralegal Association (PPA) – Offers four membership options:

  • Voting – Open to employed paralegals who have graduated from a PPA-approved education program
  • Associate – Open to those who meet the criteria for Voting membership, but who are not currently employed as paralegals
  • Student – Open to those enrolled in a paralegal program that is approved by the ABA and/or the PPA
  • Sustaining – Open to businesses and individuals who support or interact with the legal profession

Charleston Association of Legal Assistants (CALA) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), CALA offers four levels of membership:

  • Full Membership – Open to currently employed paralegals who have at least one year of paralegal experience and have completed a paralegal training program that is ABA or institutionally approved
  • Associate Membership – Open to those who do not meet the experience or educational requirements to become a Full member
  • Student Membership – Open to students enrolled in an ABA or institutionally approved paralegal program
  • Corporate Membership – Open to entities that support the paralegal concept

South Carolina Upstate Paralegal Association (SCUPA) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), SCUPA offers four levels of membership:

  • Active Member – Open to anyone who meets one of the following:
    • Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) from NALA
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of an institutionally accredited paralegal program that

South Dakota

Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association (RMPA) – A National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) affiliate with four membership levels:

  • Voting Member – Must be an employed paralegal
  • Associate Member – Open to individuals who support the RMPA
  • Sustaining Member – Open to firms, organizations, and businesses that support the RMPA
  • Student Member – Open to students enrolled in a paralegal program

South Dakota Paralegal Association (SDPA) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the SDPA promotes NALA’s paralegal certifications. The SDPA offers these levels of membership:

  • Active Member – Open to those with a high school diploma/GED who meet one of the following:
    • Passed NALA’s Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) exam
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of an institutionally-accredited paralegal school with 60 semester credits of classroom study
    • Graduate of paralegal program plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Three years of law-related experience under an attorney’s supervision, including at least six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Two years of in-house paralegal training
  • Associate Member – Open to anyone who endorses the paralegal concept who meets one of the following:
    • State Bar of South Dakota membership
    • Member of the paralegal education field
    • Member of the law office management field
    • Anyone who has previously qualified for Active Membership, but who is currently not employed as a paralegal
  • Sustaining Member – Open to any entity that supports the paralegal concept
  • Student Member – Open to any student enrolled in a paralegal program who has completed at least half of the courses required to graduate

Black Hills Legal Professionals Association (BHLPA) – An affiliate of NALS, the BHLPA encourages NALS paralegal certifications and promotes these levels of NALS membership:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

Tennessee

Tennessee Paralegal Organization (TPA) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), the TPA encourages national certification through NALA. The TPA and its local chapter affiliates have three levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to anyone who meets one of the following:
    • Passed NALA’s Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) exam
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of an institutionally-accredited paralegal school with 60 semester credits of classroom study
    • Graduate of paralegal program plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Three years of law-related experience under an attorney’s supervision, including at least six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Two years of in-house paralegal training
  • Student – Open to full-time students enrolled in a paralegal program
  • Sustaining/Associate – Open to individuals, law firms, corporations, and paralegal program representatives who endorse the paralegal concept

The local chapters of the TPA are:

  • Central Tennessee Chapter
  • East Tennessee Chapter
  • Southeast Tennessee Chapter

Smokey Mountain Paralegal Association (SMPA) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), the SMPA has four levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to individuals who meet one of the following:
    • Passed NALA’s Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) exam
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of an institutionally-accredited paralegal school with 60 semester credits of classroom study
    • Graduate of paralegal program plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Three years of law-related experience under an attorney’s supervision, including at least six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Five years of law-related experience that include two years of in-house paralegal training
  • Associate – Open to those who would qualify for Active membership, except for meeting the in-house training component
  • Student – Open to any individual who is enrolled full-time in a paralegal studies program
  • Sustaining – Open to law firms, schools, corporations, and individuals who support the paralegal concept

Greater Memphis Paralegal Alliance (GMPA) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), the GMPA has three levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to anyone who meets one of the following:
    • Passed NALA’s Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) exam
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of an institutionally-accredited paralegal school with 60 semester credits of classroom study
    • Graduate of a paralegal program plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Three years of law-related experience under an attorney’s supervision, including at least six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Two years of in-house paralegal training
    • LPN, RN, SN, or currently employed as a Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC)
  • Student – Open to anyone enrolled in a paralegal studies program who is not currently employed as a paralegal
  • Sustaining – Open to individuals, law firms, corporations, paralegal program representatives, bar association members, members of the paralegal education field, and those directly involved in the supervision of paralegals, who support the paralegal concept

Middle Tennessee Paralegal Association (MTPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the MTPA offers three levels of membership:

  • Individual Voting Membership
  • Individual Student Membership
  • Institutional Membership

MLSA Legal Professionals of Memphis – An affiliate of NALS, this association encourages NALS paralegal certifications, and promotes these levels of NALS membership:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

NALS Nashville – An affiliate of NALS, this organization encourages NALS paralegal certifications, and promotes these levels of NALS membership:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

Texas

Texas Board of Legal Specialization – This organization provides the optional Board Certified Paralegal certification in the following six specialty areas for paralegals who want to distinguish their skills:

  • Personal injury law
  • Civil trial law
  • Family law
  • Real estate law
  • Estate planning and probate law
  • Criminal law

You can qualify for certification in a specialty area by having at least five years of paralegal experience, currently working as a paralegal under the supervision of an attorney, having at least half of your paralegal duties concentrated in your chosen area of specialization, attending continuing education seminars, passing an exam, and meeting one of the following requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject
  • Graduation from an ABA-approved paralegal program
  • Graduation from a paralegal program that is at least 60 semester credits, 18 of which are in substantive legal courses
  • Graduation from a paralegal program that includes at least 18 semester credits that are substantive legal courses and at least 45 semester credits in general
  • Two years of paralegal experience under the supervision of a licensed attorney
  • Certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)

State Bar of Texas, Paralegal Division – This association offers paralegals six levels of membership:

  • Active Membership – Open to Texas paralegals who work under the direct supervision of an attorney, spend 80 percent of their time on substantive legal work, and meet one of the following:
    • Have Board Certified Paralegal certification through the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS)
    • Have a bachelor’s degree in any field plus one year of paralegal work experience
    • Graduate from an ABA-approved paralegal program and have at least one year of paralegal work experience
    • Graduate from a paralegal program comprised of at least 60 semester credits including 15 that are substantive legal courses, plus one year of paralegal work experience
    • Graduate from a paralegal program comprised of at least 15 semester credits of substantive legal courses and at least two years of paralegal work experience
    • Complete a paralegal program that requires at least an associate’s degree, has 15 semester credits of substantive legal courses, and have at least two years of paralegal work experience
    • Have at least four years of paralegal work experience performing at least 80 percent substantive legal work under the direct supervision of an attorney
    • Be a Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and have at least one year of paralegal work experience
    • Be a Registered Paralegal (RP) through the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) and have at least one year of paralegal work experience
  • Associate Membership – Open to employed Texas paralegals who work under the supervision of an attorney, who spend 50 percent or less of their time on substantive legal work, who have less than one year of paralegal experience, and who meet one of the following (also open to paralegal supervisors/coordinators):
    • Certification from the TBLS, NALA, or the NFPA
    • Bachelor’s degree or higher in any subject
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • A paralegal program that is at least 60 semester credits with at least 15 credits covering legal studies
    • Complete a paralegal program that requires at least an associate’s degree, has 15 semester credits of substantive legal courses, and have less than two years of paralegal work experience
  • Emeritus Membership – Open to paralegals who were once Active Members but who are now no longer working as paralegals
  • Student Membership – Open to students who are enrolled in any of the following:
    • An ABA-approved paralegal program
    • A paralegal program that is at least 60 semester credits with at least 15 credits covering legal studies
    • A paralegal program with 15 credits covering substantive legal studies
    • A paralegal program that requires at least an associate’s degree and has 15 semester credits of substantive legal courses
  • Subscribing Membership – Open to those who meet any of the following:
    • Completed a paralegal training program
    • Certified by the TBLS, NALA, or the NFPA
    • Employed as a paralegal and working under the supervision of an attorney in another state
    • Previous but not current employment as a paralegal
    • Instructor in a paralegal program
  • Sustaining Membership – Open to any law firm, agency, paralegal training program, or other entity that is interested in supporting the State Bar of Texas, Paralegal Division

Capital Area Paralegal Association (CAPA) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), CAPA offers five levels of membership:

  • Voting – Open to employed paralegals who meet one of the following:
    • Have a four-year degree
    • Graduate from a paralegal program
    • Have five years of paralegal experience
    • Have national certification from NALA or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), or certification from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS)
  • Associate – Open to those who meet one of the following:
    • Currently employed as a paralegal, but have not satisfied the requirements of Voting members
    • Currently employed as a coordinator or supervisor of a paralegal program in a law firm, governmental agency, or corporate legal department
    • Not currently employed as a paralegal, but have completed a paralegal training program
    • Previously employed as a paralegal but not presently
    • Reside outside the Austin metro area
  • Emeritus/Lifetime – Open to retired paralegals who are former Voting members and have served as an officer, director, or committee chair of CAPA
  • Student – Open to those enrolled in a paralegal program
  • Sustaining – Open to lawyers, law firms, government agencies, paralegal training programs, institutions, and other vendors who serve the legal community

El Paso Paralegal Association (EPPA) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), the EPPA offers four levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to anyone who meets one of the following:
    • Has Board Certified Paralegal certification through the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS)
    • Is a Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and have at least one year of paralegal work experience
    • Has a bachelor’s degree in any field plus one year of paralegal work experience
    • Graduates from an ABA-approved paralegal program and has at least one year of paralegal work experience
    • Graduates from a paralegal program comprised of at least 60 semester credits including 15 of which are substantive legal courses, plus one year of paralegal work experience
    • Has at least three years of paralegal work experience
    • Is self-employed with at least five years of paralegal experience
  • Associate – Open to those who meet one of the following:
    • Employed as a paralegal but lacking the educational or experience requirements for Active membership
    • Meet the requirements for Active membership and be employed as the coordinator or supervisor of a paralegal program
    • Satisfy the educational requirements for Active membership, be employed by a company related to the legal profession, and not be working under the supervision of an attorney
    • Have one year of paralegal experience, be unemployed, and not satisfy the conditions for Active membership
  • Student – Open to those who are currently enrolled in a paralegal program that would meet the educational requirements for Active membership upon graduation
  • Sustaining – Open to any person or entity that endorses the purpose of the EPPA

Houston Corporate Paralegal Association (HCPA) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), the HCPA offers these levels of membership:

  • Regular – Open to those who meet one of the following:
    • Be a Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) through the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
    • Graduate from an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate from an institutionally accredited paralegal program comprised of at least 60 semester credits
    • Graduate from a paralegal studies course and have at least six months of on-the-job paralegal training
    • Have a bachelor’s degree in any field and at least six months of on-the-job paralegal training
    • Have two years of paralegal experience plus at least 60 semester credits
    • Have five years of paralegal work experience
  • Associate – Open to those who qualify for Regular membership but who do not meet the employment requirements
  • Student – Open to students who are enrolled in an educational program that would make them eligible to, upon graduation, take NALA’s Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) exam or a Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) exam
  • Sustaining – Open to any person or entity that supports the paralegal concept and the goals of the HCPA

Houston Paralegal Association (HPA) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), the HPA offers four levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to paralegals who are currently employed and anyone who has NALA certification
  • Associate – Open to those who are employed as paralegal trainers, paralegal students, and unemployed paralegals
  • Sustaining – Open to any entity that supports the paralegal profession and the HPA
  • Honorary – Open to paralegal institutions with a certificate or degree program

J.L. Turner Legal Association (JLTLA), Paralegal Section – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), this association offers five levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to employed paralegals who meet one of the following:
    • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies from an accredited institution
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus a paralegal certificate from an ABA-approved or institutionally accredited program
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus one year of paralegal experience
    • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies from an institutionally accredited school plus two years of paralegal experience
    • Associate’s degree in any field from an institutionally accredited school plus five years of paralegal experience
    • One year of paralegal experience plus passage of an exam from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS)
    • Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) credential from NALA plus three years of paralegal experience
    • Registered Paralegal (RP) credential from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
    • 10 years of experience as a full or part-time paralegal
  • Associate – Open to those who meet one of the following:
    • Would otherwise qualify for Active membership but who lack education or current employment as a paralegal
    • Employed as a coordinator, supervisor, or instructor of a paralegal program
    • Would otherwise qualify for Active membership but do not maintain the requisite continuing legal education (CLE)
    • Credentialed from NALA, the NFPA, or the TBLS but not currently employed as a paralegal
    • Employed by an ABA-approved paralegal program
  • Sustaining – Open to bar association members, corporations, agencies, law firms, paralegal education programs, and schools that support the JLTLA
  • Honorary – Open to anyone approved by the JLTLA who supports the paralegal concept
  • Student – Open to anyone who is enrolled in a paralegal program that consists of 15 substantive hours of legal courses

North Texas Paralegal Association (NTPA) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), the NTPA has four levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to individuals who meet one of the following:
    • Possession of the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) credential from NALA plus either one year of full-time paralegal experience or two years of part-time paralegal experience
    • Possession of a certification from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) plus either one year of full-time paralegal experience or two years of part-time paralegal experience
    • Registered Paralegal (RP) credential from the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) plus either one year of full-time paralegal experience or two years of part-time paralegal experience
    • Associate’s degree or higher in paralegal studies plus either one year of full-time paralegal experience or two years of part-time paralegal experience
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal education program plus either one year of full-time paralegal experience or two years of part-time paralegal experience
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field, paralegal certificate from an ABA-approved program, plus either one year of full-time paralegal experience or two years of part-time paralegal experience
    • Completion of a paralegal program with at least 15 semester credits of substantive legal courses, plus either one year of full-time paralegal experience or two years of part-time paralegal experience
    • Three years of full-time paralegal experience plus at least 10 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) completed within the past year
  • Associate/Student – Open to anyone who meets one of the following:
    • Presently employed as a paralegal program coordinator, supervisor, or instructor
    • Otherwise meets the requirements for Active membership but does not maintain their continuing legal education (CLE)
    • Certification from NALA, the NFPA, or the TBLS but not full-time paralegal employment
    • Students enrolled in a paralegal bachelor’s degree program that includes at least 60 semester hours, with 15 of those being in substantive legal courses
    • Students enrolled in a paralegal associate’s degree program that includes at least 60 semester hours, with 15 of those being in substantive legal courses
    • Students enrolled in a paralegal program that contains at least 15 semester credits of substantive legal courses
  • Sustaining – Open to bar association members, corporations, agencies, law firms, paralegal education programs, and schools that support the NTPA
  • Honorary – Open to anyone approved by the NTPA who supports the paralegal concept

Northeast Texas Association of Paralegals (NTAP) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), the NTAP has four levels of membership:

  • Voting (active) – Open to paralegals who are currently employed and residing in Texas who meet one of the following sets of conditions:
    • Five years of law-related experience that includes six months of paralegal experience
    • Either NALA’s Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential or certification by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS), plus two years of law-related experience that includes six months of paralegal experience
    • Graduate of a paralegal studies program plus two years of law-related experience that includes six months of paralegal experience
    • Fulfills the conditions for Active membership in the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas
  • Associate – Open to Texas residents who meet one of the following:
    • Employed as a paralegal with at least five years of law-related experience and less than six months of paralegal experience
    • Fulfills the conditions for Associate membership in the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas
    • Retired or on a leave of absence from Active membership
  • Student – Open to anyone enrolled in an NTAP-approved paralegal studies program
  • Sustaining – Open to attorneys, law firms, court reporters, corporations, schools, and educators who support the paralegal profession and the NTAP

San Antonio Paralegal Association (SAPA) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), SAPA has four levels of membership:

  • Voting – Open to employed paralegals who have graduated from a paralegal training course or have at least one year of paralegal work experience
  • Associate – Open to those who would otherwise qualify for Voting membership but who are currently not employed as paralegals
  • Student – Open to anyone enrolled in a paralegal education program
  • Sustaining – Open to any individual or entity that supports SAPA

Southeast Texas Association of Paralegals (SETAP) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), SETAP has four levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to employed and freelance paralegals who meet one of the following:
    • Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) credential from NALA plus six months of in-house training as a paralegal
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program plus six months of in-house training as a paralegal
    • Graduate of an institutionally accredited paralegal program that includes at least 60 semester credits of classroom study plus six months of in-house training as a paralegal
    • Graduate of a paralegal studies program plus six months of in-house training as a paralegal
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus six months of in-house training as a paralegal
    • Three years of attorney-supervised law-related experience that includes at least six months of in-house training as a paralegal
    • Two years of in-house paralegal training
  • Associate – Open to anyone who is directly involved with paralegal supervision, who has completed a paralegal course of study, and who is either currently employed as a paralegal with less than six months of experience or who is currently not employed as a paralegal
  • Student – Open to any student in good standing who is enrolled in a paralegal studies program
  • Sustaining – Open to any law firm, corporation, and institutionally-accredited or ABA-approved paralegal program that supports SETAP

Texas Panhandle Paralegal Association (TPPA) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), the TPPA has four levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to employed and freelance paralegals who meet one of the following:
    • Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) credential from NALA or certification from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS)
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of an institutionally accredited paralegal program that includes at least 60 semester credits of classroom study
    • Graduate of a paralegal studies program plus six months of in-house training as a paralegal
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus six months of in-house training as a paralegal
    • Three years of attorney-supervised law related experience that includes at least six months of in-house training as a paralegal
    • Two years of in-house paralegal training
  • Associate – Open to anyone who meets one of the following:
    • Does not qualify for Active membership but is an employed paralegal
    • Was formerly an Active member but is no longer an employed paralegal at the time of renewal
    • Qualifies for Active membership except for being an employed paralegal
  • Student – Open to any student in good standing who is enrolled in a paralegal studies program
  • Sustaining – Open to any individual, law firm, corporation, and paralegal program representative who supports the TPPA and the paralegal concept

Tyler Area Association of Legal Professionals (TAALP) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), TAALP has three levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to individuals who meet one of the following:
    • Employed doing work of a legal nature for at least one year
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved or institutionally-accredited paralegal program
    • Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) credential from NALA
    • Professional Legal Secretary (PLS) credential from NALS (formerly known as the Professional Legal Secretary Association)
    • Former membership with another paralegal association in good standing
  • Associate – Open to anyone who meets one of the following:
    • Educator, judge, attorney, or university/college student in good standing who has interest in the legal profession
    • Employed doing work of a legal nature for less than one year
    • Employed in some legal capacity and does not qualify for Active membership
  • Sustaining – Open to any individual or organization that has provided a special service to, and supports the goals of, TAALP

West Texas Paralegal Association (WTPA) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), the WTPA has three levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to residents of Texas who are paralegal program supervisors/coordinators or employed as paralegals, and who meet one of the following:
    • Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) credential from NALA
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus one year of paralegal experience
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved or institutionally-accredited paralegal program plus one year of paralegal experience
    • Four years of law experience plus one year of paralegal experience
  • Associate – Open to any individual who meets one of the following:
    • Student in a paralegal program
    • Paralegal educator
    • Paralegal who qualifies for Active membership who has not attended a WTPA meeting
  • Sustaining – Open to any attorney, law firm, business, corporation, school, or educator who supports the paralegal profession and the goals of the WTPA

Dallas Area Paralegal Association (DAPA) – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), DAPA has these levels of membership:

  • Voting – Open to employed or freelance paralegals who meet one of the following:
    • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies from an institutionally-accredited program
    • Bachelor’s degree in any subject plus a paralegal certificate from an ABA-approved program
    • Bachelor’s degree in any subject plus a paralegal certificate from an institutionally-accredited program
    • Bachelor’s degree in any subject from an institutionally-accredited program plus one year of paralegal experience
    • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies plus one year of paralegal experience
    • Associate’s degree in any field plus three years of paralegal experience
    • NFPA’s Registered Paralegal (RP) credential
    • Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) certification plus one year of paralegal experience
    • Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) credential from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
    • NFPA’s CORE Registered Paralegal (CRP) credential plus three years of paralegal experience
    • 10 consecutive years of paralegal experience
  • Non-Voting – Open to anyone who qualifies for Voting membership except for being currently employed as a paralegal, not having sufficient experience, or not having sufficient education
  • Student – Open to students in good standing who are enrolled in an accredited bachelor’s, post-bac, or associate’s paralegal program
  • Sustaining – Open to any person or entity that supports DAPA

Texas Association of Legal Professionals (Texas ALP) – The state-level affiliate of NALS, this organization and its local chapters encourage NALS paralegal certifications and promote these levels of NALS membership:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

The local Texas ALP chapters throughout the state are:


Utah

Utah State Bar – In December of 2015 Utah approved the optional credential Licensed Paralegal Practitioner. While this hasn’t been finalized, details about what the credential permits paralegals to do have been released. Licensed Paralegal Practitioners will be able to work with a certain degree of independence in the following areas:

  • Family law such as temporary separation, divorce, paternity, cohabitant abuse, civil stalking, custody, support, and name changes
  • Residential eviction
  • Debt collection

Check back for more information about requirements to earn the Licensed Paralegal Practitioner credential.

Utah Paralegal Association (UPA) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the UPA has five levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to those who meet one of the following:
    • Passed NALA’s Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) exam
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of an institutionally-accredited paralegal program that includes 30 semester credits of law-related courses
    • Graduate of a paralegal program plus one year of in-house paralegal training
    • Bachelor’s or associate’s degree in any field plus one year of in-house paralegal training
    • Three years of law-related experience under the supervision of an attorney plus one year of in-house paralegal training
    • Two years of in-house paralegal training
  • Associate – Open to those who are working towards becoming Active members or those working in the legal field who promote the paralegal profession
  • Student – Open to any student in good standing who is enrolled in a paralegal program
  • Sustaining – Open to any person, law firm, association, or legal assistant program which promotes the paralegal profession
  • Honorary – Open to anyone approved by UPA who endorses the paralegal profession

Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association (RMPA) – A National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) affiliate with four membership levels:

  • Voting Member – Must be an employed paralegal
  • Associate Member – Open to individuals who support the RMPA
  • Sustaining Member – Open to firms, organizations, and businesses that support the RMPA
  • Student Member – Open to students enrolled in a paralegal program

Vermont

Vermont Paralegal Organization (VPO) – Affiliated with the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the VPO offers four levels of membership:

  • Voting – Open to employed Vermont paralegals who meet one of the following:
    • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field, a paralegal certificate, and one year of in-house paralegal training
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus two years of in-house paralegal training
    • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies plus 18 months of in-house paralegal training
    • Associate’s degree in any field, a paralegal certificate, and two years of in-house paralegal training
    • Associate’s degree in any field plus 2.5 years of in-house paralegal training
    • High school diploma, paralegal certificate, and three years of in-house paralegal training
    • High school diploma plus five years of in-house paralegal training
  • Associate – Open to any individual who meets one of the following:
    • Qualifies for Active membership except for being currently employed as a paralegal
    • Graduate of a paralegal program who does not otherwise meet the requirements for Voting membership
    • Employed as a paralegal and does not meet the requirements for Voting membership
  • Student – Open to anyone enrolled in a paralegal program that results in a degree or certificate, or an intern of such a program
  • Sustaining – Open to any person or entity that supports the VPO and the paralegal profession, and who does not qualify for any other type of membership

Virginia

Virginia Alliance of Paralegal Associations (VAPA) – This is an organization made up of different paralegal associations from throughout the state. Within the VAPA alliance the participating paralegal organizations recognize the voluntary Virginia Registered Paralegal (VARP) credential, sponsored by VAPA.

To be eligible for the VARP credential you must be a voting member of a paralegal organization that participates in VAPA and have one of the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies from an accredited institution and one year of paralegal experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject from an accredited institution, a paralegal certificate from an institutionally accredited paralegal program, and one year of paralegal experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject from an accredited institution and three years of paralegal experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject from a non-accredited institution, a paralegal certificate from an institutionally accredited paralegal program, and two years of paralegal experience
  • Associate’s degree in paralegal studies and two years of paralegal work experience
  • Certificate from an institutionally accredited paralegal program and three years of paralegal experience
  • Associate’s degree in any subject from an accredited institution and four years of paralegal experience
  • Certificate from a non-accredited paralegal program and four years of paralegal experience
  • Five years of paralegal work experience plus six hours of continuing legal education
  • National Association of Legal Assistants’ (NALA’s) Certified Paralegal (CP)/Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) credential, or another VAPA-approved national paralegal credential

The local paralegal organizations that are members of VAPA are:

Each paralegal organization has its own requirements for, and categories of, membership. These are generally as follows:

  • Active Voting – Open to paralegals who meet one of the following:
    • Graduate of an approved paralegal training program
    • Certification from a national paralegal organization
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus one year of paralegal experience
    • Three years of paralegal experience including six months of in-house paralegal training
  • Associate – Open to those who have experience as a paralegal but are not currently employed as a paralegal, and those who work in the legal field but who are not paralegals
  • Sustaining – Open to those who support the paralegal concept and the goals of VAPA
  • Student – Open to those enrolled in a paralegal education program who are not working as paralegals

Washington

Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) – This association offers two paralegal credentials that allow you to practice in certain areas with expanded independence.

Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) – This credential is designed to allow paralegals to work independently in certain areas of family law. The WSBA describes this credential as being a great opportunity for experienced paralegals who want to work independently or start their own business.

To qualify for the LLLT credential you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Have an associate’s degree or higher
  • Complete 45 credits from an ABA-approved paralegal program
  • Complete a sequence of online courses in specific practice areas
  • Have 3,000 hours of paralegal work experience
  • Pass three exams – the Paralegal Core Competency (PCC) Exam, the Practice Area Exam, and the Professional Responsibility Exam

LLLT Waiver Option – You can potentially get the associate’s degree, 45-credit paralegal program, and PCC Exam waived if you have 10 years of law-related experience under the supervision of a lawyer and a national paralegal credential sponsored by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPS), or NALS.

Limited Practice Officer (LPO) – This credential authorizes paralegals to select, prepare, and complete documents in pre-approved forms for use in closing a loan, extension of credit, sale, or other transfer of real or personal property.

To qualify for the LPO credential you must pass a four-hour exam that covers property and real estate law.

NALS of Washington – A state-level affiliate of NALS, this organization and its local chapters encourage NALS paralegal certifications and membership. NALS of Washington is made up of these local chapters:

Membership options with NALS of Washington and its local chapters are as follows:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

Washington State Paralegal Association (WSPA) – Affiliated with the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), the WSPA has four membership levels:

  • Member – Open to paralegals who live or work in the state who have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree that includes 24 semester credits in paralegal studies, or three years of paralegal work experience
  • Associate Member – Open to any paralegal outside the state, as well as in-state non-practicing and retired paralegals
  • Student Member – Open to full-time students enrolled in a paralegal studies program
  • Sustaining Member – Open to any person or entity that supports the WSPA

There are five local chapters in the greater Seattle area that make up the WSPA:


West Virginia

Legal Assistants Paralegals of Southern West Virginia (LAPSWV) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the LAPSWV offers four levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to anyone who meets one of the following:
    • Passed NALA’s Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) exam
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of an institutionally-accredited paralegal program that includes at least 60 hours of classroom study
    • Graduate of a paralegal program plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Three years of law-related experience including six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Two years of in-house paralegal training
  • Provisional – Open to employed paralegals who do not qualify for Active membership
  • Student – Open to full-time students enrolled in a paralegal studies program who are in good standing
  • Sustaining – Open to any individual or entity who promotes the use of paralegals

Wisconsin

State Bar of Wisconsin – In June 2016 it was announced that Wisconsin approved the voluntary credential State Bar of Wisconsin Certified Paralegal. This credential is to be developed and administered by the State Bar of Wisconsin. While it hasn’t been officially implemented yet, proposals detail that to qualify you will need to meet the following conditions:

  • Be an employed paralegal under the supervision of a licensed attorney
  • Complete an approved paralegal studies program that includes substantive content and skills training that specifically relates to Wisconsin

Paralegal Association of Wisconsin – An affiliate of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), this association offers three classes of membership:

  • Active Voting Membership – Open to paralegals who live or are employed in Wisconsin, who have five continuing legal education (CLE) credits, and who come from a background that includes paralegal education and/or work experience
  • Associate Membership – Open to those who support the advancement of the paralegal profession who do not qualify for any other type of membership
  • Student Membership – Open to any student who is currently enrolled in a paralegal education program

Wisconsin Association for Legal Professionals (WALP) – A state-level affiliate of NALS, this organization and its local chapters encourage NALS paralegal certifications and membership. WALP is made up of these local chapters:

Membership options with WALP and its local chapters are as follows:

  • Individual – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature
  • Associate – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature such as educators, judges, and attorneys
  • Students – Open to students taking at least nine semester credits from a legal-related program offered by an accredited school
  • Retired – Open to those who have been a NALS-affiliated member for at least five years prior to retirement
  • Life – Open to qualified individual members
  • International – Open to those engaged in work of a legal nature who reside outside the US

Madison Area Paralegal Association (MAPA) – An affiliate of the National Association for Legal Assistants (NALA), MAPA offers four levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to paralegals living or working in Dane County who meet one of the following:
    • Passed the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) exam from NALA
    • Graduate of a formal paralegal studies program
    • Three years of law-related experience that includes at least one year of in-house paralegal training
  • Student – Open to students who are enrolled in a formal paralegal studies program
  • Associate – Open to those who do not qualify for Student or Active membership, who support the paralegal profession
  • Sustaining – Open to individuals, law firms, corporations, and paralegal program representatives who endorse the paralegal concept

Wyoming

Legal Assistants of Wyoming (LAW) – An affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), LAW offers three levels of membership:

  • Active – Open to any individual who meets one of the following:
    • Passed the Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) exam from NALA
    • Graduate of an ABA-approved paralegal program
    • Graduate of an institutionally-accredited paralegal program that includes at least 60 semester credits of classroom study
    • Graduate of a paralegal program and at least six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Three years of law-related experience plus at least six months of in-house paralegal training
    • Two year of in-house paralegal training
  • Student – Open to any individual who meets one of the following:
    • Full-time student in good standing enrolled in a school’s paralegal program
    • Part-time student in good standing enrolled in a school’s paralegal program while working part-time as a paralegal
  • Associate – Open to bar association members and members of the educational field who endorse the paralegal concept

Rocky Mountain Paralegal Association (RMPA) – A National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) affiliate with four membership levels:

  • Voting Member – Must be an employed paralegal
  • Associate Member – Open to individuals who support the RMPA
  • Sustaining Member – Open to firms, organizations, and businesses that support the RMPA
  • Student Member – Open to students enrolled in a paralegal program