Directory of Paralegal State Activity

General Information about State Activity

The terms paralegal/legal assistant are used interchangeably by the American Bar Association. Employers may define the terms separately. Paralegals are not currently licensed as lawyers are in any state. The supervising attorney remains responsible for the paralegal's work product and conduct. See Rule 5.3 of the Model Rules of Professional conduct.

The California legislature enacted regulatory provisions for Paralegals but created no agency of government to oversee or enforce the provisions.

Maine, Indiana and South Dakota have defined the terms.

Paralegal State Activity

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Dist. of Columbia | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming

Sources of Certification

Certification has been a subject of considerable interest and debate for many years among paralegal associations, bar associations and some legislatures. Certification is a process by which a non-governmental agency or association grants recognition to an individual who has met certain predetermined qualifications specified by that agency or association. It usually involves passing an examination drawn up by the sponsoring organization and meeting specified educational and/or experiential requirements. The American Bar Association does not certify Paralegals. Paralegals may not represent themselves as "ABA-certified paralegals," because the ABA's approval applies to the paralegal education program rather than to the individual paralegal.

Certification by Paralegal Organizations:

  • The National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (NALA - The Paralegal Association), headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, began sponsoring a certification examination (Certified Legal Assistant) in 1975, which is now known as the Certificate Paralegal (CP®).  NALA also offers advanced specialty exams (APC®). For information on the exam, eligibility requirements, and more, please visit NALA's web site.
  • The National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (NFPA™), formed in 1974, offers the Paralegal Advanced Competency Examination (PACE®) to become a Registered Paralegal (RP™) and the Paralegal CORE Competency Exam (PCCE™). For more information on exam, eligibility requirements, and more, please visit NFPA's web site.
  • NALS. . .the association for legal professionals, has been sponsoring voluntary certification for over four decades which include an Accredited Legal Professional (ALP), Certified Legal Professional (CLP) or Professional Paralegal (PP).  For information on the exams, eligibility requirements, and more, please visit NALS' website.
  • The American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc. offers the American Alliance Certified Paralegal (ACCP). For information on eligibility requirements and more, please visit AAPI's website

Certification by State Bars: