Examination Description

The Certified Paralegal examination is organized in five separate sections reflecting the general knowledge and skills required of paralegals for success on the job:

  • Communications
  • Legal Ethics
  • Judgment & Analytical Ability
  • Legal Research
  • Substantive Law (American Legal System, Civil Litigation, Business Organizations and Contracts)

A paralegal must successfully complete each of the five sections to achieve the Certified Paralegal credential. Certification is valid for a period of five years. To maintain certification, paralegals must submit proof of participation of a minimum of 50 hours of continuing legal education programs, including 5 hours of legal ethics.

The NALA Certifying Board provides oversight for the development and ongoing maintenance of the examination.  The Certifying Board, NALA certification program staff, and trained subject matter experts, work in partnership with a qualified psychometric consultant to ensure the examination is developed and maintained in a manner consistent with generally accepted psychometric, educational testing practices, and national accreditation standards for certification programs.

Job analysis studies are conducted approximately every six years to identify and validate the knowledge and skills which will be measured by the examination sections. The results of the job analysis studies serve as the basis for the exam specifications. These exam specifications, with weights for each content area, are approved by the Certifying Board.

The Certifying Board oversees a continual process of item writing, review and evaluation to ensure that exam content remains up-to-date, accurate, and consistent with the content outline.