CP FAQs

NALA Certification vs. Certificate
Occasionally, paralegals will call themselves “certified” by virtue of completing a paralegal training course, or another type of preparatory education. Although a school may award a certificate of completion, this is not the same as earning professional certification by an entity such as NALA. In this instance, the school’s certificate is a designation of completion of a training program.

How do I apply?
Once eligibility is determined candidates can apply online or submit a paper application via mail, e-mail, or fax.

What is the application process?
A candidate must submit the CP application, fee, and supporting documentation via online, e-mail, fax, or mail before the NALA staff can process the application. If the application is approved, you will be notified via e-mail within 24-48 hours with instructions to schedule your exam. If your application is not approved, you will be notified via e-mail requesting additional information to complete your application.

What should I study for the exam?
The CP exam is a comprehensive assessment based on federal law and procedure. You can find the description of the exam sections and suggested study material located under the Examinees section of the Certification page on our website. 

What happens if I don't pass?
Candidates who do not pass the Knowledge or Skills Exam must wait 90 days after the attempt before applying for the next attempt. Candidates must purchase another attempt for the Knowledge or Skills Exam by submitting a Retake Application with a $60 fee.

Paralegal or Legal Assistant?
The terms "legal assistant" and "paralegal" are synonymous terms. The terms are defined as such throughout the United States in state Supreme Court rules, statutes, ethical opinions, bar association guidelines, and other similar documents. NALA has become increasingly aware that while the terms are defined as identifying the same professional, a preference in terms has emerged. For this reason, NALA filed for a certification mark "CP" with the US Patent and Trademark Office. The certification mark was successfully registered on July 20, 2004. Those who are admitted to the Certified Paralegal program today and successfully complete the examination are awarded a "Certified Paralegal" certificate and may use the credential "CP."  Those who renew their certification are also awarded the "Certified Paralegal" certificate and encouraged to use the credential "CP." However, some with this certification continue to use the credential, "CLA."

Do my annual NALA Membership dues cover the Certification renewal dues as well?
No, membership dues and certification dues are separate and must be paid individually.