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."