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The certification maintenance requirements are as important to the certification procedure as the examination itself in the award and continued use of the CP credential. As with most professions and occupations, the daily work requirements and laws governing legal practice change, sometimes rapidly. The certification requirements of the CP credential recognize that change is a part of professional life and career growth. To maintain a successful career as a paralegal, and a credential relevant to employers and consumers of paralegal services, participation in CLE programs is required.
The Certified Paralegal credential is valid for a period of 5 years. Certified Paralegals may renew their certification upon submission of proof of participation in 50 clock hours of continuing legal education (CLE) programs, including a minimum of 5 hours of legal ethics, which provide instruction of a substantive nature on various practice areas of law, rules of procedure, or skills that are relevant to the work of paralegals; and a signed affidavit that the Certified Paralegal has not been convicted of a felony during the five year period, along with the recertification fee.
Lifetime certification is not available due to the continual change in laws and procedures. These directly impact the work performed by paralegals which makes continuing legal education an essential part of the certification process.
Certified Paralegals are required to meet certain continuing legal education requirements to maintain the certification. This section describes the CLE requirements, and provides links to important forms and information related to the ongoing requirements. In addition, this section includes the disciplinary procedures for complaints filed against Certified Paralegals.
Credit for continuing legal education is awarded on the basis of hours of actual instruction. There are a variety of programs and ways in which the Certified Paralegal may maintain certification.
Credit is also granted for participation in most CLE programs offered by reputable organizations as long as the subject matter is related to work as a paralegal. Participation in the following types of programs may qualify:
- Conferences, seminars, webinars, etc. offered by NALA, affiliated associations, bar associations or seminar providers
- Teaching in a paralegal program, or teaching a session at a CLE seminar
- Participation in online educational programs
- Completion of a class at an accredited college or accredited community college
- Achievement of an advanced paralegal certification credential such as that offered by NALA, or a NALA-recognized state credentialing program (offered in California, Florida, Texas, and Louisiana)