Applying for the Exam – General Policies
Once an application is approved, an examinee will have two years to sit for any section of the examination. If the examinee does not sit for any section within two years, the application will be returned and the examination fee refunded less the $50 processing charge. Any refunds will be issued by check and sent to the individual or company originally paying the examination fee.
Application for Retake of Examination Sections
Applicants may attend a maximum of six testing windows (the first testing window + five retake windows) within a two-year period in order to successfully complete the CP examination. If the examination is not successfully completed within the two-year period, credit for all completed sections will be forfeited and the entire examination must be retaken. A new, updated, application form will be required. The two-year period begins on the date any section of the examination is first taken.
Examinees who do not achieve a passing score on any sections(s) may retake the section(s) during any testing window within the two-year period. Retake applications are due on the dates listed above for all applications.
Americans with Disability Act
The Certified Paralegal examination is administered in compliance with requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act. All special requests must accompany the application form. Contact NALA Headquarters or 918-587-6828 to request the special accommodation form. Examinees qualifying for special accommodations under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act must attend a PSI testing center.
An individual’s application status, exam results, and personal identifying information is confidential and will not be released by NALA to any person without the consent of the individual or as required by law, except to exam proctors as required for administration of the exam.
NALA does not discriminate against applicants on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, age, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, sexual orientation, marital status, or family status.
Appeal Process for Applicants Who Receive an Adverse Eligibility Decision
Applications accepted for the Certified Paralegal examination are accepted on the basis of proof of meeting the eligibility requirements as enumerated on the application form and in the candidate information and submission of the required fee.
If an applicant is unable to provide proof of meeting any of the requirements, the applicant is encouraged to contact NALA Headquarters. The procedures for approving applications allow the following:
- For those qualifying under the 7 years’ paralegal experience requirement, attestations of employers are required for the entire 7 year period. If it is not possible to reach former employers whose attestation is required, the Certifying Board will accept an affidavit of the current employer attesting to the previous years of work as a paralegal.
- As stated in the application requirements, applicants may combine hours of course work from more than one institution.
Paralegal students who are nearing graduation may take the Certified Paralegal examination under certain conditions enumerated in the examinee handbook.
If an application is not accepted, the candidate may, within 30 days of the date of denial of application, appeal the decision of the Certifying Board under the following circumstances:
- It is not possible to provide a transcript of completed course work because the school no longer exists.
- If qualifying under categories which require experience, the application may be considered if the experience requirement is not fully met, and the paralegal is able to submit proof of the need for certification for employment or advancement in employment.
- An application for the Certified Paralegal examination was submitted and previously accepted but has expired, provided the candidate meets the current eligibility requirements.
- Financial hardship.
In appealing a decision to deny an application based on the reasons listed above, the candidate must submit documentation to substantiate the claim, and a signed and notarized attestation that the information is true and correct.
The Certifying Board Chair, working with certification staff, within 30 days of receipt of the appeal, shall make a determination regarding the appeal and the candidate’s eligibility to take the examination. In the case of financial hardship, the Chair may suggest a payment plan for the candidate, but the fee may not be waived. The decision of the Certifying Board Chair is final.
Cheating and Misconduct in the Certified Paralegal Examination Program
Cheating and misconduct are not tolerated in the Certified Paralegal Program.
Candidates are expected to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity at all times and during all phases of the certification process – including exam preparation, testing, and re-certification.
Filing a Complaint
If a candidate is believed to have acted with dishonesty or with intent to misrepresent at any time during the certification process, the Certifying Board reserves the right to bar that individual from the program immediately while investigating the circumstances.
Evidence of misconduct includes, but is not limited to, violation of the terms and conditions of testing, unfairly gaining exam information by using unauthorized materials or web sites during the examination, or by providing unfair assistance to another candidate at any time during the exam preparation or delivery period. This evidence may include visual observation during the test period or other tangible evidence.
Evidence may be filed in writing to NALA Headquarters by examination proctors, fellow examinees or others with knowledge of possible misconduct. Proctors and examinees may also contact NALA certification staff by telephone on the day of testing if it is believed cheating is observed.
Procedures for Investigating Complaint
The Certifying Board’s Procedures for Disciplinary Proceedings are published in their entirety on the NALA website, to view please click here. They are also found in the Certifying Board’s Policy Manual in Policy #304.
If the Board concludes that there has been a violation of the terms and conditions of testing by a CP examinee during any testing session, it will determine which of the following disciplines is appropriate, which may include:
- all examination sections will be voided with no refund of fees and no scores reported; the candidate may be prohibited from taking the CP examination indefinitely.
- the candidate will be prohibited from taking the Certified Paralegal examination (or any section) for a period of not less than two years from the date of the violation;
- all sections must be taken or retaken if the examinee is permitted to re-test and, as a condition for re-testing, the Certifying Board shall require the candidate to complete a specific number of hours of Legal Ethics, approved for CLE credit, to be completed within a specific period of time prior to eligibility for re-testing; documentation of completion of the ethics CLE hours is required. The program may be approved by a paralegal professional association, bar association, or offered for college credit or continuing education units.