September 16, 2015

Professional Certification

ALP
One way to demonstrate your preparedness for the demanding field of law is by becoming an Accredited Legal Professional (ALP). This certification is awarded after passing a four-hour, three-part examination. Attaining this goal demonstrates your commitment and aptitude for succeeding in the ever-changing legal environment. The ALP exam: 
  • demonstrates an ability to perform business communication tasks;
  • gauges ability to maintain office records and calendars, and prioritize multiple tasks when given real-life scenarios;
  • measures understanding of office equipment and related procedures;
  • denotes aptitude for understanding legal terminology, legal complexities, and supporting documents;
  • appraises knowledge of law office protocol as prescribed by ethical codes.

This exam was formerly known as Accredited Legal Secretary (ALS). In order to more fully embrace the diversity of legal professionals entering the workforce and provide those individuals with certifications reflecting that diversity, NALS has adapted the name of its Accredited Legal Secretary certification to Accredited Legal Professional (ALP). Effective May 1, 2013, persons who attain or have attained this certification may use either the ALS or ALP designation. This is a change in name only; the quality of the exam remains the same.

ALP Examination Eligibility

To be eligible to sit for the Accredited Legal Professional exam, candidates must meet one of the following criteria:

  • an accredited business/legal course,
  • the NALS Legal Training Course, or
  • one year of general office experience.

Membership in NALS is not a requirement.

The Exam Covers

PART 1: Written Communications
PART 2: Office Procedures and Legal Knowledge
PART 3: Ethics, Human Relations, and Judgment

Examination Guidelines

All three parts of the examination must be taken on the first attempt. If you do not pass the entire examination on the first attempt, you may retake the examination parts you did not pass. All failed parts must be retaken at the same time. There is a two-year limit in which to retest. Full examination details are available in the ALP Resource Manual
 
Those passing the exam will receive a certificate which is valid for five years. The ALP is eligible for recertification if after the initial 5-year certification period, the certified ALP has obtained 50 hours of CLE. A completed Recertification Form, Affidavit/Application, $50 fee, and copies of education certificates or documentation are submitted to the NALS Resource Center prior to the expiration of the current five-year certification period. For more details about recertification requirements, please click here

Examination Dates

  • March Exam Period: First Saturday
  • May Exam Period: Third Saturday 
  • September Exam Period: Last Saturday
  • December Exam Period: First Saturday 

Application Deadlines

  • March Exam Period: January 15
  • May Exam Period: April 10 
  • September Exam Period: August 1 
  • December Exam Period: October 15 

Applications will still be accepted up to 30 days prior to the examination date, however, a $35 late fee will be applied.

Examination Fees

Initial Fees

  • Student/LTC Participant (min of 9 credit hours) – $75
  • NALS member (not a full-time student) – $100
  • Nonmember (not a full-time student) – $125
  • Military Member — $75
  • Military Nonmember — $100
Retake Fees – 1 part

  • Student/LTC Participant (min of 9 credit hours– $40
  • NALS member (not a full-time student) – $40
  • Nonmember (not a full-time student) – $50
  • Military Member — $40
Retake Fees – 2 parts

  • Student/LTC Participant (min of 9 credit hours– $50
  • NALS member (not a full-time student) – $75
  • Nonmember (not a full-time student) – $100
  • Military Member — $75

PLEASE NOTE: 

– All prices will increase by $35 after the application deadline has passed.

– Students, please contact NALS Certification/Education Manager to receive a coupon code for the rates above.

– Military members, please contact NALS Certification/Education Manager to receive a coupon code for the rates above.

Refund Policy

If you are unable to sit for the examination at any time following submission of your application, the entire fee, less a 25% processing fee, may be refunded if requested 30 days or more before the scheduled examination date. Cancellations after this period will forfeit the full amount of registration. No transfers will be allowed.

Discount For Students

Effective immediately, NALS will be offering a one-year FREE membership to students of approved legal studies and paralegal studies programs who take the ALP certification exam! If you are a student who is registered to take the ALP exam, please contact NALS Education/Certification Manager to ensure that you receive your free one-year membership.


PLS

How do your skills compare with the hallmark of a professional? PLS® is the designation for lawyer’s assistants who want to be identified as exceptional. Certification is received after passing a one-day, four-part examination which demonstrates not only dedication to professionalism but acceptance of the challenge to be exceptional. Personal motivation is necessary to attain such a goal. The purpose of the examination is to certify a lawyer’s assistant as a person who possesses:
  • a mastery of office skills
  • the ability to interact on a professional level with attorneys, clients, and other support staff
  • the discipline to assume responsibility and exercise initiative and judgment, and
  • a working knowledge of procedural law, the law library, and how to prepare legal documents.

PLS Examination Eligibility

Any person who has had three years of experience in the legal field may take the examination. Membership in NALS is not a requirement. A partial waiver of the three-year legal experience requirement may be granted for post-secondary degrees, successful completion of the ALP exam or other certifications. The maximum waiver is one year.

The Exam Covers

PART 1: Written Communications
PART 2: Office Procedures and Technology
PART 3: Ethics and Judgment Skills
PART 4: Legal Knowledge and Skills

Examination Guidelines

All four parts of the examination must be taken on the first attempt. If you do not pass the entire examination on the first attempt, but do pass one or more parts, you may retake the part (or parts) you failed. All failed parts must be retaken at the same time. There is a two-year limit in which to retest.

Those passing the exam will receive a certificate which is valid for five years. Recertification is required every five years and may be achieved through the accumulation of continuing legal education hours and activities.

Examination Dates

  • March Exam Period: First Saturday in March
  • September Exam Period: Last Saturday in September

Application Deadlines

  • March Exam Period: January 15
  • September Exam Period: August 1

Applications will still be accepted up to 30 days prior to the examination date, however, a $35 late fee will be applied.

Examination Fees

Initial Fees

  • NALS member – $175
  • Nonmember – $225
  • Military Member — $150
  • Military Nonmember — $200
Retake Fees

  • NALS member — $50/per part
  • Nonmember — $60/per part
  • Military Member — $40/per part
  • Military Nonmember — $50/per part

PLEASE NOTE: 

– All prices will increase by $35 after the application deadline has passed. 

– Military members, please contact NALS to receive a promo code for the rates above. 

Refund Policy

If you are unable to sit for the examination at any time following submission of your application, the entire fee, less a 25% processing fee, may be refunded if requested 30 days or more before the scheduled examination date. Cancellations after this period will forfeit the full amount of registration. No transfers will be allowed.


 

Are you looking for a way to establish your credentials nationwide as a Professional Paralegal? Established in 2004 at our members’ request, the Certified PP designation is an attainable goal for paralegals who wish to be identified as exceptional in all areas of law. The certification is received after passing a one-day, four-part examination. Successful completion of the PP examination demonstrates:

  • A mastery of procedural skills and communication skills.
  • An advanced knowledge of procedural law, the law library, and the preparation of legal documents.
  • A working knowledge of substantive law and the ability to perform specifically delegated substantive legal work under an attorney’s supervision.
  • The ability to interact on a professional level with attorneys, clients, and other staff.
  • The discipline to assume responsibility and exercise initiative and judgment while adhering to legal ethical standards at all times.
Working under the supervision of a practicing lawyer or a judge, the Professional Paralegal is expected to possess:
  • The same high standard of ethical conduct imposed upon members of the Bar.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Knowledge and understanding of legal terminology and procedures, as well as procedural and substantive law.
  • The ability to assume responsibility, exercise initiative and judgment and prepare substantive legal documents within the scope of assigned authority.
  • Attaining this goal demonstrates dedication to professionalism and acceptance of the challenge to be exceptional. Personal motivation is necessary to attain such a goal.

PP Examination Eligibility

To be eligible to sit for the Profession Paralegal exam, candidates must meet one of the following criteria:
  • Have five years of experience performing paralegal/legal assistant duties.
  • Be a graduate from an ABA-approved Paralegal Program.
  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies.
  • Be a graduate from an accredited paralegal program which consists of a minimum of 60 semester hours (900 clock hours) of which a minimum of 15 hours (225 clock hours) is substantive law.
  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field and have one year of experience performing paralegal/legal assistant duties.
*Membership in NALS is not a requirement.

Student Waiver

Students of an accredited or ABA-approved paralegal studies program who are near graduation may sit for the PP exam provided that NALS receives a Paralegal Student Waiver Form, signed by the program director confirming the student’s graduation date (must be within a three-month window), and by the student agreeing that if the student does not successfully graduate from his/her program, the results of the PP exam will become null and void and the exam fee forfeited. PDF waiver is available for download at the bottom of this page.

Request For Partial Waiver

A partial waiver of the five-year requirement for paralegals is possible if an individual has a minimum of three years experience performing paralegal duties. The maximum waiver is two years. PDF waiver is available for download at the bottom of this page.

The Exam Covers

PART 1: Written Communications
PART 2: Legal Knowledge and Skills
PART 3: Ethics and Judgment Skills
PART 4: Substantive Law

Examination Guidelines

All four parts of the examination must be taken on the first attempt with the exception of current PLS’s in which only Part 4 in Substantive Law is needed. If you do not pass the entire examination on the first attempt, but do pass one or more parts, you may retake the part (or parts) you failed. All failed parts must be retaken at the same time. There is a two-year limit in which to retest.
Those passing the exam will receive a certificate which is valid for five years. Recertification is required every five years and may be achieved through the accumulation of continuing legal education hours and activities.

Examination Dates

  • March Exam Period: First Saturday
  • September Exam Period: Last Saturday

Application Deadlines

  • March Exam Period: January 15
  • September Exam Period: August 1

Applications will still be accepted up to 30 days prior to the examination date, however, a $35 late fee will be applied.

Examination Fees

Initial Fees

  • NALS member – $225
  • Nonmember – $275
  • Military Member — $200
  • Military Nonmember — $250
  • Currently Certified PLS – $175
 Retake Fees 

  • NALS member — $60/per part
  • Nonmember — $70/per part
  • Military Member — $50/per part
  • Military Nonmember — $60/per part

PLEASE NOTE: 

– All prices will increase by $35 after the application deadline has passed. 

– Military members, please contact NALS to receive a promo code for the rates above. 

Refund Policy

If you are unable to sit for the examination at any time following submission of your application, the entire fee, less a 25% processing fee, may be refunded if requested 30 days or more before the scheduled examination date. Cancellations after this period will forfeit the full amount of registration. No transfers will be allowed.

Discount For Students

Effective immediately, NALS will be offering a one-year FREE membership to students of approved legal studies and paralegal studies programs who take the PP certification exam! If you are a student who is registered to take the PP exam, please contact NALS Education/Certification Manager to ensure that you receive your free one-year membership.

 

Information is taken directly from NALS website at https://www.nals.org/?page=certification.