Paralegal Regulation Survey

Key Definitions for the Paralegal Profession

Certificated – A term for individual paralegals, who have been issued a certificate of completion (not a degree) of a paralegal studies program by a paralegal educational institution.

Certification – Achieved through a national certifying organization, such as NFPA, NALA, NALS, or AAPI. This confers a credential which you put after your name, such as Jane/John Doe, RP®. Candidate may need to successfully pass an exam to measure competency and knowledge in paralegal practice and/or meet specific requirements, including education and experience within the legal field. Maintaining this type of credential requires ongoing Continuing Legal Education (CLE) 

Regulation – The process by which a governmental or other entity authorizes general practice in the Paralegal profession and the use of the title "Paralegal," to individuals meeting predetermined qualifications that include: a) an educational requirement; b) the passage of a proficiency based examination; c) continuing legal education; d) adherence to a code of ethics; and e) other criteria as required by the governmental or other entity. 

Licensure - A mandatory legal condition for employment in a profession generally enacted by legislation. The impetus behind the legislation to license a profession is the health, welfare and safety of the public, including cost effectiveness and access to justice. 

Grandfather Clause – A provision used as a compromise or out of practicality to allow new rules to be enacted while continuing to apply to existing situations to prevent removal of previously qualified individuals in a well-established logistical or political situation, extending the idea of a rule not being retroactively applied.  Any regulation would typically include a grandfathering clause.

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