Paralegal Certification, Credentialing, Licensing and Having a Paralegal Certificate
This is frequently a source of confusion. In short:
- If you have completed a paralegal education program for which you have a certificate hanging on your wall, you could say you are certificated. This is different from being certified.
- Licensing is how a governmental authority controls certain professions. There is no single authority in the United States which oversees the paralegal profession. Also, at the time of this writing, no state has paralegal licensure.
- However, effective September 1, 2012 Washington State does have the Limited License Legal Technicians (LLLT) program and other states are considering similar programs.
- If you have successfully passed a paralegal certification exam. This confers a credential which you put after your name, such as Jane Doe, CP. Maintaining that credential requires ongoing Continuing Legal Education (CLE) and keeping your address current with the organization that issued the credential. These credentials can be verified by prospective employers by contacting the issuing organization.
States with paralegal certification
- Arizona – certification of legal document preparers
- California – registration of document assistants & unlawful detainer assistants
- Delaware – voluntary Delaware certified paralegal
- Florida – voluntary Florida registered paralegal
- Illinois – voluntary Illinois accredited paralegal
- Indiana – voluntary Indiana registered paralegal
- Kentucky – voluntary Kentucky certified paralegal
- Louisiana – voluntary Louisiana certified paralegal
- Minnesota – voluntary Minnesota certified paralegal
- New jersey – voluntary new jersey certified paralegal
- North Carolina – voluntary North Carolina certified paralegal
- Ohio – voluntary certification through Ohio state bar
- Pennsylvania – voluntary Pennsylvania certified paralegal
- South Carolina – voluntary through supreme court
- Texas – voluntary certification through state bar of Texas
- Utah – licensed paralegal practitioner
- Washington – limited license legal technician through Washington state bar
- Wisconsin – Wisconsin state bar board of governors voted in favor of a policy to establish and administer a voluntary certification program in Wisconsin