Paralegal Certification

One of the issues that comes up frequently with Paralegals is the issue of certification.  The following are some of the types of questions that are asked by students:

  • What does it mean to be a “certified paralegal” in California?
  • What is required for certification?
  • What is the difference between the PACE, NALA and NALS certifications?

California has no separate category of paralegal known as “certified paralegal.”  In order to be a “certified” paralegal in California, a paralegal must obtain one of the three commonly known certifications:  PACE (offered by NFPA), Certified Paralegal (CP) (offered by NALA) and Professional Paralegal (PP) (Offered by NALS).

The best way to understand these paralegal certifications and their respective requirements is to review the chart available from the NFPA (National Federation of Paralegal Associations) website for which I have included a link below:

Certification Comparison Chart

The certification a paralegal should seek, if any, really depends on the paralegal, his or her field of specialty or interest, and his or her future plans.   A paralegal in California should not refer to him or herself as a “certified” paralegal unless they have received a certification from one of the above organizations.


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