I was advised that the State Bar of Texas is currently working on a resolution in which Paralegals can designate themselves as a “CP” (certified paralegal). Can you clarify this information?

The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) has been issuing information with regard to the use of the new term “Certified Paralegal,” which is the “CP” designation. It is a personal choice which term is preferred. NALA has registered the trademark CP™, just like they did CLA™, for sole use for those persons who have sat for and passed the CLA examination administered by NALA. This is completely separate from the State Bar of Texas, and the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas. NALA has made this choice available because the preferred term of “paralegal” over “legal assistant” has become so popular over the course of the last few years. NALA is stepping up to the plate and offering that choice to its certified paralegals. As I said, it is a registered trademark of NALA.

NALA recently adopted the use of “ACP” or Advanced Certified Paralegal for those persons who have sat for the additional specialty examinations which NALA also offers to those persons who are CLAs or CPs, and desire to be specialized in a particular area of law. This is a very recent change which NALA is making to also allow the specialty certified paralegal a choice of an acronym which can use the term “paralegal,” rather than “legal assistant” – formerly was classified as CLAS – Certified Legal Assistant Specialist.

For further questions, contact NALA through wwws.nala.org.  There is a more thorough explanation of the above on their website.

How do I become a board certified paralegal by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization?

The Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) offers an examination to certify paralegals in certain specialty areas of law. Those specialty areas of law are: Personal Injury Law, Civil Trial Law, Family Law, Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate Law, and Criminal Law. The Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) sets the requirements to be eligible to sit for this examination. The application period begins each year in January and the test is administered in the Fall of each year.

To learn more about this examination, please contact TBLS at:
Mailing Address
Texas Board of Legal Specialization
P.O. Box 12487, Capitol Station
Austin, TX 78711-2487

Street Address
Texas Board of Legal Specialization
505 E. Huntland Dr., Ste. 400, LB 28
Austin, Texas 78752


You may also visit their website at www.tbls-bcp.org.

How can I become certified as a paralegal?

To become certified as a paralegal, an individual must take an examination administered by one of the following organizations. Each organization has the criteria posted on their websites. Please review each to determine which test meets your qualifications:

National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) www.nala.org
National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) www.paralegals.org
Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) www.tbls-bcp.org