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.