National Credential
Credential: Certified Paralegal (CP)  GI Bill resource  NCCA resource
Credentialing Agency: National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)

Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)/Certified Paralegal (CP) is an entry-level certification. CLA/CP credential signifies that a legal assistant is capable of providing superior services to firms and corporations. National surveys consistently show Certified Legal Assistants/Certified Paralegals are better utilized in a field where attorneys are looking for a credible, dependable way to measure ability. The credential has been recognized by the American Bar Association as a designation which marks a high level of professional achievement. The CLA/CP credential has also been recognized by over 47 legal assistant organizations and numerous bar associations. Candidates must meet education and/or experience requirements and pass an examination.

More information can be found on the certifying agency's website.

Renewal Period: 5 years

Certified Paralegal (CP)

The following Army Occupations provide training and/or experience that contributes to attaining this credential:

Personnel Category Occupation Occupation Type Related As Promotion Points Skill Level Star Proponent Funded Gap Analysis
Enlisted 27D Paralegal Specialist MOS other          
Warrant Officer 270A Legal Administrator WOMOS most        

Army Table Legend

Related As

The military occupations shown in this table are related to this credential in one of four ways: Most, Some, or Other.

Most: This credential is directly related to most of the major duties associated with the military occupation (at least 80%). Note that the credential may require additional education, training or experience before you are eligible for it.

Some: This credential is related to some tasks associated with the duties of the military occupation (related 80% to at least one or more critical tasks but less than 80% of all of the entire military occupation). Note that the credential may require additional education, training or experience before you are eligible for it.

Other: This credential is related to this military occupation, but is more advanced or specialized and therefore will likely require additional education, training, or experience.

Promotion Points Promotion Points icon

This credential has been approved for promotion points for this MOS towards promotion to Sergeant and Staff Sergeant. Clicking the Promotion Points icon will open a link to the promotion points fact sheet.

Skill Level Designation

Skill Level I: This skill level consists of all Soldiers in the ranks of Private (pay grade E-1) up to Specialist (pay grade E-4). Time in Service (TIS) is generally between initial entry and four Years of Service (YOS). This skill level is Entry-level positions requiring performance of tasks under direct supervision.

Institutional training:

  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level I
  • Basic Leader Course (BLC)

Skill Level II: This skill level is obtained when promoted to Sergeant (paygrade E-5). TIS is generally between 4-8 YOS. Positions requiring performance of more difficult tasks under general supervision; and in some instances, involving supervision of Soldiers in SL1.

Institutional training:

  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level II
  • Advance Leader Course (ALC)

Skill Level III: This skill level is obtained when promoted to Staff Sergeant (paygrade E-6). TIS is generally between 8-12 YOS. Positions requiring performance of still more difficult tasks and involving first line supervision of Soldiers in SL1 & SL2.

Institutional training:

  • Senior Leader Course (SLC)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level III

Skill level IV: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Sergeant First Class (paygrade E-7). TIS is generally between 12-18 YOS. Positions requiring relatively detailed knowledge of all tasks specified for a given MOS, normally involving first-line supervision of Soldiers in SLs 1, 2, and 3, and involving managerial duties.

Institutional training:

  • Master Leader Course (MLC)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level IV
  • Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education (SEJPME) I Course

Skill level V: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant (paygrade E-8). TIS is generally between 18-22 YOS. Positions requiring direct and indirect leadership roles with expertise in company and battalion-level operations and competency across a given CMF, serving as members of a staff at every level in the Army, with a full understanding of the allocation of resources and their utilization in order to accomplish Army functions and missions.

Institutional training:

  • United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA)
  • Structured Self-Development (SSD) level V

Skill level VI: This skill level is obtained when promoted to the rank of Sergeants Major (paygrade E-9). TIS is generally between 22-30 YOS. Positions requiring organizational leadership roles with multi-dimensional expertise in units and teams on division, corps, and Army staffs, integrated with Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational (JIIM) partners with a full understanding of the Force Generation process, operations at all echelons, and how the Army runs.

Star Credential Star icon

Star credentials are MOS enhancing, as designated by the Proponent. MOS enhancing credentials are directly related to an MOS or ASI, are taught either partially or completely as part of a Program of Instruction (POI), and improve the MOS technical proficiency.

Proponent Funded Funded icon

This icon indicates credentials which Soldiers may have funded through their MOS proponent. Some proponents offer credentialing opportunities in conjunction with military training and/or as part of MOS development beyond the training base.

Gap Analysis Has Analysis icon

A detailed analysis comparing the credential requirements to the military occupation has been completed. Click on the gap analysis icon to view the analysis page.

Certified Paralegal (CP)

Eligibility Requirements ()

Note: This credential may have multiple options for becoming eligible. Listed below are the minimum requirements based on the minimum degree required. To view other options, see the Eligibility tab.

  • Credential Prerequisite
  • Experience: 7 years
  • Education: High School Diploma/GED
  • Training
  • Membership
  • Other
  • Fee

Exam Requirements ()

  • Written Exam
  • Oral Exam
  • Practical Exam
  • Performance Assessment

Renewal Period: 5 years

  • Continuing Education
  • Exam
  • Continuing Education OR Exam
  • Fee
  • Other

National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)
7666 E 61st Street
Suite 315
Tulsa, OK  74133
Phone: (918) 587-6828
Fax: (918) 582-6772

Certified Paralegal (CP)

Option 1: Graduation from a legal assistant program that meets one of the following criteria:

  • Approved by the American Bar Association
  • An associates degree program
  • A post-baccalaureate certificate program in legal assistant studies
  • A baccalaureate degree program in legal assistant studies
  • A legal assistant program consisting of at least 60 semester hours (900 clock hours or 225 quarter hours) of which at least 15 semester hours (225 clock hours or 22.5 quarter hours) are substantive legal courses

Option 2: A bachelor's degree in any field plus one year of experience as a legal assistant. Successful completion of at least 15 semester hours (or 22.5 quarter hours or 225 clock hours) of substantive legal assistant courses will be considered equivalent to one year's experience as a legal assistant.

Option 3: A high school diploma or equivalent and seven years of experience as a legal assistant under the supervision of a Bar member, plus a minimum of 20 hours of continuing legal education within a two-year period before the exam date.

The Certified Paralegal (CP) credential has the following other requirements:

  • Not have been convicted of a felony.
  • Provide a letter signed by an attorney who attests to the applicant's good moral character along with the completed CLA Application Form.

Certified Paralegal (CP)

The Certified Paralegal examination is divided into five sections. Examinees are asked to demonstrate knowledge by responding to true/false, multiple choice and matching questions requiring knowledge of the subject and reading comprehension skills. Analytical skills are further tested by an essay question on the Judgment and Analytical Ability section. Any form of test question (true/false, multiple choice, essay) may be used at any time on the Certified Paralegal examination.

  • Communications
    • Grammar, punctuation, and capitalization (19%)
    • Word usage, spelling, and vocabulary (17%)
    • Written correspondence and composition (17%)
    • Verbal communication (17%)
    • Nonverbal communication (16%)
    • Client and witness interview preparation and techniques (13%)
  • Ethics
    • Ethical responsibilities centering on performance of delegated work (21.3%)
    • Paralegal professional responsibility (21.3%)
    • Professional relationships (21.3%)
    • Client and public contact (19%)
    • Attorney code of ethics and discipline (17%)
  • Legal Research
    • Sources of law (34%)
    • Research skills (32%)
    • Analysis of research (34%)
  • Substantive Law
    • Legal terminology (7%)
    • Court system (6%)
    • Sources and classifications of law (6%)
    • Branches of government (5%)
    • Legal concepts and principles (5%)
    • Remedies and dispute resolution (5%)
    • Jurisdiction and venue (6%)
    • Civil litigation process and rules (6%)
    • Civil discovery (6%)
    • Civil pleadings (6%)
    • Civil trial and appellate process and rules (6%)
    • Corporations (5%)
    • Publicly-held corporations (4%)
    • Partnerships and limited liability companies (LLCs) (4%)
    • Other business entities (5%)
    • Financial structure and management of business entities (5%)
    • Contract classifications (4%)
    • Contract formation (5%)
    • Contract defenses (4%)
    • Contract remedies (5%)
  • Judgement and Analytical Ability
    • Identification of relevant facts and main issues (26%)
    • Application of law to facts (24%)
    • Analysis of issues and formation of conclusions (25%)
    • Organization of information and clarity of expression (25%)

There are a number of resources available to help you prepare for the Certified Paralegal (CP) examination:

An additional resource is Safari Books Online, a searchable digital library that provides online access to thousands of books, training videos and conference sessions. See the Educational Resources page here on COOL to learn how to get free access.

Certified Paralegal (CP)

Renewal Period: 5 years

The Certified Paralegal (CP) credential has the following recertification information:

  • Certified Paralegals may renew their certification upon submission of proof of participation in 50 clock hours of continuing legal education (CLE) programs. The CLE must include a minimum of 5 hours of legal ethics, which provide instruction of a substantive nature on various practice areas of law, rules of procedure, or skills that are relevant to the work of paralegals. Applicants also submit a signed affidavit that the Certified Paralegal has not been convicted of a felony during the five-year period, and pay the recertification fee. See the NALA Recertification Requirements page for additional details.

Certified Paralegal (CP)

Additional considerations for the Certified Paralegal (CP) include:

  • Please note that the certification is currently referred to as the Certified Paralegal (CP), however the agency has, prior to 2004, offered the same credential under the name Certified Legal Assistant (CLA).