National Federation of Paralegal Associations
The National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) was founded in 1974 as a nonprofit organization with the core goal of advancing the paralegal profession. The NFPA defines its mission as “promoting a global presence for the paralegal profession and leadership in the legal community.”
The NFPA offers the PACE Registered Paralegal (or RP) credential. This credential, established in 1996, is earned by successfully completing the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE). The purpose of the RP credential is to show that you are a competent paralegal, and by doing well on the PACE you are showing possible employers and the government how capable you are in this profession.
In order to be eligible to take the PACE, you must meet on of these four requirements:
- Possess an associate's degree in paralegal studies from an accredited school or a paralegal education program approved by the American Bar Association, and have six years of paralegal experience.
- Possess a bachelor's degree in any subject plus three years of paralegal experience.
- Possess a bachelor's degree, complete a paralegal program, and have two years of paralegal experience.
- Have four years of substantive paralegal experience on or before Dec. 31, 2000.
If you have been convicted of a felony or if you are under suspension, termination, or have the possibility of having your certificate, registration, or license revoked by any entity, then you cannot take the exam.
The PACE is a four-hour test comprised of 200 multiple-choice, and it is divided into five different domains:
- Administration of Client Legal Matters : This covers issues like conflict checks and maintaining files and databases.
- Development of Client Legal Matters : This covers such topics as interviewing and preparing clients, and preparing and serving legal documents.
- Factual/Legal Research : This section tests your ability to find evidence, correctly analyze that evidence, and ascertain legal authority.
- Factual/Legal Writing : This tests how well you can communicate in writing and appropriately draft legal documents.
- Office Administration : This final section covers such problems as personnel management, billing, and maintaining legal resources.
The PACE costs $225 dollars for NFPA members and $250 for non-members. In order to register for the test, you must purchase the PACE Candidates Application/Handbook, which is published by Pearson Education and retails for $26 plus shipping and handling.
The PACE is a computer-generated test offered at Sylvan (or Prometric) Technology Centers. The exam can be taken on any day except for Sundays and holidays. You can find a testing site near your home by visiting the Prometric website. The tests are officially scored on March 31 and Sept. 30 each year. Study materials are available online at the Pearson Education website and on the NFPA website.
The RP credential must be renewed every two years. In order to maintain the certification , you must complete 12 hours of continuing legal education, including at least one hour in ethics.