Setting the Standard for Paralegal Excellence in Central Florida since 1983
Certified Legal Assistant (CLA), Certified Paralegal (CP) and Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP) designations - The National Association of Legal Assistants and Paralegals (NALA)
has been certifying legal assistants (now considered Paralegals) for
over 30 years. Successful completion of this national certification
examination entitles the paralegal to include the designation of
Certified Paralegal ("CP") after his/her name to distinguish them as
obtaining the nationally-recognized standard in paralegal competence.
In 2006, their certification program expanded to include specialized
advanced courses (ACP) for paralegals who are already certified. In
2010, the certification examination went online. An updated study
manual was published in October, 2010. For more information including test dates, testing centers, and details about becoming a Certified Paralegal, see our NALA NEWS page.
is an affiliated association of NALA and as such, supports the NALA
Annual Meeting and has a member of the CFPA Executive Committee
recognized as NALA Liaison who attends each NALA Annual Meeting as a
representative of CFPA.
Florida Certified Paralegal (FCP) designation - Florida's only statewide paralegal association is the Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc. (PAF)
which provides a state-specific examination for Florida Paralegals who seek
to further distinguish themselves as specialists in Florida law. A
day-long seminar to prepare for this examination held at the University
of Central Florida in October. The examination takes place afterward
completion of this Florida-law specific certification examination
paralegal to include the designation of Florida Certified Paralegal (FCP)
after his/her name to distinguish them as obtaining an advanced level of competence of Florida law.
process for submitting CLE hours to the Paralegal Association of
Florida for credit toward the continuing legal education requirement is a
simple one. A paralegal may submit copies of the signed and completed
Certificates of Attendance received from each seminar attended to the
FCP Coordinator by Email or postal mail at the address below.
Alternately, a paralegal may submit a copy of either the NALA or Florida
Bar listing of credits received to the FCP Coordinator, also by Email
or postal mail.
Catherine Louise, CP, FCP, FRP
Roetzel & Andress, LPA
2320 First Street, Suite 1000
Ft. Myers, FL 33901 CLouisePAF@hotmail.com
CFPA is not officially affiliated with PAF as a charter association, but has partnered with PAF to provide CLE seminars and supports the FCP certification administered by PAF.
Registered Paralegal (RP) designation - The
Federal of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) certifies legal professions
through a nationally-recognized examination and certification process
called the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam ("PACE"). For a history
of the NFPA through October, 2008, CLICK HERE or to read NFPA's Mission Statement, CLICK HERE.
completion of this national certification examination
entitles the paralegal to include the designation of PACE-Registered
Paralegal (RP) after his/her name to distinguish them as obtaining
the nationally-recognized standard in paralegal competence.
For more information about the NFPA see PARALEGALS
For more information about the PACE examination, CLICK HERE
CFPA is not a NFPA-affiliated association, our goal is to promote
professionalism within the paralegal field and CFPA recognizes as NFPA
as a national organization that promotes continued education and
PP designation -The National Association for Legal Professionals (NALS) established in 2004 a professional paralegal certification. Successful
completion of this national certification examination
entitles the paralegal to include the designation of Professional Paralegal (PP)
after his/her name as a means by which to distinguish themselves as
having obtained this nationally-recognized standard in paralegal
is not affiliated with NALS but recognizes NALS as a national
organization whose mission is to promote continued legal education and
The Florida Registered Paralegal Programis
not a certifying program, but a voluntary registration program
administered by the Florida Bar. For more information about being certified as a paralegal, please read above.
Application - AREVISED APPLICATION PACKETcan
be obtained from the Florida Bar website. For more details, go to the
Florida Bar website www.floridabar.org and look under the Professional
Practice menu tab on the left for Florida Registered Paralegal Program.
The registration fee is $150.00.
Online FRP Profile -
Once your Florida Registered Paralegal application has been approved,
you can manage your contact information with the Florida Bar online by
logging in to the MEMBER LOG IN on the home page of the Florida Bar
website. Click here for instructions on how to OBTAIN A PASSWORD.
Submit CLE hours Online - You are now able to post continuing education credits online for your FRP continued legal education requirement with the Florida Bar. Get INSTRUCTIONS on how to post your credits or see our SEMINARS page for step by step instructions for how to post NALA-approved Seminars, including CFPA-sponsored seminars. After credits have
been posted, they can be reviewed by checking your continuing education history.
Renewal - Annual renewal statements will be mailed to your record address around July before the renewal year. Annual renewal fee is $150.00 and must be paid by August 15. If you do not pay by August 15 before the renewal year, you will be assessed a $40.00 late fee bringing your total renewal to $190.00. If you do not pay the $190.00 by October 1, before the renewal year, your FRP registration will be revoked. You will be able to pay by check or online with a credit card. You need a password to pay online.
Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Registered Paralegals
page originated from the Florida Bar Association's website. For more
information about Florida Registered Paralegals, click the Florida Bar
logo above to be redirected to the official Florida Bar website.
Q: Do I have to register in order to work as a paralegal in Florida? A: No, registration is voluntary. You may continue to work as a paralegal without registering.
Q: What is the registration deadline? A: Unless you are using the grandfathering provision, there is no deadline.
Q: I no longer see grandfathering on the application. May I still apply using experience alone? A:
No. As of March 1, 2011, you may no longer use grandfathering in
order to register as an Florida Registered Paralegal. Therefore, you may
no longer use experience alone as a basis for eligibility for
registration. If you wish to register you must meet the education/work
experience or certification requirement for eligibility. If you apply
under the grandfathering provision after March 1, 2011, your application
will be rejected. Please note the application fee is not refundable.
Q: But I still see the grandfathering provision in the rule. Why? A:
The rule was adopted by the Supreme Court of Florida. There is a
procedure for making changes to the rule. Unfortunately, that procedure
takes some time. Because of this, the language is still in the rule.
However, the rule also says that any attestation under the
grandfathering provision must be received by The Florida Bar not later
than 3 years after the effective date of the chapter. The chapter
became effective on March 1, 2008. Consequently, on March 1, 2011, you
could no longer use grandfathering for eligibility. The rule will be
changed as soon as possible.
Q: How do I find out if my paralegal degree is from an approved paralegal program? A:
An approved paralegal program is a program approved by the American Bar
Association ("ABA") or a program that is in substantial compliance with
the ABA guidelines and accredited by a nationally recognized
accrediting agency approved by the United States Department of
Education. You may contact your school to determine whether they meet
the requirement or check the ABA website, www.abanet.org,
the U.S. Department of Education website, ope.ed.gov/accreditation
(note -- there is no www before the address), or the American
Association for Paralegal Education.
Q: How do I find out if my degree is from an accredited institution? A:
The degree has to be from an institution accredited by a nationally
recognized accrediting agency approved by the United States Department
of Education or the Florida Department of Education. You may contact
your school to determine whether they meet the requirement or check the
U.S. Department of Education website, ope.ed.gov/accreditation (note -- there is no www before the address) or the Florida Department of Education website, www.fldoe.org.
Q: I heard that the $150 application fee was waived for the first year. Is this true? A:
No. A $150 application fee must be submitted with the application in
order for it to be processed. An application submitted without the fee
will be returned.
I have worked for my current employing attorney for 2 years but he has
knowledge about my prior paralegal experience. Can my current employing
attorney fill out the attorney attestation? A:
Your current employing attorney can only attest to the 2 years you've
been working for him/her. You will need your former employer(s) to
attest to your paralegal work experience while working for them.
I contacted my university/community college about getting verification
of my degree. I was told that I needed to contact the National Student
Clearing House to obtain that verification. Will this verification from
the National Student Clearing House be sufficient evidence of my degree? A: Yes.
I am trying to qualify based on education and work experience. Can I
use my paralegal work experience in another state when calculating my
work experience? A:
Only paralegal work experience for a member of The Florida Bar counts
for purposes of work experience. If you were working for a member of The
Florida Bar in the other state, you can count that paralegal work
experience. If you were not working for a member of The Florida Bar, you
cannot count that paralegal work experience.
I have been working as a paralegal in Florida for the last 2 years.
Before moving to Florida I worked as a paralegal for an out-of-state
licensed attorney for 10 years. Can I be grandfathered into the Florida
Registered Paralegal Program? A:
No, only paralegal work for a member of The Florida Bar counts as
paralegal work experience. You would have to qualify by certification or
by education and work experience after you worked for a Florida
attorney for the requisite amount of time.
Q: The application asks for the number of hours I have performed paralegal work. Is this billable hours only? A: No. Include the total number of hours you have worked in the past year performing paralegal work whether billable or not.
Q: I have taken some continuing education courses. Can I submit those towards the 30 hour requirement? A: Only courses taken after your registration date may be used towards the 30 hour continuing education requirement.
Q: Once I am registered, what designation may I use? A:
The rule provides that "[a] Florida Registered Paralegal shall disclose
his or her status as a Florida Registered Paralegal at the outset of
any professional relationship with a client, attorneys, a court or
administrative agency or personnel thereof, and members of the general
public." You may either say Florida Registered Paralegal or FRP.
However, if you state FRP, you must also state paralegal. For example: J. Doe, FRP Paralegal Law Office
I am also certified by another organization. When listing my
credentials, which do I list first? Do I need to list all of my
You should check with the other organization. The Florida Bar rule does
not control the order. However, you must state that you are a Florida
Registered Paralegal. (see question above as to disclosure requirement)
Q: I have worked for several attorneys. How many attestation forms do I need? A: You need 1 form for each attorney that you have worked for during the years you are using for the qualifying criteria.
Q: I am using education and work experience as my qualifying criteria. Do you need a certified copy of my degree? A: No.
Q: I am an independent paralegal. I
provide services to attorneys and to the public. May I register as a
Florida Registered Paralegal? A: No, you may not register as a Florida Registered Paralegal. In addition, you may not use the title paralegal in providing services directly to the public. Doing so constitutes the unlicensed practice of law.
Q: I have a degree from a foreign country. Can I use that degree to meet the eligibility requirements? A:
No. Under the rule your degree must come from a United States
institution that meets the requirements of the rule. The degree must be
an associates, bachelors or juris doctorate degree. Q: One of the attorneys I worked
for is deceased. Without an attestation from the years that I worked
for that attorney, I do not meet the eligibility requirements. What can I
First, we need the name of the deceased attorney. If there was an
inventory attorney appointed, you can submit an attestation from the
inventory attorney. The inventory attorney would have access to the
deceased attorney's files and would be able to determine whether you
primarily provided paralegal services. If there is no inventory
attorney, you can provide an attestation from someone else in the firm
with knowledge of your employment. If the attorney was a sole
practitioner, contact FRP counsel at email@example.com.
Q: What is the annual renewal fee and when is it due? A:
The annual renewal fee is $150.00. Generally, it is due July 1 of each
year and considered late after August 15. If late, a $40.00 late fee is
added. If the renewal fee + late fee is not paid by October 1, your FRP
status will be revoked. If any of these dates fall on a Saturday or
Sunday, the date is extended to the following Monday. The annual
renewal statements are mailed at the end of May or beginning of June. If
you are registered as an FRP prior to the date the renewals are mailed,
you will be mailed a renewal statement. For example, if you are
registered May 1, you will be mailed a renewal statement and must pay
the renewal fee to keep your FRP status. Your renewal fee is different
from your application fee. Even if you paid your application fee close
to the date your renewal fee is due, you will need to pay the renewal
fee to keep your FRP status.
Comprised of the Gulf Coast Paralegal Association, the Northeast Paralegal Association, the South Florida Paralegal Association and the Southwest Paralegal Association, the Florida Alliance of Paralegal Associations leads the charge in professional recognition for paralegals in the State of Florida. The FAPA has been instrumental in the formation of the Florida Registered Paralegal Program (FRP) and continues to work toward licensing for paralegals. Certification is a recognition of education and experience through testing competence. Registration with the Florida Bar has set a minimal acceptable standard of education and experience for competence as a paralegal. Licensing is the requirement of a professional license -- such as a plumber, electrician, or other trade --- in order to function as a paralegal. Mandatory paralegal licensing is a goal of FAPA. To find out more about FAPA, CLICK HERE.
CFPA was formerly a member of FAPA but is no longer, effective 2009. CFPA was supportive of FAPA's efforts regarding Rule 20 and, once that was in place, felt the overall FAPA goals may be somewhat contrary to CFPA interests as the only independent association serving paralegals in the Central Florida area. It is important to recognize that CFPA is an all-volunteer association of individual paralegals and each member may have a different view of licensing, certification and regulation. It is not within CFPA's stated purpose pursuant to Article 1.3 of its Bylaws to pursue paralegal regulation. As such, while CFPA does not actively support FAPA by remaining a member, we support and salute its efforts to establish and maintain excellence within the paralegal profession in the State of Florida.
FAPA's latest efforts at regulation are House Bill 1149 and Senate Bill 1612. Both these pieces of legislation are currently in their respective committees. To track the status of the House Bill 1149, CLICK HERE.
To track the status of the Senate Bill 1612, CLICK HERE.
Licensing of paralegals is a hot topic in Florida and has been for some time. There is a difference between the Florida Registered Paralegal Program sponsored and administered by the Florida Bar (See RULE 20 of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar) and being licensed to be a paralegal as proposed in the above legislation. Specifically, Florida's oldest (and only statewide) association opposes the current legislation. CLICK HERE to read the PAF letter to Florida Representative Richard Steinberg, the sponsor of House Bill 1149 and CLICK HERE to read their to Florida Senator Garrett Richter, the sponsor of Senate Bill 1612. PAF recently put out a CALL TO MEMBERS asking them to contact Representative Steinberg and Senator Richter regarding their proposed legislation by providing a LEGISLATIVE CONTACT LIST.
Central Florida Paralegal Association, Inc. ("CFPA") is an all-volunteer
professional association, no representation or
endorsement is given regarding the quality, reliability, competency,
accuracy, business practices/standards/ethics, or professionalism of any
member or other organization or association. Further, as an association of individuals, at this time CFPA does not endorse or promote any perspective or position regarding the licensing, registration, regulation or certification of paralegals. CFPA members are encouraged to be compliant with all rules and regulations regarding ethical legal practices, continued legal education and the highest standards of professionalism as set forth by the Florida Bar, NALA and the ABA. The above is provided for informational and educational purposes only CFPA encourages each individual to form to his/her own opinions regarding licensing, registration, and/or certification of paralegals in the State of Florida and respond accordingly.