Established in 1976, the CLA program is the nation's premiere certification procedure for paralegals. The program has enabled the profession to develop a strong and responsive self-regulatory program offering a nationwide credential for paralegals. As of January 2011 there are 16,350 Certified Paralegals and nearly 2300 Advanced Certified Paralegals in the United States. The CLA program is recognized throughout the United States as a means of identifying competent paralegals. In 2004, NALA registered the mark "CP" for those who prefer to use the term "paralegal" instead of "legal assistant."

The Arkansas Paralegal Alliance currently has 25 members who have have earned the use of this professional designation.

APA Scholarship for CLA/CP Examination:

APA is proud to offer its members a scholarship opportunity! The scholarship will pay the fee for taking the CLA/CP exam offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (“NALA”).

The award is merit based, and is only available to APA members in good standing. Members of the Board are ineligible. The winner must have completed all other eligibility requirements as prescribed by NALA and be prepared to take the exam within the year that the scholarship is given. The award will not cover subsequent fees to retake any sections, and you may only be awarded the scholarship once during your career. Each application will be reviewed by APA’s scholarship committee and the Board of Directors in order to select the winner. Click here to download the scholarship application.

Certified Legal Assistant/Certified Paralegal Examination Dates & Deadlines:

The CLA/CP examination is offered three times a year. Beginning in September 2010, the CLA/CP exam moved to computer based testing. Information describing the process can be found on NALA's website at

Testing locations in Arkansas currently include the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, North Arkansas College (Harrison), University of Arkansas Fort Smith, and South Arkansas Community College (El Dorado). A complete list of testing sites may be found on the web at

Upcoming Testing Dates:

Examination Date            Application filing Deadline       Late Application Filing Deadline*

September 1-30              August 1                             August 10
January 1-31                  December 1                          December 10
May 1-31                        April 1                                 April 10

* With $25 late filing fee

The fee for the CLA/CP examination is $250 for NALA members and $275 for non-members of NALA. Retake fees are $60 per section. The CLA/CP examination program has been approved by the Veterans Administration under the new licensing and certification benefit. The VA will pay the examination fee for qualified veterans. For further information, see

We are planning to hold a Certified Paralegal Study Course in Central Arkansas for the fourth year in a row and hope to hold a study course in Northwest Arkansas for the second year in a row. In addition to providing CLE credit, the study course is a great way to improve your self-confidence as you prepare for the exam.

Examination preparation seminars for selected topics are also available on-line through NALA. Self study and LIVE programs schedules are typically included on NALA Campus and NALA Campus Live.

Complete information on the CLA/CP program can be found on NALA's website at

Advanced Paralegal Certification:

For those who have attained the CLA/CP designation, additional certification is available through the Advanced Paralegal Certification Program. In 2006, NALA unveiled a new web-based format to increase access to advanced certification for paralegals working in specific practice areas. Beginning in July 2006, the following Advanced Paralegal Certification programs are available:

Contracts Management/Contracts Administration
Social Security Disability
Trial Practice (Introduced January 2007)
Alternative Dispute Resolution (March 2008)
Business Organizations: Incorporated Entities (June 2008)
Trademarks (March 2009)
Personal Injury - Core Course (February 2010)
Personal Injury - 8 Practice Area Courses (March 2010)
Land Use (October 2010)
Criminal Litigation (March 2011)
Commercial Bankruptcy (October 2011)

Programs scheduled to begin in 2012 include:
Real Estate Principles
Business Organization: Non-corporate Entities

Paralegals who have a valid CLA/CP certification credential from NALA and successfully complete an APC Course are awarded use of the ACP credential to signify this outstanding achievement.

The Arkansas Paralegal Alliance currently has 5 members who have attained the ACP designation.

Complete information on the ACP program can be found on NALA's website at

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