Professional Paralegal (PP)

Are you looking for a way to establish your credentials nationwide as a Professional Paralegal? Established in 2004 at our members request, the Certified PP designation is an attainable goal for paralegals who wish to be identified as exceptional in all areas of law. The certificate is received after passing a one-day, four-part examination.

Successful completion of the PP examination demonstrates:

  • A mastery of procedural skills and communication skills.
  • An advanced knowledge of procedural law, the law library, and the preparation of legal documents.
  • A working knowledge of substantive law and the ability to perform specifically delegated substantive legal work under an attorney’s supervision.
  • The ability to interact on a professional level with attorneys, clients, and other staff.
  • The discipline to assume responsibility and exercise initiative and judgment while adhering to legal ethical standards at all times.

Working under the supervision of a practicing lawyer or a judge, the Professional Paralegal is expected to possess:

  • The same high standard of ethical conduct imposed upon members of the Bar.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Knowledge and understanding of legal terminology and procedures, as well as procedural and substantive law.
  • The ability to assume responsibility, exercise initiative and judgment, and prepare substantive legal documents within the scope of assigned authority.
  • Attaining this goal demonstrates dedication to professionalism and acceptance of the challenge to be exceptional. Personal motivation is necessary to attain such a goal.

PP Examination Eligibility

To be eligible to sit for the Profession Paralegal exam, candidates must meet one of the following criteria:
  • Have five years of experience performing paralegal/legal assistant duties.
  • Be a graduate from an ABA approved Paralegal Program.
  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies.
  • Be a graduate from an accredited paralegal program which consists of a minimum of 60 semester hours of which a minimum of 15 hours is substantive law.
  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field and have one year of experience performing paralegal/legal assistant duties.
Membership in NALS is not a requirement.

Waiver for Paralegal Students

Students of an accredited or ABA-approved paralegal studies program who are near graduation may sit for the PP exam provided that NALS receives a Paralegal Student Waiver Form, signed by the program director confirming the student’s graduation date (must be within a three-month window), and by the student agreeing that if the student does not successfully graduate from his/her program, the results of the PP exam will become null and void and the exam fee forfeited.

Effective immediately, NALS will be offering a one-year FREE membership to students of approved legal studies and paralegal studies programs who take the PP certification exam! If you are a student who is registered to take the PP exam, please contact NALS Certification Manager to ensure that you receive your free one-year membership.

Partial Waiver

A partial waiver of the five-year requirement for paralegals is possible. Please contact the NALS Certification Manager for details.)

The Exam Covers

  • PART 1: Written Communications
  • PART 2: Legal Knowledge and Skills
  • PART 3: Ethics and Judgment Skills
  • PART 4: Substantive Law

Examination Guidelines

All four parts of the examination must be taken on the first attempt with the exception of current PLS’s in which only Part 4 in Substantive Law is needed. If you do not pass the entire examination on the first attempt, but do pass one or more parts, you may retake the part (or parts) you failed. All failed parts must be retaken at the same time.

Those passing the exam will receive a certificate which is valid for five years. Recertification is required every five years and may be achieved through the accumulation of continuing legal education hours and activities.

Examination Dates

  • March: Last Saturday
  • September: Last Saturday

Application Deadlines

  • March: Postmarked by January 1
  • September: Postmarked by August 1

PP Application (PDF) |  Partial Waiver Request Form (PDF) |  Paralegal Student Waiver (PDF)

Examination Fees

Initial Fees – Current PLSs

  • NALS member — $175
  • Nonmember – $225
  • Military Member — $150
  • Military Nonmember — $200

Initial Fees – Non-PLS

  • NALS member — $225
  • Nonmember – $275
  • Military Member — $200
  • Military Nonmember — $250

Retake Fees – 1 part

  • NALS member — $60
  • Nonmember — $70
  • Military Member — $50
  • Military Nonmember — $60

Retake Fees – 2 or more parts

  • NALS member — $200
  • Nonmember — $240
  • Military Member — $175
  • Military Nonmember — $215

Transfer/Refund Policy

If you are unable to sit for the examination at your chosen time, you may transfer to another examination date by paying a $50 transfer fee and by making the request no later than two weeks prior to the test date.

If you are unable to sit for the examination at any time following submission of your application, the entire fee, less a 25% processing fee, may be refunded if requested 30 days or more before the scheduled examination date. If you are unable to sit for the examination after transferring to another examination date, no refund will be given nor will additional transfers be allowed.

Preparing For The Exam

  • Click here to view required study materials.
  • NALS Bookstore – Information on text books and mock exams to help you prepare.
  • NALS Online Study Group – To assist those preparing for their exams, NALS will hold a series of WebEd sessions with coverage over all parts of the exam, as well as exam specific reviews for the ALP, PLS, and the Professional Paralegal (PP). The series will wrap up with a general session over test taking tips.
  • NALS Advanced Legal Training Course – Many states and local chapters sponsor the NALS Legal Training Course. This course emulates a classroom study style in preparing for the exam. Check the NALS Calendar for an upcoming course in your area.