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Professional Paralegal (PP)
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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 certification 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 and/or 900 clock hours of which a minimum of 15 hours and/or 225 clock hours are 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.

Student Waiver

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. PDF waiver is available for download at the bottom of this page. 

Request For Partial Waiver

A partial waiver of the five-year requirement for paralegals is possible if an individual has a minimum of three years experience performing paralegal duties. The maximum waiver is two years. PDF waiver is available for download at the bottom of this page. 

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. There is a two year limit in which to retest. 


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 Exam Period: First Saturday in March
  • September Exam Period: Last Saturday in September

Application Deadlines

  • March Exam Period: January 15, 2017
  • September Exam Period: August 1, 2017



Examination Fees

Initial Fees

  • NALS member – $225
  • Nonmember – $275
  • Military (verification required) — $225
  • Currently Certified PLS – $175
 Retake Fees 
  • NALS member — $60/per part
  • Nonmember — $70/per part
  • Military (verification required) — $60/per part


- Military members, please contact NALS to receive promo code for the rates above. 


Testing Location

All NALS certification exams must be administered by a certified PLS/CLP or PP or an individual who is employed as a full-time educator at the post-secondary level, with the approval of NALS Certification/Education Manager. Should an individual who is NOT a certified PLS/CLP or PP wish to administer an exam, he/she will not be allowed to sit for either the PLS/CLP or PP for a period of three years from the date of the last exam he/she administered. All exam administrator will be required to sign a confidentiality statement. If you would like an individual to be approved to administer an exam please have them complete the Certification Exam Administrator form


Once an examinee submits an exam application indicating preferred location a testing location will be arranged at that time. There are no set testing locations. If a testing location cannot be secured the Certification/Education Manager will contact the examinee to discuss alternative arrangements.


Refund Policy

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. Cancellations after this period will forfeit full amount of registration. NO EXAM TRANSFERS WILL BE ALLOWED. 



If you are a currently enrolled full time student who is registered to take the PP exam, please contact NALS Certification/Education Manager to ensure that you receive your free one-year membership.


 Preparing for Exams



PP Certification Applications/Waivers

Item Name Posted By Date Posted
NALS Certification Resource Manual Link  more ] Administration Yesterday
Online PP Exam Application - September 2016 Link  more ] Administration 11/2/2015
Online PP Exam Application - March 2017 Link  more ] Administration 1/18/2016
PP Exam Application (PDF Format) PDF (104.04 KB)  more ] Administration Yesterday
Employer Statement Form (PDF Format) PDF (42.75 KB)  more ] Administration 3/10/2016
Paralegal Student Waiver (PDF Format) PDF (81.97 KB)  more ] Administration 3/10/2016
Application for Partial Waiver (PDF Format) PDF (82.89 KB)  more ] Administration 3/10/2016
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