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   PLS/CLP Certification

Preparing for the Certified Legal Professional (PLS/CLP) Exam

Quick Links: Required Textbooks | NALS Legal Training Courses | Testing Sites | Testimonial


How do your skills compare with the hallmark of a professional?
PLS® and/or CLP® is the designation for lawyer’s assistants who want to be identified as exceptional. Certification is received after passing a one-day, four-part examination which demonstrates not only dedication to professionalism but acceptance of the challenge to be exceptional. Personal motivation is necessary to attain such a goal.The purpose of the examination is to certify a lawyer’s assistant as a person who possesses:
  • a mastery of office skills
  • the ability to interact on a professional level with attorneys, clients, and other support staff
  • the discipline to assume responsibility and exercise initiative and judgment, and
  • a working knowledge of procedural law, the law library, and how to prepare legal documents.

In order to more fully embrace the diversity of legal professionals entering the workforce and provide those individuals with certifications reflecting that diversity, NALS has adapted the name of its Professional Legal Secretary certification to include the optional designation of Certified Legal Professional (CLP). Persons who attain or have attained this certification may use either the PLS or CLP designation. The press release can be read by clicking here.

PLS and/or CLP Examination Eligibility


Any person who has had a minimum of three years of experience in the legal field may take the examination. Membership in NALS is not a requirement. A partial waiver of the three-year legal experience requirement may be granted for post-secondary degrees, successful completion of the ALP exam, or other certifications. The maximum waiver is one year. All waiver requests must be submitted, in writing, to NALS National Certification and Education Manger

The Exam Covers

PART 1: Written Communications
PART 2: Office Procedures and Technology
PART 3: Ethics and Judgment Skills
PART 4: Legal Knowledge and Skills

Examination Guidelines

All four parts of the examination must be taken on the first attempt. 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.


Exam Schedule


 Exam Session  Registration Deadline Exam Registration Form
 March 2018  February 15th   Registration Form
 September 2018  August 15th   Registration Form



Examination Fees

Initial Fees

  • NALS member – $175
  • Nonmember – $225
  • Military (verification required) — $175

Retake Fees 

  • NALS member — $50/per part
  • Nonmember — $60/per part
  • Military (verification required) — $50/per part


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



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 transfers will be allowed. 





Testing Locations

  • Our exams may be proctored by any of the professional or academic institutions listed below. If you wish to use one of the third-party providers below, please notify our staff on your exam registration form and we will contact the testing center on your behalf.
  • Many public libraries offer proctoring services for minimal or no cost. A list of public libraries by state can be accessed here.
  • Our exams may be administered by your employer if he/she is a licensed attorney or Judge. If you wish to pursue this option, you must provide your employer's (a) bar number, (b) contact information, and (c) location of the exam site on your exam registration form. 
  • Members holding an advanced certification may proctor our exams for CLE credit. All members interested in proctoring exams must receive written approval from the National Certification and Education Manager. Our advanced members and local/state chapters are not allowed to charge fees for the administration of the ALP, PLS/CLP or PP Exams. If you or your local/state chapter would like to serve as a proctor or testing site, please submit an Exam Administrator Interest Form

Each examinee is responsible for paying any and all proctoring fee(s) associated with the administration of the ALP, PLS/CLP and PP Exam(s). The proctoring fee(s) are not included with the exam registration cost. 


Instructions for Schools

If you are registering multiple students online, please click the "Save and Add Another Attendee" button after entering your first examinee. Proceed until all examinees have been entered. NOTE: Please contact NALS Certification/Education Manager to obtain a promo code for the student rates listed above or for additional information.



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Amylyn Riedling PP PLS-SC2018 NALS Board of Directors
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