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Maintaining Your Certified Legal Professional (CLP) Certification

Legal support professionals maintain their national certifications through a process known as recertification. Recertification literally is the act of having one’s certification renewed. NALS considers recertification to be continuing one’s education in the legal field by obtaining continuing legal education credit hours. Recertification is required every five (5) years because of the ever-changing profession to which we belong. Laws, rules, and regulations are continuously changing, and by requiring recertification, NALS ensures that certified professionals remain up to date with current legal practices. 


There are three categories of recertification for CLP designation: mandatory, voluntary and emeritus status. In order to maintain certification as a CLP, applicants must accumulate 75 points in education credits. For CLP recertification, a minimum of 5 of the points must be on ethics. Points may be earned in any of the modules outlined in the Recertification Modules listed below. Certificates and documentation of education credits are to be submitted to National Headquarters prior to the expiration of the current certification period. Early applications will be accepted; however, early recertification approval will not alter the validity period for recertification. 

CLPs falling under voluntary recertification may submit a CLP Recertification Form, online application and the $75 fee, along with proof of earning of 75 points of education credits within a five-year period. The first time an applicant recertifies under voluntary recertification, the recertification period will end five years from the date of recertification by NALS. After the first recertification, the recertification period runs five years from the end of the prior recertification period.

Certified CLP status is available to the following: (1) certified CLPs who are 65 years of age or older who are retired from employment in the legal services field; and (2) certified CLPs  who are permanently disabled. A letter requesting Certified CLP Emeritus status may be submitted to NALS. If emeritus status is being requested because of a permanent disability, proof of disability should also be submitted. Upon notification of approval of emeritus status, the Certified CLP will not be required to accumulate points to recertify. If a Certified CLP returns to work in the legal field, the emeritus status is invalidated. CLPs who previously fell under mandatory recertification will have five years within which to recertify from the date of reemployment.


The criteria and guidelines to maintain a valid CLP certification are established and monitored by the NALS Certifying Board. Criteria and guidelines may be changed from time to time in order to correspond with the five-year cycle of changes in education. NALS retains the right to make changes to the recertification process or criteria. Changes to the recertification process or criteria will be published online.


Notification regarding individual recertification will be provided only to the association’s publication editors for purposes of association-wide publicity. It is the professional responsibility of the CLP to calendar their recertification deadline. NALS does not send out reminder notices. The validity period for certification is indicated on the certificate issued when the examinee passes the CLP examination or on the most recent recertification certificate.


If an individual voluntarily chooses not to recertify, the certification designation will be valid until such time that the current validity period expires. After the period expires, the individual is to remove the certification designation and is requested to no longer use the designation CLP.  In the event the CLP designation becomes invalid, it will be necessary for the individual to retest.



Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Credits 


Those who wish to maintain their professional designations, must participate in educational activities to earn points toward recertification. Appropriate educational topic may include topics such as: law office procedures, technology, ethics and judgment, grammar, and law-related topics.


You MUST obtain certificates or other documentation confirming participation in educational activities. Attach additional information to documentation as needed. A file with all CLE certificates and documentation must be maintained. We strongly suggest that you track, organize and maintain your CLE credits and supporting documentation in your online journal.  A chart including date of activity, topic and points earned may be utilized to keep track of credits. 

Applicants should retain originals of all CLE documents [e.g., certificates etc...], as NALS National Headquarters discards submitted documents upon approval of the recertification application.



Recertification Modules


NALS has identified the following recertification modules, which are guidelines for educational activities that CLPs may utilize in order to accumulate 75 points in education credits toward recertification. CLPs must accumulate 75 points in education credits. Applicants need not accumulate points in all modules in order to recertify.

Successful Completion of Postsecondary Education Courses


This module covers successful completion (Grade C or better) of relevant courses (courses related to the examination or any area of law) at an accredited institution of higher education. Higher education institutions are generally organized into semesters (16 weeks in length providing “semester hours,” or 10 to 12 weeks in length providing “quarter hours”). Copies of transcripts or grade reports and official course descriptions are to be submitted with the completed recertification packet. 


Attendance at Seminars/Workshops, NALS Online Education, and CLE Online


This module covers attendance at conferences, seminars, workshops, chapter educational programs, etc. and participation in NALS Online Educational Chats on topics related to the examinations or any area of law. Seminars and NALS Online Chats must be a minimum length of 30 minutes.


Included in this module is credit for watching videotapes or listening to audiotapes on relevant topics. One hour equals one point of education credit. Except for topics related to the examination, credit is not available for personal development and/or motivational programs or for sessions providing information about the examination. 


Seminars/Workshops Taught


This module covers teaching at conferences, seminars, workshops, chapter educational programs, etc. on topics related to the examination or any area of law. Seminars must be a minimum length of one (1) hour.


One teaching hour equals four points, which includes credit for preparation and presentation time. Except for topics relating to the examination, credit is not available for personal development and/or motivational programs or for sessions providing information about the examination.


A copy of the seminar brochure verifying the applicant as a speaker or other documentation confirming applicant’s participation in the program is to be submitted with the completed recertification application. 


Earning Other Certifications


This module covers earning other national certifications and specialty certifications. Each candidate may be awarded up to 20 points per certification earned. Copies of the certificates must  be submitted to the NALS Resource Center. 


Authoring Articles and Publications


This module covers authoring articles regarding exam-related topics and law-related education. Five points are awarded for each substantive article.




This module covers self-study dedicated to the legal profession such as reading legal related articles and books. You must list the article and/or book title, publication name, volume, edition, and any other information that will assist with identification of the article or book. One point is awarded for one hour of reading. A maximum of five hours can be earned for self study.


Credit for Volunteering and Pro Bono Legal Support Services


This module covers volunteer time dedicated to NALS' national task force(s) [e.g., Certifying Board, Manuals Task Force, etc...]. If you are claiming CLE credit for volunteering on a national task force, you must provide proof of your involvement and your task force leader must confirm same. 


Each candidate can earn CLE credit(s) for volunteering their time and skills as a paralegal or legal support professional to legal organizations or nonprofit organizations [e.g., Legal Aid Services, etc...] in a pro bono capacity. A maximum of five (5) hours can be earned for pro bono legal support services. If you are claiming CLE credit under this module, you must provide confirmation of your time/services dedicated. 



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