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

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NALS Resource Manual | Required Textbooks NALS Legal Training Courses | Testing Sites | Testimonials 

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 Manager. 

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 PLS/CLP exam provided that NALS receives a copy of their college transcript and a letter, on official university letterhead and signed by the program director, confirming the student’s graduation date (must be within a three-month window). If the student does not successfully graduate from his/her program, the results of the PLS/CLP exam will become null and void and the exam fee forfeited. 

 The Exam Covers

PART 1: Communications 
PART 2: The Law Firm: Office Procedures and Knowledge 
PART 3: Legal Ethics and Authority
PART 4: Substantive Law, Legal Procedure & Document Preparation


Please review NALS Resource Manual for a detailed list of exam content.  

Examination Guidelines

All four parts of the examination are multiple choice and 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.


Understanding the Process

ALP Step One

 If your application is approved by the NALS Certification/Education Manager, you will receive an email with instructions on how to proceed to the online PLS/CLP Exam. These instructions will include login information for the online exam portal and detailed instructions on how to access the online exam. This email will also include the number of days you have to sit for the exam. You may sit for the exam at any time in that window, day or night. Once you decide when to sit for the online exam, you will need: a reliable  internet connection; a quiet room, free of distractions; and a webcam.



Step 2


 After you receive the exam confirmation email from NALS, you will receive a link to the online exam portal and your login/password information. After downloading the necessary software, the online proctoring system will require each examinee to show a valid ID, scan their surroundings and take a photo of their face to verify identity.



Step Three



After your identity has been established, you will be able to take our online exam. 

You will navigate to your specific exam and take it like you normally would.  




Step 4


Your exam session is reviewed and recorded (screen, audio and webcam) by third-party, unbiased certified proctors. Results of the exam reviews are delivered directly to our organization including the screen, audio, and webcam recording. If anything appears suspicious during the exam process, the video will be flagged and reviewed by the National Certifying Board and the National Certification and Education Manager.  



Step Five



 You will receive your results immediately upon completion. If you pass the exam, you will receive your certificate in the mail. If you fail any parts of the exam, you will be able to retest online



Exam Application & Registration

Apply and register for the Professional Legal Secretary/Certified Legal Professional (PLS/CLP) Exam by clicking on the links below. We offer the PLS/CLP each month of the year!  


2019 PLS/CLP Exam Sessions

2020 PLS/CLP Exam Sessions


Examination Fees

Initial Fees

  • NALS member – $175
  • Nonmember – $225
  • Military— $175

    *   Proctoring Fee- $45.00

            Paid directly to service provider

Retake Fees

  • NALS member — $50/per part
  • Nonmember — $60/per part
  • Military— $50/per part

     *  Proctoring Fee- $45.00

          Paid directly to service provider


- Students or Military personnel, please contact NALS Certification/Education Manager to verify your status and to receive a promo code for the rates listed above. If you already have a Student membership then a promo code is not necessary at checkout.


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.



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


Helpful Links & Videos

The information provided by the links below are generic instructions for the examinee. NALS specific instructions will be emailed to the candidate upon review and approval of the online exam application.  



Service Providers:

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Program Funding Provided By: 


more Calendar

10/1/2020 » 12/31/2020
2020 Online CLP/PLS Exam

10/1/2020 » 12/31/2020
2020 Online ALP Exam

10/1/2020 » 12/31/2020
2020 Online PP Exam


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