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CERTIFICATION

NALS of Orange County is dedicated to helping its members keep abreast of changes in the legal field. The most effective way to do that is to increase member education, thereby increasing their marketability and profitability. To that end, we encourage all our members to become certified. The following is important information about certification:

Why Should I Take A Certification Exam?

One way to demonstrate your preparedness for the demanding field of law is by becoming an ALS (the basic certification for legal professionals). This designation is awarded after passing a four-hour, three-part examination. Attaining this goal demonstrates your commitment and aptitude for succeeding in the ever-changing legal environment. To sit for the ALS examination, you must have completed one of the following: an accredited office curriculum course; the NALS Legal Training Course; or one year of general office experience.

PLS (the advanced certification for legal professionals) 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. Any person who has had three years of experience in the legal field may take the PLS examination.

The newest certification offered by NALS is the Professional Paralegal (PP) exam (trademark pending). To qualify to take this exam, you must have five years of experience performing paralegal/legal assistant duties. (A candidate may receive a partial waiver of one year if he or she has a post-secondary degree, other certification, or a paralegal certificate; a candidate with a paralegal degree may receive a two-year partial waiver.)

The inaugural testing will take place in March 2004. This test will be administered at the 2004 Professional Development and Education Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The inaugural testing will only be give to qualifying PLSs. Candidates who have not received PLS certification may take the exam at the Region 8 meeting to be held at the Doubletree La Posadas in Scottsdale, Arizona on July 14-17, 2004. Qualified PLSs will receive the NALS paralegal certification after successful completion of a three-hour exam on substantive law. Other candidates wishing to take the exam (not available for the inaugural testing periods) will receive NALS paralegal certification after successful completion of a four-part, all day exam, which will include the following parts: (1) Written Communications; (2) Legal Knowledge and Skills; (3) Ethics and Judgment Skills; and (4) Substantive Law. Study materials, exam applications for the July 2004 and September 2004 exams, and fees are expected to be announced and made available this summer.

The NALS Professional Paralegal certification will be valid for five years. Recertification will require 75 hours of CLE. Recertification is mandatory to remain certified. The only portion a PLS ever has to take of the NALS Professional Paralegal certification exam is the one section on substantive law (Part 4).

Membership in NALS is not a requirement to sit for any of the above-described exams.

For More Information.

Information can be requested from the Education and Certification Manager at the NALS Resource Center or obtained from the NALS website at www.nals.org. You can contact the NALS Education and Certification Manager at:

NALS Resource Center
314 East Third Street, Suite 210
Tulsa, OK 74120

Telephone: (918) 582-5188 Ext. 22
Fax: (918) 582-5907
E-mail:shatwell@nals.org

And One More Thing...

NALS holds online study groups to help you get ready to take any of the certification exams. The online study group will start up on Tuesday, June 1, 2004 and will meet every Tuesday night from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Pacific time (8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Central time). You may join the online study group at any time and do not need to be a member of NALS. If you are considering sitting for a future exam, why not visit the NALS online learning center at www.nals.org/html/chat.htm to see what the online study group is all about. NALS of Orange County and NALS want to help you pass the certification exams!