About the New Certified Paralegal Exam

January 15, 2014

The current certified paralegal (CP) exam by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) tests graduates of paralegal degree programs that meet its standards.  It explores an examinee’s acumen on a variety of skills and legal education.  The exam involves five sections, usually administered over two consecutive days, with a total time allotted of seven-and-a-half hours.  Two sections take just an hour; one takes one-and-a-half hours; and a couple of sections take two hours.  NALA requires more than a typical passing grade on each section, or an average grade of at least 78 on each. 

Sections are named: Communication, Judgment & Analytical Ability, Ethics, Legal Research, and Substantive Law.  The substantive areas of law covered include: the American legal system, civil litigation, business organizations, and contracts.

The more straightforward sections are probably those multiple choice answer sections.  The more difficult sections require analysis and application of provided law to the facts, in the Judgment & Analytical Ability section.  Also difficult is the Communication section, as it requires correction of sentences containing improper grammar, punctuation, and spelling; and a fairly hefty vocabulary to be able to find synonyms, or words with the same or similar meaning.

Here’s the good news: Community Care College paralegal degree earners get exposure to those areas tested on this exam.  The instructor works with students one-on-one each week on their writing.  Also, students get experience conducting legal research using Westlaw, a renowned legal research database used worldwide.  Click here for more information on the CP exam.  Click here for more information on Westlaw.

westlaw