August 10, 2018


KLPI supports professional certification credentials for its members. Awards are given to members and scholarships are available to help defray costs.

Here are examples of professional certifications that are available to legal professionals.

Professional Legal Secretary (PLS)/Certified Legal Professional (CLP)Kansas Legal Professionals, Inc. (KLPI) was created in May of 1996 and provides membership in a professional association for all persons in the legal field throughout the state of Kansas. Not only will individual members benefit from belonging to a professional association, but their employers will also discover the advantages. KLPI consists of two (2) chapters covering numerous counties throughout the state.

The ALS is the basic certification for the legal professional and is received after passing a four-hour three-part examination, which is sponsored by the NALS . . . the association for legal professionals.  Membership in NALS is not a requirement.

The ALS Examination:

  • Demonstrates ability to perform business communication tasks.
  • Gauges ability to maintain office records and calendars, and prioritize multiple tasks when given real-life scenarios.
  • Measures understanding of office equipment and related procedures.
  • Denotes aptitude for understanding legal terminology, legal complexities, and supporting documents.
  • Assesses recognition of accounting terms in order to solve accounting problems, and appraises knowledge of law office protocol as prescribed by ethical codes.

To sit for the ALS examination, an individual must have completed one of the following:

  • An accredited office curriculum course.
  • The NALS training course.
  • One year of general office experience.

The examination has three parts, and must be taken on the first attempt. If you do not pass the entire examination on the first attempt, you may retake the examination parts you did not pass. All failed parts must be retaken at the same time. You will be charged the full exam fee each time you sit. Those passing the exam will receive a certificate that is valid for five (5) years. Certification may be extended through continuing education, based on NALS guidelines, for one year.

The exam covers:

  • Part 1:  Written Communications
  • Part 2:  Office Procedures and Legal Knowledge
  • Part 3:  Ethics, Human Relations, and Judgment

Examination Dates:

  • March: First Saturday
  • June:  First Saturday *
  • September: Last Saturday
  • December: Last Saturday *

Application Deadlines:

  • March: Postmarked by January 1
  • June: Postmarked by April 15 *
  • September: Postmarked by August 1
  • December: Postmarked by October 15 *

* June and December testing are for those who’ve completed the Basic or Advanced NALS Legal Training Course.

Examination Fees:

  • Student/LTC Participant (minimum of 9 credit hours) — $50
  • NALS member (not a full-time student) — $75
  • Nonmember (not a full-time student) –$100

Professional Legal Secretary (PLS)

The PLS, an advanced certification for the legal professional, is received after passing a one-day, four-part examination, sponsored by the NALS . . . the association for legal professionals.

The PLS certification demonstrates:

  • 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
  • A working knowledge of procedural law, the law library, and how to prepare legal documents.

Any person who has three years experience in the legal field may take the examination. A partial waiver of the three-year legal experience requirement may be granted for post-secondary degrees, successful completion of the ALS exam, or other certifications. The maximum waiver is one year. Membership in the NALS is not a requirement

The PLS Certification Exam covers:

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

Examination Dates:

  • March:  First Saturday in March
  • September:  Last Saturday in September

Application Deadlines:

  • March:  Postmarked by January 1
  • September:  Postmarked by August 1

Examination Fees:

  • For the initial examination:  Members – $150; Nonmembers – $200
  • For part retakes:  Members – $40 per part; Nonmembers – $50 per part

Professional Paralegal (PP)

The PP certification was established in 2004 by NALS . . . the association for legal professionals, for paralegals wishing to be identified nationwide as exceptional in all areas of law.  The certificate is received after passing a one-day, four-part examination. To be eligible to sit for the PP examination, an individual must have five (5) years 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 certification.  A candidate with a paralegal degree may receive a two-year partial waiver. The examination covers the following:

  • Part 1:  Written Communications
  • Part 2:  Legal Knowledge and Skills
  • Part 3:  Ethics and Judgment Skills
  • Part 4:  Substantive Law

Examination Guidelines:

All four parts of the examination must be taken on the first attempt with the exception of current PLS’s in which only Part 4 in Substantive Law is needed. 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. 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.

Examination Dates:

  • March:  First Saturday
  • September:  Last Saturday

Application Deadlines:

  • March:  Postmarked by January 1
  • September:  Postmarked by August 1

Examination Fees:

  • Current PLSs:  Members – $150; Nonmembers – $200
  • Non-PLSs:  Members – $200; Nonmembers – $250
  • Retakes:  Members – $50 per part; Nonmembers – $60 per part

Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)

The CLA (Certified Legal Assistant), or CP (Certified Paralegal) certification is received after passing a two-day comprehensive examination sponsored by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA).  NALA has redesigned the CLA certificate to encourage those who have completed the CLA certification to use either CLA or CP as their professional credential.  The certification mark CP was successfully registered on July 20, 2004

Eligibility requirements to sit for the CLA or CP exam fall into three different categories that include the following:

  • Graduation from a legal assistant program.
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field plus one year experience as a legal assistant.
  • A high school diploma plus seven (7) years experience as a legal assistant under the supervision of a member of the Bar, plus evidence of a minimum of twenty (20) hours of continuing legal education credit to have been completed within a two (2) year period prior to the examination.

The major subject areas of the examination are listed below:

  • Communications, Human Relations and Interviewing Techniques
  • Ethics
  • Legal Research
  • Judgment and Analytical Ability
  • Substantive Law
  • Legal Terminology*

*This section consists of five (5) mini-examinations covering (1) the American Legal System and four (4) of the following areas as selected by examinees:

  • Administrative Law
  • Bankruptcy
  • Business
  • Organizations/Corporations
  • Contracts
  • Family Law
  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Litigation
  • Probate and Estate Planning
  • Real Estate

Certified Legal Assistant Specialist (CLAS)

The Specialist certification is received after passing a four-hour examination, which is also sponsored by NALA.  This is available only to legal professionals who have successfully completed the Certified Legal Assistant examination. Specialty certification is available in the areas of probate and estate planning; corporate and business law; criminal law and procedure; real estate; bankruptcy; intellectual property; and civil litigation. You may sit for as many of these specialty exams as you like. The specialty exams are given during the same time frame as the CLA exam.

Registered Paralegal through PACE Examination (RP)

PACE (Paralegal Advanced Competency Examination) is a four-hour, computer-generated test administered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA). It is offered at more than 200 Sylvan Technology Centers, aka Prometric, throughout the country. Once approved, each applicant can schedule the date and time to take the test at his or her convenience, except Sundays or holidays. Please note: not all Sylvan Learning Centers are Technology Centers. Requirements for sitting for the PACE examination are as follows:

  • Associate degree in paralegal studies with six (6) years experience.
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field with three (3) years experience.
  • Bachelor’s degree and completion of a paralegal program at an institutionally accredited school that may be embodied in the bachelor’s degree with two (2) years experience.

Candidates successfully completing the examination may use the designation Registered Paralegal (RP).

For more information on the various certification programs, contact