Legal Staff Professionals 
of South Carolina

Accredited Legal Professional (ALP)

One way to demonstrate your preparedness for the demanding field of law is by becoming an ALP. 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.

The ALP 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;
  • appraises knowledge of law office protocol as prescribed by ethical codes.

This exam formerly used the ALS designation.  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 Accredited Legal Secretary (ALS) certification to Accredited Legal Professional (ALP). Effective May 1, 2013, persons who attain or have attained this certification may use either the ALS or ALP designation. This is a change in name only; the quality of the exam remains the same.

ALP Examination Eligibility

To sit for the examination, you must have completed one of the following:
  • an accredited business/legal course,
  • the NALS Legal Training Course, or
  • one year of general office experience.

 Professional Legal Secretary (PLS)
Certified Legal Professional (CLP)  

How do your skills compare with the hallmark of a professional? PLS® 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.

PLS Examination Eligibility

Any person who has had 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 ALS exam, or other certifications. The maximum waiver is one year.

The PLS Certification Exam Covers
  • PART 1: Written Communications
  • PART 2: Office Procedures and Technology
  • PART 3: Ethics and Judgment Skills
  • PART 4: Legal Knowledge and Skills

Professional Paralegal (PP)

Are you looking for a way to establish your credentials nationwide as a Professional Paralegal? Established in 2004 at our members request, the Certified PP designation is an attainable goal for paralegals who wish to be identified as exceptional in all areas of law. The certificate is received after passing a one-day, four-part examination.

Successful completion of the PP examination demonstrates:
  • A mastery of procedural skills and communication skills.
  • An advanced knowledge of procedural law, the law library, and the preparation of legal documents.
  • A working knowledge of substantive law and the ability to perform specifically delegated substantive legal work under an attorney’s supervision.
  • The ability to interact on a professional level with attorneys, clients, and other staff.
  • The discipline to assume responsibility and exercise initiative and judgment while adhering to legal ethical standards at all times.

Working under the supervision of a practicing lawyer or a judge, the Professional Paralegal is expected to possess:
  • The same high standard of ethical conduct imposed upon members of the Bar.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Knowledge and understanding of legal terminology and procedures, as well as procedural and substantive law.
  • The ability to assume responsibility, exercise initiative and judgment, and prepare substantive legal documents within the scope of assigned authority.
  • Attaining this goal demonstrates dedication to professionalism and acceptance of the challenge to be exceptional. Personal motivation is necessary to attain such a goal.

PP Examination Eligibility

To be eligible to sit for the Profession Paralegal exam, candidates must meet one of the following criteria:
  • Have five years of experience performing paralegal/legal assistant duties.
  • Be a graduate from an ABA approved Paralegal Program.
  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies.
  • Be a graduate from an accredited paralegal program which consists of a minimum of 60 semester hours of which a minimum of 15 hours is substantive law.
  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field and have one year of experience performing paralegal/legal assistant duties.

**NOTE:  Membership in NALS is not a
 requirement to sit for any of 
 these certifications.

Specialty Certificate

You have your PP or PLS certification, but do you want more? The Specialty Certificate Program is for those who want to go above and beyond. A Specialty Certificate is received after obtaining 50 CLE credit hours in one of the specialty tracks designated by NALS – Litigation/Civil Law, Corporate Law, or Estate Planning/Family Law. This program will set you apart from the competition and make your area of expertise known.

Application for Specialty for Specialty Certificate

A Certified PP or PLS may obtain a specialty certificate in one of the educational tracks offered by NALS:
  • Litigation/Civil Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Estate Planning/Family Law

Click here to view the subcategories under each specialty track.

In order to obtain multiple specialty certificates, you must fill out an application form for each specialty, and obtain the 50 CLE hours required in that specific track.

Specialty Certificate Eligibility:

Any person who has a current PP or PLS certification, who earns a minimum of 50 hours of CLE in one of the designated tracks within their 5 year validity period may apply.

For more details for any of these certifications (i.e., testing dates, sites, fees, online study sessions, etc.) or the Specialty Certificate, please visit the NALS website.