Florida Certified Paralegal

What is the FCP Certification?

The Florida Certified Paralegal (“FCP”) program was established in 1980 by the Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc. (“PAF”) to complement NALA’s CP/CLA program.  Its purpose is to provide a standard for measurement of advanced skills and knowledge in Florida law of those persons who have already achieved the national CP/CLA certification.

PAF began administering the CFLA exam in 1983; in August of 2009 the CFLA was renamed the FCP and the FCP trademark was registered with the Florida Department of State.  As NALA’s largest affiliate association in the State of Florida, PAF was the first in the nation to administer such an exam for the state level.  There are presently 170 FCPs in the State of Florida.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is covered in the FCP exam?

The FCP examination is administered through the Certifying Board of PAF in partnership with the UCF study course offering.  The FCP examination is a three-hour, in-depth examination that covers Florida law.  The exam consists of multiple choice, true/false, and matching questions, and an essay in the chosen specialty.  The test has two sections:  (1) Ethics, Civil Procedure and Florida general law that includes Florida’s court system, basic criminal law, basic property law, basic estate and probate law, basic family law and basic business law; and (2) the in-depth testing on your choice of real estate, probate law, business law, family law or criminal law.  The passing grade for each section is 70%.  Both sections must be passed to attain the FCP designation, however, retakes of either section will be available at future exams.

How much does it cost to take the FCP exam?

The cost of the FCP exam is $125 for PAF members and $150 for non-members.

Is there a review course for the FCP exam?

Yes.  PAF and the University of Central Florida have formed a partnership in order to provide a comprehensive, in-depth study session.  Experts in Florida law deliver up-to-date information through the 8-hour continuing education program.  The cost of the review course is separate from the cost of the exam and is payable to UCF. Please contact PAF Headquarters for information on the next available review course.

Is there a study guide to prepare for the FCP exam?

PAF has developed an FCP Study Guide, which is available from PAF Headquarters.  Please contact PAF Headquarters for more information.

When is the FCP exam administered?

The FCP exam is administered once each year at the University of Central Florida.  Please contact PAF Headquarters for more information.

Who is eligible to take the FCP exam?

To be eligible to sit for the FCP exam, an applicant must have successfully completed the CP/CLA examination, be of good moral character, be aware of the ethical limitations of the profession, and have professional conduct above reproach.

How do I apply to take the FCP examination?

An application is available through PAF Headquarters.

I passed the FCP exam . . . what now?

Upon successful completion of the FCP examination, a paralegal is authorized to use the designation “FCP.”  The paralegal is also eligible for 2.0 units of CLE credit from NALA for successfully completing the FCP examination by forwarding the acknowledgment letter from PAF to NALA.

What are the requirements to maintain my FCP certification?

FCPs must submit evidence of completion of thirty (30) hours of Continuing FCP Education (FCPE) – specific to Florida law – every five (5) years, which must include no more than five (5) hours on the subject of legal ethics.  (See “Requirements for Maintaining FCP Certification” below for more detailed information.)

Who do I contact for more information?

For more information, e-mail PAF FCP Certifing Board Chair, Jennifer Wallace, CP, FCP, FRP.

 

Maintaining the FCP Certification

Submit evidence of completion of 30 hours of Continuing FCP Education (FCPE) – specific to Florida law – every 5 years, which must include no more than 5 hours on the subject of legal ethics.

  • CATEGORY A:  Successful completion of a NALA Advanced Paralegal Certification or NALA specialty certification examination = 20 hours per certification
  • CATEGORY B:  Successful completion (Grade C or better) of a relevant course for a minimum of 3 quarter hours or 2 semester hours at an accredited institution of higher education = 20 hours per course; Auditing of a relevant course, or completion  of a relevant course not meeting above-listed minimums = 10 hours per course (Relevancy may be requested by employer attestation and PAF, Inc. Certifying Board approval)
  • CATEGORY C:  Attendance at conferences, seminars, workshops, etc., on relevant topics on Florida law for working paralegals, with actual hours recorded.  Minimum content of one hour required for consideration.  Actual educational hours will be recorded and a copy of brochure and/or program indicating schedule must be attached (unless a PAF, Inc. sponsored event.)
  • CATEGORY D:  Certified Paralegals may petition PAF, Inc. Certifying Board for credit for unusual experiences which may be considered for credit.  Examples: teaching experience; extensive research beyond employment requirements on a topic related to the work of a practicing paralegal which results in publication.  Limited to 20 hours per petition.

It is the obligation of FCPs to secure supporting data (transcripts, employer and coordinator attestations, articles, etc.) to be submitted to PAF, Inc. headquarters as events are attended.  These documents will be reviewed by the PAF, Inc. Certifying Board for action.  Request forms are available from PAF, Inc. headquarters, West Palm Beach, FL 33405, ph: (561) 833-1408, fax: (561) 659-1824, execdirector@pafinc.org.  All requests for FCPE credit are subject to PAF, Inc. Certifying Board approval.  Relevancy is subject to approval by the PAF, Inc. Certifying Board who may request employer attestation.

Notice of one year probation will be sent to the last known address of all FCPs failing to submit evidence of completion of the 30 hours of FCPE within the 5 year period.  If the FCP fails to complete the above recertification requirements in this time the FCP certification will be revoked, with notice to the paralegal.