The New York State Certified Paralegal Program is a voluntary certification program developed and managed by the Empire State Alliance of Paralegal Associations (ESAPA). ESAPA has enacted the New York State Certified Paralegal Program to recognize paralegals who have met superior qualifications which include defined levels of education and experience.
ESAPA acknowledges that there is a need for cost-effective legal services. ESAPA recognizes that the use of qualified paralegals by lawyers, law firms, judicial, educational, commercial and governmental entities is the best way to provide the community with such cost-effective legal services.
Paralegals certified by ESAPA are authorized to use the credential “New York State Certified Paralegal” or “NYSCP”. Continuing legal education is required to maintain the NYSCP credential.
The Program recognizes paralegals whose education, training, and work experience have equipped them with the knowledge, skills and proficiencies to perform substantive legal work in a professional and ethical manner. These individuals are employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency, or other entity to work under the direction of a lawyer or pursuant to state statute, administrative regulation, or court authority in a capacity that, in most instances, would be performed by a lawyer in the absence of a paralegal. The NYSCP credential distinguishes qualified paralegals and offers employers a standard for hiring and promoting paralegals.
To become a New York State Certified Paralegal (NYSCP) an individual must satisfy each of the following criteria as well as one of the criteria under the Experience/Educational Requirements:
- Applicant must be 18 years of age or older;
- Applicant must be a legal resident of or employed in the State of New York;
- Applicant must be of good moral character;
- Applicant must satisfy one of the criteria set forth under Experience/Educational Requirements; and
- Applicant must be currently employed as a Paralegal pursuant to the definition established and approved by the Empire State Alliance of Paralegal Associations.
Applicant must meet one (1) of the following criteria in addition to the foregoing Qualifications :
- Have successfully passed the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE) by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. or the NALA Certified Paralegal Exam by the National Association of Legal Assistants now known as NALA – The Paralegal Association and such certification must be current; OR
- Associate’s degree in paralegal studies from an institutionally accredited school; and six (6) years substantive paralegal experience; OR
- Associate’s degree in any subject from an institutionally accredited school and a Certificate from a Paralegal Program; and six (6) years substantive paralegal experience; OR
- Associate’s degree in any subject from an institutionally accredited school; and ten (10) years substantive paralegal experience; OR
- Bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies from an institutionally accredited school and three (3) years substantive paralegal experience; OR
- Bachelor’s degree in any subject from an institutionally accredited school and a Certificate from a Paralegal Program; and three (3) years substantive paralegal Experience; OR
- Bachelor’s degree in any subject from an institutionally accredited school and six (6) years of substantive paralegal experience; OR
- A member of the active duty, retired, former military, or the reserve component of any branch of the US Armed Forces, qualified in a military operation specialty with the rank of at least an E6 in a paralegal rate as a Staff Sergeant (Army and Marines), Petty Officer First Class (Navy), Technical Sergeant (Air Force), or higher as a supervisory paralegal within that branch of service and 12 hours of continuing legal education (“CLE”), including 1 CLE hour of ethics, within 2 years preceding the Application; OR
- Prior to January 1, 2022, the applicant has received a high school diploma or its equivalent, has a minimum of 10 years of substantive paralegal experience, as defined by ESAPA.
- $50.00 non-refundable application fee for members of an ESAPA member association. ($30.00 non-refundable renewal application processing fee for each two-year renewal period thereafter.)
- $75.00 non-refundable application fee for applicants not affiliated with an ESAPA member association. ($50.00 non-refundable renewal application processing fee for each two-year renewal period thereafter.)
- Fees are non-refundable
Below are the Application and the Attorney Affirmation for the ESAPA New York State Certified Paralegal Program.
Please complete the Application and Attorney Affirmation (if applicable). Send the completed forms with required documentation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please send check for appropriate fee to:
Empire State Alliance of Paralegal Associations
P.O. Box 14262
Albany, New York 12212-4262
Renewal and Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Requirements
Every Certification issued to a Paralegal by ESAPA shall expire two (2) years after the issue date unless sooner revoked, suspended, or canceled. The date of expiration shall be printed on such Certification.
All Certified Paralegals shall, before the Certification expiration, renew their Certification by payment to ESAPA of a renewal fee as set by regulation of ESAPA, and upon submission of proof and a statement of compliance with the mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirements as set forth therein. If the Certified Paralegal fails to timely renew, their certification is subject to automatic suspension. Any Certification thus suspended may be restored within forty-five (45) days after the automatic suspension upon application to, and approval by, ESAPA and compliance with the requirements of renewal and the payment of a reinstatement fee as determined by regulation of ESAPA.
All Paralegals certified under this Section are required to earn a minimum of twelve (12) Continuing Legal Education credits every two (2) years to satisfy the requirements for renewal of their Certification. At least one (1) of the required Continuing Legal Education Credits shall be in Ethics.
Continuing Legal Education Credits obtained directly from or pre-approved by the following organizations/entities are deemed pre-approved by ESAPA as a proper organization/entity to grant Continuing Legal Education credits and will be accepted by ESAPA for renewal:
• ESAPA member associations;
• all bar associations;
• courts of all jurisdictions within the United States;
• inns of court;
• National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (NFPA), National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (NALA) or American Alliance of Paralegals, Inc. (AAPI) – either sponsored by them or bearing their accreditation on the certificate of attendance; and
• law firms and in-house legal departments (at the discretion of ESAPA).
Hold on to your certificates until renewal time.