In 1982, NALA instituted the CLA Specialty (CLAS) program, an advanced certification for those with the general certification, to recognize specialized knowledge and assist in career development. Twenty years after the institution of the CLA Specialty program, a special task force was appointed to look at the specialty program and see if changes were needed. The Task Force determined it was time to redesign and restructure the program. The result was the Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP) program. The APC Board sought a program that would better serve experienced paralegals wishing to enter new areas of practice, as well as paralegals seeking advanced credentials in their practice areas. In 2006, NALA unveiled a new web-based format for the APC program. To receive the ACP credential, all candidates must be Certified Legal Assistants/Paralegals (CLA/CP) in good standing and: 1) Submit a completed learning contract for each APC course taken within 30 days of enrollment. The learning contract asks candidates for certification to outline learning objectives for the course and reviews information about self-directed learning; 2) Complete all modules and exercises in the course and all course requirements; 3) Submit a completed statement of completion to advise the board the course work is completed, discuss how learning objectives were met, and request the award of the credential. The APC Board is considering a wide range of possibilities for other programs. Each program will be designed to reflect the work of paralegals in specific practice areas. The Board will seek input from CLAS and NALA members, review survey data, and other information to determine additional programs. For more information, please go to http://www.nala.org/apcweb/index.html.
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