Do you know what a Florida Registered Paralegal is? A Florida Registered Paralegal is someone who meets the definition of paralegal and the requirements for registration with the Florida Bar. The Rules Regulating the Florida Bar define a paralegal as:
“a person with education, training, or work experience, who works under the direction and supervision of a member of The Florida Bar and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a member of The Florida Bar is responsible”
Unlike paralegal certifications, you don’t have to pass a test to be a Florida Registered Paralegal. You must meet the education combined with work experience requirement or be certified through NALA or NFPA to be eligible. There is also a grandfathering provision for paralegals who were registered before March 2011, but resigned or had their registration revoked.
If you meet one of the eligibility requirements, the application process is quick and easy. You must complete the application form, pay an application fee and provide supporting documentation to prove your education, work or certification. You must also sign an acknowledgment that you have read Chapter 20 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar and will comply with the Code of Ethics and Responsibility. Lastly, you must be currently working and your current and/or previous supervising attorney(s) must provide an attestation.
To maintain your Florida Registered Paralegal status, you must complete a minimum of 30 hours of CLE every 3 years, including 5 hours of ethic or professionalism. You must also be continuously employed as a paralegal and pay an annual renewal fee.
So what are the benefits of being a Florida Registered Paralegal? Prospective employers may be more likely to hire you because your registration shows that you have the education, training and work experience as a paralegal. Your contact information is listed on the Florida Bar website. You also have access to the same benefits available to attorney members of the Florida Bar, including free access to Fastcase and discounted CLE programs.
I have to admit I was hesitant to become a Florida Registered Paralegal, mostly because of the continuous employment requirement. If you lose your job or resign, you also lose your Florida Registered Paralegal status. And then, once you are hired again, you must submit a new application and fee. Some paralegals may also be reluctant to register because the program is administered by attorneys (who are also employers of paralegals), as opposed to certification programs administered by paralegal associations. One may wonder if the Florida Bar has the paralegal’s best interest at heart.
As you can see, there are Pros and Cons to be a Florida Registered Paralegal. Please consider them before applying.
I am curious to know what other paralegals think about this topic. Do you feel it’s worth it to become a registered paralegal with your state bar association?
Disclaimer: The content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Your Paralegal Help Desk's blogger is not an attorney and cannot give legal advice. If you have a legal issue, you should immediately seek the advice of a licensed attorney in your state.