Florida Registered Paralegal Program Applications The Court's order adopting the Florida Registered Paralegal Program has an effective date of March 1, 2008. Applications are now available! You can download the application from The Florida Bar website. For more details, go to the Florida Bar website at www.floridabar.org and look under the Professional Practice menu tab on the left for Florida Registered Paralegal Program. The registration fee is $150.00.
History of the Legislative Process - As of 04/16/2007: The Florida Supreme Court heard Oral Argument regarding the Florida Registered Paralegal. To review thepetition and appendices, you will need to leave this site & go to the Florida Supreme Court's website. Click here to review the official word from the Florida Supreme Court decision on the Florida Registered Paralegal Program.
After obtaining the minimum standard for education and experience, Florida Registered Paralegals are given a certificate and registration card showing their status as a Florida Registered Paralegal through the Florida Bar Association. A Florida Registered Paralegal is not a member of The Florida Bar and may not give legal advice or practice law. As of March 11, 2009 there are 3,057 Florida Registered Paralegals!
Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Registered Paralegals
This page originated from the Florida Bar Association's website. For more information about Florida Registered Paralegals, click the Florida Bar logo above to be redirected to the official Florida Bar website.
Q: Do I have to register in order to work as a paralegal in Florida? A: No, registration is voluntary. You may continue to work as a paralegal without registering.
Q: What is the registration deadline? A: Unless you are using the grandfathering provision, there is no deadline. If you are using your work experience only (grandfathering) you must register prior to March 1, 2011.
Q: How do I find out if my paralegal degree is from an approved paralegal program? A: An approved paralegal program is a program approved by the American Bar Association ("ABA") or a program that is in substantial compliance with the ABA guidelines and accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency approved by the United States Department of Education. You may contact your school to determine whether they meet the requirement or check the ABA website, www.abanet.org, the U.S. Department of Education website, ope.ed.gov/accreditation (note -- there is no www before the address), or the American Association for Paralegal Education.
Q: How do I find out if my degree is from an accredited institution? A: The degree has to be from an institution accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency approved by the United States Department of Education or the Florida Department of Education. You may contact your school to determine whether they meet the requirement or check the U.S. Department of Education website, ope.ed.gov/accreditation (note -- there is no www before the address) or the Florida Department of Education website, www.fldoe.org.
Q: I heard that the $150 application fee was waived for the first year. Is this true? A: No. A $150 application fee must be submitted with the application in order for it to be processed. An application submitted without the fee will be returned.
Q: I have worked for my current employing attorney for 2 years but he has knowledge about my prior paralegal experience. Can my current employing attorney fill out the attorney attestation? A: Your current employing attorney can only attest to the 2 years you've been working for him/her. You will need your former employer(s) to attest to your paralegal work experience while working for them.
Q: I contacted my university/community college about getting verification of my degree. I was told that I needed to contact the National Student Clearing House to obtain that verification. Will this verification from the National Student Clearing House be sufficient evidence of my degree? A: Yes.
Q: I am trying to qualify based on education and work experience. Can I use my paralegal work experience in another state when calculating my work experience? A: Only paralegal work experience for a member of The Florida Bar counts for purposes of work experience. If you were working for a member of The Florida Bar in the other state, you can count that paralegal work experience. If you were not working for a member of The Florida Bar, you cannot count that paralegal work experience.
Q: I have been working as a paralegal in Florida for the last 2 years. Before moving to Florida I worked as a paralegal for an out-of-state licensed attorney for 10 years. Can I be grandfathered into the Florida Registered Paralegal Program? A: No, only paralegal work for a member of The Florida Bar counts as paralegal work experience. You would have to qualify by certification or by education and work experience after you worked for a Florida attorney for the requisite amount of time.
Q: The application asks for the number of hours I have performed paralegal work. Is this billable hours only? A: No. Include the total number of hours you have worked in the past year performing paralegal work whether billable or not.
Q: I have taken some continuing education courses. Can I submit those towards the 30 hour requirement? A: Only courses taken after your registration date may be used towards the 30 hour continuing education requirement.
Q: Once I am registered, what designation may I use? A: The rule provides that "[a] Florida Registered Paralegal shall disclose his or her status as a Florida Registered Paralegal at the outset of any professional relationship with a client, attorneys, a court or administrative agency or personnel thereof, and members of the general public." You may either say Florida Registered Paralegal or FRP. However, if you state FRP, you must also state paralegal. For example: J. Doe, FRP Paralegal Law Office
Q: I am also certified by another organization. When listing my credentials, which do I list first? Do I need to list all of my credentials? A: You should check with the other organization. The Florida Bar rule does not control the order. However, you must state that you are a Florida Registered Paralegal. (see question above as to disclosure requirement)
Q: I have worked for several attorneys. How many attestation forms do I need? A: You need 1 form for each attorney that you have worked for during the years you are using for the qualifying criteria.
Q: I am using education and work experience as my qualifying criteria. Do you need a certified copy of my degree? A: No.
Q: The grandfathering provision says I must have performed paralegal work for 5 of the last 8 years. I have worked as a paralegal for 12 years, however, 2 years ago I was unemployed for a few months. Does the 5 years have to be continuous? A: The employment does not have to be continuous as long as if fulfills the requirements of the rule. A break in employment will not automatically prevent registration.