Founded in 1974, NFPA was the first national paralegal association. Created as a non-profit federation, NFPA is an issues-driven, policy-oriented professional association directed by its membership. It is comprised of more than 50 member associations and represents over 9,000 individual members reflecting a broad range of experience, education and diversity.
NFPA prides itself on the professionalism of its members and routinely monitors legislation, case law, proposed changes to the rules of responsibility and ethics opinions that affect the paralegal profession. Since its inception, NFPA has assisted the profession in addressing many issues associated with the growth and expanded role of the paralegal, such as:
responded to the Department of Labor’s 2003 proposed changes and updates to the regulations issued under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA);
worked with and testified before many organizations such as legislatures, bar association task forces, and court committees on issues related to paralegal participation in delivering legal services and the paralegal profession generally;
actively monitors legislative actions and proposed court changes. When necessary, NFPA responds with letters or by filing amicus briefs with courts throughout the United States on issues that could affect the paralegal profession;
created, developed and adopted the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam® (PACE®) and the Paralegal CORE Competency Exam™ (PCCE™);
created position statements on non-lawyer practice, outsourcing of paralegal duties to foreign countries, short-term paralegal programs, and diversity.
works closely with the American Bar Association (ABA), the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE), the International Paralegal Managers Association (IPMA) and other legal national associations.
sponsors a representative on the ABA's Approval Commission, which works with the ABA's Standing Committee on Legal Assistants.
NFPA’s Model Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Guidelines for Enforcement delineates the ethical guidelines and standards for conduct to which all paralegals should aspire. This document has received wide acceptance throughout the legal community. NFPA does not support the unauthorized practice of law. Further, NFPA provides its members with information related to decisions and changes in ethics rules and regulations on an ongoing basis, and the NFPA Ethics Board regularly submits opinions on relevant topics.
NFPA endorses the implementation of paralegal regulation to establish standards for all paralegals on a state-by-state basis insofar as its implementation is consistent with NFPA’s mission statement and expands the utilization of paralegals to deliver cost-efficient legal services. NFPA will actively promote regulation of the paralegal profession generally by providing information as to NFPA’s preferred form of regulation of mandatory licensure and its preference of a four-year degree being the requirement for entry into the paralegal profession. NFPA will not initiate the introduction of any proposal to regulate paralegals in any jurisdiction, but may educate and inform others regarding the existence, size, strength of NFPA, its regulation policy, and its resources.
Strategic alliances are an essential element to the advancement of the paralegal profession and an integral part of NFPA’s strategic plan. Further, NFPA supports unity within the paralegal profession. To that end, NFPA maintains and promotes interaction with other paralegal associations and members of the legal community. Since 1986, NFPA has worked with the American Bar Association (ABA), the American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE) and others to develop a consensus on the issue of paralegal education and to discuss other issues affecting the paralegal profession. In addition, NFPA has a representative on the ABA Approval Commission which works with the ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals (SCOP) to evaluate paralegal education programs.