About NFPA - Introduction

NFPA Overview:

Mission Statement

The National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc., promotes a global presence for the paralegal profession and leadership in the legal community.

Core Values

  • Responsive to member needs
  • Committed to honesty and integrity
  • Supports unity within the profession
  • Provides visionary leadership
  • Open to the exchange of ideas
  • Embraces diversity
  • Committed to our profession's Code of Ethics
  • Practices Transparency
  • Dedicated to life-long learning

Core Purpose

To advance the paralegal profession.

Goals: Achieve individual excellence in the paralegal profession

  • Increase educational opportunities.
  • Increase individual responsibility for professional development and education.
  • Increase access to technological resources.

Goals: Regulation standards for the paralegal profession are achieved through the advocacy efforts of NFPA

  • Increase regulation efforts through strategic alliances.
  • Increase member associations’ support of NFPA’s position on regulation of the profession.
  • Increase participation and awareness of NFPA and its members regarding legislative issues affecting the paralegal profession.

Goals: The organization is more transparent through the free flow of information between NFPA leadership, local association leadership and the membership

  • Increase use of NFPA’s website for exchanging information.
  • Increase member feedback through interactive discussions.
  • Increase use of alternative methods/channels of communication to foster member dialogue.

Goals: Achieve a larger, more inclusive membership

  • Increase opportunities for interaction between members through effective uses of technology.
  • Increase membership in key market segments.
  • Improve “the member experience.”

Goals: Achieve financial security

  • Increase revenue.
  • Develop efficiencies to control expenses.
  • Increase financial viability of PACE.

Paralegal Definition

As defined by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, a Paralegal is a person, qualified through education, training or work experience to perform substantive legal work that requires knowledge of legal concepts and is customarily, but not exclusively, performed by a lawyer. This person may be retained or employed by a lawyer, law office, governmental agency or other entity or may be authorized by administrative, statutory or court authority to perform this work. Substantive shall mean work requiring recognition, evaluation, organization, analysis, and communication of relevant facts and legal concepts.

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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.

modified 3/12/2013

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