FAQs for Paralegal Students

What is the definition of a paralegal?

Where do I find a list of NFPA member associations?

How do I become a student member of a local association and NFPA?

What are the benefits of NFPA membership?

How do I apply for a student scholarship?

How do I obtain a list of paralegal schools including those which have been ABA approved?

I want to learn about paralegal internships and externships. Which is the right one for me?

What is paralegal certification, the criteria and benefit?

What is NFPA’s position on: Exempt vs. Non-Exempt, Disbarred/Suspended Attorneys, Short-Term Education Programs, Outsourcing, Non-Lawyer Practice, Diversity and Regulation of the Profession? 

What is NFPA’s position on paralegal ethics? 

How should paralegals be utilized in the practice of law?

What are the job prospects for the paralegal profession?

What is the definition of a paralegal? 

According to NFPA, 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. 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.  

Please note that each local association within NFPA may have adopted a slightly different definition of a paralegal.

Where do I find a list of NFPA member associations?

Under the About NFPA tab, click on Our Member Associations.

How do I become a student member of a local association and NFPA?

Once you join a local NFPA member association as a student, you will automatically become a student member of NFPA. For more information on becoming a member of NFPA, see our membership page

What are the benefits of NFPA membership?

Member benefits include a subscription to the National Paralegal Reporter, weekly email updates from NFPA, discounts for car rentals, major tourist attractions, auto insurance, department stores and more! Learn more about NFPA member benefits.

How do I apply for a student scholarship? 

NFPA/Thomson Reuters Scholarships consist of a first-place scholarship, worth $3,000, and a second-place scholarship, worth $2,000. These will be awarded at the NFPA Annual Convention in October. For details, download the NFPA/Thomson Reuters scholarship application. Please submit your materials by July 1, 2017.

How do I obtain a list of paralegal schools including those which have been ABA approved?

See our page on entering the paralegal profession.

I want to learn about paralegal internships and externships. Which is the right one for me?

Check out these resources:

Legal Internships, Externships, Clerkships and Clinics
Kane, Sally. November 16, 2016. Legal Internships, Externships, Clerkships and Clinics. Retrieved from www.thebalance.com.

Student Externship Program
Retrieved from www.paralegal.edu/externships.

Paralegal Internship- Where and How to Find One?
P., Tonya. February 10, 2013. Paralegal Internship- Where and How to Find One?. Retrieved from www.paralegalalliance.com.

What is paralegal certification, the criteria and benefit?

See our page on paralegal certification.

What is NFPA’s position on: Exempt vs. Non-Exempt, Disbarred/Suspended Attorneys, Short-Term Education Programs, Outsourcing, Non-Lawyer Practice, Diversity, Regulation of the Profession?

See our position statements.

What is NFPA’s position on paralegal ethics? 

See our page on paralegal ethics.

How should paralegals be utilized in the practice of law?

See our page on paralegals as profit centers.

What are the job prospects for the paralegal profession?

The job prospects for paralegals are highly dependent on the regional economy where you intend to work. However, the national prospects are quite good. See the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information. For job opportunities, see the NFPA Career Center

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