Article

Top 11 Corporate Legal Assistant Certifications

This article provides an overview of the most highly-regarded certifications for legal assistants working in corporate law.

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for a corporate legal assistant in the job market because they demonstrate a certain level of expertise and knowledge. In addition, certifications may be required by employers to ensure that their legal assistants have sufficient qualifications to handle the tasks associated with the position. Certifications also demonstrate an individual’s commitment to professional development and provide evidence of continuous learning and improvement. They can be used as proof of competency when applying for jobs, or they can be used to gain promotions or raise within an organization. Finally, certifications may be necessary in order to work in certain legal settings, such as courts or corporate law firms.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the most beneficial certifications for Corporate Legal Assistants and explain how they can advance their career.

What are Corporate Legal Assistant Certifications?

Corporate Legal Assistant Certification is a specialized credential for legal assistants who provide support to corporate attorneys in their practice. This certification program is offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and provides legal assistants with the knowledge they need to effectively support corporate law practices. With this certification, legal assistants are better equipped to handle the unique challenges of working in the corporate environment, such as contract review and drafting, document management, research, and other tasks related to corporate law. The program also offers a comprehensive understanding of administrative procedures and processes used in a corporate law office.

By obtaining Corporate Legal Assistant Certification, legal assistants demonstrate their commitment to professional development and their ability to meet the needs of complex corporate law practices. This credential can give them an edge over other candidates when seeking employment or advancement opportunities within corporations or large law firms. Additionally, employers often prefer to hire certified legal assistants because they know that these professionals have the skills necessary to perform effectively in their roles. Ultimately, Corporate Legal Assistant Certification can help legal assistants become more knowledgeable and marketable professionals in the field of corporate law.

Pro Tip: Consider taking a corporate legal assistant certification course to gain a better understanding of the legal industry. This will allow you to stay up-to-date on changes in the law and provide valuable insight into how to best serve your clients. It will also demonstrate that you have taken the initiative to enhance your knowledge and skills, which can be attractive to employers.

Related: What does a Corporate Legal Assistant do?

Top 11 Corporate Legal Assistant Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Corporate Legal Assistants today.

1. Certified Legal Assistant (CLA)

A Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) is a professional designation given to individuals who demonstrate mastery of the legal assistant profession. The CLA designation is granted by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), which is a professional organization dedicated to promoting excellence in the legal assistant profession.

In order to become certified, an individual must have completed a minimum of five years of full-time work experience as a legal assistant or paralegal, have passed the NALA's CLA examination, and adhere to NALA's Code of Ethics. The CLA exam consists of two parts: a multiple-choice section and an essay section.

The cost for taking the exam varies depending on whether you are already a member of NALA and whether you are taking the exam online or in person. Generally speaking, non-members can expect to pay between $350-$400 for the exam, while members can expect to pay between $200-$250 for the exam.

The exam itself takes about four hours to complete, with some test takers reporting that it took them longer than expected due to its complexity. Once you have successfully passed the exam, your certification will be valid for three years before needing to be renewed.

2. Certified Professional Secretary (CPS)

Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) is a professional certification program offered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). The CPS certification is designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate a high level of knowledge and experience in the field of office administration. It is considered to be the most prestigious certification for administrative professionals.

To become a Certified Professional Secretary, you must meet certain criteria and pass an exam administered by the IAAP. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as office management, communication skills, technology, customer service, human resources, and financial management.

It typically takes around 6 months to prepare for the CPS exam. During this time, you should study relevant materials and practice with sample questions. You can find study materials on the IAAP website or purchase them from other sources. Additionally, some local chapters offer classes or workshops to help prepare for the exam.

The cost of taking the CPS exam varies depending on your location and whether you are a member of IAAP or not. Generally speaking, it costs around $200 USD for non-members and $150 USD for members.

Once you have passed the CPS exam, you will receive a certificate that shows your achievement as well as your name being listed in IAAP’s online directory of certified professionals. This certification also allows you to use the title “Certified Professional Secretary” after your name in any professional setting.

3. Certified Paralegal (CP)

A Certified Paralegal (CP) is a professional designation given to paralegals who have met the requirements set forth by the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). NALA is a non-profit organization that sets and enforces standards for paralegals.

In order to become certified, an individual must pass NALA's Certified Paralegal Exam. This exam consists of four parts: Professional Responsibility, Legal Research and Writing, Civil Litigation, and Contracts and Business Law. The exam takes approximately four hours to complete.

In order to be eligible to take the exam, an individual must have either a bachelor’s degree in any field or an associate’s degree in paralegal studies from an accredited institution, as well as two years of full-time legal experience under the supervision of a lawyer or two years of part-time legal experience under the supervision of a lawyer totaling 4,000 hours.

The cost to take the exam varies depending on where you live; however, it typically ranges from $250-$400. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with registering for the exam and/or becoming a member of NALA.

Once you have passed the exam and met all other requirements, you will receive your certification from NALA which is valid for five years. After five years, you will need to retake the exam in order to maintain your certification status.

4. National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) Certification

The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) Certification is a professional credential that recognizes the knowledge, skills, and abilities of legal assistants. It is awarded to those who have successfully completed an approved certification program and passed the NALA Certified Paralegal Examination. This certification is designed to demonstrate a paralegal’s commitment to their profession and provide employers with assurance that their paralegals are well-trained and qualified.

In order to obtain the NALA Certification, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements, such as having at least two years of verifiable work experience in the legal field or completing an approved paralegal education program. Once these requirements are met, applicants must complete an online application form and submit it along with a fee of $150. After submitting the application form, applicants must then take the NALA Certified Paralegal Examination which consists of 200 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as legal research, client interviewing, document preparation, litigation support services, ethics and professionalism. The exam takes approximately four hours to complete and costs $225. Upon passing the examination, applicants will receive their NALA Certification within two weeks.

The NALA Certification is valid for five years from the date it was issued and can be renewed by taking continuing education courses or retaking the NALA Certified Paralegal Examination. The cost for renewal is $125 plus any applicable fees for continuing education courses taken.

5. American Institute for Paralegal Studies (AIPS) Certification

American Institute for Paralegal Studies (AIPS) Certification is a professional certification program that provides paralegals with the knowledge and skills necessary to become successful in the legal field. It is designed to help paralegals develop the expertise needed to provide quality legal services.

The AIPS Certification Program consists of two parts: an online course and a comprehensive exam. The online course covers topics such as legal research, document drafting, case management, ethics, and more. The comprehensive exam tests a paralegal’s knowledge of these topics.

It typically takes six months to complete the AIPS Certification Program. During this time, students must complete the online course and pass the comprehensive exam with a score of 70% or higher in order to receive their certification.

To get AIPS Certified, you must first register for the program on the American Institute for Paralegal Studies website. You will need to pay a registration fee of $99 USD before you can begin your studies. Once registered, you will have access to all of the materials necessary to complete the program.

The cost of becoming AIPS Certified varies depending on which package you choose. There are three packages available: Basic ($299 USD), Standard ($399 USD), and Premium ($499 USD). Each package includes different features such as access to additional study materials, practice exams, and more.

6. National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) Certification

The National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) Certification is a voluntary professional certification program designed to recognize paralegals who have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to perform competently in the legal profession. The NFPA certification is recognized by many employers as a measure of professional competence.

It typically takes 3-6 months to complete the NFPA Certification process. To become certified, you must meet certain educational and work experience requirements, pass an exam, and adhere to the NFPA Code of Ethics.

To get started on your path to becoming certified, you must first submit an application for certification with the NFPA. This application includes information about your education and work experience, as well as a signed copy of the NFPA Code of Ethics. Once your application is approved, you will be eligible to take the exam.

The cost of getting certified varies depending on which type of certification you are pursuing (Certified Paralegal or Advanced Certified Paralegal). Generally speaking, it costs between $200-$400 for the initial application fee and then $175-$225 for each exam taken.

7. International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) Certification

The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) Certification is a professional certification program designed to recognize and validate the skills, knowledge, and abilities of administrative professionals. The IAAP certification is offered in three levels: Certified Administrative Professional (CAP), Advanced Certified Administrative Professional (ACAP), and Master Certified Administrative Professional (MCAP).

The CAP level is the entry-level certification for administrative professionals. It requires a minimum of two years of experience in an administrative role or completion of an approved educational program. To obtain the CAP certification, applicants must pass an online exam that covers topics such as office management, communication, customer service, technology, project management, and problem solving. The exam typically takes about four hours to complete.

The ACAP level requires at least five years of professional experience in an administrative role or completion of an approved educational program plus two years of additional experience in the field. Applicants must also pass a comprehensive online exam that covers topics such as leadership, business operations, financial analysis, organizational development, and human resources. The ACAP exam typically takes about six hours to complete.

The MCAP level requires at least seven years of professional experience in an administrative role or completion of an approved educational program plus three years of additional experience in the field. Applicants must also pass a comprehensive online exam that covers topics such as strategic planning and execution, change management, process improvement, data analytics and reporting, risk management and compliance. The MCAP exam typically takes about eight hours to complete.

The cost for each level varies depending on whether you are already a member of IAAP or not. For non-members it costs $250 for the CAP level; $350 for the ACAP level; and $450 for the MCAP level. For members it costs $200 for the CAP level; $300 for the ACAP level; and $400 for the MCAP level.

8. Legal Administrative Specialist Certificate Program

The Legal Administrative Specialist Certificate Program is a comprehensive program designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become a successful legal administrative specialist. The program consists of three courses: Introduction to Law, Legal Research & Writing, and Business Law. Each course is designed to give students an in-depth understanding of the legal system, as well as how to effectively research and write legal documents.

The program typically takes around six months to complete, depending on the student’s schedule and availability. To get started, students must first complete an online application form. Once accepted into the program, students will have access to all course materials, including lectures, readings, discussion boards, and assessments.

The cost of the Legal Administrative Specialist Certificate Program varies depending on the institution offering it; however, most programs range between $1,500-$2,000 USD. This fee typically covers all course materials and assessments needed for completion of the program.

9. National Notary Association's Notary Public Certification

The National Notary Association's Notary Public Certification is a program that provides notaries with the knowledge and resources needed to become an effective and professional notary. It is designed to help notaries understand their responsibilities, learn best practices, and gain confidence in their ability to serve the public.

In order to obtain the certification, individuals must complete a course of study that includes topics such as notarial law, record keeping, authentication of documents, and ethics. The course typically takes between 8-10 hours to complete. Once the course is completed, applicants must pass an exam in order to receive their certification.

To get certified by the National Notary Association (NNA), individuals must first register for their online course. Once they have registered, they can begin taking the course at any time. Upon completion of the course and passing the exam, applicants will receive their certification in the mail within 1-2 weeks after submission of all required materials.

The cost for NNA's Notary Public Certification is $99 USD for members of NNA or $149 USD for non-members. This fee covers all materials necessary for successful completion of the program including access to online courses and exams as well as a certificate upon completion.

10. LexisNexis Certified Document Services Professional

LexisNexis Certified Document Services Professional is a service that provides customers with certified copies of documents. It is designed to help businesses, organizations, and individuals protect their important documents from fraud or tampering. The service includes a secure online portal where customers can upload documents for certification. Once uploaded, the documents are reviewed by LexisNexis experts who verify the authenticity of the document and certify it as an official copy.

The process typically takes 3-5 business days to complete. Customers can get started by creating an account on the LexisNexis website and then uploading their documents for certification. They will be asked to provide contact information and payment information before the process begins.

The cost of the service varies depending on the type of document being certified, but most services start at around $50 USD per document.

11. Microsoft Office Specialist: Word, Excel and PowerPoint Certifications

Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) is a certification program that validates an individual’s expertise in the Microsoft Office suite of applications. The MOS certifications are offered in Word, Excel and PowerPoint, which are the three most popular programs in the suite.

The MOS certification exams are designed to test an individual’s knowledge and skills in using these programs. The exams cover topics such as creating documents, formatting text, working with tables and charts, creating presentations and more.

It typically takes around 3-4 hours to complete a MOS certification exam. To get certified you must pass the corresponding exam for the program you wish to be certified in. You can take the exams at any authorized testing center or online through Microsoft's website.

The cost of a MOS certification exam varies depending on where you take it. Generally speaking, it costs around $150-$200 per exam.

Do You Really Need a Corporate Legal Assistant Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on your individual circumstances. If you are looking to pursue a career in the legal field, having a corporate legal assistant certificate can be beneficial for several reasons.

First, having a certificate can demonstrate that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the job effectively. This is important because employers will want to know that they can trust you with their legal matters. Furthermore, many employers require corporate legal assistant certificates as part of their hiring criteria. Having a certificate may give you an edge over other applicants who do not have one.

Second, having a certificate can also help you gain experience and credentials within the industry. It can provide you with access to professional networks and resources that could help you find more jobs or advance your career. Additionally, it may open up opportunities for continuing education or specialized training that could further enhance your skills and qualifications in the field.

Finally, having a corporate legal assistant certificate can also help boost your confidence in the workplace. Knowing that you have been certified by an accredited institution can give you peace of mind when dealing with complex legal matters or interacting with clients and colleagues.

In conclusion, whether or not you need a corporate legal assistant certificate will depend on your own personal goals and circumstances. However, if you are serious about pursuing a career in the legal field, obtaining a certificate could certainly be beneficial for both your current and future prospects in the industry.

Related: Corporate Legal Assistant Resume Examples

FAQs About Corporate Legal Assistant Certifications

1. What is a Corporate Legal Assistant Certification?

Answer: A Corporate Legal Assistant Certification is a credential that demonstrates an individual has the knowledge and skills necessary to work as a legal assistant in a corporate setting. It typically involves completing coursework, passing an examination, and meeting other requirements set by the certifying organization.

2. Who can obtain a Corporate Legal Assistant Certification?

Answer: To be eligible for certification, applicants must have at least one year of professional experience working as a legal assistant in a corporate setting. They must also meet any additional requirements set by the certifying organization.

3. What types of topics are covered in the certification exam?

Answer: The certification exam typically covers topics such as business law, contracts, corporate governance, ethics, financial statements, and document management.

4. How long does it take to complete the certification process?

Answer: The length of time required to complete the certification process varies depending on the certifying organization and how quickly an applicant can complete all of the required steps. Generally speaking, it should take no more than six months from start to finish.

5. What are some benefits of obtaining a Corporate Legal Assistant Certification?

Answer: Obtaining a Corporate Legal Assistant Certification can provide many benefits including increased job opportunities and higher salaries; improved credentials for career advancement; better understanding of legal principles; access to continuing education resources; and networking opportunities with other certified professionals.

Related articles

Top 18 Corporate Legal Assistant Resume Objective Examples

This article provides top examples of corporate legal assistant resume objectives to help job seekers create an effective resume.

Top 11 Corporate Paralegal Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top corporate paralegal certifications available, including their requirements and benefits.

What does a Corporate Legal Assistant do?

Learn all about Corporate Legal Assistant duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Corporate Legal Assistant.

Top 17 Corporate Paralegal Resume Objective Examples

This article provides examples of effective resume objectives for paralegals in corporate settings, helping readers to craft their own objectives and stand out from the competition.

Top 11 Legal Assistant Certifications

This article outlines the top legal assistant certifications available, providing an overview of the requirements and benefits associated with each.

Top 11 Litigation Legal Assistant Certifications

This article provides an overview of the best litigation legal assistant certifications available, including requirements, benefits and cost.