Florida's only statewide paralegal association is the Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc. which about 1000 paralegal members with 10 local chapters around the State. The association was incorporated in 1976 as Florida Legal Assistants, Inc, but as the industry has changed, it was determined that "paralegal" was the term that best defined its members. As such, it was renamed PAF in 2000. PAF administers a state-law- specific examination for Florida Paralegals who seek
to further distinguish themselves as specialists in Florida law. A
day-long seminar to prepare for this examination held at the University
of Central Florida in October. The examination takes place afterward
completion of this Florida-law specific certification examination
paralegal to include the designation of Florida Certified Paralegal (FCP)
after his/her name to distinguish them as obtaining an advanced level of competence of Florida law. A prerequisite to taking the FCP examination is national certification by NALA or NFPA.
Currently comprised of 4 associations (see links above), the Florida Alliance of Paralegal Associations leads the charge in professional recognition for paralegals in the State of Florida. The FAPA has been instrumental in the formation of the Florida Registered Paralegal Program (FRP) and continues to work toward licensing for paralegals. Certification is a recognition of education and experience through testing competence. Registration with the Florida Bar has set a minimal acceptable standard of education and experience for competence as a paralegal. Licensing is the requirement of a professional license in order to function as a paralegal. Mandatory state licensing of paralegals with oversight not provided by the Florida Bar Association - but through the Fla Supreme Court - is a goal of FAPA. To find out more about their work toward paralegal regulation, see FAPA.
CFPA was formerly a member of FAPA but is no longer, effective 2009. CFPA was supportive of FAPA's efforts as they related to getting Rule 20 in place and, once that was accomplished, it was CFPA's position that the stated FAPA goals may have been somewhat overreaching and in someways contradictory to CFPA's mission of serving paralegals in the Central Florida area. It is important to recognize that CFPA is an all-volunteer association of individual paralegals and each member may have a different view of licensing, certification and regulation. It is not within CFPA's stated purpose pursuant to Article 1.3 of its Bylaws to pursue licensing of paralegals. As such, while CFPA does not actively support FAPA by remaining a member, however, we salute its efforts to establish and maintain excellence within the paralegal profession in the State of Florida.