Paralegal Supervisor Certification?

Lynne DeVenny at Practical Paralegalism has a full report on a story that also caught my eye regarding an investigation into credentials held by a woman for the job of “Paralegal Supervisor” for a Louisiana Parish (equivalent of a county in most other jurisdictions). The parish is unable to find any records relating to the employment of the woman, an ex-spouse of a former parish president, although she supposedly performed the job and was paid for that performance for 18 years – $64,000 in at least the last of those 18 years.

The story itself is another interesting example of (alleged) corruption in American politicians, I suppose. However, my interest focuses on the statement, “However, the parish was unable to provide proof she has the required certification to hold that position.” My question is what would be the “required certification” to hold the position given the lack of any uniformity within the paralegal profession regarding certification requirements for paralegals, much less a “paralegal supervisor.”

The investigation story is not clear on this point. A Fox8live.com news story states:

Last month, FOX 8 asked the parish for Parker-Broussard’s resume and paralegal certification information.
According to a job description, the certification is a parish requirement for all paralegals.

But the parish doesn’t have one on file for Parker-Broussard. We didn’t get a resume either and the Human Resources department claims it has no personnel records relating to her 18 years of employment.

This is an apparent reference to Louisiana’s voluntary paralegal certification program  reported by Legal Assistant Today website “, The Louisiana State Paralegal Association established a voluntary certification exam in 1996 to set professional standards and promote recognition of the profession.”  According to one source,

To be eligible for these state certifications, the paralegal typically must first get a national credential. The Certified Legal Assistant/Paralegal program established by the National  Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) and the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA) are well recognized national professional certification programs.

However, at the Louisiana State Paralegal Association website all I found was this:

Louisiana Certified Paralegal Exam

SPRING Examination Date: April 2-3, 2010
(Application Deadline: February 17, 2009)

For information related to administrative matters relative to applications or continuing legal education, contact:
National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc.
Administrator, Louisiana Certified Paralegal Examination
1516 South Boston, Suite 200
Tulsa, OK 74119
Phone: (918) 587-6828
FAX: (918) 582-6772

You may also contact Gail Seale, CLA, LCP for additional information related to the LCP Exam at: Gail Seale, CLA, LCP (with an email address)

Followed by a list of fourteen paralegals who received the LCP certification between 1996 and 2005.

There is probably more to this than I am seeing here with a brief Saturday morning tour of the internet, but it appears a government organization established criteria for hiring a paralegal supervisor that required a certification from a voluntary program run by a state membership organization administered by a national membership organization – a certification held by fewer that 14 persons – and yet could not determine whether the person holding the job held the required certification!

Frankly, it seems there must be a better way to handle this whole matter of paralegal qualifications!

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