Applicant Questions

  1. What are the benefits of becoming a Board Certified Paralegal?
  2. What are the basic requirements to become certified?
  3. What does it cost to become Board Certified?
  4. How do I apply for Board Certification?
  5. What will happen when I file an application, and how long is the application process?
  6. How can I find TBLS approved continuing legal education (CLE) courses to fulfill the certification requirement?
  7. What is on the exam and are old exams available for review?
  8. Is there a preparatory or CLE course that will help me study?

Q1. What are the benefits of becoming a Board Certified Paralegal?

First and Highest Level of Paralegal Credentials — The Texas Board of Legal Specialization's paralegal credential foundation is unmatched in its roots and unequaled in quality.

Established in 1974 by the Supreme Court of Texas at the request of State Bar of Texas, the TBLS was the first state-associated program to certify paralegals in specialty areas of law, begining in 1989. 

Professionalism — Board Certification promotes the availability, accessibility and quality of legal services. It also increases proficiency and encourages paralegals to achieve highest standard of professional excellence.

Legal Community Recognition — Recognition from the legal community and the public for having attained a high level of experience and skill as a specialist. Although not always determinative, Board Certification is a significant factor many attorneys consider when selecting a paralegal.

National Recognition — TBLS was the first state-associated program to certify paralegals in specialty areas. TBLS also currently has the largest number of certified attorneys in the nation.

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Q2. What are the basic requirements to become certified?

To become Board Certified in a specialty area, a paralegal must:

Have at least 5 years experience as a paralegal (3 years in Texas);

Currently work under the supervision of a licensed attorney doing business in Texas;

Have at least 50% of paralegal duties concentrated in specialty areas;

Attended continuing education seminars regularly to keep legal training up to date;

In addition to the above, successfully complete one of the following:

NALA certification, or

Baccalaureate or higher degree, or

ABA approved paralegal program, or

Paralegal program consisting of a minimum of 60 semester credit hours of which 18 hours are substantive legal courses, or

Paralegal program consisting of a minimum of 18 semester credit hours of which 18 hours are substantive legal courses in addition to a minimum of 45 semester credit hours of general college curriculum courses, or

2 additional years of actual paralegal experience under the supervision of a licensed attorney;

Pass a 4-hour written examination.

Please refer to the Standards for Certification General and Specific Area Requirements for a complete detailed explanation of these requirements.

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Q3. What does it cost to become Board Certified?

Current fees are listed in our fee schedule. However, all fees are under review and subject to change. Please visit this site for the most current fee information immediately prior to initiating your application process.

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Q4. How do I apply for Board Certification?
The TBLS paralegal certification application process is structured to be as open and convenient as possible. All pertinent certification information is available in the Get Certified section of this site.

The paralegal certification process closely parallels the TBLS attorney certification process. It includes a thorough assessment of the paralegal's experience under the supervision of a licensed Texas attorney as well as their record of Continuing Legal Education and specialty area duties. It requires the completion of Baccalaureate or higher degree, or completion of an accredited paralegal program or four additional years of relevant experience. A passing score on a half day area examination is required. Visit Get Certified for complete information related to the paralegal certification process.

Detailed instructions are provided along the way, plus you always have complete e-mail and telephone contact information for the TBLS Certification Analyst assigned to your area. Help is only an e-mail or phone call away.

We will make every effort to assist you in completing your application. If you have any general send e-mail to TBLS or call 1-855-277-TBLS(8257).

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Q5. What will happen when I file an application, and how long is the application process?

You will be sent an acknowledgment that your application has been received. It will include a file number that you should refer to when contacting our office.

The staff does an initial check of your application prior to review by the Advisory Commission and TBLS. An "Recommended Change Notice" will be sent if additional information is needed. Please respond as soon as possible to this request for information.

Your application will next be reviewed by the Advisory Commission in the appropriate specialty area. They may also have questions or need additional information. Again, please respond to this request so your application can stay on track.

The Texas Board of Legal Specialization must vote on each certification application individually. This 12-member board meets in mid-August to consider each application. You will be notified by mail after a decision is made on your application. If your application is approved you will be sent materials to register for the examination. If your application is denied you may appeal that decision (see TBLS Rules and Regulations).

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Q6. How can I find TBLS approved continuing legal education (CLE) courses to fulfill the certification requirements?

TBLS reviews hundreds of CLE course for specialization approval, and updates the database daily with course information. You can access TBLS CLE information online through the "Paralegal Course Search" page. Search online for upcoming TBLS approved CLE courses in a particular paralegal specialty area(s).

You may also call TBLS at 1-855-277-TBLS(8257) to request a list of upcoming courses for any paralegal specialty area.

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Q7. What is on the exam and are old exams available for review?

Exam Specifications for each specialty exam are available on this site. The specifications and exams are revised annually. All exams are confidential and unavailable for pubic review.

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Q8. Are there preparatory or CLE courses that will help me study?

TBLS does not sponsor or recommend any specific preparatory course for the exam with one exception. The State Bar of Texas Paralegal Division produces a TBLS Study Guide and encourages study groups for specialized certification. Please contact the Paralegal Division for additional information.