Skip to main content
News
Jax Daily Record Monday, Mar. 23, 200912:00 PM EST

New Florida paralegal program registers more than 3,000

Share
by: Joe Wilhelm Jr.

by Joe Wilhelm Jr.

Staff Writer

Another tool to help elevate the profession of paralegals was created through a collaboration between paralegals throughout Florida and the Florida Bar and the Florida Registered Paralegal (FRP) Program has been well received.

The FRP reached its one-year anniversary March 1 and over 3,000 paralegals have registered. About 200 (95 percent women, 5 percent men) of those practice in Jacksonville.

“The interest in the program has far exceeded our expectations,” said Lori Holcomb, Florida Registered Paralegal Counsel at the Florida Bar.

A paralegal is defined as a “person with education, training or job experience who is supervised by a member of the Florida Bar and who performs substantive legal work for which the attorney is responsible.” Paralegals are not required to sign up for this voluntary program, but some feel it is a good way to advance the profession.

“The standards the program has are, by and far, better than any other organization,” said Tana Stringfellow, who has been a paralegal for about 20 years, the last 11 with Foley & Lardner. “They hold the person who registers to a higher ethical and educational standard. It helps present a higher level work product.”

The FRP was approved by the Florida Supreme Court in Nov. 2007 to help provide a better service to the public by creating higher professional standards for paralegals.

In order to qualify for the FRP applicants must meet one of the following requirements: work experience or education, certification or grandfathering. The work experience or education requirement includes a variety of educational degree and years of work experience requirements. (details are available at flabar.org). The certification requirement can be fullfilled through successful completion of testing through either the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) or the National Federation of Paralegal Assistants (NFPA). The NALA certification was created in 1976 and the examination consists of five sections: communications, ethics, legal research, judgment and analytical ability and substantive law. An applicant must score 70 percent or above on each section to earn certification. The NFPA exam was developed in 1994 and it involves a two-tier approach with each tier addressing different areas. Tier I addresses general legal issues and ethics. Tier II addresses specialty sections.

The third requirement, grandfathering, can be met if an applicant can provide verification that they have worked as a paralegal for the previous eight years.

The work isn’t over after the check for the $150 application fee, due annually, clears and the ink dries on the certificate. Registered paralegals are required to complete 30 hours of continuing education courses over three years with five of those hours covering professionalism or ethics courses. This requirement differs from the NALA certification, which has applicants complete 50 hours every five years.

Both certification and registration are voluntary programs that are not a requirement to work as a paralegal, but that could change in the future, according to Stringfellow.

“A number of people involved in crafting this program believe it will become a mandatory requirement for paralegals in the future,” she said.

Other plans for the future include offering more benefits from the Florida Bar for FRP program members, said Stringfellow, who is a member of the FRP Standing Committee.

Stringfellow was not alone in her enthusiasm for the success of the program in the future.

“I’m glad it is a success,” said Peggy Adolphson, a member of the District Paralegal Committee from Jacksonville. “I did campaign for it, so I hope it will be successful in the future.”

Jax-area registered paralegals

Sally P Abbey
Patricia J. Abraham
Peggy D. Adolphson
Nancy Andujar
Dawn M. Atkins-Luepker
Brenda G. Bagley
Andrea U. Bailey
Laura P. Balanky
Jo E. Ballinger
B. Kaye Barnauskas
Ruth M. Becerra
Linda S. Blackman
Lori L. Bolen
Susan M. Bonteski
Elizabeth A. Bowen
Kimberly D. Brafford
Candice M. Briggs
Elise C. Brosch
Debra L. Buchanan
Jill Lynne Bungard
Stacy L. Burlog
Dawn C. Burns
Helen A. Burris
Anna M. Burrus
Lisa M. Cenac
Sharon K. Chambers
Joseph E. Champagne
Valentina A. Chapman
H. Susan Coleman
Sarah G. Congo
Shannon S. Conner
Margaret C. Costa
Vickie L. Coughlin
Susan K. Cregger
Christine P. Crews
Vicki L. Cross
Erica L. Cruzat
Vicki L. Cummins
Mary B. Danese
Geri A Darlington
Bethena R. Dasher
Brenda K Davis
Cheri A. Davis
Kimberly A. Davis
Brenda Jacobs De Vaux
Sherrill A. Deese
Nancy W. DeMetros
Francie L. DePaolo
Ruth F. Docuyanan
Katherine W. Drews
Heather B. Dugan
Barbara J. Durfee
Rose Dwyer
Susan C. Ebbs
William C. Edwards Jr.
Jo K Elsea
Janet L. Esslinger
Jimaye K. Farrar
Lucia L. Fernandez
Bonnie J. Finney
Karen Fitzpatrick
Leigh T. Flood
Sarah W. Folsom
Eileen M. Fonder
Christina M. Forston
Robyn J. Friendly
Paula G. Garfinkel
Leigh L. Gentry
Marcelle E. Gillis
Chadwick D Graber
Kathryn Joy Grace
Laurie A Green
Lindsye D. Greene
Mary F Greenhill
James W. Griffith
Helen L. Hammond Ohayon
Karen L Hand
Tricia A. Hardt
Jennifer M. Heape
Cathy B. Hilf
Alexis H. Holyszko
Melanie R Homer
Cynthia L. Houston
Barbara A. Humphrey
Jill Hunter
Anne W. Hutcheson
Mary Ann Jarvis
Leslie S. Jennings
Agnieszka Jeter
Amber K. Jones
Virginia A. Jones
Coleman E Kane
Joyce T. Kellenberger
Barbara L Kidd
Rachael A. Kovacs
Pamela T. Kuchta
Denise L LaCross
Donna M. Lamm
Diana M. Len
Lynne Ritter Lewis
Tamatha P. Lewis
Anetra V. Lloyd
Kimberly Ann Luckie
Debra R. Malone
Olga Malosh
Maxine L. Martin
Nancy E. Mason
Lucy W. McCook
Sara L. McGraw
Carol F. McIlvaine
Joyce A McLendon Durden
Mary H. McNeal
Virginia L. Mecabe
Karen M. Meenan
Amber L. Miller
Anna L. Miller
Dolores E. Minard
Lisa W Montgomery
Karen L. Moran
Carol N. Morin
Leigh Anne Morrill
Janet L. Morrison
Sharon P. Mullin
Roseanne M. Norwood
Charles D. O’Brien
Nancy L O’Grady
James V. Orlando
Laura S. Page
Sharon L. Palmer
Nancy P. Payton
Krista K. Peterson Gillespie
Gail N. Pleasants
Susie A. Pohlhammer
K. Christine Poston
Teresa M. Puopolo
Carla K. Ray
Susanne C. Reed
Pamela B. Rein
Cheryl U Richardson
Lana L. Richardson
Patricia W. Roberts
Lori M. Rogers
Elizabeth M Rudd
Gil S. Sacayanan
Marcia S. Sachs
Nancy R. Salsbury
Robin G. Sams
Lori D. Sanders
Cheryl E. Sassard
Kimberly D. Schenkel
Rebecca J. Schriver
Robyn M. Scull
Lauren E. Seigler
Emily C Serrano
Pamela S. Shaffer
Therese A. Shaffer
Sharon W. Shepherd
Allison T. Smith
Deanna H. Smith
Donna M. Smith
Jan B. Smith
Nadine L. Smith-Vascellaro
Carolyn S. Snider
Christopher E. Soohoo
Karen Y. Spencer
Bahra Stanisic
Pamela S. Stefansen
Natalie L. Stennett
Marcus R Stouffer
Tana J Stringfellow
Susan M. Taylor
Robin P. Theriault
Glenna E. Thompson
Jennifer L. Thompson
Sherry L. Tompkins
Jennifer P. Towson
M. Suzanne Turner
Kelly A. Tuttle
Lizabeth J. Tygart
Julia Warwin
Mary S. Weber
Dana G. Welcker
Linda C. Whipple
Pamela T. Wiesenfeld
Kathleen Williams
L. Cheree Williams
Toni L. Wilson
Patricia A. Yon

[email protected]

356-2466

Related Stories