Are you interested in becoming Registered or Certified?
I have to say, I have been really surprised lately at reports of incorrect advice being given by self-proclaimed “mentors” or “experts” in our field – especially on the topic of the Florida Registered Paralegal program. If you are interested in becoming an FRP and have been told by others that you aren’t qualified, please make sure that you get a second opinion and that you fully understand what the reason behind this decision is. Sure, not everyone will qualify – there are specific qualifications for a reason – but, if you have been told that you don’t qualify – are you sure that person was right? Don’t risk losing out on a valuable addition to your professional profile without fully understanding the facts.
The most common misconception is that you will not qualify if your title at work isn’t “paralegal” – wrong. If your title isn’t “paralegal” – don’t worry. The Florida Bar says:
A paralegal is defined as a person with education, training, or work experience, who works under the supervision of a member of The Florida Bar and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a member of The Florida Bar is responsible.
If you are doing “substantive legal work” under the “supervision of a member of the Florida Bar” but your employer chooses not to “title” you paralegal, you still qualify.
Also, if your work experience is from another state, it will still count if the attorney you worked for was a member of The Florida Bar. Finally, your time does not have to be billable – a lot of Plaintiff paralegals would be out of luck if this was a fact – you can be doing substantive legal work for your attorney and he may choose not to bill for it, that’s ok too!
Becomming an FRP or earning another paralegal certification is rewarding and can add a lot to your professional profile. These accomplishments are investments in your future and the best time to do them is when think you don’t need them. Even if your current employer won’t reward you for additional accomplishments, you should always have an eye on your future.
There are lots of registration and certification options available for paralegals in Florida, you can see them here: http://miamifrp.com/paralegal-e-discovery-certification/ .