OSBA CERTIFIED PARALEGAL
The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) established a credentialing program for paralegals in 2007. Individuals who meet the definition of paralegal, meet the eligibility requirements and pass a written exam will be designated as an “OSBA Certified Paralegal.” This credential, along with a logo, may be used by the paralegal as permitted by the Rule for the Government of the Bar. The program is patterned after the legal specialization program the OSBA administers. Eligibility requirements for this certification are:
Applicant must meet the definition of a paralegal and be eligible to sit for the written exam after successfully meeting requirements for education, experience, continuing legal education and references. The OSBA definition of a paralegal is “a person, qualified by education, training or work experience, who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency or other entity and who performs substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.”
- A bachelor’s degree in any discipline and satisfactory completion of a paralegal studies program and a minimum of one year full-time experience as a practicing paralegal (or its equivalent 2,000 hours); OR
- A bachelor’s degree in any discipline or associate degree in paralegal studies with a minimum of three years full-time experience as a practicing paralegal (or its equivalent of 6,000 hours); OR
- Satisfactory completion of a paralegal studies program with a minimum of five years full-time experience as a practicing paralegal (or its equivalent of 10,000 hours); OR
- A high school diploma or equivalent plus seven years full-time experience as a practicing paralegal (or its equivalent of 14,000 hours). To be eligible under this section, an applicant must have been employed as a paralegal before Dec. 31, 2006.
- For purposes of this section, "paralegal studies" is defined as a program that consists of a minimum of 60 semester hours (or equivalent clock or quarter hours) of which at least 15 semester hours (or equivalent clock or quarter hours) are substantive legal courses.
Attendance at a minimum of 12 credit hours of continuing legal education in courses approved by the Ohio Supreme Court Commission on CLE or the National Association for Legal Assistants or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations in the three years immediately preceding the application
. At least two and a half credit hours of the 12 shall be in legal ethics, professionalism and substance abuse.
A minimum of three professional references, including two from attorneys in good standing with the Supreme Court of Ohio who have direct knowledge of the applicant’s skills and work as a paralegal. The other reference may include judges, magistrates, hearing officers, mediators, arbitrators and educators who have direct knowledge of the applicant’s skills and work as a paralegal.
The applicant seeking certification must pass a written examination of suitable length and complexity. The written exam will include substantive and procedural law, legal research, ethics, communication, and law office management. General testing competencies include critical and analytical thinking, communication (both oral and written), and computer skills.
A Paralegal Certification Board has been established with members appointed by the OSBA president. The purpose of the OSBA Paralegal Certification Board is to grant, revoke or re-grant certification as an OSBA certified paralegal. The Certification Board determines eligibility, administers the written exam and sets passage rates.
Applications will be available after Jan. 1 each year. For more information, call Melissa Quick at (800) 282‑6556 ext. 4411 or visit www.ohiobar.org