The Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc. (PAF), is a professional association of approximately 1,000 paralegals from around the State of Florida. Formed in 1976, it is the oldest and largest statewide association in Florida, and one of the oldest affiliate associations of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). As a proponent of The Florida Bar’s Florida Registered Paralegal (FRP) Program, PAF is dedicated to providing continuing legal education opportunities to its members. We are proud to distinguish ourselves as paralegals and, through PAF, cultivate the paralegal profession. Please check out our other pages to learn more about our organization.
“To inspire and empower paralegals to be productive and successful by providing cutting edge
continuing education and professional development.”
Frequently Asked Questions
What is PAF?
The purpose of PAF is to promote non-profit, continuing legal education (CLE), to cooperate with local, state, and national bar associations, schools, and colleges in setting standards for certification and setting guidelines for paralegals; to promote the paralegal profession by educating the public; to provide a forum of exchange of ideas with peers; to establish good fellowship among members, NALA, and members of legal community; and to encourage a high order of ethical and professional attainment.
What is a paralegal?/ What is a legal assistant?/ Is there a difference between legal assistants and paralegals?
“A legal assistant or 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 who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible,” American Bar Association, House of Delegates (1997).
“A paralegal is a person with education, training or work experience, who works under the direction and supervision of the Florida Bar and who performs specifically delegated substantive legal work for with a member of the Florida Bar is responsible,” Florida Bar, Rule 20.
“…‘legal assistant’ means a person, who under the supervision and direction of a licensed attorney engages in legal research, and case development or planning in relation to modifications or initial proceedings, services, processes, or applications; or who prepares or interprets legal documents or selects, compiles, and uses technical information from references such as digests, encyclopedias, or practice manuals and analyzes and follows procedural problems that involve independent decisions,” section 57.014 Fla. Stat.
Are there different levels or types of membership?
Active Member – Meets one of the following:
(a) Successful completion of the certified paralegal/certified legal assistant (CP/CLA) examination of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA);
(b) Graduation from an ABA-approved program of study for paralegals/legal assistants;
(c) Graduation from a course of study for paralegals/legal assistants which is institutionally accredited but not ABA-approved, and provides an Associate’s degree (sixty (60) hours of classroom study);
(d) Graduation from a course of study for paralegals, other than those in (b) and (c), plus at least six (6) months of paralegal work experience;
(e) A baccalaureate degree in any field, plus at least six (6) months of paralegal work experience;
(f) At least three years of law-related experience under an attorney’s supervision, plus at least six (6) months of work/training as a paralegal;
(g) At least two years of work experience as a paralegal.
Any individual currently enrolled in an accredited university or college pursuing a program of study as a paralegal or legal studies and taking at least six (6) hours of law-related courses OR at least three (3) hours of law-related courses and is working full time in a law-related field.
(c) Persons ≥ 55 years of age who would have been eligible for membership because of profession or otherwise;
(d) Non-Residents who would otherwise qualify;
(e) Individuals who have graduated or completed a paralegal program but do not qualify as an Active Member.
(a) Law firms;
(b) Title Companies;
(c) Banking companies;
(d) Other companies providing services either to PAF or law offices;
(e) Any law-related business.
(a) Any person who has made an outstanding contribution to PAF or in furtherance of the paralegal profession as determined by the Board.
(b) A person recommended by an Active Member who receives majority vote by the Board.
(a) An individual who, for at least ten (10) years and within the past twelve (12) years, was an Active Member of PAF but is no longer working as a paralegal;
(b) Any Active Member ≥ 55 years of age that withdraws or retires from employment; Any Active Member who becomes permanently disabled and stops working as a paralegal; Any Active Member who is currently Emeritus status with NALA.
If I meet the membership criteria, is there anything else that could prevent me from becoming a member?
Ineligibility for membership: A person who is currently suspended or disbarred or who has resigned in lieu of discipline from the practice or law; A person convicted of a felony and whose civil rights have not been restored; A person who has engaged in the unlicensed (unauthorized) practice of law (UPL) are ineligible for membership in any category.
Removal from membership: Additionally, PAF’s Board may suspend or cancel the membership of any member by a majority vote if a member has been convicted of a felony; has violated the Code of Ethics; is guilty of conduct that causes injury to PAF’s reputation; or has failed to maintain a high standard of professional ethics or personal conduct.
I am looking for a local association, where is PAF located?
PAF is located in the State of Florida of the United States and has several regional chapters throughout Florida. If there is not a chapter located near you, PAF has an “At Large” designation which allows a member to attend any PAF/chapter events at the member rate.
Currently, PAF has the following Chapters:
At Large (throughout Florida)
Big Bend (Tallahassee area)
Boca Raton (South end of Palm Beach County area/North end of Broward County area)
Brevard (Cocoa/Melbourne area)
Broward (Fort Lauderdale area)
First Coast (Jacksonville area)
Hillsborough (Tampa Bay area)
Palm Beach (Palm Beach County area)
Pinellas (Saint Petersburg area)
Southwest (Naples/Ft Myers area)
Sun Coast (Sarasota area)
Treasure Coast (Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, Port Saint Lucie area)
Can I start a PAF chapter in my area?
A member who is part of a group of ten (10) or more that is interested in forming a chapter can submit a request to the PAF’s Director at Large.
I am a member and want to get involved in leadership, what can I do/ where do I start?
PAF has many elected Officer and Director positions at both, the state and chapter levels. Additionally, there are many Committees at both, the state and chapter levels. The best way to get involved is to attend PAF/Chapter meetings and events. Get to know your state and/or chapter board and inquire.
Generally, PAF and its chapters have the following leadership positions but there may be some variation amongst the chapters:
PAF’s elected officers:
First Vice President
Second Vice President
PAF’s elected board members:
Director at Large
PAF’s standing committees:
Certifying Board (Corporation Standing Committee only)
Florida Bar Liaison
Nominations and Elections
Past Presidents/Long Range Planning
Ways and Means
Is PAF a corporation or business for profit?
PAF is a business in the sense that is must cover its costs and is registered to do business in the state of Florida, but it is an I.R.S. 501(c)(6) not-for-profit business league.
Is PAF hiring?
PAF is a volunteer, member-driven organization. All PAF/Chapter directors and committee members serve without compensation.
What certification options are available?
NALA provides the Certified Paralegal Exam (CP). Please visit their website at www.nala.org to obtain all of the information covering the exam as well as cost. Once you pass the NALA CP exam you can take PAF’s certification exam which is the Florida Certified Paralegal Exam which is specific to your area of practice. NALA also has an Advanced Certified Paralegal Exam. If you want a certification which does not currently require an exam, please visit the Florida Bar website at www.floridabar.org to see if you are eligible to be a Florida Registered Paralegal (FRP) with the Florida Bar.