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Opportunities for professional development for paralegals abound. In addition to educational programs and certification, professional development may be enhanced through membership in the numerous voluntary associations of paralegals that exist in North Carolina.

For example, the North Carolina Paralegal Association (“NCPA”) is a state-wide association and an affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants. The membership consists primarily of paralegals but is open to students in paralegal programs, lawyers, educators and others in the legal profession. NCPA offers several different classes of membership, all of which have different eligibility requirements. Information about the NCPA or any affiliated local paralegal organization may be obtained by contacting:

North Carolina Paralegal Association
PO Box 36264
Charlotte, NC 28236-6264
(800) 479-1905
(704) 535-3363
info@ncparalegal.org

Several voluntary professional organizations for lawyers offer associate or affiliate memberships for paralegals. For example, the North Carolina Bar Association allows paralegals to become affiliate members. Affiliate membership is voluntary and open to paralegals satisfying the Bar Association’s membership criteria, which includes sponsorship and employment by a lawyer licensed to practice law and one of the following: (1) successful completion of the NALA certification exam and one year of employment as a paralegal under the supervision of a lawyer; (2) a bachelor’s degree and one year of employment as a paralegal under the supervision of a lawyer; (3) successful completion of an ABA paralegal program and one year of employment as a paralegal under the supervision of a lawyer; (4) successful completion of a community college paralegal program of not less that 18 hours, plus 60 semester hours of post-secondary coursework and one year of employment as a paralegal under the supervision of a lawyer; or (5) three years employment as a paralegal under the supervision of a lawyer. To receive more information about affiliate membership, contact:

North Carolina Bar Association
8000 Weston Parkway
Cary, NC 27513
(919) 677-0561
(919) 677-0761 fax
ncbar.org

In addition, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice (“NCAJ”) allows paralegals to become associate members provided they are employed by a lawyer member of NCAJ and have successfully completed a paralegal program or their employer attests that they are qualified through experience. For more information about NCAJ’s Paralegals Division, contact:

North Carolina Advocates for Justice
PO Box 10918
Raleigh, NC 27605-0918
(919) 832-1413
(800) 688-1413
(919) 832-6361 fax
ncaj.com

Finally, the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys (“NCAWA”) offers an associate membership to nonlawyers who are interested in furthering the goals of NCAWA. For information, contact:

North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys
PO Box 1593
Durham, NC 27702-1593
(919) 479-2032
ncawa.org

Membership in these organizations is not a prerequisite to working as a paralegal in North Carolina.

Many national and local paralegal associations also exist. The following is a list of some of those organizations:

National Organizations 

National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA)

Tulsa, OK
nala.org

National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA)
Seattle, WA
paralegals.org

Regional Organizations 

Alamance County Paralegal Association
alamancectyparalegalassoc

Asheville Area Paralegal Association
ashevilleparalegals.com

Catawba Valley Paralegal Association, Inc.
PO Box 3068
Hickory, NC 28603
catawbavalleyparalegalassoc.org

Cumberland County Paralegal Association
PO Box 1342
Fayetteville, North Carolina 28302
ccpara.com

Guilford Paralegal Association
PO Box 29183
Greensboro, NC 27429-9183
guilfordparalegalassociation.org

Metrolina Paralegal Association
PO Box 36260
Charlotte, North Carolina 28236
charlotteareaparalegals.com

Raleigh-Wake Paralegal Association
PO Box 1427
Raleigh, North Carolina 27602
raleighwakeparalegal.net

Research Triangle Paralegal Association (RTPA)
rtpanc.org