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VAPA APPROVES VOLUNTARY PARALEGAL CREDENTIALING SYSTEM

In recognition of the growing need to establish a benchmark to determine qualified paralegals, on November 7, 2015, the Virginia Alliance of Paralegal Associations (VAPA) adopted a Policy on Paralegal Regulation by approving the Virginia Registered Paralegal (VARP™) program, a voluntary paralegal credentialing system. 

Under this new program, a paralegal applying for the VARP™ credential must be a voting member of any VAPA member association in good standing and/or an area liaison, and meet certain minimum standards relating to education/CLEs and experience.  A paralegal with a VARP™ designation is required to complete a minimum of twelve hours of CLE credits including two hours of ethics every two years and provide proof of completion of the requisite CLE hours to VAPA in order to maintain her/his VARP™ credential. 

Formed in 1989 by a small group of paralegals, VAPA is best known for its biennial multi-day CLE conferences and the establishment/procurement of Paralegals’ Week every October.  VAPA is a non-profit organization representing multiple paralegal associations and individual area liaisons located in and around the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Each paralegal association is comprised of paralegals, paralegal students, and entities that support the paralegal profession in Virginia.  Consistent with VAPA’s mission to advance, foster, and promote the paralegal profession by providing a statewide voice for paralegals, a portion of the proceeds from the VARP™ program will be used to provide assistance to paralegals wishing to further their goals by attaining national certification. 

In September 1994, VAPA developed and adopted the Educational Standards and Professional Responsibility Guidelines for Paralegals.  In March 1995, the standards were recommended by the Virginia State Bar Standing Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law by resolution.  These standards serve as the basis for the development of the VARP™ program.

If you have any questions regarding the VARP program, please feel free to contact Karen Axell, RP, VARP, at kaxell@earthlink.net.

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