What is the Indiana Registered Paralegal (IRP) status?
The Indiana Registered Paralegal (IRP) status is a voluntary paralegal registration program adopted by the Indiana State Bar Association. For paralegals who aspire to a higher goal, the Indiana Registered Paralegal status will both recognize and convey a person’s commitment to competence with the emphasis on professional education and minimum standards for the profession. An applicant seeking the ISBA’s Indiana Registered Paralegal status must be a member in good standing of the ISBA for three (3) years prior to applying, and meet certain education or credential criteria. Upon approval, the paralegal will become an Indiana Registered Paralegal and identify said status with the initials “IRP” following his or her name.
What is the cost associated with becoming an Indiana Registered Paralegal?
The cost is $125 to become an Indiana Registered Paralegal, plus an annual renewal fee of $50.
Note: This is in addition to your annual ISBA dues payment.
How do I apply to become an Indiana Registered Paralegal?
If you qualify for the ISBA’s Indiana Registered Paralegal status, you can apply when renewing your dues online. If you've already renewed your dues, you can apply by visiting the online store: www.inbar.org/store.
Is paralegal registration a new concept in Indiana?
The movement toward paralegal registration is not a new concept in Indiana. The paralegal associations in Indiana have been exploring the possibilities for a number of years. The ISBA House of Delegates first considered paralegal registration in 2006 with proposed Rule 2.2. The 2014 proposal was for the Indiana Supreme Court to add a new Rule 9 to the Rules of Professional Conduct, with administration of the program to be delegated to the ISBA. In December, the Supreme Court declined to adopt a rule at that time, but indicated that it saw nothing that would prevent the ISBA from creating and administering a paralegal registration program.
If I am not a "registered paralegal," can I still call myself a paralegal?
Yes, if you are otherwise qualified under prevailing Indiana law. The IRP program is a voluntary registration program.
What are the requirements for becoming an Indiana Registered Paralegal?
The following are requirements for the IRP status:
- Currently employed as a Paralegal: Paralegals are those persons, regardless of job title or classification, who are employed by a lawyer, law office, government agency or other entity in Indiana and working under the direction of an attorney in a capacity that involves the performance of substantive legal work that usually requires knowledge of legal concepts, and who perform those duties at least seventy percent (70%) of the time. Substantive legal work is defined as work for which an attorney is ultimately responsible, and absent such paralegal, the attorney would perform the task.
- Affiliate Member of ISBA in good standing for three (3) years.
One of the following:
- Bachelor’s Degree with a minimum of twelve (12) hours of undergraduate credit in law or paralegal studies from an institutionally accredited paralegal program;
- Bachelor’s Degree and a Paralegal Certificate from an institutionally accredited paralegal program;
- Bachelor’s Degree from an institutionally accredited program, plus at least two (2) years of paralegal experience;
- Associate’s Degree in paralegal studies from an institutionally accredited paralegal program, plus at least two (2) years of paralegal experience;
- Certification in paralegal studies from an institutionally accredited paralegal program, plus at least two (2) years of paralegal experience;
- Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE) certification (as offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations) and is in good standing;
- Paralegal CORE Competency Exam (PCCE) certification (as offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations) and is in good standing;
- Certified Legal Assistant/ Certified Paralegal (CLA/CP) certification (as offered by the National Association of Legal Assistants) and is in good standing; OR
I have been a paralegal for years; however, I do not have an educational component. Can I be “grandfathered” to become an ISBA paralegal member?
From July 1, 2015 through July 1, 2017, the ISBA is reopening its grandparent provision for paralegal membership in the ISBA. This grandparent provision enables paralegals to apply for membership with a waiver from the educational or testing requirements. To qualify for the waiver for ISBA membership, the applicant must have obtained the required CLE hours and have work experience consisting of not less than seventy percent (70%) of substantive legal work performed for a minimum of three (3) years of the previous seven (7) years in the employ of an attorney, law office, corporation, government agency or other entity while performing specifically delegated substantive legal work for which an attorney is ultimately responsible, and absent such paralegal, the attorney would perform the task. An attorney affidavit of work experience must be attached to the application for membership.
What is the time frame for counting my CLE hours, and what CLE courses count toward my certification?
The CLE must be taken between July 1 and June 30 immediately prior to the July 1 reporting date. It is anticipated that registered paralegals will take CLE courses that have been approved for attorneys. CLE taken in the three (3) years prior to the application date will count toward the initial registration, and approved CLE courses in subsequent years will count toward the renewal registration.
Are there requirements for maintaining the Indiana Registered Paralegal status?
To maintain the IRP status, there is a CLE requirement consisting of eighteen (18) hours of substantive CLE, three (3) hours of which is Ethics, over a three (3) year period. A minimum of six (6) hours of CLE, of which one (1) hour must be Ethics, is required per year.
Why do I have to be a member of the ISBA for three (3) years before becoming eligible for the Indiana Registered Paralegal status?
IRP’s are expected to aspire and excel to a higher standard. The three (3) year membership ensures that the IRP has obtained and maintained the CLE requirement, as well as the ethical and professional level to fulfill that higher standard expectation. Additionally, one of the great concerns with a paralegal registration program was the burden of cost in administration of a registration program. The three (3) year membership allows the initial administration cost to be spread more evenly among those participating.
If I apply for membership with the Association, do I have to wait three (3) years before I become eligible for the Indiana Registered Paralegal status?
No, if you have previously been an affiliate member of ISBA for three (3) years out of the last seven (7), but are not currently a member, you will be required to re-join the ISBA, and pay the appropriate dues and the registration fee to become eligible for the Indiana Registered Paralegal status. If you have previously been a member for less than three (3) years, you would need to pay dues to bring you to the three (3) year requirement, plus current dues and the registration fee. If you have never been a member and otherwise meet the requirements for IRP, you may pay the full three (3) years of dues, plus the current year and registration fee. In all circumstances, you MUST meet the CLE requirements.
How do I prove that I took CLE courses from three years ago?
If you no longer have the “certificates” or documentation, contact the vendor or association sponsor of the CLE and they should be able to provide you with the proper verification.
How do I get notified that I have been approved for IRP status so I can begin displaying the initials after my name?
Once your IRP status has been approved, you will be notified by the current ISBA President.