Friday, October 3, 2008

Grandfathering Provisions Are Sunset for a Reason

In 2000, the grandfathering provision of the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (PACE), allowing paralegals with experience but not formal education to take the exam, sunset. The earliest Registered Paralegals (RPs) listed on the National Federation of Paralegal Association's website are from 1996, meaning that the grandfathering provision extended for at least four years.

Now, an agenda topic at the annual convention wants to resurrect the grandfathering period, for all the wrong reasons - namely, so that paralegals who have not met the educational requirements to take PACE can take the exam anyway. This is a grave mistake.

The grandfathering period was already extended once, from 1999 to 2000. As professionals, paralegals - and NFPA in particular - should be promoting education. I re-read the agenda topic, and I'm somewhat disturbed by the reference to education as a "financial burden." Getting the degree is an investment in a paralegal's future, not a burden of any sort.

It is a mistake to resurrect the grandfathering period because education is a key component of any profession, and we as paralegals should strive for those standards in order to be recognized as such.

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