PACE is an exam offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (NFPA®) to test the competency level of experienced paralegals.
The exam was developed by a professional testing firm in conjunction with an independent task force including paralegals, lawyers, paralegal educators and content specialists from the general public who are legal advocates. It is administered by computer in a proctored testing facility, consists of 200 multiple-choice questions and must be completed in four hours, although many candidates complete it in two.
The questions are not practice-area specific, but are hypothetical issues testing advanced application of general knowledge, paralegal experience, and critical analysis ability to identify the correct answer. The exam covers tasks that experienced paralegals routinely perform, regardless of the practice area or geographic region in which they live. These tasks were organized into 5 domains:
- Administration of Client Legal Matters (23%)
- Development of Client Legal Matters (30%)
- Factual and Legal Research (22%)
- Factual and Legal Writing (20.5%)
- Office Administration (4.5%)
Ethics are included in all of the above domains, as are technology and terminology.
PACE provides groundwork for public and legal professionals to:
Expand paralegal roles and responsibilities
Measure professional competency
Regulate experienced paralegals on state level
Paralegals that pass the PACE are awarded PACE Registered Paralegal® (RP®) status. All proceeds received from PACE are placed in a nonprofit foundation created for the future development of the profession. This foundation is independent of NFPA.