Virginia Paralegal Requirements & Resources
Becoming a Paralegal in Virginia
Like several other states, paralegals in Virginia are not regulated or governed by state law. However, the Virginia Alliance of Paralegal Associations adopted standards to measure the qualifications of paralegals and encourage their member attorneys to hire paralegals that meet the following criteria:
- Graduated from an American Bar Association (ABA) approved program
- Graduated from a non-ABA approved program of similar rigor
- Earned a bachelor’s degree in any field of study with an additional year of work experience as a paralegal
- Earned a bachelor’s degree in any field with at least 24 semester hours of paralegal studies
- Earned an associate’s degree that required a minimum of 60 semester credit hours of which 24 hours were in paralegal studies
- At least five years of work experience as a paralegal under the direct supervision of an attorney
Professional Paralegal Associations
Fairfax Bar Association Paralegal Section
The Fairfax Bar Association is a voluntary professional organization with more than 2,000 attorneys practicing within the 19th Judicial Circuit of Virginia. The FBA and its members work to improve the legal profession, the community in which they live and the administration of justice in society. The Paralegal Section was established in 2001 to represent paralegals and legal assistants working as paralegals, who are an integral part of the legal practice. In addition to the mission of the Bar, the Paralegal Section’s goals are to raise our visibility among the members of the Bar and the local judicial system, as well as educate and raise awareness among the legal and public communities on the significance of the paralegal profession and its rapid expansion and growth.
Richmond Paralegal Association
The Richmond Paralegal Association (RPA) is a non-profit corporation formed in Virginia in 1982. As an association of legal assistants/paralegals, our primary goals are continuing education and recognition in the legal field. Our membership consists of legal assistants/paralegals, legal professionals and educators from the City of Richmond and the surrounding metropolitan areas.
Virginia Peninsula Paralegal Association (VAPPA)
The Virginia Peninsula Paralegal Association (VAPPA) is a voluntary, non-profit, non-partisan organization and encourages a high order of ethics, sponsors continuing legal education and facilitates network opportunities. VAPPA is composed of (i) paralegals who are interested in furthering their professional development and are dedicated to the advancement of the paralegal profession; (ii) legal educators and organizations that are interested in promotion of the paralegal profession; and (iii) students who are currently enrolled in paralegal education programs. The organization, originally founded as Peninsula Legal Assistants in 1987, is an affiliate of the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. (NALA) and a member of the VirginiaAlliance of Paralegal Associations (VAPA).