Johnson Earns High Honor for Legal Assistants

Published 05.19.1999

Student News

Mary Ann Johnson, Cogan Station, has earned an exceptional honor in the legal community. Johnson, a student at Pennsylvania College of Technology, has successfully completed the Certified Legal Assistant examination and is now entitled to use the "CLA" professional credential. She is among 61 legal assistants in the state and 9,594 nationwide who have reached this goal.

"This is a high honor recognized in the legal community," commented S. Layne Russell, Esq., assistant professor of legal assistant at Penn College. Russell noted that Johnson is the first Penn College student or graduate to attain the certification.

Johnson is enrolled in Penn College's bachelor of science degree major in legal assistant studies. She has previously earned associate degrees from the College in legal assistant/paralegal, business management, and accounting. Johnson serves as president of Penn College's chapter of Alpha Chi, a national honor society for baccalaurate degree students.

Established in 1976, the CLA examination program is a voluntary professional credentialing program developed by the National Association of Legal Assistants and administered by a board comprised of legal assistants, members of the American Bar Association, and members of the education field active in legal assistant training. The CLA program involves successful completion of a two-day comprehensive examination covering the topics of communications, legal research, ethics, human relations and interviewing techniques, legal terminology, judgment and analytical ability, and substantive law. After attaining the credential, evidence of continuing legal education must be submitted periodically in order to maintain certified status.

The National Association of Legal Assistants, headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., is a national, nonprofit association which represents over 19,000 paralegals through individual members and 87 affiliate state and local associations. It is recognized as the leader in the growth and development of the paralegal profession, providing continuing education, professional development, and certification programs for the career field.