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PACE Certification Exam


This interactive, in-depth 7 week online review course prepares the practicing paralegal to sit for the Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam (“PACE”).  It is taught by a Registered Paralegal with teaching credentials and who passed the PACE exam herself in 2005.   She has taught the review course for the last 16 years for the Advanced Paralegal Institute (API).   She will mentor you on how to study effectively and efficiently to increase your chances of passing the exam on the first try.

When offering our review courses to paralegals, our mission was to ensure they were taught by practicing paralegals who have taken the exams and have the exact credential you are seeking.   The success of our review course can be attributed to its interactive nature. This is not a webinar nor does it contain pre-recorded lectures.  The class is taught in a virtual classroom setting for 7 weeks. Our Certified Paralegal Instructor can answer questions, mentor, direct each student to additional study materials, and support the student through the testing process having gone through it herself.

Students will assess their strengths and weaknesses in the various domains and focus on the material covered in these domains.  At the end of each unit are sample test questions used to test students’ knowledge of the subject matter and to acquaint them with the types of questions that appear on PACE as well as practical assignments designed to provide students with the practical experience to help them answer the PACE multiple choice questions. There will also be instruction on how to tackle a multiple choice examination and more importantly, on how to take a computerized test.


• API has specialized in Paralegal Education since 1978.

• Advanced Specialty Paralegal courses initiated in 1995.

• Test Preparation review courses since 1999 in co-sponsorship with NFPA. Our courses were developed in conjunction with NFPA members and reviewed extensively by their committees. We are the original provider for both PACE and PCCE test prep review courses.

• The Founder and Director of the API, Renee Revall Sova served on the PACE Item Writing committee when the PACE test was first developed in the early 1990's. Having worked as a Paralegal, Student Counselor, and Paralegal Educator, for over 35 years dedicated solely to the Paralegal Profession, Director Sova was the first and only professional to develop an exam prep course exclusively for NFPA. We do not offer prep courses for any other paralegal association which keeps our focus on what you need as a student to succeed for the PACE exam.


• Virtual classroom setting with a PACE certified paralegal instructor with 16 years experience teaching the PACE review class on line.

• PACE Certified paralegal instructors are preferred over attorneys for peer to peer interaction and knowledge of the exam itself.

• Testimonials available of proven success by students who have passed the PACE exam.

• Significant database of students have passed the exam having gone through our course.

• Certified instructor provides continuous mentorship to ensure students progress at a rate to achieve their goals. Most students cannot study on their own. They require a course that is paced and gated with deadlines for assignments and tests.

• Mentorship by our PACE certified instructor affords student progress reports weekly through the use of weekly testing on the concepts taught.  We found anything less frequent has significantly reduced student success rates on the exam.

• Curriculum updates as Exam changes.

• Exclusive and specialized only for the paralegal profession.


Unit One introduces PACE and explains the development of PACE, the requirements to sit for PACE, the structure and format of PACE, and how to apply for PACE.  There is an overview of the skills tested in each domain and what a paralegal eligible to sit for PACE should know.  The unit also touches upon organizational skills, ethics and legal technology such as conflicts checks, calendaring, maintaining a database and file maintenance.

Unit Two studies ethical considerations including conflicts of interest, attorney-client privilege, confidentiality, handling client funds, unauthorized practice of law statutes, and competence.  The subject of ethics is examined in each unit, but is presented in depth in this unit.

Unit Three examines the skills and tools necessary to gather information from individuals and public and private agencies as well as to communicate with clients, witnesses, experts, counsel and other personnel in order to exchange information, to foster client relationship, to develop and maintain effective strategy and to resolve legal issues.  Students will focus on analyzing the information gathered and putting the information into the proper formats (i.e., legal and factual documents, exhibits and evidence).  The unit concludes with a review of Federal court and agency rules and a discussion on the paralegal’s role in legal proceedings.

Unit Four discusses administrative and office skills expected of paralegals at all levels.  Students are expected to understand time management, the billing system used in law firms, and the importance of maintaining forms and other legal resources.  There is also a presentation on how to work with vendors and how to manage personnel.

Unit Five presents a step-by-step approach on how to conduct legal research in the law library and on-line.

Unit Six examines the acceptable letter and memo formats in legal writing and the proper way to attach exhibits.  There is also a review of English grammar, spelling and punctuation and a discussion of legal citations.

Unit Seven explains how to study for PACE and how to take a computerized, multiple choice examination.  This unit concludes with a practice PACE test and provides instant results. Students will receive a score similar to those provided by the actual exam.  Based on these results, an analysis by the instructor is done to assess the students’ strengths and weaknesses by domain.  This key analysis provides the information necessary to the student to determine if they should continue to study a particular domain or plan to take the exam with confidence. Our paralegal instructors are dedicated to assisting you in achieving your goal of certification.


The course is based on the PACE Study Manual (7th edition) written by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, Inc. (“NFPA”) .  Supplemental readings are included and recommended by your Instructor. Additionally, we will provide an e-lecture for each unit which provides an introduction to the topics discussed in that unit and suggestions for how to study those topics.


"I want to say “thanks” to you, Loretta  (my instructor), and the rest of the team at the Advanced Paralegal Institute (API) for assisting me on my journey to becoming an RP. I could not have successfully taken the PACE exam without the review course and Loretta's guidance. She was a wonderful mentor, and I always appreciated her quick response and feedback to my questions. Preliminary test results said that I was successful in achieving a pass rate on the PACE exam. The exam was definitely difficult, however, the PACE review course helped in preparing me with the overall knowledge and a basic foundation in the specific domains tested. Again, a huge “thank you” goes out to you and your team. This has been a wonderful educational experience, and I’m hopeful this will help guide me into my next paralegal job.” - Kristen

"I passed my PACE exam last week. Thank you so much for your excellent mentorship in the online course. Your course was invaluable for preparing me to take the exam.” - Julianne

"My experience start to finish with API has been excellent in a world with NO customer service anymore. It has been a real pleasure to deal with competent, professional, and personable individuals at every level. Follow up on some questions I posed to the Advanced Paralegal Institute (after successfully passing PACE YAY!) was handled in the very same courteous and efficient manner. The helpful study hints brochure was terrific. I committed it to memory and it gave me great confidence. In short, I could not have done it without them. This company is highly thought of in the industry and everyone involved has excellent credentials. My passing score is dedicated to you. I welcome further inquiry because I really don’t think I can put into a short letter exactly how beneficial I think the services offered by the Advanced Paralegal Institute truly are.” - Joanne

"I was one of your PCCE students last spring and I am contacting you to let you know I passed the exam! I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you once again for everything that you did during the courses. I believe the course was significantly helpful to me in preparing and passing the exam.” - Robert

“NFPA's relationship with API spans a 16 year history as the provider of the PACE review course to supplement NFPA's  groundwork for expanding paralegal roles and responsibilities through our PACE exam.  We are pleased with the online format and the attention each student is afforded. We are very pleased with API, its staff and faculty.”- Tracey L. Young, RP , former President of NFPA

Loretta Nesbitt


Loretta Nesbitt, RP®  is the PACE review course Instructor for the Advanced Paralegal Institute. Loretta teaches on line and provides seminars on PACE and the review course to PACE Ambassadors and members.  She also works as a litigation paralegal and e-discovery manager with the Austin, TX firm of Buchanan, DiMasi, Dancy & Grabouski. With over 25 years of paralegal experience, she has assisted attorneys on complex civil and criminal litigation matters in both the corporate and law firm environments.  


Loretta holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Louisiana State University and obtained her paralegal certificate from the National Center for Paralegal Training in Atlanta, GA. Loretta is a past president of the Dallas Area Paralegal Association and has held various positions with NFPA including Region II Director and Vice President – Policy. She obtained her RP® designation in 2005 and has taught API’s PACE Review Course since its inception in 1999. Loretta authored “Development of Client Legal Matters” and co-authored “Administration of Client Legal Matters” of the PACE Review Manual.

If you would like to learn more about the National Federation of Paralegal Association and its exam please click on this link:

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