What Is the AAfPE?

If you’re thinking about becoming a paralegal, you’ve probably heard quite a few people mention the AAfPE, also known as the American Association for Paralegal Education. While there are many things that you should know about this organization, you should probably start with learning about its mission, history and association with higher learning institutions.


The American Association for Paralegal Education’s mission has remained exactly the same since June 9, 2001. The organization believes that it should be easy for individuals to access the legal system. Because of this, competent paralegals are needed. These important professionals help lawyers do their jobs, and if they aren’t well-educated, the general public suffers. According to the American Association for Paralegal Education’s mission statement, it focuses on seven important goals. These goals include:

  • holding conferences and seminars
  • raising the standards for paralegal education
  • working with other paralegal organizations
  • developing standards for paralegal education programs
  • giving paralegal educators opportunities for professional improvement
  • assisting paralegal schools and employers
  • promoting research within the paralegal field

From the board of directors to ordinary members, everyone is needed to help the organization work towards its goals.


While the current mission statement of the AAfPE has been around since 2001, the organization itself has been around for much longer. The American Bar Association, also known as the ABA, was established on August 21, 1878, but it was another hundred years before it sponsored the first conference for paralegal educators. It was around this time – the 1970s – that the American Association for Paralegal Education began to form. Officially established in 1981, the organization has been around for more than 30 years. One of the causes of its formation was the start of conferences for paralegal educators, but it now has a much broader focus. In fact, one of its main objectives has more to do with policies than individual educators. To make sure that paralegal students are getting the best education possible, the organization has branched out to work on creating a set of standards that it believes all paralegal programs should meet.

Association with Higher Education Institutions

Because the American Association for Paralegal Education has such a focus on creating standards for paralegal programs, it’s very influential when it comes to colleges and universities. If a school that offers a paralegal program meets certain standards, it can become a member of the organization. There are many quality programs out there for people who want to start a career in law. Some of these programs are associated with the American Association for Paralegal Education, and some are not. That being said, it’s usually a smart choice for students to pick a paralegal program that has been approved by either the American Association for Paralegal Education or the ABA. To get more help with choosing a paralegal program, students can talk to alumni of schools that they’re interested in and current paralegals.

You can research more about this organization by visiting its website, talking to other paralegals or doing an online search, but the basics are simple. The AAfPE has worked hard during the last 30 or so years to improve the education that’s available to aspiring paralegals.