Paralegal membership change

Trade-Mark-ParalegalIn July 2017 we launched a new category of membership, CITMA Paralegal. This new category was established to recognise the roles and responsibilities of those in the profession and the number of people working at this level.

All Administrator members have been automatically transferred to this category as the Administrator category has been withdrawn.

Increasing skills and knowledge

These changes will help increase the skills, knowledge and standards of this part of the sector, assisting the profession in providing a first class service, for which it is well known. CITMA Paralegal membership will be an indicator of both a commitment to development and of professional service.

To complement this, we are introducing a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirement to the new category. This comprises of eight hours learning and development which members will need to complete each year. Specialist events and webinars run by CITMA will ensure CITMA Paralegal members have the best opportunities to earn focussed CPD.

In order to become a CITMA Paralegal member an applicant must have completed the CITMA Paralegals Course. The course is run each year and the standards continuously reviewed.

"More than just a change of name"

CITMA President Kate O’Rourke said: “This is more than just a change of name - it is a commitment we are making to do more to support and develop the work of trade mark paralegals, administrators and formalities staff.

“Many Chartered Trade Mark Attorneys and our firms rely on the excellent work of paralegal colleagues to deliver outstanding results for the organisations we represent. I am proud that CITMA is doing more to develop and recognise this vital role.”

Following a consultation conducted in 2015 the results confirmed that the role of trade mark administrators, paralegals and formalities staff has taken on increasing importance and the majority in these roles had responsibilities beyond the basic administration and support. The new CITMA Paralegal category has been created to recognise that and to try and bring recognition and standardisation to the titles used.

The vast majority of our members in all categories were in favour of the proposals to provide further opportunities for trade mark administrators and paralegals to develop their skills and that the name change would better recognises the role they play in the sector.

Category

Everyone who was previously an Administrator member has been automatically transferred over to the new category.

To be a member in the first place you needed to have passed the CITMA Paralegals Course. The category will continue to be open to anyone working in the trade mark and design profession who has passed the Course, or the earlier formalities course.

All those who pass the CITMA Trade Mark Administrators’ Course in 2017 will have the opportunity to become CITMA Paralegal members after their results are published.

Opportunity for growth

We are introducing a CPD requirement of eight hours per year (up to four of which can be personal study) for the CITMA Paralegal category. This will be mandatory for all new members who pass the CITMA Paralegals course from 2018 onwards and therefore the first year for self-certifying CPD will be 2019.

We trust all existing members will take up the CPD element to membership. On renewal each year members will be required to self-certify that they have fulfilled their CPD requirement.

This gives CITMA Paralegal members a clear opportunity to grow and develop the skills they have gained throughout their professional career and on the Course. It also provides a way of demonstrating commitment to professional development to employers.

Membership of CITMA provides the opportunity to attend many events, lectures, seminars and webinars for free or heavily discounted rates.

Titles

The new category will enable members in that category to use the title ‘CITMA Paralegal’. Members are encouraged to use this to help embed the title and raise awareness of it and what it means.

CITMA Paralegals Course

The CITMA Paralegals Course will continue to be the standard for the profession, and we regularly have 100 people taking the course. The name of the course has been changed to ‘CITMA Paralegals Course’ to reflect the changes outlined above, and we are committed to continuing to run the course, equipping those who attend with the knowledge and understanding they need to excel in their role.