Certified Legal Manager Frequently Asked Questions

Benefits of Certification

  • What can the CLM® do for me? What are the benefits?
  • Does the designation make a difference in how I’m perceived or how I perform my job?
  • How does the CLM® designation benefit my firm?
  • What leadership benefits do I get once I’m certified? Do you now have to be a CLM® to be elected to the ALA Board of Directors or any other leadership position?
  • What is the difference between a certificate program and CLM certification?

Applying for the Exam

Educational Requirements

  • Does attending local chapter educational events count toward the educational requirements to sit for the exam?
  • Does listening to conference tapes count toward the educational requirements to sit for the exam?
  • What is the easiest way to obtain the 10 hours of course work in order to qualify for the CLM® once the experience requirement is achieved?
  • In completing the Application to sit for the exam, I am having difficulty determining which category many of the educational programs I have attended fit for the prerequisites - particularly non-ALA programs I have attended. What is the best way to make this determination?
  • How do I keep track of my educational requirements of 120 minutes in each of the Management Categories?
  • Why are there education requirements for taking the exam?

Experience Requirements

  • Why do I have to have a certain number of years of experience? If I can pass the test,what difference does the amount of experience make?

Studying for the Exam

  • Is there a single source I should use to prepare for the CLM® Exam?
  • What is the most successful way to study for the CLM® exam?
  • How many hours do I need to spend studying each week?
  • Is the Law Firm Management Essentials course a good way to prepare for the exam?

Chapter Study Groups

  • Are there specific types of programs (other than the core competency sessions) you would recommend to include in a Chapter Study Program?
  • What does Core Competency mean?
  • I am the only one in my chapter preparing for the exam. How can I get the chapter — or vendors — to help educate me?
  • What can ALA do to assist in developing study groups?
  • How can chapter leaders help chapters develop CLM® Study Groups, or programs — especially when many of the members don’t want to tell anyone they are going to sit for the exam?
  • What can chapter leaders do to help generate excitement about the program?
  • How can chapters use vendors to assist in developing study groups?

Taking the Exam

  • What constitutes passing the exam?
  • How important is the issue of confidentiality, and what steps should chapter leaders take to help insure the confidentiality of their members — whether requested or not?
  • Why are there 125 questions if only 100 count?
  • I have been told by people who took the exam that there is more than one correct answer to a lot of the questions. Is this true?
  • Are the test questions the same from test to test?
  • Who writes the exam?
  • Why isn’t the exam set up like many state bars where you pass each section and you can re-take only the sections that were not passed?


  • What factors drive the fees related to the CLM program?
  • Once certified, why do I have to pay an annual fee?

Tips & Ideas

  • Talk to local colleges to assist in developing a study program.
  • Add a certification section to your chapter website — including sample questions.
  • Create a CLM® library in your chapter with books, tapes and videos.
  • Utilize How to Form a Study Group and Legal Management as resources.
  • Hold an Adult Learning Techniques program to assist your members in understanding how best they learn.
  • Encourage CLMs to write articles for the Chapter newsletter about their experience, etc. This may help dissuade some of the fear of other chapter members.