About the Exam

The exam is offered twice a year in the spring and fall. Good news! You can conveniently take it online from your home or office. If you prefer an in-person atmosphere, we've still got you covered. ALA’s CLM exam is offered online at Pearson VUE’s many testing sites throughout the United States.

Exam Centers

All approved CLM applicants will receive a unique password and URL to register at one of Pearson’s testing locations. Applicants are encouraged to apply early in order to secure their exam location.

Please be aware that there are limited testing locations and seats available and you may not be able to take the exam at your preferred location.

What to Do/What to Expect:
  • Report to the test site 30 minutes before the start of the exam.
  • Examinees who arrive after the exam has begun will be admitted at the discretion of the examiner.
  • Agree to adhere to Pearson VUE’s Candidate Rules
  • Agreement.
  • Present a photo identification such as a driver’s license or passport.
  • Expect to have your palm scanned and be asked to empty your pockets.
  • Complete the exam within four (4) hours.
  • Examinees who complete the examination in less than four hours will be allowed to leave the test site.
  • Examinees are not permitted to work past the time scheduled for the completion of the examination.
Preparing for It

The multiple-choice examination covers topics detailed in the Content Outline of the Body of Knowledge. The practice analysis upon which this outline is based was accomplished with the assistance of an independent testing contractor, the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO).

  • While the CLM program has applicability to all those who are, or aspire to be, principal legal administrators, job requirement for principal administrators working in different environments are not the same.
  • The content of the CLM examination is targeted to an individual who is expected to have day-to-day, hands-on involvement in each of the Body of Knowledge areas listed.
  • Persons passing the CLM examination should have the depth and breadth of knowledge and management skills that would enable him or her to visit any 30 to 50-attorney law office, review practices and procedures, and be conversant about, and offer advice in, each of the areas listed in the Body of Knowledge without relying on others.

Content Outline of the Body of Knowledge 

The CLM certification exam questions are representative of the functional areas below. The percentages listed indicate how each area of knowledge is emphasized on the test.

I. Financial Management (31%)

A. General Accounting (14%)

  • Knowledge of general accounting procedures, systems, terms, concepts and policies, including familiarity with general ledger, general journal entries, cost accounting, fixed asset accounting, accounts receivable, and accounts payable.
  • Knowledge of banking/investment policies and procedures and types of accounts.
  • Knowledge of trust accounting procedures and regulations.
  • Knowledge of U.S. federal payroll and employee benefit procedures, and tax and reporting requirements (e.g., Internal Revenue Service Code).
  • Knowledge of legal organization structures and the laws and regulations regarding accounting procedures for each structure, including tax reporting requirements.
  • Knowledge of special issues in accounting for law firm operations, including time and billing systems, alternative billing methods, collection procedures, cost recovery guidelines and electronic billing.

B. Financial Information and Analysis (17%)

  • Knowledge of financing methods and investments (e.g., lease vs. buy).
  • Knowledge of methods of financial analysis, including reading and interpreting financial statements, calculating and interpreting various financial ratios, conducting profit analyses and analyzing comparative financial information across fiscal years.
  • Knowledge of budgeting, financial reporting, cash flow analysis, model building, and variance analysis.
  • Knowledge of alternative fee arrangements (e.g., bonus-based, flat-fee, task-based, volume discounts).
  • Knowledge of financial controls (e.g., division of responsibilities).
  • Knowledge of client matter budgeting as it relates to electronic billing and/or allocation of firm time and resources.

II. Human Resources Management (33%)

A. Employee Selection and Promotion (9%)

  • Knowledge of procedures and tools for recruiting, selecting, and promoting employees.
  • Knowledge of U.S. federal employment laws (e.g., Civil Rights Act of 1991, Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA], Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act [USERRA]).

B. Performance Management and Compensation (19%)

  • Knowledge of U.S. federal employee benefit laws (e.g., Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act [COBRA], Fair Labor Standards Act [FLSA], Family and Medical Leave Act [FMLA], Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA], Employee Retirement Income Security Act [ERISA]).
  • Knowledge of performance management systems (e.g., appraisal, disciplinary, and termination procedures).
  • Knowledge and expertise in personnel training and development systems/methods.
  • Knowledge of employee motivational techniques.
  • Knowledge of incentives/rewards systems (compensation, employee benefits).
  • Knowledge of substance abuse issues in the workplace (e.g., intervention techniques, assessment and treatment resources).

C. Organization Development (5%)

  • Knowledge of leadership styles and techniques.
  • Knowledge of team development and management principles (e.g., self-directed teams, team building).
  • Knowledge of organizational development techniques (e.g., change management).
  • Knowledge and skill in negotiation and conflict management techniques.

III. Legal Industry/Business Management (19%)

A. Legal Industry (11%)

  • Knowledge of the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Ethics as it pertains to law firm management (e.g., conflict of interest, advertising, client file management).
  • Knowledge of professional liability issues.
  • Knowledge of changes/trends in the legal industry.
  • Knowledge of records management and retention requirements (e.g., requirements for paper and electronic documents, discovery holds and requests).

B. Business Management (8%)

  • Knowledge of business development techniques, including market analysis and business development tools (e.g., social media, website design, search engine optimization).
  • Knowledge of laws and regulations regarding business insurance coverages.
  • Knowledge of planning techniques (e.g., strategic, disaster and business planning).

IV. Operations Management (17%)

A. Technology/Automation Management (5%)

  • Knowledge of the features and capabilities of the internet, web-based technology, hardware and software systems, including security and confidentiality.
  • Knowledge of electronic privacy issues.

B. Operations (12%)

  • Knowledge of facilities management procedures and techniques.
  • Knowledge of lease/contract agreements.
  • Knowledge of project management.
  • Knowledge of work health issues (e.g., ergonomic workstations, employee assistance programs [EAPs]).
  • Knowledge of space assessment, design, and development strategies.