CLI Requirements

In 1973 the National Association of Legal Investigators approved and undertook implementation of a professional certification program, which is administered by a professional certification board of the Association, the Chairperson of which is appointed by the National Director of the Association.

This program provides that certification as a legal investigator, entitling use of the professional designation, Certified Legal Investigator, and its abbreviation, CLI, will be granted by the professional certification board to investigators who:

  • Applicants must devote a majority of their practice to negligence investigations for the plaintiff and/or criminal defense, and be employed by a law firm engaged in the private practice of law and/or privately owned investigative firm.
  • Be licensed, if required, by the state in which the applicant is practicing/employed.
  • Applicants for the CLI credential must have a minimum five years verifiable work experience as a full-time negligence investigator for the plaintiff’s, or as a criminal defense investigator. Applicants may substitute one year of work experience for successful completion of 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours of course work at an accredited college or university.
  • With the application form and fee, prepare and submit a “white paper,” of not less that 1,000 words, on any investigative subject.
  • Complete a written and oral examination prepared and administered by the professional certification board (the CLI Committee), The examinee must obtain a passing score (70% or more) in each section (white paper, oral exam and written exam).
  • After a CLI has initially completed two (2) consecutive three year compliance periods of 50 hours, all future compliance periods shall require 36 hours of continuing education. After 15 years of uninterrupted reporting, the reporting requirement is every five (5) years. It is not a requirement that a CLI attend a NALI sponsored or NALI co-sponsored conference.”

The Association feels that this professional certification program is the most important and significant program it has undertaken in its history.