Legal executive update

There have been recent changes to the “legal executive” route to qualifying as a lawyer.

Becoming a member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) is one way to gain a professional qualification as a lawyer that sits equal to qualification as a solicitor or barrister. Chartered legal executives must still go through academic study and build up time in “qualifying employment”. The main difference between the routes is that chartered legal executives tend to specialise in a particular area of law whereas solicitors and barristers have a broader training. You can also become a legal executive even if you have not done a law degree, the Graduate Diploma in Law or Bar Professional Training Course. It is possible to qualify as a legal executive by studying while you are working right from the start. Being able to balance study around work means that the route is often considered a flexible way to become a lawyer, and CILEx credits this with encouraging diversity in its membership. 74% of CILEx members are women and 36% of its students are from Black, Asian or an ethnic minority background.

So what’s new?

For those who have been through law school, the time spent on the Legal Practice Course can now count towards your “qualifying employment” in order to get recognition as a legal executive. The  amount of “qualifying employment” required has reduced from 5 to 3 years, and 10 months of LPC time can count towards the total.

These changes mean the route to becoming a legal executive might now be more appealing to LLB and LPC graduates working as paralegals or legal assistants. Even though training contracts are harder to come by, becoming a legal executive provides a route to a professional qualification on a par with qualification as a solicitor, and now in a similar timeframe.

You can find out more about the legal executive route on the website of their professional body, CILEx:

There have also been recent developments with Legal Apprenticeships at Levels 2, 3 and 4, providing employers with funding for legal training of new and existing staff.