What is a Chartered Legal Executive?
A Chartered Legal Executive is a lawyer who has followed one of the prescribed routes to qualification set out by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx). Chartered Legal Executives are eligible to become partners in law firms and to share in the firm's profits. If you are looking for a way into the law, then this is an ideal route to choose.
What is the role?
Being a Chartered Legal Executive is a fulfilling and rewarding career. Once qualified, there are great opportunities available – you could become a partner in a law firm, an independent practitioner running your own legal business, an advocate or even a judge. Opportunities also exist for senior roles in the legal departments of commercial organisations, charities, government agencies and local authorities. Advertised posts can be found at www.cilexrecruitment.org.uk/ where job descriptions will give you a flavour of the role of a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer.
You may also be interested in watching this video which was created by CILEx and others to encourage diversity in the legal profession.
How does it differ from being a solicitor?
The main difference is that the training to become a Chartered Legal Executive is narrower than the training route to become a solicitor. This means that Chartered Legal Executives study to the same level as solicitors, but they study fewer subjects overall. The main differences lie at the vocational level, where the Legal Practice Course which solicitors follow includes a number of compulsory legal practice subjects. Chartered Legal Executives, whilst studying a broad range of law subjects, study one legal practice subject at an advanced level, having selected which area they wish to specialise in. The specialist nature of the Chartered Legal Executive training route does not cause problems in the working environment, since all lawyers, be they solicitors, barristers or Chartered Legal Executives, tend to specialise in only one area of legal practice once they have qualified.
In this webcast Jonathan Clement, a Personal Injury Team Leader at Thomson Snell & Passmore in Tunbridge Wells, describes how he became a partner in his firm due to being a qualified Chartered Legal Executive.
Chartered Legal Executives are also eligible to be appointed as judges. Find out how to put yourself forward for selection as a judge by viewing this guide prepared jointly by the Judicial Appointments Committee and CILEx.
How does it differ from being a paralegal?
A Chartered Legal Executve is a qualified lawyer, regulated by a professional body, and with rights to partnerships in law firms and to judicial appointment. The term 'paralegal' refers to a wide range of personnel working in the legal environment, from a legal secretary who has undertaken some training in aspects of legal practice, through to law graduates who have not completed a training route to become a qualified lawyer. More information is given in the page 'What is a paralegal?'.
Who is the typical CILEx student?
The CILEx qualification is extremely flexible. Success in individual units leads to achievement of qualifications, and there are no time specified periods during which all units or qualifications need to be gained. This flexibility means that the CILEx qualification is suitable for those seeking a fulfilling career at many different stages of life. Our students range from school leavers choosing the CILEx route instead of a law degree, to mature career changers or those seeking more fulfilment in their working lives. Read some of our student testimonials:
Choosing CILEx instead of a law degree
Choosing the CILEx route after the LLB
Getting in to the legal profession at the ground floor
Getting into an in-house legal department
Building on a career as a legal secretary
Using the CILEx Level 3 Certificate to get into law
Taking advantage of CLEx's flexibility
Using CILEx for a career change
Using CILEx to develop a career in your 30s and 40s
A second chance to build a professional career
Harriet Dale on training to be a Chartered Legal Executive: