Your law degree counts towards becoming a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer
The CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma (GFTD) is the qualification for law graduates who wish to complete the academic part of the Chartered Legal Executive qualification. You are also eligible if you hold a non-law degree and have studied for a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).
Having your law degree/GDL means that you do not need to study any more law subjects. You just need to acquire the legal practice and professional skills elements of the qualification. To become a Chartered Legal Executive you must also satisfy the qualifying employment requirements which are covered in the 'How to qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive' section. If you are already working as a paralegal, it is highly likely that your current employment will count towards the required three-year period of qualifying employment. One year of the three-year period must take place after all exams are completed.
If you are already familiar with the CILEx qualifications and how they are delivered please visit the following page to apply:
What will I study?
The CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma is made up of two Level 6 practice units and one Level 6 professional skills unit – Unit 22 Client Care Skills. One of the practice units must link to a law unit that you have studied as part of your degree. A list of the practice units and the law units to which they relate is given below. These are for reference only - no law units are studied as part of the CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma.
The three units Civil Litigation, Conveyancing and Criminal Litigation all relate to a core law degree subject, so if you choose any one of these three units then you can select freely from the other practice units for your second choice. You should be careful if you wish to study two units, neither of which are related to core law degree subjects, for example The Practice of Employment Law and The Practice of Family Law. In this case you must have studied either Employment Law or Family Law as an elective subject within your law degree.
How long will it take?
You can enrol on courses with CILEx Law School at any time of year and each of the three courses is valid for 15 months from enrolment. There are two exam sessions per year, one in January and one in June, and you can select which one of these you want to work towards. Many students do one practice exam in one session and the other in the next session, for example. You can expect to complete all three courses within nine to fifteen months, depending on the amount of time you have available to allocate to studying. Ideally, you should seek paralegal work, that meets the requirements for CILEx's qualifying employment, alongside your study, so that you are working towards achieving that element of the Chartered Legal Executive qualification at the same time.
To be eligible for the graduate fast-track route to becoming a Graduate Member of CILEx, you must have achieved a qualifying law degree as recognised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The requirement for this to have been awarded in the past seven years was abolished in December 2015. You need to register as a CILEx member in order to be eligible to sit a CILEx assessment, and this can usually be done just before you wish to submit your application for exam entry. To enrol on an CILEx Law School course you must have access to a computer with an internet connection and a personal email address. A minimum technical specification is given here.
If you have already studied both a law degree and an LPC you do not need to study the CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma. You can become a Graduate Member of CILEx by paying exemption and membership fees. To become a Chartered Legal Executive you will need to satisfy CILEx's requirements for qualifying employment. See the relevant section here.
Application and fees
The total cost of studying a GFTD and qualifying as a Chartered Legal Executive (a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) works out at £3,253. CLS course fees for two Level 6 practice units and the Level 6 Client Care Skills unit are £2,170. Then there are CILEx fees totalling £1,083 but these are not all payable immediately. You can enrol on courses one at a time so the initial cost can be as little as £715.
The CILEx fees are made up as follows and are payable directly to CILEx:
- Exam fees £283
- Exemption fee for law graduates £200
- Associate Membership fee including first registration fee (you need to become a member in order to enter for exams) £230
- Qualifying employment application fee £70 (for CILEx to assess whether the type of work you are doing will meet its criteria)
- Work-based learning assessment fees of £300 payable at the point where you wish to apply for Fellowship .
The total cost for the GFTD plus associated CILEx fees is typically less than a third of the cost of studying the LPC at university, allows you to earn and learn at the same time, and offers the flexibility of studying around work and family commitments.
You can apply for the GFTD using our Level 6 application form in the link below.
We attend various universities throughout the year to present our GFTD and answer questions.
If you would like us to visit your university, do get in touch!
Janice Isaac explains why she chose the GFTD over the LPC:
Sam Thompson, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives - medical negligence specialist, Hudgell Solicitors
The drive for justice is behind my passion to excel and progress in the field of medical negligence. I had an inspirational lawyer already in my family, so my interest in the field began when I was a teenager.
I studied my law degree in London before coming back up to Hull in 2008. I took a fee earning position in a local personal injury law firm where I acquired a number of years of experience working on general personal injury matters and employers’ liability cases. It gave me a really good grounding for medical negligence and I naturally progressed into medical law.
A colleague at my previous firm introduced me to the CILEx route to qualifying as a lawyer. I always expected to take the conventional route but after learning there are other ways of qualifying I decided to explore them. CILEx was the most appropriate for me because I could work, earn and learn at the same time. This allowed me to continue to gain experience and develop my career.
As I already held a law degree, I was able to enrol on the Graduate Fast-track diploma offered by CILEx Law School. I completed my studies in three years, while working full time. It was a completely new experience. Although I am a studious person, I went to university where my learning was structured and managed. I started distance learning on the Graduate Fast-Track Diploma and soon realised I was responsible for structuring and managing my own vocational learning.
It was hard work but I enjoy studying. I studied at lunch time, evenings, often until late, and weekends. My firm has been so supportive, in particular my manager. Thankfully, CILEx Law School offer excellent guidance. A tutor was always reachable by email and assignment feedback was very thorough.
A period of work-based learning followed the completion of my GFTD and I had to evidence everything I had done, as well as documenting why, which was then approved by CILEx to attain my qualification. I was then admitted as a CILEx Fellow and joined my peers as a qualified Lawyer.
I now handle an array of complex medical negligence cases from inception through to trial were necessary. My qualification is recognised by my employers. I have always felt valued by my employer but qualifying has opened up new career development opportunities. This qualification is a really important rubber-stamp for me and my firm and it means I’m professionally regulated, so my clients can be confident in my abilities as a qualified Lawyer.
I hope to be recognised as a senior member of the clinical negligence team in due course. Eventually, long term, I would like to become a member of the judiciary when I am eligible, which will be in about 10 years.