>>>CILEx Fellow or solicitor: a comparison
CILEx Fellow or solicitor: a comparison

CILEx Fellow or solicitor: a comparison

Training as a Chartered Legal Executive is a way of becoming a qualified lawyer that is often overlooked. A Chartered Legal Executive is someone who has followed the training route to become admitted as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. There are compelling reasons why this might be the right choice for you, rather than going down the solicitor route. Here we compare the two.

Overview

There are a number of considerations to take into account when choosing a career in law. To become a qualified lawyer you need to study for exams as well as undertake a period of vocational training.

Most prospective students, however, are generally only aware of one way to achieve this: qualifying as a solicitor. While this ‘traditional’ university route may be the most well-known and seem appealing, it may not be the answer for everyone. High tuition fees and the competition for contracts for recognised employment (formerly training contracts) are both significant factors to take into account, particularly since many organisations will only look to recruit trainees from the higher-ranking universities.

There is, however, another way to qualify. The CILEx route was developed specifically for those who wanted to train and develop their skills while they were in work. It’s a flexible option with many options and opportunities.

The comparison chart below provides an overview of the two approaches to qualification.

Chartered Legal Executive versus solicitor

Chartered Legal Executive

1. Entry point

There are no formal entry requirements to start CILEx Level 3 (though GCSE level qualifications are recommended). Students can enrol at any time of year and can stop or start their qualification depending on their circumstances. Individual courses for units within the qualification are valid for 15 months and students choose when to sit exams.

2. Academic component

Studying can be done one or more course at a time, allowing for work and/or family life in parallel. A total of 16 individual courses, spread between CILEx Level 3 and Level 6, are required to complete the academic component. While Level 3 provides a broad base, Level 6 study is focused on a particular legal practice area.

3. Work experience component

Three years of qualifying employment are required, two of which must be done consecutively and one after completing the academic component. However, this means that work experience can be done, as is indeed encouraged to occur, alongside studying. Students can start gaining valuable practical experience very quickly. Indeed, most of our students start their studies while employed.

4. Cost

To qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive, from start to finish and including all costs, is under £10,000. 60% of our students are sponsored by their employers for at least part of their qualification and they are earning a salary while they study.

Solicitor

1. Entry point

Good A-levels are generally required to be accepted on a law degree course. Places on the best courses are limited and very competitive. Obtaining a degree elsewhere may make finding recognised employment that fulfills the Solicitor Regulation Authority’s requirements more challenging.

2. Academic component

A law degree requires three years of full-time study (four years part-time). Students are then required to pass the Legal Practice Course and the Professional Skills Course. Students will study a wider range of law topics, though solicitors will eventually generally practice in one area.

3. Work experience component

In order to qualify, aspiring solicitors must undertake a two-year period of recognised employment. These contracts are extremely competitive to obtain and students will be unable to complete their qualification without one. Students will usually wait until they have finished they degree to start work, meaning they enter the job market without hands-on experience.

4. Cost

The cost of a university degree is currently over £27,000 and the LPC can easily add £10-15,000 to this total, without the guarantee of a contract for recognised employment and full qualification. This does not include the costs of living students will incur.