Roles in the legal sector

There are many roles in the legal sector. You may have heard of solicitors and barristers, but there are many more opportunities. Find out which one may be best suited to you.

Getting started

One of the great attractions of working in the legal world is that it is so varied. You may already be working in a legal environment and seeking to improve your knowledge and skills. Or you may be looking for your first job in law. Knowing which qualification you need, and where to start, is not always obvious. We have listed some typical roles below to help you to understand the options.

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Legal secretary: they play a vital support role to qualified legal staff in many organisations. Duties range from word processing and filing at a junior level, to more complex administrative support at a senior level. It may include elements of legal work and so there is a crossover between a legal secretary and a paralegal.

Legal apprentice: refers to anyone following a government-approved apprenticeship scheme. Apprenticeships for the legal sector are available at all levels, from legal administrator through to solicitor. You can be eligible even if you are already employed in the sector, if the programme would lead to you acquiring new knowledge and skills.

Paralegal: someone who has completed some legal training, or who has experience in working in the legal sector but is not qualified as a lawyer (solicitor or Chartered Legal Executive). Any member of staff progressing files under supervision – from legal secretaries with knowledge to carry out specific practical tasks, to law graduates who progress files from start to finish.

Chartered Legal Executive: someone who has qualified as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx). CILEx Fellows are qualified lawyers. This is a fulfilling and rewarding career and, 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.

Solicitor: a lawyer who has been through a training route specified by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. They have practice rights granted by statute, although some of these are now enjoyed by other professionals. For example, Chartered Legal Executives can now also become partners in law firms or to run their own legal businesses.

Job roles in law

Our Job roles in law provides further information on the sort of roles which can be carried out by people who have not studied law at university.

This may be a useful reference if you are looking for employment to accompany the study element of the Chartered Legal Executive qualification.