If you want to work as a Lawyer but are not necessarily set on becoming a Solicitor, you have the option to instead qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive. The role of a Solicitor is not so different to that of a Legal Executive. Like Solicitors, they provide legal support and advice to clients, prepare legal documentation and attend court proceedings.
The difference is that whilst Solicitors must cover a range of legal practice areas during qualification, Legal Executives stick to one particular area of law. Typical specialisms include conveyancing, litigation and private client law.
In order to become a Chartered Legal Executive, you must complete a qualification offered by the CILEx (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives). The average time to qualify is 4 years, but this varies with experience level.
The minimum entry requirements are four GCSEs grade C or above. An overview of the route to qualification is as follows:
1. Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice
This course is equivalent to an A-level, covering all core areas of law and serving as the foundation of your legal knowledge.
2. Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law and Practice
This is a degree level course during which you study 6 subjects. You must take one legal practice module and mandatory professional skills modules.
3. 3 years of Employment (during / after your studies)
You will learn as you earn, with training from a senior Solicitor, Legal Executive, Barrister or licensed Conveyancer. The final year of employment must be completed after the Level 6 Diploma.
After these steps are complete, you will become a fully qualified Chartered Legal Executive.
Alternatively, the CILEx Graduate Fast Track Diploma is on offer to those who have a law degree or have completed a law conversion course. This consists of a client care skills module and two modules from the Level 6 Diploma.
The fast track option takes around nine months to one year of part time study, which is much quicker than the traditional route for graduates. Find out more about how to qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive here.