The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives
An attractive option for law graduates If you already have a qualifying law degree, irrespective of when this was achieved, CILEx offers a cost-effective alternative to the LPC or BPTC through its Graduate Fast-track Diploma (GFTD), which usually takes around a year to complete part time and costs around £3,500. This training top- up not only provides you with exemptions from most of the CILEx educational training requirements; your status as a chartered legal executive, under the current SRA regulations, will also exempt you from the training contract if you wish to cross-qualify as a solicitor (please check the current training regulations and impact of upcoming changes with the SRA on 0370 606 2555 prior to enrolling). Work experience requirements Regardless of whether you follow the full Level 3 and Level 6 CILEx qualification route or the Graduate Fast-track Diploma pathway, you will need to complete a three- year period of qualifying employment and submit a portfolio of evidence called ‘work-based learning’. Work completed as a paralegal, while studying, may be used toward part of this requirement; a minimum of one year of your qualifying employment needs to fall after you’ve completed your CILEx academic qualification. The last two years of your qualifying employment must be continuous. If you already hold an LPC or BPTC, you will be exempt from all CILEx qualifications and can immediately apply to become a graduate member of CILEx and use the designatory letters ‘GCILEx’. You will still need to complete the qualifying employment requirement. On successful completion of the academic stage and the qualifying employment stage of training, you will become a fellow of the Chartered Institute and have the right to call yourself a chartered legal executive lawyer.
The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) is the professional association representing around 20,000 qualified chartered legal executives, paralegals and other legal practitioners. CILEx is recognised as one of the three professional bodies of the legal profession, alongside the Bar Council (see page 424) and the Law Society (see page 129). This pathway offers a wide range of career and progression opportunities. Chartered legal executives are qualified lawyers who are, essentially, on a level playing field with solicitors or barristers: they can become judges, coroners, advocates and partners in law firms. They can also represent their clients in court and become advocates. Chartered Legal Executives train to the same standard as solicitors and barristers, the main difference is that Chartered Legal Executives specialise in a particular area of law at an earlier stage. This stems from the fact that the majority are already employed in the legal sector when they start training and this pathway is ideal for those looking to combine training and practical work experience. Qualify as a lawyer without needing a degree The CILEx route is inherently inclusive and diverse. You can start your training with the CILEx Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice (set at A-level standard) for which there are no formal entry requirements (though study to GCSE level is recommended). The next step is to complete the CILEx Level 6 Diploma in Law and Practice (studied to the same standard as an honours degree). This full CILEx route costs on average under £10,500, depending on where and how you choose to study. This will typically take four years to complete part time and can be completed alongside full-time working. Timescales are flexible and study can be tailored according to your personal and professional needs.
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