towards a formal qualification – for example, as a chartered legal executive, paralegal or solicitor. Over the past few years, a number of firms have launched their own internal apprenticeship schemes (including DWF, Kennedys, Clyde & Co and Browne Jacobson). There are currently four separate levels of legal apprenticeship – Intermediate, Paralegal, Chartered Legal Executive and Solicitor. Both the Paralegal and the Solicitor Apprenticeships generally require three A levels graded C or above, although employers are free to set their own academic requirements. Fine more information about apprenticeships and the different possible career paths in The Law Apprenticeships Guide 2021 . Pick one up from your careers adviser or read the guide online at www.lawcareers.net. Chartered secretaries Chartered secretaries work as company secretaries and in other senior positions in companies, charities, local government, educational institutions and trade bodies. They are qualified in company law, accounting, corporate governance, administration, company secretarial practice and management. They are trained to deal with regulation, legislation and best practice, and to ensure effective operations. See the website of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators at www. icsa.org.uk .
Depending on his or her area of specialisation, a chartered legal executive may brief barristers, advise a party to a matrimonial dispute, draft a will or draw up documentation for the formation of a company. Chartered legal executives are recognised by the Ministry of Justice as qualified lawyers and are eligible for judicial appointments and partnerships in law firms and can also be advocates. There are certain suggested minimum qualification requirements, but an introductory qualification course is provided for those who do not have the necessary grades or legal background. Most aspiring chartered legal executives combine study for their CILEx exams (through evening classes, day release or distance learning) with the practical experience of working in a firm, building up a client base and becoming a fee earner. A representative from CILEx told us: “CILEx gives individuals the opportunity to study for a career in law without incurring huge debts and at the same time gain worthwhile on-the-job experience. Any gap between the day-to- day work of a solicitor and a chartered legal executive lawyer is ever closing. CILEx is even currently applying for greater independent practice rights. There has never been a better time to be a chartered legal executive lawyer.” Most employers will pay for CILEx tuition and examination fees and, of course, the trainee is earning a living as he or she progresses. For further information contact CILEx (see “Useful addresses”). For more detail, see the CILEx chapter on p133. Legal apprentices A legal apprentice is an individual who joins a law firm straight from school, rather than going to university, to work in a role similar to that of a paralegal. Apprentices also receive on-the-job training that takes them
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BECOMING A LAWYER
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