In today’s market, it is even harder to secure a Training Contract than it was before. Less and less firms are offering them with the uncertainty as to what might come in the next few years. Furthermore, there seem to be more and more students deciding to undertake legal studies, making the market when it comes to applying to training contracts even more competitive.
But fear not, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are a number of alternative routes to becoming a Lawyer.
How to qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive
A Chartered Legal Executive is a qualified lawyer specialising in a particular area of law. There are great opportunities for legal executives to work within law firms, corporate in-house legal departments, or local or national government. In particular, more and more firms are offering apprenticeship schemes to kick start your legal career and are offering to sponsor employees through their CILEx. There are many benefits to becoming a Chartered Legal Executive.
There are a number different routes that you can follow in order to qualify and this depends on a number of factors connected with your current qualifications. If you visit the CILEx website (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) it helpfully breaks these individual routes down. CILEx are the governing body got Chartered Legal Executives the same way the Law Society is for Solicitors.
Basically there is an academic requirement and then a qualifying period of employment. Qualifying employment is carefully defined by CILEx, but in broad terms it includes carrying out work of a legal nature under the supervision of a Solicitor or Chartered Legal Executive, Barrister or Licensed Conveyancer. Employment can be in legal practice, in the legal department of a private company or in local/national government.
How to qualify as a Solicitor through the Legal Executive route
Qualification as a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer does not prevent you from also qualifying as a solicitor, and there are advantages in selecting this route to train to be a Solicitor. Generally you will work through your studies and therefore gain much more practical experience. This could also help reduce your student debt as you would be able to finance your own studies. There are three routes to take which can all be found on the ILEx Tutorial website.
It is however important to note that if you have already studied a law degree and the Legal Practice Course before qualifying as a Chartered Legal Executive, you cannot use the CILEx route to gain exemption from the solicitors' training contract. This route is only relevant for those who become a fully qualified Chartered Legal Executive before completing the LPC.
So, if you are committed to a career within the Law but for whatever reason don’t go down the route of degree, LPC/GDL there are clear career routes open for you.
If you need any further information then please telephone one of our consultants in the Paralegal and Legal Executive Division on 0113 245 3338.