Legal executive

Chartered legal executive

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Legal executives specialise in one area of law and carry out similar tasks to solicitors.

Salary range: £15,000 to £100,000

How to become a legal executive

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You could do a degree in law or a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). You would then do:

  • the Graduate Fast-Track Diploma
  • 3 years’ qualifying employment

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More information

College

You could take the following college courses to qualify:

  • CILEx Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice
  • CILEx Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law and Practice

After completing a college qualification, you would do a 3-year period of qualifying employment. This means you’ll carry out legal work under the supervision of a solicitor, senior chartered legal executive, barrister or licensed conveyancer.

You could do this in a legal practice, a legal department of a private company or in a government department.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You could take a chartered legal executive higher apprenticeship. You would usually do this after you’ve completed a paralegal apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More information

Work

A lot of people work for a law firm and study for qualifications part time.

You could study for CILEx qualifications even if you’re not working in a legal environment, as long as you meet their entry requirements. Qualifications may be studied full time, part time or by distance learning.

You’ll still need some work experience to give you a chance of finding a job once you’re qualified.

More information

Registration

Further information

You can get more details about a legal executive career from the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • excellent written communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of English language
  • administration skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Depending on your specialism, your role may be:

  • advising clients and explaining legal matters
  • contacting professionals, like mortgage lenders, planning officers or other lawyers on behalf of clients
  • researching and summarising legal information
  • preparing legal documents
  • writing to clients
  • drawing up wills
  • preparing contracts
  • representing clients in court
  • preparing bills for clients

Working environment

You could work at a police station, in a court or in an office.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could take on more complex cases and build up a large client base. You could also progress to leading a team of legal executives and secretaries, or become a practice manager in a law firm. 

With further study, you could qualify as a solicitor.

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