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CILEx - Another Route to Becoming a Lawyer

The legal sector is a potential goldmine of a profession for those who are skilled and able to work hard. To put this in perspective, the UK legal sector grew 8% from the previous year in 2016, worth around £26bn. Statistics from Oxford Economics and Cambridge Econometrics showed that 370,000 people are employed in the profession, two-thirds of those in solicitors’ firms.

Many people who want to pursue this path think that the only real option is to work through law school, which provides a valuable education, but also a substantial expense in terms of money and time. The good news is that there is an alternative to get your foot in the door—CILEx.

CILEx Explained

CILEx stands for Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), which has worked in England and Wales for decades both as the primary professional association for 20,000 Chartered Legal Executive lawyers, paralegals and other legal practitioners in England and Wales. On top of this, they also provide for the training for people who want to become experts in law, which is the key reason why they are in this conversation.

Note that a CILEx lawyer doesn’t have the same title as a solicitor, but they do have very similar job flexibility, with many of them going on to become partners in law firms as well as judges. In fact, their roles are so similar that in many cases, it’s difficult to tell the difference. For the most part, the differences between the two methods aren’t in the end result, but how you get there.

Making CILEx Work for You

For the sake of this conversation, let’s say that you’re not a law school graduate (many graduates still use CILEx in order to get specific certifications so they can be more specialized). You get your initial qualifications by completing two stages of training—the CILEx Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice and the CILEx Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law and Practice. Those who complete the Level 3 training become an Associate Member, and those who complete level 6 become graduate members. However, in order to fully qualify as a chartered legal executive, you also need to fulfil employment requirements. For law school, this is generally done in a law firm, but CILEx lawyers have more flexibility, including private companies and government. The general requirements are:

  • A minimum of three years’ experience
  • Serving the final two years consecutively
  • The final year must be spent while in the Graduate Member grade of CILEx
  • Completion of a portfolio of evidence which shows that the work-based learning criteria have been met. Generally, this is demonstrated with a logbook and portfolio covering 27 outcomes.

CILEx is a great opportunity not only for those who are unable to go through law school but also those who are looking to make a career change later in life to a field with lots of potential and versatility. This is also a great benefit for legal businesses and firms, as they have a wider pool of skilled professionals to choose from. In order to make sure that your business is making the most of this resource, be sure to get added help from Symphony Legal. Our consultants are ready to help you with your strategy and people management. For those looking to supplement their CILEx education for work as a solicitor or other legal professional, we also offer training to assist you on your way to career success.