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Published on August 19, 2020 by Holly Porter

Chartered legal executive advising a client in a meeting room

Many students believe the ultimate goal in the legal industry is to become a solicitor or barrister. This article highlights what the legal executive pathway entails whether you can transition from chartered legal executive to solicitor after qualifying and other questions you may have.

What Is a Chartered Legal Executive?

CILEx, the professional body for chartered legal executives, legal practitioners, paralegals and apprentices, defines a Chartered Legal Executive as “a lawyer who has qualified as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives by following the specified training requirements.” In layman’s terms, this is just another type of legal professional qualification which can act as a pathway into a career into the legal industry.

The main difference between solicitors and chartered legal executives is that they’re more specialized in their initial training, whereas solicitors study a broader range of subjects throughout their study than executives do.

Can You Become a Solicitor After Qualifying as a Chartered Legal Executive?

If being a solicitor is your overall goal, then qualifying through the CILEx route to become a chartered legal executive first can be more accessible than the traditional route. You don’t need A-Levels or equivalent to enrol on a Level 3 CILEx course, as long as you have a minimum of four GCSE grades at C or above (or 9-4) including English language or literature.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority says that to transition from chartered legal executive to solicitor, there are four things to consider:

– That you have satisfied the academic stage, through study or exemptions. Many of these exemptions are given to chartered legal executives through the study they undertook as part of their Level 6 CILEx qualification.
– You must complete the LPC. Bearing in mind if you have already completed the LPC, you can still join CILEx.
– You are also automatically exempt from the elective elements of the Professional Skills Course.
– You do not need to complete a period of recognised training/training contract.

Do You Have to Become a Solicitor After Qualifying?

You don’t have to progress from chartered legal executive to solicitor to be able to enjoy a successful legal career. Once qualified, chartered legal executives have a whole host of opportunities in their own legal careers, without moving on to further qualify as a solicitor. Chartered legal executives can start their own independent legal business, can be advocates and are eligible to become judges. Another thing to bear in mind is that chartered legal executives are just as eligible to become law firm partners as solicitors.


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