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How to Become a Legal Executive

If you’re wondering how to become a legal executive, let us clear up any doubts you may have by guiding you through the process.

There are two routes towards qualifying as a chartered legal executive. Which one you take will depend on whether you want to follow the apprenticeship or academic path.

Apprenticeship Route

If you’re a school leaver, you might want to consider a chartered legal executive apprenticeship. The following steps apply in this case:

1. Complete the Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice (two years)
2. Become an Associate Member of CILEx (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives)
3. Complete Level 6 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice (two years)
4. Become a Graduate Member of CILEx
5. Complete three years of qualifying experience*
6. Qualify

Take a look at Dalvinder’s story. Now specialising in personal injury, he explains the route he took to get to where he is today.

Now read Jonny’s account of how he became a legal executive after his A-Levels.

Academic Route

If you’re keen on going to university or have already got a degree, you can take the following steps:

1. Complete a law degree or an unrelated degree and  then a conversion course
2. Become an Associate Member of CILEx
3. Complete the CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma (9-15 months)
4. Become a Graduate Member of CILEx
5. Complete three years of qualifying experience*
6. Qualify

If you’re an LPC or BPTC graduate, You’ll have to pay exemption and membership fees to become a Graduate Member of CILEx. You can skip the CILEx courses and become a chartered legal executive upon completing three years of qualifying employment with at least one year accrued within the Graduate Member grade.

*Legal experience is usually gained in a law firm or in-house in a legal department under the supervision of a chartered legal executive, solicitor, barrister or licensed conveyancer.
To qualify as a chartered legal executive, you can start your qualifying employment before, during or after your studies. Most students are either working in a legal environment at the time that they start their studies, or obtain employment as a trainee legal executive during their period of studying. This may count towards CILEx’s qualifying employment requirements.

The final year of the three year period of qualifying employment cannot be gained until you have achieved your academic qualification, i.e. when you become a Graduate Member of CILEx. This means up to two of the three years’ qualifying employment may be served concurrently with your studies. The two years’ qualifying employment immediately preceding your Fellowship application must be consecutive.

Once you have completed your qualifying employment you will then be able to become a legal executive and apply to become a Fellow of CILEx.

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