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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, a pound sign Salary: £15,000 to £100,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

To qualify as a chartered legal executive lawyer, you’ll need to register as a member with the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) to start your training.

If you have at least 4 GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above in English and maths, you can take the following to qualify :

  • CILEx Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice (takes 2 to 3 years to complete)


  • CILEx Level 6 Higher Professional Diploma in Law and Practice (takes 2 to 3 years to complete)

You’ll also then 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.

You can then apply to become a Fellow of CILEx.

A lot of people work in the legal environment and study for the CILEx professional qualifications part-time. Even if you’re not working in law, if you meet the entry requirements, you could study for the CILEx qualifications full-time, part-time or by distance learning. You’ll still need to get some work experience to give you a chance of finding a job once you’ve qualified.

If you have a degree in law or a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) you could do:

  • graduate Fast-Track Diploma (takes up to 2 years to complete)
  • 3 years’ qualifying employment

Another option after GCSEs is to take an intermediate apprenticeship, usually lasting 12 months. You could follow this with either A levels or a paralegal advanced apprenticeship, taking 2 years. Once you're qualified as a paralegal, you could take a five-year degree level apprenticeship to become a chartered legal executive.

CILEx careers site has more information on becoming a legal executive.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent communication skills
  • administrative and IT skills
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • research skills
  • an organised approach
  • the ability to work under pressure

3. What you'll do

You’ll specialise in a branch of law, like:

  • conveyancing – the legal side of buying and selling property
  • probate – wills, trusts and inheritance tax
  • family law – divorce and children’s matters
  • civil litigation – disputes between people
  • criminal law – defence or prosecution of people accused of crimes
  • company and business law – tax, contracts and employment law

Depending on your specialism, your work might include:

  • 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

4. Salary

Starter: £15,000 to £28,000

Experienced: £35,000 to £55,000

Highly Experienced: up to £100,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

In many full-time jobs you’ll work standard office hours Monday to Friday. Flexible hours and part-time work are often possible.

You’ll be based in an office, but may also spend some of your time at courts and police stations.

6. 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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Last updated: 02 April 2018