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Chartered legal executive (England and Wales): Job description

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Chartered legal executives are qualified lawyers, specialising in particular areas of law, with at least five years' experience working under the supervision of a solicitor. This can be either in a legal practice or the legal department of a private company, or local or national government.

They have their own client files and, as fee-earners in private practice, their work is charged directly to the client. This is an important difference between chartered legal executives and other legal support staff.

The most common specialism areas are:

  • conveyancing;
  • civil and criminal litigation;
  • family law;
  • corporate law;
  • public law.

The Institute of Legal Executives received a Royal Charter in January 2012 and now only Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx)  are permitted to call themselves chartered legal executives. Prior to this date, Fellows referred to themselves simply as legal executives. There are currently around 20,000 trainee and practising members of CILEx; 7,500 of whom are Fellows and so fully qualified chartered legal executive lawyers.

There are opportunities throughout England and Wales but not Scotland or Northern Ireland, where the role does not exist.

Typical work activities

Duties vary considerably according to specialism and managerial responsibilities. However, typical work activities are likely to involve:

  • attending client meetings;
  • interviewing and advising clients and witnesses;
  • explaining complex legal matters to clients;
  • corresponding with, and on behalf of, clients;
  • negotiating on behalf of clients;
  • analysing, researching and summarising legal information;
  • collecting information for the preparation of legal documents;
  • preparing documentation for the conveyancing of property, matrimonial, probate and/or litigation work;
  • drawing up wills and drafting contracts;
  • issuing writs and tasking summonses;
  • advising and preparing documentation on the legal aspects of setting up a new business;
  • calculating inheritance tax, working out the sums and explaining the terms of wills to beneficiaries;
  • liaising with fellow professionals from courts, legal practices, banks and accountancy firms;
  • conducting advocacy in County and Magistrates' Courts;
  • acting as commissioners for oaths for the swearing of legal documents;
  • attending court to assist barristers and solicitors with the presentation of cases;
  • preparing accounts on behalf of a legal practice;
  • keeping up to date with changing legislation;
  • filing and indexing paperwork;
  • assigning and supervising the work of junior staff.

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Written by AGCAS editors
November 2013

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