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 in 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:
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 22,000 trainee and practising members of CILEx; 7,500 of whom are Fellows and so fully qualified chartered lawyers.
There are opportunities throughout England and Wales but not Scotland or Northern Ireland, where the role does not exist.
Duties vary considerably according to specialism and managerial responsibilities. However, typical work activities are likely to involve:
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