The other route to law
The term lawyer is not technically limited to just Solicitors and Barristers. It means someone qualified and experienced in the law. Increasingly references in legislation are to persons authorised to exercise legal rights under the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 and similarly under the Legal Services Act 2007 such as Legal Executives.
The Solicitors Regulatory Authority is amending its rules to recognise this and to equate the term ‘lawyer’ in its rules with those who are authorised persons under the new Act. This includes Legal Executives.
The Act enables Legal Executives to now enter into partnership with solicitors, barristers, conveyancers and patent attorneys as authorised persons. That is specific statutory recognition for the status of Legal Executives as lawyers.
ILEX offers an exceptionally cost-effective and accessible route to becoming a lawyer. In the past it has held particular appeal to those who didn’t have privileged financial or educational background, and may have not been encouraged to go to University, or been able to afford to do so.
"there have been a number of recent changes that put Legal Executive lawyers on a more level footing with Barristers and Solicitors..."
How much will it cost?
ILEX study fees cost between £3,500-£5000 (depending on where they study).
Exemptions are available for those with legal qualifications and many of our recent enquirers have come from graduates, as the ILEX route compares very favourably against the cost of the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL - the law conversion) the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Bar Vocational Course (BVC).
Additionally, Legal Executive lawyers don’t have to secure a training contract or pupillage. As such, becoming a Legal Executive Lawyer is viewed an increasingly appealing alternative to becoming a Solicitor or Barrister.
How are Legal Executives different to other types of lawyers?
To summarise, there have been a number of recent changes that put Legal Executive lawyers on a more level footing with Barristers and Solicitors. These include the following:
- Under the Legal Services Act 2007, Legal Executive lawyers are ‘authorised persons’ undertaking ‘reserved legal activities’, alongside Solicitors and Barristers.
- Legal Executive lawyers are now able to become partners or managers in Legal Disciplinary Practices (firms of different lawyers with 25% non-lawyer managers).
- Looking ahead, when the relevant sections of the 2007 Act come into force, Legal Executive lawyers will be able to become partners or managers in Alternative Business Structures (firms with external ownership and investment) and set up their own practices. ILEX has also applied for Litigation and Probate rights for our Legal Executive lawyers.
- Legal Executive lawyers are now eligible to apply for prescribed Judicial posts and become Chairs of Tribunals.
- After taking an additional course, Legal Executive lawyers can undertake Advocacy.
- Legal Executive lawyers are Commissioners of Oaths; give advice on compromise agreements; and are able to instruct Barristers directly without going through a solicitor.
- Legal Executive lawyers must adhere to a code of conduct and, like Solicitors, are required to continue training throughout their careers in order to keep themselves abreast of the latest developments in the law.
Head of Communications & Marketing
Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX)