Legal executive salary

  • Last updated Jul 11, 2017 1:52:26 PM
  • By Billy Sexton, Editor, AllAboutLaw.co.uk

Having read all the really informative and entertaining legal executive articles on AllAboutLaw.co.uk, (we like to blow our own trumpet, don’t we?), you’ve decided that you’re not going to go to university and become riddled with student debt. Instead, you’re going to undertake a legal apprenticeship and then become a CILEx qualified legal executive.

However, as you plan your career in the legal profession, you’re wondering what the long-term differences will be from pursuing this course as opposed to becoming a solicitor after undertaking a training contract or becoming a barrister after doing a pupillage. Well, allow us to explain clearly.

What is the career progression of a legal executive?

Legal executives have exactly the same rights of audience in court as solicitors. Moreover, legal executives can also become commissioners for oaths and apply for judicial positions.  CILEx members are also able to qualify as Legal Executive Advocates, providing a greater rights of audience. This can only be achieved after completing a qualification which includes an advocacy skills course and evidence test.

On top of this the Legal Services Act 2007 allows legal executives to become partners, meaning that the glass ceiling between legal executives and solicitors is slowly being removed.

Specialisms

Officially, legal executives can only do the work of a solicitor when supervised by a solicitor. However, in practice, legal executives tend to specialise in one area of law that tend to have lower-value cases, such as personal injury, as opposed to an area of law such as corporate or banking and finance law. This difference is generally regarded as they reason why legal executives are viewed as ‘lesser’ than solicitors but, as mentioned, the Legal Services Act 2007 seeks to remove any barriers of inequality and the fact that legal executives can become partners and undertake work in corporate law, matters of litigation and constitutional, administrative and public law.

Salary difference between a legal executive and a solicitor

When it comes to salary, there are some stark differences between legal executives and solicitors. For example, a trainee solicitor at a top city or international law firm can expect a salary between £40,000 to £60,000 whereas the starting salary for a legal executive is around £15,000, with the average salary for fully qualified legal executives is around £35,000. Though salaries for top legal executives push £100,000, there is a still a big pay gap between solicitors and legal executives. Having said this, solicitors are burdened with heaps and heaps of student debt (in the region of about £53,000, and that’s even before the LPC) whereas legal executives who did not attend university would have a maximum of around £6000 in debt and would have been ‘earning as they learn’ since leaving school.

So, that’s that! Legal executives are benefitting from increased rights and undertaking more complex work than before. There is a salary compromise but it’s certainly a career worth considering, whether you’ve studied law at university or are just leaving school. 

More like this

  • Legal executives: what will I get up to?David Carnes

    As a legal executive, your day-to-day job duties will resemble the duties of a solicitor far more than the duties of a barrister. In fact, if you join a solicitor’s firm, you are likely to be working side by side with solicitors much of the time. Unlike a solicitor, however, your scope of practice will probably be limited to a single specialty, and there will be certain activities that solicitors can perform freely that you cannot perform independently without meeting special requirements. 

  • CILEx or solicitor route—which one is for me?David Carnes

    In England and Wales, the legal profession consists of three types of lawyers—barristers, solicitors and legal executives. Although the latter two types of lawyers perform similar duties, the route to qualifying is different. Since it is possible to qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive first and then qualify as a solicitor later, many aspiring lawyers wonder which route is best for them. The answer to this question varies from individual to individual.

  • Legal executives: the CILEx route David Carnes

    The CILEx route is an important pathway for aspiring legal executives to be aware of. This article offers a bit more information into the route. 

  • Legal executive – Do I need to go to university?By Billy Sexton and Becky Kells, Editors, AllAboutLaw.co.uk

    Your deepest desire is to land yourself a career in law, however the competition surrounding the training contract and pupillage process is slightly off-putting to say the least. What are your

  • What is a legal executive?By David Carnes

    A legal executive, formally known as a Chartered Legal Executive, is a type of lawyer. Although the practice of a legal executive is similar to the practice of a solicitor, the route to qualifying as a legal executive is quite different than the route to qualifying as a solicitor. Legal executives are considered to be one of the three core branches of the legal profession in England and Wales, along with solicitors and barristers.

Recruiting? We can help