The CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma
The CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma (GFTD) is the qualification for law graduates who wish to complete the academic part of the Chartered Legal Executive qualification. You are also eligible if you hold a non-law degree and have studied for a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).
What is a Chartered Legal Executive?
A Chartered Legal Executive is a qualified lawyer specialising in a particular area of law. The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) is the professional body which governs the education and training of Chartered Legal Executives. They are often highly respected lawyers who are partners and team leaders in their firms. They are also widely employed throughout local authority and in- house legal departments.
What will I study?
The CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma is made up of two CILEx Level 6 practice units and one CILEx Level 6 professional skills unit – Unit 22 Client Care Skills. One of the practice units must link to a law unit that you have studied as part of your degree. The options available are Civil Litigation, Conveyancing, Criminal Litigation, Employment Practice, Family Practice, Probate Practice and the Practice of Company & Partnership Law. To become a Chartered Legal Executive you must also satisfy the qualifying employment requirements which are covered below.
How long will it take?
You can expect to complete all three courses within nine to fifteen months, depending on the amount of time you have available to allocate to studying. CILEx has exam sessions in January and June each year and you register for those when you are ready. Ideally, you should seek paralegal work that meets the requirements for CILEx's qualifying employment, alongside your study, so that you are working towards achieving that element of the Chartered Legal Executive qualification at the same time.
What is qualifying employment?
Qualifying employment is work of a legal nature under the supervision of a solicitor or Chartered Legal Executive, barrister or licensed conveyancer. Employment can be in legal practice, in the legal department of a private company or in local/national government. The requirement is for:
- a minimum of three years’ experience
- the final two years must be served consecutively
- the final year must take place after all exams are completed
- completion of a portfolio of evidence which shows that the work-based learning criteria have been met, demonstrated by the submission of a logbook and portfolio covering 27 outcomes. You should register for the scheme before starting to collate your portfolio of evidence. More detailed information is available on the CILEx website. If you are already working as a paralegal, it is highly likely that your current employment will count towards the required three-year period of qualifying employment.
What are the entry requirements?
To be eligible for the Graduate Fast-track Diploma route to becoming a Chartered Legal Executive, you must have achieved a qualifying law degree as recognised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. You need to register as a CILEx member in order to be eligible to sit a CILEx assessment, and this can usually be done just before you wish to submit your application for exam entry. As a law graduate you will join as an Associate Member. Once you have completed the GFTD you will become a Graduate Member and once you have completed the qualifying employment requirements you will become a Fellow of CILEx which is the membership level for qualified Chartered Legal Executives.