If you hold a law degree that is recognised by CILEx, you are eligible to study for the CILEx Level 6 “Fast Track” Diploma. At Professional Vocational Training we are able to offer law graduates the opportunity to practice law, upon successful completion of the required programme of study, without paying the high fees incurred by the Legal Practice Course, and without the high amount of competition that comes with trying to secure a training contract. In place of these you will need 5 years of qualifying experience within the legal sector, this experience can be gained either before or after you complete the Diploma.
What is a legal executive?
A legal executive is a qualified lawyer, who works under regulations of a professional body. The term ‘legal executive’ can only be assigned to a Fellow of the Chartered Institue of Legal Executives (CILEx). Being a legal executive opens up numerous opportunities for you within a law firm, whether you are currently working at a company or are currently looking for work with in the legal sector. You could be a head of department or even a partner in the firm with a significant client following. There is also the possibility of practicing law in a commercial organisation, charities, government agencies or local authority.
How does being a legal executive differ from being a solicitor?
A legal executive will study to the same level as a solicitor, but the study area is not as broad. As you progress through the CILEx route you will focus on fewer areas of law, resulting in you becoming a specialist in your chosen law subject, whether that be for example conveyancing, civil litigation or criminal law.
How will this qualification benefit me as a law graduate?
The Fast Track Diploma offers you an opportunity to train to practice law for minimal cost. Having already completed your law degree, it may be that you are unable to fund a programme of study leading to the LPC, and have doubts as to whether this is the right course of action particularly with the very strong competition to gain a training contract.
Can I become a solicitor after qualifying as a legal executive lawyer?
It is possible to use your CILEx qualification to become a solicitor. You must still complete the Legal Practice Course and Professional Skills Course, but under the current rules set by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) legal executives (Fellows of CILEx) are exempt from the training contract.
How long will it take to complete?
The Fast Track Diploma usually takes around 9 months to complete, after this 9 month period you will become a Graduate member of CILEx. Once you have finished the Diploma you can then begin to amass the 5 years qualifying experience. This experience can be applied retrosepctively although the final 2 years of the experience must have been gained after you finished your Diploma. After the qualifying experience has been completed you will then qualify as a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives.
CILEx Fast Track Graduate Diploma
For many law graduates, the prospect of securing a highly-coveted training contract or paying steep fees for the LPC (Legal Practice Course) is scary and challenging business, not least because for every available training contract there could be up to 100 applicants! For some, those traditional routes simply don’t offer the best work-life balance and can carry high financial risk.
So for those who can’t gain a training contract, or can’t afford the fees for the LPC there is now an exciting new alternative in the shape of the CILEx Graduate Fast Track Diploma which may well prove the optimum career-building option for many new law graduates.
Benefits of the CILEx Graduate Fast Track Diploma
Here at Professional Vocational Training we think the benefits of the CILEx Graduate Fast Track Diploma are fivefold.
- A training contract is not the only wayIf you’re just leaving university with a law degree or GDL and you don’t have experience in a practice — therefore feeling underprepared for training contract applications — your law career is not over. Taking the CILEx Graduate Fast Track Diploma will help you take your first step into legal work.
And in some cases, if you’ve already secured your first legal role, your employer may be keen to pay the course fee in support of your continuing professional development (CPD). Progressive legal practices want to nurture their staff’s potential. So, remember, this course could be in their interests as much as it is in yours. Why don’t you ask them?
- What it means to be a Chartered Legal ExecutiveWith the CILEx Graduate Fast Track Diploma and qualifying experience, you’ll become a Chartered Legal Executive which, in today’s professional legal framework, means you’ll be able to do much of the same work as a solicitor. CILEx is now respected equally alongside the Bar Council and the Law Society. In fact Chartered Legal Executives can achieve partnerships in solicitors firms and can also now become judges. So the CILEx Graduate Fast Track Diploma is definitely not a limiting option.
- Distance learning supports a better work-life balanceLaw remains an outstanding career path after university. But the Law Society is very aware of the threat posed by professional burnout. This concern was one of the motivations behind the set-up of LawCare. However, the CILEx Graduate Fast Track Diploma can be completed while you work: it’s part-time study. You follow a programme of monthly study sessions using Skype supplemented with formal group teaching and further reinforced by 1:1 tutorial sessions with a CILEx tutor which meaning you can easily schedule your other interests around it.
- Step into legal work with experienced tutorsOur tutors for the Graduate Fast Track Diploma are all fully qualified CILEx members who have also been in legal practise themselves so they have a wealth of knowledge and experience that goes beyond the purely academic. After gaining your degree, progression to the professional legal world can be very different to book-worming and web surfing in the university library. This pathway bridges the gap smoothly, providing both a network of support and the responsibility to manage your own development.
- Be confident to be differentBreaking the mould is important for development across the legal sector. We think many students taking their finals are unaware of the Graduate Fast Track Diploma. Or perhaps you have all the credentials to make a partner in a firm, you still want to achieve in law, but worry this route may feel unproven. Be reassured that for over 50 years, Legal Executives have been working alongside solicitors and barristers. Becoming chartered is just the beginning of a fulfilling legal career.
We know legal graduates are naturally highly analytical, astute and ambitious. Contact us at Professional Vocational Training on 0845 689 1614, or click CILEx Graduate Fast Track to ask us anything you need to know about the Fast Track Diploma. We look forward to helping you to shape your legal career.