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Practising Fellows of The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives specialise in a particular area of law which means the everyday work of a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer is similar to that of a solicitor.

The areas of law that Chartered Legal Executive lawyers most often specialise in are as follows:

  • Civil litigation (such as Personal Injury; Debt recovery; Housing; Employment)    
  • Criminal litigation (either Defence or Prosecution)
  • Family law                         
  • Conveyancing                             
  • Public law work (such as working in a Local Authority; in Government; Welfare benefits; or Immigration)
  • Private client  (such as Finance; or Probate and wills)
  • Corporate (Company or Commercial law)
  • Legal Practice (Practice management; or Costs and accounts work).

Depending upon which area of law they work in, Chartered Legal Executive lawyers may handle the legal aspects of a property transfer, be involved in actions in the High Court or County Courts, draft wills, draw up documents to assist in the formation of a company, or advise husbands and wives with matrimonial problems or clients accused of serious or petty crime.

A Chartered Legal Executive lawyer is normally an employee, may be associate and Fellows can go on to become a partner in a law firm or a Chartered Legal Executive Advocate.  The names and status of Fellows may appear on the professional notepaper of the solicitors by whom they are employed.

Alternatively, a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer may be self-employed and provide legal services to solicitors and unregulated legal work to the public business.

Chartered Legal Executive lawyers are fee earners. In private practice, their work is charged directly to clients making a direct contribution to the income of a law firm. This is possible having achieved the Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice. This is an important difference between Chartered Legal Executive lawyers and legal support staff who tend to handle work of a more routine nature. Professional responsibilities increase with experience and Fellows of CILEx become one of the main points of contact for clients seeking professional advice on legal matters. Chartered Legal Executive lawyers may also run specialist departments in a legal firm.

Legal Executive lawyers are able to act as Commissioners for Oaths, and Fellows of three years good standing may sign cheques drawn on their principals’ client account (Solicitors’ Accounts Rules 1991).

With extended rights of audience in civil, criminal and family proceedings, those Fellows who train and qualify as Legal Executive Advocates can represent their clients in the County Court, Family Proceedings Court, Magistrates' Court including the Youth Court, Coroners Court and in most Tribunals depending on the area of law in which they practice.

Fellows who are employed in a solicitors firm are able to advise on compromise agreements. Fellows are licensed by the BarDirect committee of the Bar Council to instruct barristers directly without first going through a solicitor.

CILEx is currently developing a framework for a litigation rights scheme. This will enable them to issue proceedings in their own name. Fellows are now eligible for judicial appointments for District Judges in civil and criminal courts and for Tribunal Chairman.

Chartered Legal Executive lawyers have the option to become solicitors in one or two years after becoming Fellows and usually are exempt from the training contract graduates must complete to qualify as solicitors. However, new emerging rights means that the role and standing of Chartered Legal Executive lawyers and solicitors is moving ever closer.