ILEX Careers

What do Chartered Legal Executive Lawyers do?

A fully qualified Chartered Legal Executive lawyer can become a partner in a firm of solicitors, and (with further training) can go on to become a legal executive Advocate. The names and status of Chartered Legal Executive lawyers can appear on the professional notepaper of the law firm that they work in. 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 (usually as grade C or D, depending on their level of academic training). This is an important difference between trainee Legal Executives and legal support staff who tend to handle work of a more routine nature.

Responsibilities

Chartered Legal Executive lawyers are able to act as Commissioners for Oaths. In English law, a Commissioner of Oaths is a person appointed by the Lord Chancellor with power to administer oaths or take affidavits. All Chartered Legal Executives have these powers but must not use them in proceedings in which they are acting for any of the parties or in which they have an interest.

Chartered Legal Executives can give advice on compromise agreements, which is a legally binding agreement, usually between an employee and employer, when the parties want to set out the terms and conditions reached when a contract of employment is to be terminated or a dispute is to be resolved. Fellows are licensed by the BarDirect committee of the Bar Council to instruct barristers directly without first going through a solicitor.

Chartered Legal Executives can also act as claim managers under the Compensation Act if regulated by CILEx. CILEx is a designated professional body for the purposes of regulating immigration advisers.

Chartered Legal Executives of three years' good standing can sign client account cheques drawn on their principal's client account (Solicitors Account Rules 1991).

In general, Chartered Legal Executive lawyers cannot appear in open court in the High Court, county court and magistrates' court. However, Chartered Legal Executive lawyers are allowed to appear in relation to certain unopposed applications in the county court and applications for judgment by consent. They may also appear in county court arbitrations and before tribunals at the discretion of the court/tribunal. This is under the general discretionary power of the court or tribunal.

Chartered Legal Executives employed by local authorities or housing management organisations (exercising local authority housing functions) can also exercise certain rights of audience in the magistrates' courts and county courts acting on behalf of their local authority or housing management employer along with other employees.

Becoming a solicitor

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, including the right to become a partner in a firm, means that the role and standing of Chartered Legal Executive lawyers is now pretty much the same as that of solicitors anyway. Find out more about the difference between Chartered Legal Executive lawyers, solicitors and barristers.

Specialism

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.

  • Chartered Legal Executive lawyers most often specialise in the following areas of law:
  • 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).