Testimonials: What our members say
As a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer, you will have the
opportunity to specialise in different areas of the law and
register at different grades of membership, from student to Fellow.
Find out about the different experiences of Chartered Legal
Executive lawyers and what they say about the CILEx route.
"It seems to me that the smart man’s option is the CILEx
Stuart Henry graduated with a law degree and went on to take the
CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma. He is now a Chartered Legal
Executive working as a senior litigator in property and
contract litigation. He also guest-lectures at the University
of Gloucestershire in contract law. This is what he says to his
“With the changes to the Legal Services Act 2007, coupled with
the news of CILEx’s practice rights applications being approved
last year, I am struggling to see the advantage of the traditional
solicitor route compared to the
CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma route.
"It’s a simple examination of the facts: £12,000 paid for the
LPC (often using borrowed money which incurs interest) for you to
then have to gamble on securing the all elusive training contract,
which seem to get rarer by the day. The harsh truth about training
contract places is, you’re not just competing against your peers
sat around you at university, you’re also competing against last
year’s graduates, and the previous year’s, and the previous year’s.
I work with paralegal graduates that are still searching after 7
years, and the average I would say is 3 years in paralegal jobs
before a training contract is secured, let alone started.
"The CILEX Graduate Fast-track Diploma route
eliminates that risk and uncertainty entirely. Provided you are in
employment (which is comparatively easy to secure compared to
the training contract) every day you get up and go to work, you are
a day closer to qualifying. It’s empowering to know that you are
the one in control of your career, and not dependent on fitting a
profile which often has nothing to do with your legal skills…. and
the clincher – you pay a fraction of the cost. You qualify quicker,
cheaper and the experience in your discipline sets you further
ahead than your newly qualified solicitor peers who have done a
mere 6 months in their chosen discipline.
"It seems to me that the smart man’s option is
the CILEx route."
Stuart Henry, FCILEx
"The CILEx route is an not an easy option or in any way
inferior to going to university."
A hospital is not the first place most people would expect to
find a lawyer, but even the best health professionals need the
support of a good legal professional from time to time.
Harbens is a practising Fellow and a legal services/claims
manager for an acute London hospital, working mainly on clinical
"In my work I get involved in a wide range of different legal
issues affecting the every day practices of our clinicians," she
says. "This can range from dealing with Mental Health Sections, to
representing the Trust at a Coroner's hearing. I can attend court
as an advocate for the Trust, and I meet with clinicians taking
statements, so the work is very wide ranging.
"You certainly need to be approachable, so that anyone can come
to you with any type of legal problem big or small and know they
have come to the right place, and that they'll get the right
support and guidance.
"I have always have had interest in 'people's rights', and
access to a fair hearing, especially for the vulnerable. I feel
very strongly about the need for justice, and the right to have
your case heard.
"When I left school after taking my GCSEs I went
to work in a Post Office – just really until I could make up my
mind about what I wanted to do.
"I later went on to work for the NHS, initially in the HR
department of the local hospital. I transferred over to their legal
office working with an in-house Counsel. After learning all about
claims handling I was bitten by the legal bug. I was encouraged
by my employer to consider training to be a lawyer.
"I had already completed an CILEx secretarial
course, so I enquired about the CILEx courses for qualifying as a
lawyer. I was sent the relevant information pack, which was
informative, and described in a clear way the benefits of studying
via the CILEx route and started my CILEx course which enabled me to
work so I could earn and learn at the same time! My employers also
met part of the cost of the CILEx training and were very supportive
throughout my training period.
"For anyone thinking about a career in law I would certainly say
they should consider studying via the CILEx route! However they
should not think that the CILEx route is an easy option or in any
way inferior to going to university.
"You do need to be determined and believe yourself. You need to
be focused prepared to study hard and aim to be a credit to
yourself and the profession. From my experience, I would recommend
that you think hard about the area you want to specialise in, and
move in that direction, make contacts attend seminars and
"There is so much competition for training contracts that it
makes sense to become specialised in a particular area of law
through CILEx, and then make a decision if you want to go further
once you've done your exams.
Harbens is now training to be a solicitor and hopes to complete
her Legal Practice Course (LPC) in 2009. As she has taken the CILEx
route to qualification, she is exempt from having to undertake the
training contract. As she says, "Without CILEx my career would not
have been possible. I have a lot of respect and gratitude to CILEx,
as an entirely supportive and adaptable way to study law."
Harbens Kaur, FCILEx
"Specialising in personal injury cases, I feel both valued and
respected by my colleagues."
Having completed her A-levels, Ashi Arora decided to enrol for a
legal administration course at college, her first step towards a
career in law. However, Ashi's ultimate goal was to qualify
as a lawyer and after researching her options, she realised that
the CILEx route would allow her to work at her own pace and gain
hands-on experience at the same time.
"My first position was as an outdoor clerk, taking half a day
off a week to attend college. The firm paid for my course fees and
exams and I had the support and guidance of experienced
practitioners around me.
"It took five years to complete the CILEx qualification during
which time I relocated to Manchester and began working as a trainee
Legal Executive. It was certainly hard work, while my friends were
on summer holiday I would be revising, but the long-term goals were
definitely worth focusing on.
"In 1997 I joined Davis Blank Furniss Solicitors and I now
specialise in personal injury cases. The team around me is
extremely supportive and I feel both valued and respected by my
"I am an active member of the local CILEx branch and the
Manchester Junior Chamber of Commerce, where I have learned skills
such as delegation and time management. In recognition of my
contribution to the community, alongside my professional
accomplishments, I have been honoured with the Asian Achievers
Ashi Arora, FCILEx
“Your career is opened up to so many different avenues
with CILEx – it’s unbelievable.”
Joanne graduated with a 2.2 in law from the Swansea Institute
and is studying with CILEx.
"I decided not to pursue a career as a solicitor as I couldn’t
afford to do the LPC, which is another reason why I decided to
undertake the CILEx diploma. At the moment I am two steps below a
solicitor. When I get the CILEx qualification I will be just one
step below. It was a good opportunity to further my career, as well
as having another qualification.
"I started doing the CILEx diploma while I was doing my degree.
It was a two-year course: the first year was portfolio-based and
covered all aspects of law, which I found quite interesting. In the
second year I had one lecture a week, and at the end of the year
there was an exam. I found it quite difficult because at the same
time I also had exams for university.
"You have to really study for it – there are so many grey areas
of law. There is a lot of work to be done. It takes a while, like
every degree, but the rewards are fantastic. Your career is opened
up to so many different avenues with CILEx - it’s unbelievable.
She is currently a paralegal working for 1-Legal solicitors.
"Work is quite happy for me to step up and become a Chartered Legal
I currently deal with clients who have new claims,"says
Joanne ."I find out what happened, and get as much information
as possible from them. I then type the details up, and pass it on
to a partner, who decides if they’re going to take the claim on. If
the client doesn’t have legal expenses cover, we arrange for an
insurance policy with a “no win no fee” agreement.
"I send out a CFA (conditional fee agreement) and I then pass
the claim on to whoever’s going to be dealing with it. For road
traffic accidents, I check the vehicle. If necessary, I arrange for
more photos to be taken. We deal with all types of personal injury
claims: personal injury covers road traffic accidents and employer
liability. We also have departments that deal with industrial
disputes, and a team that specialises in conveyancing.
"I really enjoy dealing with clients on the phone. I even like
chasing people up. There is something different every single day,
which is great. For me the most challenging part is when I’m doing
something new. For example, I might have a new claim form that
needs completing. Things like that I find the most challenging, but
also the most fun."