Introducing a different kind of lawyer for a fast-changing legal sector
The legal landscape is changing. So is the CILEX route to qualification.
At CILEX, we’re defining what it means to be a CILEX Lawyer, CILEX Paralegal and CILEX Advanced Paralegal. We’re highlighting the specialist expertise and practical, problem-solving skills of our members, broadening access to a career in the law alongside the other branches of the legal profession. To satisfy changing employer needs, we are launching the CILEX Professional Qualification (CPQ) with practical legal competencies and commercial awareness at its heart, making it easier for businesses to access qualified legal professionals who add real value right from the start.
What is a CILEX Lawyer?
CILEX Lawyers are different by design. The routes of entry are more flexible, the training is more practical and the professionals who progress through CPQ qualify with an enhanced skillset and a different mindset.
A CILEX Lawyer has completed all three stages of the competency-based CPQ, which includes compulsory Ethics and Professional Responsibility modules, and gained a minimum of three years’ relevant practical experience.
CILEX Lawyers are:
The structure of CPQ means CILEX Lawyers qualify with practice rights in at least one specialist area of law. By contrast, solicitors and barristers qualify as generalists and only begin to specialise post-qualification. For their employers and clients, this means that CILEX lawyers are ready to deliver specialist expertise and add value from much earlier in their careers. CILEX Lawyers can specialise in: Dispute Resolution; Criminal Litigation; Residential Conveyancing; Commercial Conveyancing; Employment Law; Business & Commercial Law; Family Litigation; Wills & Probate; or Immigration Law.
Diverse & representative
CILEX-trained professionals are demonstrably more diverse and representative of the UK population than their peers in other branches of the profession. This is because CILEX is the only route to becoming a lawyer that does not restrict access to candidates with a specific set of prior qualifications; it opens up the profession to people from all backgrounds, including those who have not gone to university.
More than legal experts
CILEX Lawyers’ training extends beyond the purely legal to encompass, for example, the application of technology to legal solutions and understanding the commercial context of decision-making. In an increasingly competitive world, CILEX Lawyers are trained to take a wider perspective, understanding how they can contribute both to their clients’ success and also to their employers’.
CILEX Lawyers are required to work in a legal environment from the very beginning of their studies, applying their learning to practical scenarios and building and refining the skills of a practising lawyer as they progress. The CILEX model requires their employers to validate their experience and competence at every stage, meaning practical, work-based skills are ‘baked-in’ to the training and that CILEX trainees become adept at using legal expertise to address real-world challenges for their clients from the outset.
Clients want legal advisers who can relate to their issues on a human and emotional level as well as delivering technical legal expertise. The competencies that form the basis of CPQ place greater emphasis on emotional intelligence and enhanced inter-personal skills than other legal qualifications do. And, because CILEX Lawyers are client-facing throughout their training, they have greater opportunity to develop and refine these vital qualities as they progress.
Ethical and professional behaviour is a central feature of CILEX's professional qualification framework. In addition, CILEX Lawyers uniquely swear an oath to uphold the Rule of Law and act at all times with integrity.
What is a CILEX Paralegal/Advanced Paralegal?
The role of paralegal has existed for years without clear definition or professional standards, accreditation or regulation. CILEX is changing this, bringing structure, regulation and defined standards by introducing the titles “CILEX Paralegal" and "CILEX Advanced Paralegal”.
Professionals who complete CPQ Foundation stage will become accredited CILEX Paralegals. That means they’ll be able to demonstrate the competencies specifically linked to that role, having evidenced them through assessment of their practical experience. This enables them to add value early and with understanding of the practical issues facing clients and providers of legal services.
CILEX Paralegals are:
Qualified against a national standard
CILEX is a chartered professional and awarding body, setting the professional standards for its members, and offering employers and clients a uniform benchmark of quality. Until now, the term paralegal has been a general term used to describe a job or role in the legal sector rather than a level of competence and qualification. CILEX Paralegals have achieved to a rigorous and specified, uniform standard; the title CILEX Paralegal is evidence of professional competence and high ethical standards.
Until now paralegals have not been regulated. There are professional bodies for paralegals, but these do not have the status or authority of a regulator. CILEX is a chartered regulating body, holding its members to the highest standards of ethics and professional behaviour and requiring them to evidence their continuing professional development.
Diverse & representative
CILEX-trained professionals are demonstrably more diverse and representative of the UK population than their peers in other branches of the profession. And, because CPQ is the only route to becoming a legal professional that does not restrict access to candidates with a specific set of prior qualifications, it opens up the profession to people from all backgrounds, including those who have not gone to university.
More than legal assistants
CILEX training goes beyond purely legal education to include business and inter-personal skills, personal effectiveness and legal technology. This means that CILEX Paralegals are capable of managing their own caseloads and CILEX Advanced Paralegals can be fee-earners.
CILEX training has practical work experience and the validation of key professional competencies baked into its structure. So, CILEX Paralegals are not only the first paralegals who are trained to perform to a specified standard, but they also have their experience validated by their employer throughout their training and can therefore evidence their ability to perform at the required level. They are, literally, ready to work.
Ethical and professional behaviour are a central feature CILEX's professional qualification framework.
CILEX Advanced Paralegal
CPQ Advanced stage builds on the knowledge acquired in CPQ Foundation stage and includes both the second Ethics & Professional Responsibility module and a further period of professional experience. Professionals at this stage will also have started to specialise in a specific area of law. On completion they will be accredited as CILEX Advanced Paralegals.
CILEX Advanced Paralegals meet all the attributes for CILEX Paralegals. In addition, they are able to demonstrate competence and legal knowledge to a high specialist level, enabling them to work as specialist case handlers in any of the core and optional areas of law they study. These include: Dispute Resolutions, Criminal Law & Litigation, Property & Conveyancing, Business & Commercial Law, Family Law and Wills & Probate.