26 November 2020
CILEx response to the State of Legal Services 2020 report
In response to the Legal Services Board’s State of Legal Services 2020 report published today, The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) says:
CILEx welcomes the LSB’s focus of the need for greater diversity and social mobility in the legal services market. They are right to identify that there are many initiatives to encourage diversity but they are having little effect. This has a direct negative impact on achieving ‘fairer outcomes’ both in relation to consumer choice and access to justice.
CILEx is proud to be demonstrably open to all. Our qualifications, currently being enhanced, deliver ethically aware and tech savvy lawyers with commercial awareness alongside core legal knowledge fit for the 21st century market. For people from disadvantaged backgrounds it is the lack of opportunity to build these skills that can often become barriers to later progression. There is far too narrow a view of what makes a good lawyer. One size does not fit all. This elitist and discriminatory culture stands in the way of the consumers who are the ultimately beneficiaries of a more diverse and inclusive legal profession. We are committed to changing that.
We’re also realistic, we can’t change the profession single-handedly. All legal professional bodies must act as one, and supported by government, implement a joint campaign committing to clear diversity targets for the sector impacting themselves, law firms, and employers from the public and third sector. This needs to be focused specifically on the retention and development of lawyers from under-represented groups. Unless all corners of the profession come together, we will fail to deliver a more diverse and inclusive profession, which in turn will mean that there will not be the fairer outcomes, stronger confidence and better services that CILEx, alongside the LSB strives for.
Notes to editors:
The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) is one of the three main professional bodies covering the legal profession in England and Wales. The 20,000-strong membership is made up of Chartered Legal Executives, paralegals and other legal professionals.
CILEx members are regulated through an independent body, CILEx Regulation. It is the only regulator covering paralegals.
CILEx provides career support and training, with qualifications open to those holding GCSEs, A levels or a degree. Over 100,000 students have chosen CILEx over the last 25 years, with the majority studying whilst in full or part-time employment.
CILEx offers the opportunity of a non-graduate route to qualification as a lawyer, although graduates are also welcomed and the Graduate Fast-track Diploma offers a more affordable and viable alternative to the LPC.
Those who complete the full CILEx qualification are known as Chartered Legal Executives. They can become partners in law firms, coroners, judges or advocates in open court.
CILEx is committed to supporting members to deliver accessible legal services to the public.
The membership is diverse – 72% of members are women and 12% are from a BAME background.