Mandie Lavin statement

Statement from new CILEx chief executive

08 January 2015Mandie Lavin

I am excited to have begun my new role as CILEx chief executive. CILEx has a reputation for offering outstanding legal qualifications and providing opportunities for people from all walks of life who may never have otherwise had access to a legal career.

Maintaining the confidence of the public in our work as professionals is paramount. Indeed it is the corner stone of the objectives laid out in our Business Plan, along with the importance of cooperation and mutual assistance. I want to see Chartered Legal Executives and CILEx Practitioners working together with their colleagues in other professions to provide the best possible service to the public. This extends to us as professional associations as well; particularly in the legal sector where we have a great opportunity with so many new leaders taking up posts. We can use this unique moment to work together and think creatively on how to serve the public and the profession as a whole.

The legal market
Recently, legal businesses have faced tough times, with an unrelenting pace of change. This year will see the first Chartered Legal Executive run law firms, which will, over time, shake up the market further and provide greater choice for consumers. Like any new business, these firms will need to be creative and innovative, and I will ensure that CILEx supports our members in these ventures.

CILEx’s Paralegal Enquiry will prove vital to our strategy moving forward, and to understanding how firms can best utilise and support paralegals. We represent the largest number of paralegals in the UK, and are the only body to provide progression to qualify as a lawyer whilst being individually regulated. Paralegals will be vital to the future health of the legal sector, and I am determined that CILEx will be there to support them and maintain standards.

CILEx has a wider responsibility towards the legal community as a qualifications provider. I want to ensure legal businesses and aspiring students can continue to rely on our qualifications to be rigorous, affordable and fit-for-purpose.

In the last twenty five years, over 100,000 people have undertaken training with CILEx. As sector leaders in vocational legal education we are committed to expanding our work-based qualifications, including Legal Services Apprenticeships, and ensuring all our qualifications remain attractive to employers in such a fast changing market.

General Election
CILEx’s proposals to the next Government represent achievable policies that a new Government can implement. I want to work together with the new Government, as they will undoubtedly pursue further changes to the justice system, and they must bring the legal profession with them as they do. Cuts to legal aid, increasing tribunal fees, and reduced legal advice availability are having a harsh impact on the operation of our courts and how justice works in this country. I want us to work together to overcome these obstacles and ensure the public are able to access justice in a timely, affordable and meaningful way.

Local employer
It is good to return to the legal sector, and to the friends and colleagues who have been a part of my professional life for many years. It is also good to join an organisation enjoying such a positive relationship with its local community. Bedford is an amazing place to work, and I’m committed to continuing our local apprenticeship recruitment programme and supporting the local community as one of the town’s leading employers.

Finally, may I thank everyone who has made contact for their warm welcome messages. I look forward to working with you all.