Opening the doors

Time to Push Open the ILEX Doors of OpportunitySays New ILEX President

10 July 2008 pr025.08

“ILEX stands on the threshold of even greater recognition for its members and it is time for us to push open the doors of opportunity to a career in law for a much wider section of the community,” said Mark Bishop, the new President of the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX).

Speaking to an invited audience at Dali Universe Gallery on 10 July in London during a reception to mark his inauguration as the 45th President of the Institute, he set out his vision of the ILEX of the future.

“ILEX opens doors of opportunity for a wide range of people to become qualified for a career in law,” he said. “We are justifiably proud of our ‘earn and lean’ ethos and the fact that studies can be fitted around lives, not the other way round as is often the case with university.

We have given countless people of all ages, not only in England and Wales, but also in places as far apart as the Caribbean, Kenya and Hong Kong, the opportunity for a career in law that otherwise may have been denied them. It is our intention to continue to introduce our qualifications to other countries, thus giving even more people the opportunity for a career in law.”

“ILEX is an organisation with a wide range of interests,” he continued. The range and variety of the work that ILEX does, how much it has done for its membership and how much it has

contributed to the legal profession since its inception in 1963 is far greater than many people realise. We are not just about turning people into lawyers. As an organisation we go a lot further.

“Through ILEX Tutorial College, we offer a distance-learning program that is second to none. We now have over 100 further education and private centres in England and Wales offering our qualifications. Through our partnership with City and Guilds, the UKs largest awarding body, we

can offer the highest quality of training for legal secretaries and paralegals that is the equal of anything else available, giving them their first taste of the legal environment and qualifications that can open the door to studying to be a lawyer. We may have our competitors and our critics, but the fact is that no one does it as well as ILEX.”

He also hoped that this would be the year that ILEX finally broke through the barriers that have been constraining its members since its foundation. “More members are becoming legal executive advocates,” he added. “They can apply for judicial appointments and shortly they will be able to become partners in law firms or run legal businesses, opening more and more opportunities for our members.”

Mark, a Legal Executive lawyer with the London law firm, Healys is himself an example of the ILEX ethos of providing alternative opportunities to those seeking for a career in law. At the start of his working life, if the careers office had had their way he would have been destined for a career in the police force. But as is the way of youth, Mark had other ideas and went to work instead for a small solicitors firm in Temple.

Here he began the process of gaining legal experience, and was soon working for the West End firm Barnet Alexander Chart where he began to studying to be a lawyer through ILEX as well as becoming a fee earner for the first time. Subsequent moves continued his studies and his fee earning and he became a Fellow of the Institute in 1996. Mark is a member of the dispute resolution team at Healys London Holborn office, and during his seven years with the firm has been involved in a number of high-level litigation cases, both here and abroad.