Over 370 CILEX professionals celebrate graduation

8 November 2021

Over 370 CILEX professionals celebrate graduation


Some 140 new CILEX Fellows* and Advocates** swore an oath to mark their qualification at the annual graduation ceremony held by CILEX (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) on Saturday.

They were joined by a further 237 members, who were recognised for becoming Graduates***, the step before becoming a CILEX Fellow.

At the event, held at Central Hall Westminster in London, 1500 members and guests gathered to celebrate graduation. CILEX President Caroline Jepson, CEO Linda Ford and guest speaker, former CILEX president and Honorary QC, Millicent Grant, encouraged graduates to embrace the opportunities now open to them, to aim high and become role models to future CILEX lawyers.

Millicent Grant was the first CILEX member to be made an Honorary QC and the first Black person to lead a legal professional membership body. Throughout her career she has worked to tackle diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and the judiciary.

She said: “I have seen great progress made during my time in the legal profession thanks to the work of CILEX. You are ascending in a profession that is richer and more representative because individuals like you are entering it.
 
“That is important for the people we serve – the public. They need to have confidence that they are talking to someone who understands them, not someone who is elite, or distant. Social integration matters, social mobility matters and representation at all levels matters. Without it we see distrust in our profession, and in the rule of law itself.”

She told the audience, “I feel strongly that we must encourage students who may never have thought the law was for them. To provide them with an accessible and affordable route to qualification. To reassure them it is no longer a career reserved for the privileged and elite, out of reach from the disadvantaged or those who, like me, don’t conform to the stereotypical traditional lawyer brand. By doing so, we can continue to transform the provision of legal services and improve access to justice.”

President, Caroline Jepson praised graduates for their hard work and perseverance, recognising that so many achieved qualification while studying alongside full time work.

Reflecting on the recent CILEX membership survey that showed many CILEX lawyers held themselves back at work due to a lack of confidence, in part caused by the perception of CILEX lawyers by other professionals in the legal sector, Caroline urged graduates to take the opportunities presented to them to progress in their careers.

She said: “I have a plea for you today, and it is this - let us hear your voice. Join us in elbowing our way through the elite snobbery and let us together shut down those perceptions which have held us back for far too long.

“Help us create a legal profession that is ‘qualification-route blind’ – one that appoints, rewards and promotes based on merit alone. Build pride in CILEX and help us reach the point where CILEX lawyers are automatically recognised and valued as specialist lawyers.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact: 
Louise Eckersley, Black Letter Communications on 0203 567 1208 or email:
louise.eckersley@blacklettercommunications.co.uk

Kerry Jack, Black Letter Communications on 07525 756 599 or email: 
kerry.jack@blacklettercommunications.co.uk

*CILEX Fellows have completed the academic stage of training, have been in qualifying employment for at least three years and have met the relevant work based learning outcomes. They are authorised by CILEx Regulation.

**CILEX Advocates are Fellows who have gained extended rights of audience in their practice area, allowing them to undertake advocacy in certain proceedings.

***CILEX Graduates have completed both their CILEX Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice and their CILEX Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law and Practice, or equivalent studies.