Legal Vocational Course - ILEX

The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives

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  • Intermediate Apprenticeship
  • Legal
  • Nationwide

Name: Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX)
Apprenticeship type: Legal, Business
Location: Nationwide
Start dates: Ongoing

The Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) is the professional body which represents 22,000 trainee and practicing Legal Executives.

Legal Executive lawyers specialise in a particular area of law but otherwise the everyday work of a Legal Executive is very similar to that of a solicitor. They work in England or Wales- there is no equivalent in Scotland.

ILEX offers a full range of qualifications in law and legal practice at all levels for both those already working in the legal profession, and those who wish to start their career in law but do not want to go to university. We also offer advanced qualifications for those who wish to go on to become advocates, and you can also dual qualify as a solicitor via the ILEX route.

Case study
Mark Associate Clerk - Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, Leeds. "I did not set out to become a lawyer. I left school with little by way of formal qualifications and had one or two less than glamorous jobs; I eventually started work in the insurance industry and worked for several insurance companies in the claims departments".

"A number of people I knew in the insurance industry had moved over to the legal side. I was told it was more rewarding both financially and in terms of developing ones knowledge. I was motivated by this to pursue a legal career and I secured my current position after I had my name put forward by a friend within the firm and went through the usual interview route".

"Once I secured the position I could see the potential for non-solicitors to contribute to the firm. I also realized that the ILEX qualification had a very real prospect of bolstering chances of promotion and marketability. I therefore began my studies whilst employed at Irwin Mitchells. The fact that an employee has shown strength of character to study hard whilst working has, I am sure, helped my promotion from fee earner to Associate Clerk."

"My job does not require formal qualifications but as mentioned above, I have found over time that it is beneficial to be a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) in terms of me being able to deal with the level of work that I do and being more valuable to the firm (for example being able to bill out at a higher rate)".

"The qualification gives you an understanding of how to approach practical problems, such as how to interpret case law, statute and how and why the courts give the judgments they do. It also teaches you that in one area of law, several other areas may have to be considered".

"A lot of the training you receive is on the job. In my case, I have benefited from Irwin Mitchells fantastic in house training diary which enables employees of all levels to obtain the necessary training".

"In my job I deal with a case load involving allegations of fraud against my clients. These allegations are of course incredibly serious. It involves a great deal of negotiation between insurers and solicitors as well as a lot of communication with barristers, judges and other organizations. I also audit files, coach and train fee earners, and put forward suggestions to senior management to assist in the profitability of the firm".

"My role has progressed in terms of the responsibilities I have For example, I have taken on a number of management tasks. I also deal with matters such as client complaints when the Associate Director is not available; the general public seem to respect the title of Fellow as meaning they are dealing with somebody with knowledge and skill".

"Another responsibility I have is interviewing for fee earner positions. I would therefore advise those going for interviews to get an understanding of the firm you are interviewing for. Have you been on its website? Do you know how many employees it has? Do you know what areas of law it covers? When it was established? where it fits it the legal market? The majority of people I interview seem to have quickly glanced at the company website at best. This does not show a desire to work specifically for Irwin Mitchells, but that they just want a job in a law firm".

"At the interview, I would advise you show personality and that you are energetic".

"I see people who are very well qualified but they do not seem to have the get up and go needed to go alongside the qualification to succeed in the job".

"The job is demanding and involves working in teams. It is therefore necessary to show an ability to communicate effectively and to give a considered but no nonsense approach to problem solving".

"Legal Executives are being recognized more and more for the very real contribution they can make at all levels in a law firm and the difference between Legal Executives and Solicitors is narrowing. Two examples of this are the increasing rights of audience, and the CPD points requirement being increased in 2008".

"What I enjoy about the role is getting a good settlement for a client, especially when they have been wrongly accused of fraud or exaggeration of their injuries. I like the idea that a lot of the issues we deal with are subjective and it is not always a predicable outcome and I like to get involved in the technical legal argument, which is challenging. I also like working for a national firm as there is a great deal of support and job security".

"What can be frustrating is dealing with insurers who do not seem to share the same goal of settling claims swiftly, leading to more work and litigation than should be necessary to bring a case to a conclusion. Also, it is constantly mentally demanding".

"Irwin Mitchells is a growing firm and is forward thinking in that it allows non solicitors to become partners. This is my next goal".

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