- Can be a very well paid job, depending on your specialism and experience
- Requires legal qualifications and a high level of professionalism
- With further study, opportunities to become a solicitor
You'll specialise in a branch of law like conveyancing (the legal side of buying and selling property), probate (wills, trusts and inheritance tax), family law (divorce and children's matters), civil litigation (disputes between people), criminal law (defence or prosecution of people accused of crimes), and company and business law (tax, contracts and employment law).
- Advising clients and explaining legal matters
- Contacting professionals like mortgage lenders
- Planning officers or other lawyers on behalf of clients
- Researching and summarising legal information
- Preparing legal documents
- Writing to clients
- Drawing up wills
- Preparing contracts
- Representing clients in court
- Preparing bills for clients
You could work at a police station, in a court, or in an office.
As a legal executive, you'll need excellent verbal and written communication skills, thoroughness and attention to detail, knowledge of English language, administration skills, the ability to work well with others and accept criticism, be able to work well under pressure, and good initiative.
You'll need to register as a member with the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives to start your training.
To become a legal executive, you could do a degree in law or a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), and then go on to complete the Graduate Fast-Track Diploma and 3 years' qualifying employment.
College courses that would help you to qualify include the CILEx Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice, and CILEx Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law and Practice. After completion, you would carry out a 3-year period of qualifying employment, such as legal work under the supervision of a solicitor, senior chartered legal executive, barrister, or licensed conveyancer.
You could also take a chartered legal executive higher apprenticeship, which you would usually do after you've completed a paralegal apprenticeship.
Many people work for a law firm and study for qualifications part time. Even if you're not working in a legal environment, you could study for CILEx qualifications as long as you meet their entry requirements. You'll still need some work experience to give you a chance of finding a job once you've qualified.
With experience, you could take on more complex cases and build up a large client base. You could also progress to leading a team of legal executives and secretaries, or become a practice manager in a law firm. With further study, you could qualify as a solicitor.