Ilex rebuts study saying legal execs get raw deal

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  • It's laughable that ILEX is promoted as an alternative to being a lawyer or a barrister.
    That's not spiteful. The harsh reality is that the intake for ILEX is weaker and the education much less demanding than is required to become a qualified solicitor or a barrister.
    These two factors mean it is inevitable that the qualification isn't respected within the profession.
    People like Diane Burleigh should be ashamed. They've hyped the ILEX course and created expectations that had no chance of being realised.

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  • "Anonymous" at 4.36 pm should get his/her facts rights first.
    Legal executives are qualified lawyers and study to the same level as solicitors or barristers. The difference is that they study and are examined in those subjects which are relevant to their qualification and their work.
    In my experience (25 years in the profession) legal executives and their qualification is respected by the judiciary, the Bar and solicitors.
    Diane Burleigh has every reason to be proud of the achievements of legal executives - after all, if the legal executives were not recognised as qualified lawyers then there would not be over 100 legal executive partners in law firms or a legal executive Deputy District Judge.

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  • I am afraid you are mistaken. ILEX is not "an alternative" to being a lawyer, Legal Executives are fully qualified lawyers who can be partners of law firms, district judges, obtain higher rights of audience and much more besides. The level of education at which Legal Executives study is no less demanding than that of our solicitor colleagues and bear in mind, most Legal Executives study part time, usually whilst working in their specialist area and as such, are usually significantly more experienced on qualifcation than a newly qualified solicitor.
    It is for this reason that ILEX have lobbied hard for us to be recognised as equals and continue to publicise the ILEX qualification as another route. Particularly in such times when training contracts are hard to come by and even the most academically able are coming out of university with a law degree and finding themselves working as a paralegal.
    ILEX are also lobbying hard to extinguish the ignorance that clearly still exists .........

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  • Laughable?! It might not be spiteful but your definitely IGNORANT! Have you ever seen an ILEX exam paper? Honours Degree Level exams, 5 years qualifying service, whilst holding down a full time job and not to mention the impact on family life. Hardly a walk in the park! Seriously, if you think you are in a position comment, then you definitely need to read up!

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  • To the first anonymous poster:
    Oh dear, the world is full of bigoted people and here you show yourself off as a shining example of one. Of course it goes without saying that you, the bigot, are misinformed and fortunately many people realise that studying ILEX, often whilst working full time, is a difficult task in itself and the qualification as a Fellow is extremely difficult and a massive achievement and one that should not be understated.
    Sadly, it is the short sighted, ignorant, elitist, bigoted (call them what you will) people in the legal profession that have caused the ILEX qualification to get a rough deal, and Legal Executives to be seen, by some, as second class professionals. Completely unfair and unjust.
    Time to join the modern world! You don't have to agree but I think you ought to respect your fellow professionals in the legal profession and perhaps keep your bigoted opinions to yourself!

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  • If anything I have more respect for those who have qualified as legal executives and believe them to better qualified. There are people who are starting training contracts who have "knowledge" but do not understand the first thing about working in an office, applying that knowledge or what I call "real working" skills. The legal executives learn in a way more conducive then learning things out of a textbook, all the law degree does is teach you research and how to pass exams. I wish now I'd pursued an ILEX route.
    There are people all over the place who have a degree from a good university, have been involved in this sports club, on that community project and worked hard in a library but have no experience of real hard graft.

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  • Legal executives never get employed by the biggest firms in this country for a reason. Their academic background is inferior. That's not snobbery - that's a fact.
    Now I'm not saying that the above necessarily means legal executives are consequently always less able legal practitioners. Indeed, there are probably a significant number of legal executives who are better than some solicitors and barristers. However, by and large, solicitors and barristers are academically brighter.
    The legal market is saturated enough as it is. A half-way house legal qualification should not be actively encouraged in my view.

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  • Anonymous (@ 5:48 pm)
    Clearly you meant "you're definitely IGNORANT" and not "your definitely IGNORANT"? .... Enough said.

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  • I would be interested to see what research Dr. Andrew Francis was using to support his comments as his research does not seem to me to represent what I know to be the "norm". I accept that there are still some unenlightened firms in the UK which ILEX are having to work very hard to educate. Diane Burleigh has done an outstanding job of this over the last 10 or so years.
    The ILEX qualification papers are equal to those taken by anyone qualifying as a solicitor. This statement can be upheld by the fact that the Law Society provide exemptions in respect of those papers to any ILEX member wishing to convert to become a Solicitor. Many Universities provide a conversion course for this purpose.
    There are very many more firms who are enlightened today than there were 10 years ago and the status of a Legal Executive is now as high as any solicitor in those firms thanks to the efforts of people like Diane Burleigh. This statement is supported by the fact that within a year of firms being given the ability to make Legal Executives partners over a 100 have done so. ILEX also has its first Judicial appointment, another example of the high regard in which ILEX is now held within the enlightened legal world.
    I can be certain that Dr. Andrew Francis has not spoken to ILEX about his "research" and certainly has not provided a copy of his "study" to them for comment as I can be quite certain that they would be able to provide him with further information for his "study" that would alter his opinion.

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  • As a legal executive lawyer who has studied a law degree, the LPC, the ILEX course and even the CLC course I can absolutely, categorically say that the ILEX course is completely on a par with the degree/LPC route. The level 3/Level 6 components comprise the breadth and depth of a law degree and LPC course, and as many have pointed out, in the main this is done whilst working, usually as a fee earner.
    On the issue of the personal attacks (against anyone) they are wholly out of place and do nothing more than display a lack of informed intelligence on the part of those who make them.
    A legal executive lawyer is a lawyer, like a solicitor, like a barrister. They give advice, charge fees, provide representation, advocacy, can be partners in firm, become judges and provide responses to Government consultations. Any perception that an ILEX lawyer is somehow "less" than a solicitor is laughable. However, it is clear that there are some ILEX students, just like LPC graduates with no training contract, who will be discontent with their employer as low pay and high pressure take their toll.
    I doubt very much that when we speak of legal executive lawyers, the qualified lawyers, managers, partners, advocates, judges who have earned their place within the legal profession that the same sentiment exists.
    Diane Burleigh has hit the nail on the head when she says "In the future businesses will reward talent where they see it, regardless of ­professional label" and as the Legal Services Act, Clementi and Carter reforms take effect, this reality will become even more so.
    If there is any shame surrounding ILEX it is the shame that some professionals and students within the legal profession are still harbouring prejudice and discrimination against their peers.

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  • speaking as both a qualified Legal Executive and Solicitor with 20 years experience, i can say honestly that the Ilex qualification in my opinion was far harder than the additional qulifications i undertook to become a solicitor. i was interested to note that the first person to comment was not confident enough in their opinion to publish their name.
    as the Ilex qualification allows you to focus on the areas that you wish to specialise in, i have found that when it comes to newly qualified lawyers, those that have qualified via the Ilex route are much more able to hit the ground running when compared to newly qualified solicitors. this comment is made with the benefit of 20years in the legal sector and as an employer.
    Beyond this initial stage i have found that the difference blurs to become insignificant. So long as Fellows and Solicitors are given the same training and opportunity to develop their skills, they are both as likely as each other to make excellent lawyers.

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  • “Oh dear oh dear oh dear the opening comments appear to have ruffled a few feathers. It is no coincidence that the commentator wished to remain anonymous judging by the responses if indeed a legal executive can judge which of course they can now do. I appreciate and support your decision here and would not wish to change that right as comments like yours are hugely important to ILEX so they can continue to monitor the professions view and continue to adapt and improve on their identity and meet the various challenges ahead. Therefore, I for one thank you for your thoughts.
    Someone commented that the legal profession is a saturated one, implying somehow ILEX were to blame or adding to a worsening crisis. All professional bodies must take responsibility for this not least the two I assume you feel command the right to continue to manage and orchestrate how legal services should be provided to the end user. Unfortunately it isn’t working like that anymore not least because of the distrust and perceived angst of many of the end users in the profession over the years. As a result there is a need for greater access to justice for people and in order to achieve that it leads to greater competition. There is also the small issue of diversity and the right for anyone to have an opportunity to have a career path in a profession. Surely you do not challenge that right? ILEX provides that opportunity so ILEX is here to stay. ILEX will, I am sure, continue to help develop these areas and goals. The sooner other professionals who would otherwise prefer to maintain the old system accept this the better as it will only be then that the profession can move forward and perhaps start to repair some of the damage caused which has to be in the interest of the legal profession as a whole, stakeholders and all end users.

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  • A good lawyer should ideally have the following qualities:-
    1. Practical competence.
    2. Independence of mind.
    3. High level of intellect.
    4. Animal cunning.
    It is possible that all types of lawyers can possess the above mentioned qualities.
    Lawyers with only practical competence and animal cunning should not rise to senior judicial appointments.
    It seems highly probable that ABS owners will carefully select the type of lawyer Head of Legal Practice that serves their best commercial interests.

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  • Good afternoon
    I would be interested to know what proportion of partners within the Top 100 law firms came through the ILEX system.
    If it is above 20% then I'll be convinced that ILEX is on par with a degree and training contract.
    All the best
    Anon 16:36

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  • Controversial Truths
    (a) ILEX is as good as a law degree + training contract
    (b) A law degree from an ex Poly is as good as Oxbridge
    (c) Nobody is rioting on the streets of Libya

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  • Well regardless of what people think the following is true and should benefit the ILEX group.
    1. The status of solicitor is being devalued as services are commoditised and outsourced and also by firms continuing to train more solicitors that are not needed (used only for cheap labour) As a result, solicitors salaries are falling and will continue to fall. Most other jobs now pay a lot more.
    2. ILEX will benefit from the above as the cost of training is not disproportionate to the returns. (though as saturation continues this may change in the future)
    3. ILEX training continues to improve but training for solicitors is dumbing down. I thought the LPC was a joke. It's just a cash cow and the standards are awful.
    The legal profession is an odd profession and from how solicitors have behaved in the past I can only see them continuing to devalue the status of solicitor.
    More solicitors will be trained that are not needed. A proportion will then go on to do pro bono work. This will cut the fee earning work in circulation and so the downward spiral will continue.
    In the future most paid legal work will be done in India and China and what little work remains in England will be done pro bono by the massive and growing pool of unemployed lawyers.
    The College of Law will still continue to increase the number of LPC students but by that time the cost will be nearer £20,000.
    The trend is scary. Already LPC students are working for free. It's only a matter of time before this extends to solicitors.

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  • A lot of comments about how hard it is to be a Legal Executive or how it is just as good as being a solicitor.
    I went to university a couple of years before the rules were changed and all polytechnics could call themselves a university (The University of Central England Near Birmingham and similar). When I was sitting my A-Levels, I was told by my (state) school that universities and polytechnics were the same. This was presented as fact, however I remember clearly that no-one at the school could properly explain why much lower A levels were needed for the polytechnics. Or why traditional universities were still favoured by most employers (despite the introduction of sandwich courses and the like).
    I get the same feeling when Legal Execs say they are lawyers/the same etc. If that is the case, why not become a solicitor? Would it not make more sense than trying to change the world's perception of your ILEX qualification? Or is the reality that your academics are less traditional or weaker? Be honest.

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  • In response to the last post....
    Taken from the Guardian website's listing of top UK unversities: "Some universities founded in the 1960s, however, appear to be on the rise. Lancaster has climbed from 16th to sixth this year, the University of East Anglia has risen from 35th to 19th and York has gone from 11th to joint ninth place with Loughborough."
    In the 10 years or so since they were granted university status it seems that these new universities have proven themselves as equal or better than their traditional redbrick rivals.
    The moral of the story seems to be that once the glass ceiling has been removed, the cream will rise to the top.
    P.S. ILEX exams are 'closed book', whereas I understand that the LPC ones are 'open book'.

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  • As a foreign lawyer practicing in the UK, can someone please tell me the difference between a legal executive and a solicitor?

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  • Is this a surprise given that recent articles in The Lawyer have been mentioning how your training position can depend not only on what school/university you went to, but what school/university your parents went to?
    Like so much else in Britain nowadays it's not what you know but who you know and whose backside you kiss. And it's the reason why this country in general is going down the toilet.

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