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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  • To those who belttle F.Inst.L.Ex. please continue to do so and lull yoruself into a false sense of security that you are more superior than us.
    It makes it more fun when you get turned over by us.

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  • "please continue to do so and lull yoruself into a false sense of security that you are more superior than us" [sic]
    I was of the impression that one is either 'superior' or 'inferior' - can one be 'more superior'?
    Shurely shome mishtake?
    furthermore, how exactly would one be 'turned over'?

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  • Why are legal executives always so chippy?
    PS Paralegals are now the third branch of the legal profession.

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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"
    If you had to do the ILEX as well as an LLB+LPC, one questions the standards by which you are comparing them all.
    I have seen an ILEX paper and know many legal execs. Whilst it probably does put them on a par with the lower end of the LLB scale, it is hardly the same level as what you would expect to get into, say, a city firm.
    Legal execs have their place, alongside paralegals, as a legitimate branch of the profession, but the suggestion that they are equivalent in the entry level and training as most solicitors is fanciful.

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  • Passionate lobbying from those who have studied ILEX.

    I would be more convinced if I had met a Legal Exec who was a partner in a Top 20 law firm.

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  • I can possibly offer some authority on this subject as I practice as a Solicitor having previously practiced as a Legal Executive!! To be fair, the ILEX qualification is no walk in the park and I believe it is degree standard. There is a focus on your chosen area of practice which makes sense. However, there are some considerable gaps in the academic and practice papers. By way of example, there was absolutely no reference to Solicitors Accounts Rules when I sat the ILEX exams. I therefore practiced for almost a decade without any real knowledge of those rules which only came to light when I was completing my LPC which I undertook on a part time basis whilst working as a Legal Executive.
    Solicitors have no right to "look down" on a legitimate member of our profession. I do beleive Solicitors are better qualififed and more rounded as Lawyers but that should not detract from the competent and considerable work being underatken by Legal Executives in offices up and down the Country.

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  • If their is no difference, please tell me why on earth (when armed with the knowledge that ILEX qualified lawyers are paid significantly less and face the prospect of snobbery and a very low glass ceiling) would one choose to qualify through ILEX rather than as a solicitor? Genuine question!
    There are so many ridiculous comments on this thread, but my favourite has to be:
    Anonymous | 2-Mar-2011 12:51 pm
    "...the following is true and should benefit the ILEX group...solicitors salaries are falling and will continue to fall. Most other jobs now pay a lot more."
    What an absolute load of rubbish! I am a solicitor in my twenties and earn more than 3x the national average salary. I know lawyers at my same level in other firms who earn more like 5x or 6x the national average salary. I am not saying that being a lawyer is ever going to make you a millionaire, but to claim that "most other jobs pay a lot more" suggests that somebody needs a reality check!

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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"
    It is clear from this comment that the "degree/LPC route" you took, which you say is comparable to the ILEX route, was not undertaken at one of this country's leading universities. Otherwise, you would not have needed to embark upon both the degree/LPC and ILEX routes. This is because had you studied your law degree at one of the country's leading universities initially, you would not have needed to go through ILEX. In which case, your categorical statement is flawed. Your law degree must have been undertaken at a non-traditional (i.e. crap) university.
    I completed the LLB at Bristol and it was far, far, FAR harder than the LPC. Fellow LPC students who attended so-called "lesser" universities found the LPC to be a step UP in difficulty. That to me signified that the degree they undertook was less rigorous.
    Ex-polytechnic graduates, ILEX folk and the like can harp on about how their education was just as rigorous all they like. The fact is, you lot failed to rise to the top at the crucial point in life - age 18. You lot failed to secure a Training Contract, one of the toughest legal tests out there. Whilst I have no doubt that there are a minority of exceptional legal executives, the fact is that the top firms in this country contain a minority of non-exceptional solicitors. Therein lies the crucial differential.
    For the record, I am not a spoon-fed-son-of-rich-parents-with-contacts. I am a working class Welsh countryside boy. So don't use the "glass ceiling" as an excuse.

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  • I wouldn't worry about the comments of the first poster. People like that are likely to be wiped out of the legal profession with the advent of ABSs. Big investors won't care a damn what you're called, or you call yourself, provided you can do the work. That is the way it should be and is in professions like investment banking and IT that are arguably doing more to shape the modern world.
    The legal profession as a whole needs to get with the times. The modern legal practice should put its dusty books and paper files in the bin, start investing in modern technology, obtain external investment and seek out the best talent regardless of their qualifications or so-called status.

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  • "The modern legal practice should put its dusty books and paper files in the bin, start investing in modern technology, obtain external investment and seek out the best talent regardless of their qualifications or so-called status."
    I agree. After, who really wants a solicitor with a decent academic record, City training and years of PQE when any johnny-on-the-spot who fancies a punt can have a go?
    In fact, let's go further. I'd be perfectly happy to have brain surgery conducted by a fast-track apprentice from a former Poly - wouldn't you?
    If ILEX provides such quality, depth and breadth of legal education and experience, why do so many ILEX candidates push on to try to qualify as solicitors?
    It is a different branch of the profession, with different (read: lower) entry standards.

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  • Anon - 8 March 2011 - 9.13am
    You put it perfectly.

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  • "Anonymous | 5-Mar-2011 4:10 pm

    I wouldn't worry about the comments of the first poster. People like that are likely to be wiped out of the legal profession with the advent of ABSs. Big investors won't care a damn what you're called, or you call yourself, provided you can do the work. That is the way it should be and is in professions like investment banking and IT that are arguably doing more to shape the modern world.
    The legal profession as a whole needs to get with the times. The modern legal practice should put its dusty books and paper files in the bin, start investing in modern technology, obtain external investment and seek out the best talent regardless of their qualifications or so-called status."

    Re alternative business models, I think you're right. Tesco will staff their legal services division with legal executives, paralegals and automated IT systems. Suspect most solicitors aren't interested in that career path, however...

    Alternative business models will, probably, only end up being relevant in the Tesco/AA/Quality Solicitors battle, not at the top of the profession, which is now global.

    Legal executives do have their place in high street firms up and down the country and most are probably satisfactory. In fact, one suspects there may be a City firm or two with the odd one working on simple real estate matters to bring the costs down.

    The major concern amongst some in the profession is actually not the quality (or alternative academics) of legal executives, but actually the regulation of them. ILEX's regulatory function is no SRA....

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  • could someone please advice, as matter of urgency, whether I can rely on legal advice provided by a legal ex in a complex employment law / redundancy situation.

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  • ILEX is a good start for those who may intend to some day aspire to be a receptioist in a Law Firm, full stop. An ILEX Cert. is not automatically a full Lawyer
    Do not presume that Judges have ILEX certs. I have only one question for ILEX fans. How many "ILEX-ians" are Members of one of the four Inns of Court, in London? If you are not a Member, you are not a Lawyer, Barrister, nor are you a Solicitor. An ILEX Cert. makes you exactly a Paralegal. It's like a Physician's Asst. demanding to be addressed as "Doctor".

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  • As someone who has taught students on LLB, CPE and ILEX level 6 courses, I have to say that I have always found ILEX level 6 to be the more detailed and challenging, and I am not alone amongst colleagues in this view. The main difference I can see is that ILEX qualified lawyers study fewer subjects, but I think the difference is more one of quantity than quality.
    The prejudice and snobbery shown in some of the comments here makes me laugh when I think of the advice I received from my Head of Department (himself a barrister) when I was about to move house: "Get yourself a Legal Executive", he said, "they know more law..."

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  • A few things:
    - Those asking why people become legal execs rather than solicitors, it's usually because they don't have a degree, for whatever reason (ILEX is a big part of the answer to the profession's problem with social mobility, by the by). Since the five-year articles route was abolished, you can't become a solicitor without a degree so it's your only choice if you want to become a lawyer. Plus you can then become a solicitor with a legal exec qualification.
    - A key distinction used to be that legal executives were specialists while solicitors had that broader, generalist view. That's not the case any more - we're all specialists now.
    - There are legal executives in City firms (eg a couple of heads of department at Kennedys) and in in-house positions, although it's fair to say most work in smaller firms, often in senior roles, however.
    - There are quite a lot of former legal executives who have become solicitors and now have senior partner roles. In fact, the first ever female solicitor QC, June Venters, started off as a legal executive.
    - And before people start pointing to the fact that all these people requalified as solicitors, it was because, until last year, it was the only way to become a partner at a law firm. That's not the case any more because of legal disciplinary practices.
    - Equating them with paralegals is absurd because paralegals have no formal training.

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  • I am a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives and have been qualified for over 23 years. I chose the ILEX route as I didn't go to university as my parents didn't want me to and said I should look for a job. Oh how I regret it now. Yes all my Solicitor colleagues (or most of them) treat me as a good lawyer and I enjoy my job and in fact assist trainee and newly qualified Soliicitors with their training. However, whilst I enjoy my job immensely and indeed am good friends with several of my Solicitor colleagues the career structure where I work (at a large local authority) allows newly qualified Solicitors to start on a salary on the grade which I am currently on even though they admit that they have very little knowledge whereas I've been a qualified Legal Executive since 1987. To my knowledge this is quite normal and therefore until this situation changes legal executives will always be behind Solicitors as a career.

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  • So many people with so many opinions. The bottom line is this - if you had the choice, would you:
    (a) get a training contract and do the LPC; or
    (b) get the ILEX qualification
    I know plenty of ILEX grads and whilst they are all (without exception) very good at what they do, they have all gone down that route because they cannot secure a training contract.
    If you're offered a TC then you would not turn it down to pursue the ILEX route. End of

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  • In response to Anonymous | 11-Mar-2011 9:07 am

    Are you actually aware of anything that goes on in the legal system?

    Once you are qualified as a Legal Executive Fellow you are a lawyer - you may have a different roles to that of a barrister or a solicitor but you are a lawyer! End of.

    Legal Executives can be partners in law firms and also judges - they are not assistants or paralegals and your comparison is totally invalid.

    It is outdated attitudes like yours that give the impression the legal sector is fully of stuffy 'old boys' unwilling to change for the greater good. You discredit every hard working legal colleague with your ignorane.

    Do your research before you make comments!

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  • ANYBODY can be a Partner in a Law Firm or lead one, or own one. The point is, whilst ILEX may be comprehensively just as good a vocational training, the old school, traditional law studies at University, will always be treated differently, and earn more. Traditional Law Study is a closed society for a reason, a real lawyer knows that reason and would never ask. A Vetrenarian, is a Doctor too, get it? ILEX costs are comparable to Uni costs, so why not go to University and get that degree? You can go to Open Courses, Night Courses, even some Open Courseware. Knowledge is indeed knowledge, respect, but the Sharks have the resumes, and that's what seperates them from the baitfish.Be an ILEX Lawyer, that's fine if that's where your goals lead you. Just remember you will be a 2nd leaguer, even when you score a goal. Don't hate the players, hate the game. Better yet, play by the rules set forth, and be part of the winning team.

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  • The point is this.
    As legals services dumb down and value for money becomes the prevailing issues, legal executives becomes more and more employable because they are cheaper.
    It's all very well boasting about being a qualified solicitor but if the market for legal services is looking for cheaper legal executives then solicitors will become redundant. In fact they already are.
    So the question is this. Going forward would you rather be an employed legal executive or an unemployed solicitor?
    This is the future.

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  • Some very interesting comments so far.
    I began working life at 16 as a Trainee Legal Executive in a small firm and studied for the ILEX Level 3 law and legal practice exams. Only part-qualified, but with 'real experience', I regularly appeared before a District Judge in chambers and handled my own caseload.
    Having taken a career break to travel, start a family etc., I then decided to study for the LL.B (Hons) at university (which would also give me exemption from my ILEX degree level law subjects).
    I studied full time, which with having young children is not easy, but I gained my LL.B with first class honours (only 3 out of 150 did) and I chose to continue with the 'ILEX route', and have in fact turned down a training contract with a firm who even offered to pay for the LPC - it seemed pointless, as those who are admitted as Legal Executive lawyers can become advocates, partners and judges.
    The degree level ILEX exams are set at 'final year' standard (Level 6), and the ILEX qualification allows for more specialist 'legal practice' study, ie: you don't have to study litigation AND conveyancing (unless you chose to) which better reflects working life.
    There are still CORE 'law' and 'skills' subjects to study, but there are options in terms of 'legal practice' subjects, allowing for expertise to be developed. Additional subjects can also be studied to provide more 'breadth' if desired/required.
    On another point, I assume that the recently appointed first Legal Executive judge gained that position having been 'in competition' with solicitors and barristers, and as far as I know the salary offered and the skills and knowledge required are the same for whoever got the position. And indeed, he will be ‘judging’ cases presented to him by solicitors and barristers !
    Another point - I think I'm right in saying that firms like Irwin Mitchell and Kennedys have Legal Executive partners - are they not 'big' firms ? I believe there are also Legal Executive partners at Keoghs and Freeth Cartwright, amongst many others. In addition I understand commercial companies like HSBC, Norwich Union, Thomas Cook, Tesco, Capital One, Vodafone and T-Mobile, amongst many others, all employ Legal Executives.
    I don't think we need to have all this discussion about 'better lawyers' - barristers, legal executives and solicitors are all professionally qualified lawyers and offer different routes into the legal profession.
    There is no room for professional snobbery in the modern legal environment and those who look down on other 'types' of lawyer are quite clearly incorrect to do so. I'm sure we've all come across good and bad examples of all types of lawyer.
    Modern, skilled, adaptable, forward thinking lawyers will prosper in the modern, ever-changing legal environment - not those clinging to 'how things were' or those with views based on outdated perceptions.

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  • Interesting that the few Legal Executives who have done very well for themselves are being touted as somehow being the norm. A small firm like Kennedy's might have the odd Legal Executive partner or two, but one suspects that they were the ones who were good enough to become solicitors in the first place. Compare the average Legal Executive to the average solicitor and I would be interested to see the result.
    To use the Kennedy's analogy, the top of the ILEX route are partners there. The top of solicitor route are partners in the Magic Circle. That's the difference isn't it?

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  • Hmm. I wonder - does that make them 'better' ?
    There were those on my law degree who got 2:1's and 2:2's and went on to be solicitors and barristers, whilst I got a 1st and chose the ILEX route - does that make them better ?
    I certainly don't think I'm any better or worse, just that I chose a different route, and I'm confident in my own skills and knowledge and proud of my qualifications, experience and competence.
    Hmmm. Not so sure Kennedy's is a small firm.
    Hmmmm. And Irwin Mitchell - a small firm ?
    Hmmmmm. There are certainly more than a few Legal Executives who have done very well for themselves.
    Another thing to consider is that the rules have only recently changed in repsect of partnership for Legal Executives, so it's going to take time to build up, but 100 in the first year or so is not a bad start. And of course the more Legal Executive partners there are then they will inevitably have more of a say in the recruitment policies of firms.
    And the judge that was mentioned ? Did he not gain the position on merit ? Again, seeing as the rules have only recently changed, it's going to take time for more judges to be appointed, more senior offices to be held, etc., etc.
    ILEX has only been around since 1963, so great strides have been made in comparison to other types of lawyer who have been around a lot longer and have become entrenched in our legal and education system over a long period of time.
    As was said before surely it should not be a discussion about 'better types of lawyer', simply different lawyers from different routes.
    To slate a whole 'type' of lawyer broad brush, in light of some of the excellent legal executives out there seems to me to be quite frankly not very objective or lawyer-like !
    I liked a job advert I saw a few years ago from a firm of solicitors which had two identical photos of a man in a suit and underneath one it said 'Solicitor?' and underneath the other it said 'Legal Executive?', and the strapline was something like 'Lawyers required - Your competence not your qualification is what counts' - referring to the fact they were not particularly interested if you were a Solicitor or a Legal Executive but whether you were good at your job, and I've seen many other jobs advertised as 'Solicitor/Legal Executive required'.

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  • If ILEX is harder to do and just as good as a conventional qualification, why would anyone bother when everyone knows ILEX is (correctly or not) considered inferior? If my client's thought I was dopey enough to choose a hard life for myself for no good reason, they would not want me advising them.

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  • Oh dear !
    I don't necessarily think the ILEX route is 'harder to do', it's just done differently (ie: part-time study whilst working in legal practice), but done to the same standard.
    It's certainly not a case of being 'dopey enough' to choose a particular route - people's circumstances vary - some may be bright enough for studying law to degree level but cannot commit time-wise or financially to university, or some may start in junior roles in law firms and excel and develop into lawyers - the list of potential reasons goes on.
    Others may have gained first class honours degrees in law, and having seen legal executive lawyers at work first-hand, have decided to follow the ILEX route as opposed to the LPC or BPTC.
    As has been said before, surely we should not be discussing 'who's best' or 'which is harder', simply that there are different types of lawyer from different routes and that all have skills to bring to the marketplace.
    Also, the 'dopey' point can be reversed in the sense that if you can become a senior lawyer, advocate, partner and judge whilst earning at the same time and having your training paid for by an employer, and without student debt etc., why would you consider that a bad thing or something to look down on !
    I believe that there are many clients out there who, upon seeing certain posts, would be very worried about the intellectual debating capacity and objective thinking ability of many who are offering opinions !
    And I'll not even get into the patronising, condescending, ill-informed naivety that would really worry clients !

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  • Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Freshfields all have turnovers between £1.1 and 1.2 billion. Kennedy's has £80m. Compared, it's a small firm. Even Irwin Mitchell at £150m would have to grow 8 times over to get to the same place, I guess they are more of a "medium" sized firm then, is it?

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  • '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.'
    Being honest - I simply cannot afford to go the CPE/LPC route to becoming a solicitor. Thank you ILEX for providing an opportunity for training I can complete whilst working! Not everyone has the money to get in to law the 'traditional' way.
    I think people can be fairly ignorant in the way they look at legal training (anon 8.36).

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  • I am a FILEX, i appear in court frequently opposing solicitors & barristers & frequently win. It does not matter whether i am a solicitor/barrister or FILEX what matters is whether i know the law or not. there will always be frims that look down on us thats their issue not mine. I am respected by the local courts/judges. law was a career change for me and I already have a 1st BSc(hons) not in law so i am not thick.Move with the times you try studying to degree level & working full time. I frequently train the trainee solicitors as they lack life skills and practical skills needed every day.

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  • I have a 1st classs BSc(hons) i have now changed careers & chosse ILEX, it is flexible and a lot cheaper. No debt after 4 yrs study. We can no apply to be Judges & have over 100 partners. ILEX is a valid and different route. I frequently win in court and am well respected by the local Judges. I'm happy being a FILEX why spend more time & incur debts of £15K to become a solicitor? for what reason do i need to become a solicitor? I dont FILEX is good enough and 1 filex is now a QC

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