Ilex rebuts study saying legal execs get raw deal

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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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