Live and learn

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  • I am a Legal Executive Partner in a firm in the midlands .I have been in the profession for 25 years.If some of the critical comments about apprenticeships were true then why everyday do I deal with solicitor partner lawyers who would never think of me as anything but their equal and indeed in some cases contact me for assistance and advice.It appears if comments are to be believed I am second class and only marginally successful.Interesting because I am sure there are many solicitor qualified lawyers who are partners in firms who would gladly trade their income for mine and would like my rather expensive car and my large house.I suggest some of the students who commented would pray to be in my position in 20 years.
    The majority of the legal work in this country is not carried out by top city firms.A law degree is not essential nor is having a " wide diversity of knowlege " in a profession which encourages specialism .It seems most of the critisism comes from those who want matters to be as eliteist as possible and perhaps who do not work in the profession yet or are academics detached from the real world of commerce.
    Quality shines through ,it is the quality of the individual and the work that they do for clients that matters more than anything else.

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  • I have read this long article with interest and write as a FILEX with over 20 years experience in the law. I am often asked to give my opinion over which route is best and I always decline. My experience was ILEX; I didn't attend University and I don't have a degree. Obtaining qualification was a long and hard process. I studied and worked full time earning good fees for my law firm employers; by day a PI practitioner, by night studying Constitutional and European Law and other electives.

    Maybe those who have gone the degree route consider themselves to be more 'academic' and thats just great. Personally I chose not to put lawyers into boxes based on their education. I have worked alongside lawyers from many and varied backgrounds and once the job descriptions are over and done with and business cards are exchanged what matters is how they do their job. A degree may take you to a certain place in life but hard work, dedication, knowledge and enthusiasm about your work and your positive contribution take you further.

    Richard Ridyard says that the ILEX route doesn't give an acceptable foundation for a career in the law and that the value from working from the bottom up is later lost in the mix. I strongly disagree but I do so from a position of experience.


    The law is not one flat linear service; it is an ever changing complex environment providing different services to different types of consumer. The training routes into legal practice should rightly reflect this environment; let the lawyers of the future decide their route into the law.

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  • The only problem with the ILEX qualification is that it is still not recognised as being on a par with qualifying via the LPC and training contract. In fact the ILEX route is not at all an easy option. It requires several years of academic study and examinations in addition to several years of experice, 2 years of which must be completed after finishing all the necessary exams. It turns out well rounded and experienced lawyers and encourages social mobility within the profession.

    The comment made by the Lawyer2b reader referring to the number of ILEX lawyers in the top law firms is not a valid point. One wonders how many of those lawyers are women, from ethnic minorities or attended their local comprehensive rather than receiving a private education. The statistics simply reflect that change is urgently needed.

    It should be borne in mind that ILEX Fellows are now able to be partners and Judges and that their excellent reputation is gaining them more and more ground each year, most recently with the granting of a royal Charter.

    Articles such as this do nothing to support or encourage future lawyers to enter the profession as Legal Executives. There should not be any question that it is anything other than a difficult and very challenging route into law. ILEX lawyers are not glorified paralegals, they are equal in qualifications and skills to Solicitors.

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  • @ Anonymous

    With grammar like that I don't think you are anywhere near as good as you think you are.

    Whilst it is true that the majority of legal work is not carried out by top city firms, they can boast the most prestigious client lists.

    "I am sure there are many solicitor qualified lawyers who are partners in firms who would gladly trade their income for mine..." I'd like to meet one. Moreover, just because you believe something is true so passionately and blindly, it doesn't make it true.

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  • A recent survey found that CILEx lawyers are found in 60% of The Lawyer magazine's list of top 100 law firms, including partners and associates. Having a CILEx qualification clearly does not limit career progress for those with talent and determination.

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  • glorified paralegals

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