What are the different ways into law? Solicitor? Barristers? What about Legal Executives? They're also recognised qualified lawyers.
The work training of a Legal Executive lawyer is similar to solicitors although they tend to specialise in one area of law, such as civil litigation, criminal litigation, family law, conveyancing, public law, private client or corporate work. Law firms offer Students ‘earn as they learn’, allowing them to gain experience, as well as earning between £15,000 - £28,000 (starting salary.) The highly flexible scheme is completed through evening or weekend classes or through distance learning. This means that so you can take as long as you need to qualify. Once you're qualified, you can expect to earn between £35,000 - £50,000, with many surpassing this.
Becoming a Legal Executive If higher education is too expensive for you, then you will have the option to study qualifications set by the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX.) And you can do this alongside your 'on-the-job' training. Training can be via college evening classes, or by supported distance learning from one of 90 approved study centres across England and Wales. Most ILEX students are either working in a legal job when they start their studies, or get a job as a trainee legal executive lawyer during their studies. Many employers will pay all or some of the study fees involved.
Routes to qualification To be able to study through ILEX, you will need a minimum of four GCSEs. You will also have to complete two qualifications: the first stage is equivalent to an A-level, and the second is equivalent to an Honours' degree. Studying for both usually takes four years of part-time study (eight hours a week), via evening classes or distance learning, or 2 years of full-time study. Both stages cost up to around £7000, although many study centres charge less if they are able to access grants or government funding. This is more cost-effective compared to university fees, which are currently at around £9000 per year. Furthermore, the average student debt upon leaving university is around £30,000 and there are further post-graduates fees to become a solicitor or barrister. What’s more, more than 80% of university law applicants will be rejected, averagely.
Benefits of the legal executive route What is there to gain from following this route? Firstly, its accessibility. As long as you have a minimum of four GCSEs, the course is open to all. Moreover, the course is flexible. You can study it at a pace suited towards your own circumstances and commitments. This is ideal for those who wish to fast-track their careers or who need to fit their study time around family commitments or day jobs. If you combine your day job with your studies, then you have the potential to earn around £65,000 over a four-year study period. Speaking of salaries, these will depend upon your location and specialism. Upon qualifiying, you can earn £15,000-£28,000 PA and once you're fully qualified, you can expect to earn £35,000-£55,000. And this is just the start.
Further information The Institute of Legal Executives www.ilex.org.uk or www.ilexcareers.org.uk