A legal executive is similar to a solicitor as they are lawyers who have specialised in certain aspects of law. A legal executive may work in a variety of legal fields, such as conveyancing or dealing with property law, family law, such as with divorce and handling children’s issues, probate law, or dealing with wills, trusts, and taxes. They may also perform civil law which handles issues that arise between people, criminal law that includes crimes, and company or business law, dealing with issues such as business taxes, employment law, and the legalities of contracts. Legal executives often work in solicitor firms, or for the Crown Prosecution Service. There are also opportunities available in businesses and the potential to become a solicitor is always present.
Some of the tasks performed by a legal executive include providing advice to clients and making certain that they clearly understand the legal situations that concern them, contacting the appropriate people when working with clients, ensuring that you are up to date with all legal proceedings or information relating to the case you are working on, making sure that legal documents, such as wills and contracts, are drafted according to law, and providing legal representation for clients.
Those considering a career as a legal executive will need to have excellent verbal and written skills. The ability to communicate is essential, as you will need to make certain that clients understand the legal matters facing them. Keeping your clients information confidential is of the utmost importance and tact, as well as discretion is important. Having a meticulous approach and strong attention to detail is important, as you must ensure that all legal matters are being dealt with appropriately. You might face highly stressful situations, those who can work independently and remain focused while under pressure will be better suited for a career as a legal executive.
You’ll need to become a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executive to gain employment as a qualified legal executive. Testing is provided through the ILEX and you will also be required to obtain experience in a legal setting. Traditionally, it takes at least seven years to become fully qualified as an ILEX member; this includes five years of work in a legal environment that has occurred two years after passing your exams. This time period also depends on how you attended school and training. For more information regarding testing and qualifications, contact ILEX.
Those in training positions earn between £16,000 and £20,000 per year. Once you become a fully qualified legal executive this can increase between £30,000 and £45,000 per year. Those with experience as legal executive may earn £50,000 per year and more.