Legal Executive career
Tina Andrews is a trainee legal executive in Somerset. Legal executives are qualified lawyers who work on a particular area of law, such as drafting wills, property transfers, and matrimonial, criminal or civil cases. It takes at least five years to qualify.
What does your legal executive career involve?
I work in the commercial property department of a law firm, dealing with the legal aspects of the sale and purchase of property and leases of property. I deal with my own files with the assistance of a partner on complex matters. I also help colleagues in relation to some aspects of the transactions they are dealing with.
What is a typical day like for you?
My working day varies, but generally involves dealing with correspondence received from clients, other solicitors and agents, as well as answering and making telephone calls, and drafting and negotiating documents. I also have meetings with clients sometimes.
What was your route into this career as a legal executive ?
After leaving school with GCSEs, I started working as an office junior. A year later I became a legal secretary, working for two qualified legal executives. I was then offered the chance to work as a trainee legal executive whilst studying towards my qualification in my own time.
Why did you choose this type of work?
I didn't start my job with the intention of qualifying as a legal executive. However, after gaining experience in an office environment, it seemed an excellent opportunity to progress.
What training have you received?
I've received help from my supervisor with regards to work matters, and outside of the office I am working my way through the various ILEX (Institute of Legal Executives) exams in order to achieve a recognised qualification. My employer provides financial assistance towards the exams, as well as paid study leave.
What hours do you work?
I usually work from 9.00am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, but sometimes I may start earlier or finish later.
What do you like best about your legal executive career?
I enjoy the responsibility and find the work interesting. I particularly like the fact that I am able to work towards a recognised career and earn money at the same time.
Are there any disadvantages to your legal career?
I work in the office all week and I have to be very disciplined in studying towards the ILEX qualification. It is a lot of work to complete in your own time.
What are the skills needed for a successful legal executive career?
You need to be organised and a good communicator, with the ability to work under pressure. You have to be able to juggle different tasks at work, as well as finding time outside of work to study.
What are your long-term career goals?
Once I have qualified as a legal executive, I hope to complete further exams and qualify as a solicitor.
Tina's route to her legal executive career
- Legal secretary.
- ILEX Level 3 exams.
- Currently working towards ILEX Level 4 exams.
Tina's legal executive tips
- Be prepared to work hard, both in your job and at home.
- Don't give up on studying, even though it is hard work and takes up a lot of your time.
- Be prepared to be flexible in what you do at work.
Legal executive related jobs
- Barristers' clerk (England and Wales)
- Company secretary
- Legal adviser/Court clerk
- Legal secretary
- Licensed conveyancer
Salary of a legal executive
- Trainee legal executives and legal executives can earn anything from £12,000 to £30,000 depending on experience, qualifications and location.
- Legal executives working in London can earn in excess of £40,000.
Becoming a legal executive
- Most legal executives learn as they earn, combining a job in a law firm with study towards qualifying exams. They may already be working in another role, such as legal secretary, before starting the course.
- The minimum requirements to train as a legal executive with ILEX are four GCSEs (A-C), or the equivalent. However, many legal executives have qualifications such as A levels and degrees, which can mean they are exempt from parts of the syllabus.
- Courses can be taken full time, part time, with day release or via distance learning.
- A trainee legal executive becomes a Member of the Institute of Legal Executives once they have passed all their exams, but they can't use the title 'Legal Executive' for a minimum of a further two years (depending on how much work experience they have), until they become a Fellow (FILEX).
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