The institute of Legal Executives was founded back in 1963. The Law Society of England and Wales helped to set it up. The purpose of founding the institution was so that a more formal method of training solicitor’s clerks could be set up. The famous English author, Mr. Charles Dickens famously started out his career working in a solicitor’s office as a manager’s clerk. One of the characters that he writes about in the novel Galsworthy’s justice was founded on his own experiences of working.
By tradition, those that work as solicitors’ clerks are not required to train in law, but they were able to build up experience in the profession by working there, and as a result could also complete paper work on a fee earner basis.
When the institution was founded it brought a whole new meaning to solicitor’s clerks, because they were able to officially qualify as legal executives. Each one has a practice certificate and that enabled them to have a similar role in law as solicitors had. Those that worked in the profession as Legal Executives Lawyers were able to get certain rights that made them enabled to become partners in the law firms that they worked in. They also became advocates that had the right to audience in court as a judge, which is of course a much sought after role in the legal profession.
In the year 2011 the institute of legal executives requested to get a Royal charter status from the Queen. They had to do this of course through the Privy Council. It took a while, but eventually in 2012 it was approved and they became the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, when they were formally just referred to as the Institute of Legal Executives. (Shortened down when abbreviated, CILEx)
They aimed to be able to form a process to train those in legal support, and ensure that they could, like their counterparts become respected in the law community. It has taken a while, but now the institution has their very own regulator on the front line. This is of course, the IPS (ILEX Professional Standards) they help to provide a path for those that are looking to make the change from a trainee, to a professional lawyer.
With time, and because it is now credible, the institutions membership has also changed too. Many of the legal executives also became partners in law firms, and those legal executives that want to be judges in Wales and England are also able to. Graduates of law can also enroll in an innovative fast tracking scheme that enables those law students that wish to become solicitors by an alternative means, to do so.
All in all, the institution is a fantastic set up and it has certainly helped to form a more stable working environment for workers in law. Legal workers throughout Wales and England have much better working conditions as a result of the set-up of The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.