Legal executives are qualified lawyers who specialise in
a particular area of law. They deal with routine cases
and assist in preparing more complex ones.
After training, legal executives normally specialise in one of the following areas:
Conveyancing: buying and selling property. They check details of the sale and purchase with clients, ask local authorities for details of plans likely to affect the property, and liaise with mortgage lenders and draft contracts.
Company/business law: advising clients on legislation that affects their businesses. This may include contracts, tax law, employment and company law.
Probate: dealing with wills and trusts. Legal executives draw up wills and calculate inheritance tax. They might act as an executor of a will, ensuring the deceased person’s wishes are carried out.
Litigation: where the client is in dispute with someone else. Legal executives may be able to settle matters in writing, by negotiating a compromise, or could consider legal action. They interview witnesses and prepare statements to be used if a case does go to court.
Legal executives may attend court to represent clients in civil (non-criminal) cases. They also train and supervise junior staff, and sometimes act as office managers.
Legal executives often work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday,
although some overtime may be required. Flexible hours or
part-time work may be possible.
They are office based, but may spend some time travelling and attending court.
To be a legal executive, you should:
There are currently 22,000 members registered with the
Institute of Legal Executives. Most legal executives are
employed by solicitors in private practice. Others work in
the Civil Service, local government, commerce and
industry. A very small number work overseas.
With further study it is possible to qualify as a solicitor after becoming a Fellow of ILEX.
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