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How to become a Legal Executive

legal executive careers

What does a Legal Executive do?

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.

What's the working environment like working as a Legal Executive?

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.

What does it take to become a Legal Executive?

To be a legal executive, you should:

  • be able to communicate confidently with all kinds of people
  • have the ability to explain legal matters clearly
  • be patient, tactful and discreet
  • be able to communicate well in writing
  • be numerate and computer literate
  • be able to work carefully and accurately
  • have interest in research work
  • be able to work under pressure.

Legal Executive Career Opportunities

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.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Legal Executive that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX)
Kempston Manor
MK42 7AB
Tel: 01234 841000

Law Society of Northern Ireland
Law Society House
98 Victoria Street
Tel: 028 9023 1614

Facts and Stats:

  • In 1445 a case was brought in the French courts against certain beetles that had destroyed a farmer's crop. The beetles failed to obey the summons and the case was abandoned.
  • In 1924, a Pike County Court in Pennsylvania, USA sentenced a dog to life imprisonment for killing a cat.
  • In America, 50 to 70 cents of every dollar awarded in damages by a jury goes to the lawyer.
  • A woman in Israel is suing a TV station and its weatherman for $1,000. Their heinous crime? They predicted a sunny day and it rained. She claims that the forecast led her to wear light clothing causing her to catch the flu.

Courses to help you become a Legal Executive