Pathways into the legal profession

My name is Susie and I am a Graduate Legal Executive working in the Family Department at MSB. I am now a Graduate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX).  

I commenced my journey to becoming a lawyer at the age of 16 following completing my GCSE exams in 2014. I undertook work experience at MSB during the school summer holidays and after a two week placement, was offered a full-time role as Office Assistant. I was offered an Apprenticeship in Business and Administration in Legal Services as an alternative to returning to school in September to obtain A Levels.  

At the age of 18 in 2016, following completion of Level 2 and Level 3 Apprenticeships, I was moved to the Family Department and promoted to a Legal Assistant. I was also offered the opportunity to enrol at The Law Academy in Liverpool City Centre to commence my CILEX professional legal qualification.  

Since this time, I have attended at lectures during the evenings and sat exams every January and June. I have sat a total of 12 exams and submitted four pieces of coursework.  

Level 3 CILEX covers many different areas of law. There are five compulsory modules which are an Introduction to Law, Law of Tort, Contract Law, Criminal Law, Land Law and thereafter you study three further modules of your choice. I studied Civil Litigation, Family Law and The Practice of Family Law. You must also complete two coursework modules in Client Care and Legal Research.  

Upon completion of Level 3 you become an Associate of CILEX (ACILEX).  

Level 6 CILEX allows you to specialise and choose the areas of law that you wish to study. The modules that I chose to study were Criminal Law, Contract Law, Family Law and The Practice of Family Law. I sat my last exam in June 2021 and I am now a Graduate Member of CILEX (GCILEX).  

I am currently completing my qualifying employment portfolio which will mean that I will become a Chartered Legal Executive and a Fellow of CILEX in Summer 2022. This portfolio is extremely detailed and demonstrates work that I have undertaken since completing my exams.  

Whilst studying CILEX alongside working, I have gained a wealth of experience from sitting with other lawyers and receiving guidance from them. I have also attended at court on numerous occasions to sit behind counsel and assist – this broadens my knowledge of the court processes and procedures whilst also getting experience of working with different barristers and other professionals.  

CILEX is an alternative to obtaining a law degree at University and is usually completed alongside full time employment which provides invaluable, practical experience. CILEX in itself however is a full time course and therefore, requires a high level of commitment. I knew that CILEX was the right option for me as I was desperate to enter into the working world and receive first-hand experience of working in a law firm. CILEX is a great alternative to obtaining a legal qualification and can be studied at your own pace.  

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