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Legal executive (England and Wales) : Entry requirements

Although this area of work is open to all graduates and Diplomates, a degree/HND in the following subjects may increase your chances:

  • law;
  • accounting/finance;
  • business studies;
  • information technology.

The Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX)  recommends that applicants for the ILEX course have at least four GCSEs at grade C or above. However, a qualifying law degree or CPE (Common Professional Examination)/GDL(Graduate Diploma in Law) is particularly useful, as it grants some academic exemptions from the ILEX examinations. Some university law degrees give full academic exemption from both the academic and practice papers through the award of a Graduate Entry Diploma (GED) alongside an existing law degree.

Chances of entry in the work place are greatly enhanced by pre-entry work experience.

Candidates need to show evidence of the following:

  • analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • excellent communication skills, both oral and written;
  • a high level of administrative skills;
  • numeracy;
  • the ability to work with discretion;
  • a systematic working method;
  • computer literacy;
  • attention to detail;
  • excellent research skills;
  • ability to work under pressure.

Competition is fierce. Bear in mind that you compete against experienced non-graduate candidates as well as graduates.

Apply speculatively to solicitors or in response to local press advertisements. Also, consider expanding your search to local and national government departments. Try to gain experience as a legal assistant, paralegal or legal secretary.

For more information, see work experience and internships and search courses and research.

Written by Janet K. Willis, University of Manchester
November 2009
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