|Names||( 'Chartered Legal Executive')|
|Competencies||Interpersonal skills, analytical mind, critical thinking, commercial sense|
|Education required||Institute of Legal Executives, Legal Practice Course|
Legal executives are a form of trained and qualified legal professional in certain jurisdictions. They often specialise in a particular area of law. The training that a Legal Executive undertakes includes vocational training (a minimum of 5 years) and academic qualifications.
Legal Executives in England and Wales occupy a similar role to Solicitors. Legal executives can become partners in law firms (depending on the business structure)and are eligible for certain judicial appointments albeit the perceived lower professional status that can be associated with them.
There is no direct equivalent to a legal executive in Scotland.
Historically law clerks in Canada and paralegals in the US would occupy similar roles as legal executives. Legal executives are however qualified lawyers and as such are subject to stringent regulation and a code of ethics as with other types of lawyers.
Trainee legal executives however often occupy paralegal roles to satisfy the 5 year vocational stage of qualifying as a legal executive.
In England and Wales the Institute of Legal Executives received a Royal Charter in 2011. Fully qualified legal executives in England and Wales are now therefore referred to as "Chartered Legal Executives".
England and Wales 
CILEx (formerly ILEX) 
The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) was founded in 1892 as the Solicitors Managing Clerks' Association and became the Institute of Legal Executives, a company limited by guarantee, in 1963 with the support of the Law Society of England and Wales. CILEx is a professional body which represents legal executive lawyers and trainee legal executives. Legal executives in England and Wales are qualified lawyers in a specialist area and undertake work similar to that of a solicitor or in other normal activities of a solicitor when supervised by a member of that profession. They can also take an extra CILEx qualification to qualify as advocates, although their rights of audience are restricted in comparison to those granted to solicitors or barristers.
On 13 October 2011, fellows of the Institute of Legal Executives, who were in practice holding a valid and current practising certificate became "Chartered Legal Executives", a professional designation and title now legally protected. The Institute of Legal Executives also became the 'Chartered Institute of Legal Executives' having obtained a royal charter from the Queen, in October 2011.
Chartered Legal Executives in England and Wales are qualified lawyers and are eligible to become partners in legal disciplinary partnerships (LDP) as well as advocates or judges. They are also eligible to be partners in alternative business structures (ABS) when the legislation enabling them comes into force.
Chartered Legal Executives are required to have the same high ethical standards as barristers and solicitors, and all members of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives are regulated by ILEX professional standards (IPS).
Fellows of the Institute are eligible to apply to become District Judges and for certain other judicial offices after being qualified for five years. Chartered Legal Executive lawyers and other appropriately qualified CILEx members attend to a wide range of legal work, generally specialising in one or more of the following:
- residential and commercial conveyancing
- wills probate work and trusts
- personal injury
- family law
- criminal law
- employment law
- immigration law
- practice management
Trainee Chartered Legal Executives undertake a series of training courses and are required to pass qualifications relevant to the area of practice in which they intend to specialise. The final qualifications are equivalent to an honours degree course. Trainees will often work at the same time as studying in order to acquire practical skills. The courses can be undertaken at a college, university or through an open learning programme. The courses are open to graduates and non-graduates.
A trainee must also gain 5 years vocational experience before being admitted as a Fellow.
A CILEx fellow is a qualified lawyer. Only Fellows of CILEx (FCILEx) can lawfully hold themselves out as Chartered Legal Executives and are qualified by law (by way of CILEx) to be commissioners of oaths able to take depositions and affidavits. Fellows also can bring action in court and appear for clients in certain courts. Appearance in higher courts requires a separate CILEx qualification to become a Chartered Legal Executive Advocate. Fellows (that is, Chartered Legal Executives) are also eligible to apply and compete with barristers and solicitors for appointment to certain judicial offices, such as the position of deputy or district judge.
Membership levels 
In September 2009 legal executive training in England and Wales changed. The CILEx qualification now emphasises and examines the practical work of the law as well as continuing with the necessary academic examinations. At the same time, a number of new membership grades were introduced by CILEx. CILEx now offers the following membership categories which can be joined according to experience and qualifications held:
- student member - for those wishing to enter the legal profession, who have no relevant legal qualification, or those with less than three years’ work experience of a predominantly legal nature.
- affiliate member - for those with at least one CILEx level-3 unit-qualifications, or who have completed a relevant level-2 legal qualification, or gained at least three years’ work of a predominantly legal nature.
- associate member – for those who have completed their CILEx level-3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice (the first stage of CILEx qualifications), or who are graduates with qualifying law degrees. Associate members will be entitled to use the designatory letters ACILEx after their name and be required to undertake 8 hours of continuing professional development (CPD).
- graduate member - for those who have completed both their CILEx level-3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice and their CILEx level-6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law and Practice (including the ILEX Graduate ‘Fast-Track’ Diploma), or who are Legal Practice Course (LPC) or Bar Vocational Course (BVC) graduates. Graduate members will be entitled to use the designatory letters GCILEx after their name and be required to undertake 12 hours of CPD.
Intending students already holding a Legal Practice Course (LPC) or Bar Vocational Course (BVC) qualification are exempt from the CILEx academic qualifications and can immediately apply to become a graduate member. Graduate members must then work under the supervision of a qualified legal executive or a solicitor at a firm, either in-house at a private company or in government (provided their work is substantially of a legal rather than administrative nature). After two years at membership level, they may apply to become a Fellow of the Chartered Institute. They must have by this point a minimum of five years' practical legal experience.
Once a student has successfully completed a period of qualifying employment, he or she will become a Fellow of CILEx, a qualified lawyer and will be allowed to hold themselves out as a Chartered Legal Executive and use the designatory letters FCILEx. Fellows are required to maintain and improve their knowledge by undertaking at least 16 hours of CPD each year. A proportion of those hours must relate to their area of specialism. Fellows are issued an annual practising certificate. Only qualified and practicing Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives may use the designatory title 'Chartered Legal Executives' which is a protected designation for practicing Fellows under its Royal Charter.
A CILEx Fellow who wishes to go on to qualify as a solicitor is usually allowed to forego a trainee-ship. For this exemption to apply, they must have attained the fellowship level by the time they complete the vocational stage of solicitor training, i.e. the LPC. It goes without saying they must also have completed the academic stage; however, having come through the CILEx route to qualification, this usually means taking a few extra modules of the CILEx level-6 qualification.
The modern legal executive evolved from the 19th-century managing clerk. When solicitor firms started to grow in the 19th century, they increasingly relied on an ever-expanding number of law clerks for drafting and organizing documents. Some of these clerks in turn became knowledgeable about the law and were allowed to manage their fellow clerks; hence, they were called managing clerks.
In the 1950s and 1960s England suffered a shortage of solicitors when population growth unexpectedly exceeded the number of entrants into the profession. To improve the availability of legal services, the Law Society began aggressive recruitment efforts to convince young people to choose law as a career. As part of this effort, the Law Society decided to turn the managing clerk into a true legal profession of its own and sponsored the ILEX's creation in 1963 as well as the change in title to legal executive. In the Law Society's own words, ILEX was intended "to stimulate recruitment to the unadmitted ranks of the professional status [...] and would offer [...] a career with proper incentives."
The Institute of Legal Executives was granted a royal charter to chartered professional body status in October 2011 and on 30 January 2012, officially received its charter, from the Minster of Justice, Jonathan Djanogly and was officially launched as the 'Chartered Institute of Legal Executives'.
The Institute of Legal Executives (Victoria) was set up in 1966 and represents legal executives in the state of Victoria, it works with the Institute of Legal Executives (Australia) which was formed in 1994 and represents legal executives in the rest of Australia. Both Legal Executives organisations in Australia work to formalise legal training and promote education for the position of Legal Executive. They award Diplomas, Certificates in Professional Legal studies, as well as prizes and bursaries for students. In South Australia the law society provides an equivalent association for paralegals.
Hong Kong 
The Law Society of Hong Kong recently consulted with ILEX over benchmark standards for those using the title 'legal executive' in Hong Kong. A course called the Professional Diploma in Legal Executive Studies was created by  in partnership with Chinese University  to meet the benchmarks.
Republic of Ireland 
The Irish Institute of Legal Executives IILEX is the professional body representing legal executives in Ireland and with the stated aim to provide a system of training and examination and to obtain a recognised professional qualification for those engaged in legal work in Ireland.
Categories of IILEX Membership 
- Senior Legal Executive Member S.I.I.L.Ex.
- Legal Executive Member M.I.I.L.Ex.
- Associate Member A.I.I.L.Ex.
- Student Legal Executive Member 
New Zealand 
- "What do Chartered Legal Executive Lawyers do". CILEX. Retrieved 2012-08-06.
- Brian Abel-Smith and Robert Stevens, Lawyers and the Courts: A Sociological Study of the English Legal System, 1750-1965 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1967), 397.
- About the Institute of Legal Executives Australia
- Law Society of South Australia
- Categories of IILEX Membership
- Institute of Legal Executives(Australia)
- Institute Law Clerks Ontario(Canada)
- IILEX - Irish Institute of Legal Executives
- The New Zealand Institute of Legal Executives
- The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (UK)
- ILEX Tutorial College
- ILEX Paralegal Programmes - Law for Non-Lawyers
- The Legal Executive Journal - The only publication distributed to all ILEX members