People enquiring about the ‘CILEx’ route very often ask this question particularly as many educational establishments really only focus upon solicitors and barristers. That said, not all lawyers are solicitors or barristers. Fully qualified and experienced Chartered Legal Executive lawyers are able to undertake many of the legal activities that solicitors do.
The role of a solicitor
Solicitors give advice and assistance on matters of law. They are usually the first point of contact for people and bodies (this includes members of the public, companies and charities) seeking skilled legal advice and representation. Many solicitors work together in private practice, while others work in central and local government, or in-house in a commercial or industrial organisation.
The role of a barrister
Barristers offer advice on legal issues and are also known as advocates, representing clients in court. They usually receive their information and instructions through a client's solicitor. When not appearing in court, they work in chambers (offices) where they prepare their court cases and arguments.
The role of a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer
As a general rule, a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer is able to undertake all work that may be undertaken by a solicitor under the supervision of a principal. So you are essentially doing the same work though Chartered Legal Executives tend to specialise in one or two area of laws.
Chartered Legal Executive lawyers must adhere to a code of conduct and like solicitors, are required to continue training throughout their careers in order to keep themselves up to date with the latest developments in the law.
So you want to be your own boss?
Chartered Legal Executives can become partners or associates within a firm now.
With the introduction of Alternative Business Structures in October 2011, Chartered Legal Executive lawyers are also able to set up their own practices. Therefore you can become your own boss. For some very useful information see https://www.cilexregulation.org.uk/~/media/pdf_documents/cilex-regulation/guides/business-start-up-guide-may-2015.pdf