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CILEX (the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives), the body that pioneered the non-graduate route into law, today announces the CILEX Professional Qualification (CPQ), a redesigned approach to training that will produce uniquely qualified lawyers with the skills to meet the changing demands of the modern legal market.

The three levels it provides – CILEX Lawyer, CILEX Advanced Paralegal and CILEX Paralegal – will be badges of quality and assurance to employers who need work-ready legal staff, as well as bringing regulation and standards to the burgeoning paralegal market for the first time.

CILEX expects each stage to take between 18 months and two years – although students can progress at whatever speed suits them – meaning a student could qualify as a CILEX Lawyer in five to six years.

Linda Ford, Chief Executive of CILEX, said:

“CPQ recognises that a successful career in the law requires more than just legal knowledge.

“By blending academic studies with practice-based experience throughout the qualification and the addition of a wider set of business and personal effectiveness competencies, the next generation of CILEX Lawyers will have the skills needed to adapt, innovate and enhance how legal services are delivered to meet evolving consumer needs.”

CILEX students combine work and study. The CPQ aims to ‘marry legal knowledge with the skills, behaviours and commercial awareness they need’. It introduces mandatory elements of legal technology, business skills and emotional intelligence for the first time in legal training.

CPQ is a progressive qualification across three stages:

  • Foundation: which is aligned to the role of a paralegal
  • Advanced: which will be for those handling cases at an advanced paralegal level
  • Professional: for those who want to be CILEX Lawyers in their chosen specialist area of law and with full practice rights

Each stage comprises three elements: core legal knowledge and skills; ethics and professional responsibility; and professional experience.

Students with under or postgraduate legal qualifications will not have to start at the beginning, but equally the CPQ recognises that not everyone will want or need to progress through to the full qualification. The CPQ Foundation and Advanced qualifications bring structure, regulation and defined standards to paralegals for the first time by introducing the titles CILEX Paralegal and CILEX Advanced Paralegal.

By not making a degree or equivalent qualification or experience a pre-requisite, CPQ will be a substantially more affordable way for students to become lawyers than the new Solicitors Qualifying Examination – delivering on CILEX’s commitment to accessibility while not compromising standards.

Qualification costs

To qualify as a CILEX Lawyer will cost a maximum of £12,500 – less for those who already have some kind of legal qualification. To complete a degree and the SQE will cost around £40,000. The Solicitors Regulation Authority has said it expects that only a small number of candidates will be able to show they have non-academic experience such that they do not need a degree or equivalent.

Subject to final regulatory approval, CPQ will open for enrolments in June 2021.  Students will be able to study through CILEX Law School or through a number of approved providers.

For more information and for students who want to register their interest now, click here.