For the first time since 2008 there will be no ‘legal executive of the year’ at the Law Society’s annual awards. The axing of the category comes as the time it takes to qualify as a lawyer via the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX) has been slashed from five years to three. In a world of spiralling higher education costs, it’s possible that this new fast-track route — which requires no degree or law school qualification — could come to rival the training contract. Hence the undercurrents of territorialism that have been imputed…
With the freshly-concluded Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) throwing its support behind on-the-job training routes, and talk earlier this year of “solicitor apprenticeships” having subsided, some legal executives have interpreted the decision by the Law Society to stop awarding them prizes as a sign that it feels threatened.
“They’re marking their territory,” one told Legal Cheek.
However, the Law Society — whose remit covers solicitors only and therefore is not compelled to include legal executives in its events — has rejected such claims, with a spokesperson for the body stating: “The number of entries to the Excellence Awards has gone up and up over the last six years. However despite extensive promotion, there have been comparatively few entries in the legal executives category. This is no doubt due, in part at least, to the high regard in which the CILEX Medals [CILEX’s own awards] are held. So it is with regret that we’ve decided to discontinue this category.”
The Law Society Excellence Awards take place on Tuesday 22 October, with nominations to be submitted by Friday 9 August.