Enrolments leap on new graduate route to becoming a lawyer that skips the LPC and training contract

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By Alex Aldridge on

36% rise in sign-ups to the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) Graduate Fast-track Diploma signals growing popularity of bargain TC alternative.


A new graduate route into law appears to be gaining traction, with freshly-released figures showing a notable jump in enrolments onto the CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma.

263 wannabe lawyers signed up to the CILEx Graduate Fast-track last year, up from 193 in 2012 — equating to an increase of 36%.

The three-year on-the-job route to qualification, which is open to all graduates of law degrees and the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), is still in its infancy, having only been introduced at the end of 2009.

But its relatively low cost — fees over the three-year duration of the diploma cost a total of £2,500 — is likely to see it grow in popularity over the next few years. By contrast, the Legal Practice Course (LPC) costs up to £14,000.

Graduates on the CILEx Graduate Fast-track typically begin at smaller law firms as paid paralegals, and while they work complete what is essentially the equivalent of the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and training contract.

At the end of the three years they become chartered legal executives — the same type of lawyer which legal apprentices qualify as. Chartered legal executives have the option of going on to qualify as solicitors, but many don’t bother, buoyed by the recent removal of restrictions barring chartered legal executives from becoming partners and some types of judges.

For more on the future of law, check out the write-up of last week’s ‘If I knew’ at Inner Temple, where Hogan Lovells’ director of legal projects Chris Stoakes predicted a blurring of the boundaries between different types of lawyers in the wake of the Legal Education and Training Review.