What is a Legal Executive?

A Legal Executive is a kind of lawyer who has officially earned the title of Chartered Legal Executive. In England and Wales, Solicitors, Barristers, and Legal Executives are recognised as three major branches of the legal world. The job responsibilities of a Legal Executive are quite similar to that of a Solicitor. But, the path to becoming a Legal Executive differs significantly from the path to becoming a Solicitor.

How’s the Daily Work-Life of Legal Executives?

The training and practice of a Legal Executive are more advanced than those of a Solicitor, usually focused on a specific area of law. Legal Executives spend most of their time working alongside Solicitors, and their weekly working hours are relatively similar.

The daily tasks of a Legal Executive may include:

  • Providing legal advice
  • Researching cases and regulation
  • Drafting legal documents
  • Representing clients in court temporarily
  • Engaging with clients and legal professionals, like barristers.

How are Legal Executives Different from Solicitors?

Since the adoption of the Legal Services Act in 2007, there have only been three significant differences between Legal Executives and Solicitors:

  • The path to qualifying as a Legal Executive is far less competitive and expensive.
  • A Legal Executive’s ability to execute ‘Reserved Legal Activities’ (explained below) is limited.
  • The salaries of Legal Executives are mostly lower than those of Solicitors.

 What are Reserved Legal Activities?

“Reserved legal activities” are tasks Legal Executives are not allowed to engage in unless they are hired by a Solicitor’s firm and work under a licenced Solicitor. The activities that fall under this category are:

  • Litigation
  • Conveyancing
  • Notarial activities
  • Most probate duties
  • Utilisation of one’s right of audience

However, there are some specific circumstances under which Legal Executives may get special authorisation to execute one of these reserved legal activities.

What are Permitted Activities?

Permitted activities are tasks that fall under the 2007’s Legal Services Act and other legislation that Legal Executives can carry out. They can:

  • Be one of the partners of a law firm and share earnings with Solicitors
  • Become a Magistrate
  • Take on the role of Commissioners for oaths
  • Work as a solitary/sole practitioner
  • Work as a Solicitor (only after completing specific prerequisites)

Where do Legal Executives Work?

Legal Executives, like Solicitors, may work in private law firms, government, or as in-house Attorneys for a corporation whose primary line of business is not related to obligations of legal services.

 

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