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Routes into a legal career

The International Day of Education, designated by the United Nations General Assembly on January 24, celebrates the crucial role of education in promoting peace and development. The eradication of poverty hinges on providing inclusive, equitable, and high-quality education, ensuring lifelong opportunities for everyone.

We are fortunate in this country that access to full-time education and career prospects is available to all and we look at the various pathways leading to a legal career.

The journey into the legal profession can commence directly after GCSEs, A levels, or as a graduate, each demanding dedication but ultimately opening doors to employment across diverse sectors.

Legal Secretary

Integral to the legal profession, legal secretaries offer vital support to lawyers, handling essential administrative tasks. Entry into this role often begins by working as an administrator or secretary within a legal organisation. Many firms are willing to provide on-the-job training, and formal education, such as a Legal Secretaries Diploma course, can lead to a recognised qualification. Through study, it is possible to progress to becoming a paralegal or legal executive. 


Paralegals undertake a broad spectrum of administrative and legal tasks but do not hold the qualification of a lawyer. Typically requiring at least a 2.2 in a qualifying law degree, paralegals can pursue a law conversion course, like the PGDL, if their initial degree is non-legal. Those wishing to go on to become a solicitor and take the SQE (below) do not need to take the conversion course. 


For individuals aged 16 or leaving school with GCSEs, opportunities in legal administration can mark the beginning of a legal career.

Apprenticeships, available for those aged 18 and above, offer a path to qualify as a solicitor, requiring a combination of GCSEs and A levels.

Qualifying as a Chartered Legal Executive

The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) provides a distinct route into the legal profession. Entry depends on existing qualifications, with levels ranging from CILEx Lawyer to CILEx Paralegal. The CILEx Professional Qualification (CPQ) involves a combination of study and work-based learning.


The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) has replaced the traditional Legal Practice Course (LPC) and training contract route for solicitors in England & Wales. Aspiring solicitors must hold a UK degree or equivalent, pass SQE 1&2, and complete two years of full-time qualifying work experience (QWE). The SQE route offers a practical and accessible alternative to the LPC.

The Kidwells Team

Within the practice, we embrace a diverse team comprising qualified solicitors, trainee solicitors, paralegals undergoing further study or about to embark on a training contract, individuals following the SQE route, legal secretaries, and dedicated business support staff.

If you think you have the skills and drive to join the team get in touch for an informal conversation on 01432 278 179 or complete the form below.

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