I am proud to be a Legal Executive

I knew that university was not the right choice for me when I was working out what I wanted for my future. I knew I wanted to practice law so had to find a way to achieve my dreams that was not conventional and different from the norm. Looking back this seems to sum up my career quite nicely!


In 1995 I started a job as a legal secretary and discovered a new way to qualify as a lawyer. I could become a Legal Executive which meant qualifying whilst I worked. This was perfect. I started my studies in 1999 and qualified as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Executives in 2005. Not bad for someone who didn't attend grammar school, whose mum picked fruit in the school holidays and dad was a builder!


Following qualification I have run a trust department and an elderly and vulnerable department in large regional practices, was made an associate in a law firm and became the first partner in that firm who started life as a secretary. I have also obtained my law degree to prove to myself I could. In 2014 I started my own legal practice, and was one of the first three Legal Executives in the UK to obtain my Probate Practicing Rights enabling me to establish my own practice, free from supervision of a solicitor (which I might add I had not had for many years and did not need!)


During my career I have seen the glass ceilings crumble for female lawyers, lawyers who did not come from the right background or attend grammar school or university. All of them were fantastic at their jobs. Our careers have not been without struggles however. For some reason, even though our training is longer and more in-depth than solicitors upon qualification, we have practical experience to add to our theoretical qualifications and have a huge amount of empathy and warmth, Legal Executives are still viewed as an inferior lawyer within the legal profession.


The Legal Services Act 2007 paved the way for Legal Executives to be viewed as equals to solicitors and barristers allowing us to achieve partner status, own a share in a legal firm or even own our own firm. In practice this has not happened and is reflected in the recent Chartered Institute of Legal Executives journal which reported it's findings from a recent survey of the membership. It saddens me that a large number of Legal Executives "feel good about their position" but "think that the wider legal profession looks down on them". We should not be feeling that we are "lesser lawyers". We are revolutionaries and part of the changing face of the legal profession. The report goes on to say "that barriers that all CILEX members face are compounded further if you are female, ethnic minority or went to a non-selective state school". I ticked two of those boxes.


It is such a shame that along with problems of race, gender and disability those of us who wish to make a difference to the world, in a different way, also have to deal with incorrect perceptions of the value of Legal Executives. Most of us are proud to be Legal Executives and have the drive and ambition to go further in our careers.


This is why Argo is different! Argo is regulated by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. As company director I am a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives. I have 22 years of experience in my job. Argo only employs lawyers who are qualified Legal Executives or individuals who want to train to become Legal Executives. We take on young adults who do not want to go to university but want to be lawyers and train them as they progress. It does not matter where you begin but where you end up and what happens along the way. Argo is proud to be a firm staffed by Legal Executives and reg

ulated by Legal Executives. We are proud of the experience and knowledge we hold and the benefit we bring to you as a client.


If you know anyone who may be interested in a career in law but does not feel that university is the right way forward, or perhaps wants a change of career, please contact us on 01622 843729 or email us at info@argolifeandlegacy.co.uk.


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