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You don't need a degree

to become a specialist lawyer

You don't need a degree to become a

specialist lawyer

The CILEX Professional Qualification (CPQ) is the new route to becoming a new kind of lawyer – a specialist lawyer. With practical training and the opportunity to specialise early you’ll be getting ahead of the pack and joining the thousands who are already shaping the future of law.
Over 20,000 members. Over 6000 current students.
Established for over 50 years. Employed at 70% of top 200 law firms.

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I am already a CILEX member

Why train with CILEX?

You don’t have to go to university to qualify as a lawyer with CILEX. In fact, on the CILEX route you’ll be earning as you learn, bypassing the expense of university and applying your growing legal expertise to real-world challenges on the frontline of legal practice.

At CILEX we are shaking up the legal profession, making it more diverse and representative of the society it serves. A key part of this is removing the barriers to entering the legal profession – so you don't need to go to university to study our programmes. By taking the CILEX Professional Qualification (CPQ) route, you could be a practising specialist lawyer in as little as three years. That means in terms of experience and legal qualification, you could be well ahead of anyone who starts university at the same time you start with CILEX. It also means that CPQ is great for career-changers at any stage of life because entry is not dependent on your educational background from years or even decades ago.

CILEX supports legal careers at all levels. By taking the CPQ route you will qualify as a paralegal and an advanced paralegal along the way – two respected professional designations that will give you exposure to increasing responsibility, higher earning potential and greater practical experience.

Quote from Katie Dean, Residential Property Trainee, O'Neill Patient Solicitors LLP.

Your CPQ journey to becoming a specialist lawyer

CPQ Foundation - Approx 12-18 months. Suitable for: School leaver, new-to-law graduate or professional. Components: 5 compulsory modules, Ethics & Professional Responsibility 1, Professional Experience, Assessments. Outcome: CILEX Paralegal.
CPQ Advanced - Approx 12-18 months. Suitable for: Law graduate or CILEX Paralegal. Components: 4 compulsory modules, 1 optional module, Ethics & Professional Responsibility 1 and 2 (if not previously completed), Professional Experience, Assessments. Outcome: CILEX Trainee Lawyer, CILEX Advanced Paralegal.
CPQ Professional - Approx 12 months. Suitable for: CILEX Trainee Lawyer, CILEX Advanced Paralegal, LPC, BPTC or equivalent. Components: 1 optional module, Ethics & Professional Responsibility 1 and 2 (if not previously completed), Professional Experience, Assessments. Outcome: CILEX Lawyer.
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LLB (CILEX)

It is also now possible to complete your CILEX qualification via a specialised degree route: The LLB (CILEX) is a four-year, part-time, online degree, a bespoke programme offered in collaboration with The University of Law.

This will be of particular interest for those looking to qualify as a CILEX Lawyer; it is also suitable if you are looking to pursue a career in the law or wider commercial sector and are looking to study online. Students embarking on this programme must be enrolled as CILEX members. During the course of your LLB, you will also be required to complete the ethics and professional responsibility e-learning modules and the professional experience requirement of CPQ at both Foundation and Advanced stages. By doing this, you will be able to progress through the CILEX membership grades, from Student to CILEX Advanced Paralegal.

The LLB (CILEX), in line with the philosophy of CPQ, has a practical focus, with employability integrated into the course – helping to get you prepared for the professional world. There will be a high level of interaction and you will receive peer and one-to-one professional tutor review.

Graduates from this programme will be able to progress directly to CPQ Professional stage to qualify as CILEX Lawyers.

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Next course start date: September 2022

Quote from Graham King, fee-paid Judge of the Employment Tribunal.

Be part of the CILEX community

Studying with CILEX means joining a large and growing community of legal professionals just like you – dynamic people with big ambitions and a desire to shape the legal sector for the future. You’ll be part of a group of people who are all pursuing the same career-enhancing qualifications. You'll connect, compare notes, and share tips and support as you progress on your CPQ journey.

CPQ uses a blended learning approach so that you can study in the way that suits you. Alongside your e-books, you’ll have access to a wide range of online seminars, tutorials, lectures and hot topic sessions to bring your learning to life. You’ll also be assigned a Learning and Development Adviser who will check in with you regularly, answer your questions and direct you to specific resources to support your learning. CILEX is a highly respected professional body with over 20,000 members and an extensive network of special reference groups and subject matter experts that advise on legal specialisms.

As part of the CILEX family you’ll also have access to commentary and thought leadership at the very cutting edge of evolving legal practice and a wide range of member benefits.


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Flexibility with CILEX

Studying and qualifying with CILEX is designed to be as flexible as possible to fit around your work and life commitments. You can choose where to study from a wide range of leading training providers and take the CPQ stages at a speed that suits you – there’s no pressure to complete within fixed times and you can sit your CPQ assessments when you are ready.

Unlike other legal training routes you don’t need to have a training contract, graduate placement or similar to start on CPQ – you can even start CPQ before you start your job, though you will need to demonstrate law-related work in order to develop your work experience portfolio and progress through the stages. In fact, many leading employers recognise CILEX training programmes as the high-quality, cost-efficient route for developing their legal talent and offer financial and study support for employees taking this route.

Quote from Ian Hunt, Managing Director, East Devon Law LLP.

CILEX training and qualifications are widely respected among leading law firms and employers across a variety of sectors

Admiral Law, DAC Beachcroft, DWF, Fletchers, Government Legal Department, Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, Keoghs, Kennedys, Plexus, Slater and Gordon.
Admiral Law, DAC Beachcroft, DWF, Fletchers, Government Legal Department, Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, Keoghs, Kennedys, Plexus, Slater and Gordon.

The best-value route to launch your legal career

Your CPQ journey will begin at the Foundation stage. This will give you an understanding of the fundamentals of the UK legal system. From here you will begin to specialise in the areas of law that are most relevant to you and your employer. Your journey to becoming a specialist lawyer – studying, working and applying your learning in the workplace – has been designed to be both flexible and challenging. While you can progress through CPQ as fast as you like, we estimate that the typical journey to full qualification will take around three years, though there is no time limit on your progress.

See the table below for indicative costs for each stage of CPQ.

CPQ Prices: CPQ Foundation = £3,700. CPQ Advanced = £5,850. CPQ Professional = £2,950. Total = £12,500. Price for each stage includes CILEX Fee for resources and assessments, and Course Fee based on CILEX Law School. Other training providers are available and may have different pricing. Excludes annual membership which varies according to member level. Prices correct at 1 Jan 2020.
CPQ Prices: CPQ Foundation = £3,700. CPQ Advanced = £5,850. CPQ Professional = £2,950. Total = £12,500. Price for each stage includes CILEX Fee for resources and assessments, and Course Fee based on CILEX Law School. Other training providers are available and may have different pricing. Excludes annual membership which varies according to member level. Prices correct at 1 Jan 2020.

Download the student prospectus for more information on the structure of the CPQ programme and your journey towards becoming a specialist lawyer.

We partner with leading training providers to deliver CPQ so that you can choose where and how to study

  • Anglia Professional Training
  • Bede College
  • Brightlink Learning Limited
  • CILEX Law School
  • Damar Training
  • Law Training Centre
  • Leeds City College
  • Professional Vocational Training Ltd
  • The Law Academy
  • Truro College
  • University of Westminster
Quote from Faisal Ali, Medical Negligence, Irwin Mitchell.

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