That’s what respondents have told us in our recent survey of all Level 6 students currently studying with CLS.
In total, 236 people responded to the survey sent out last month (March) – of whom around a third (72) told us that they are working towards the CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma (GFTD).
The GFTD was established to allow law graduates and those with a graduate diploma in law to satisfy the academic element of the Chartered Legal Executive lawyer training route.
Coupled with fulfilling CILEx’s qualifying employment requirements, the GFTD offers an alternative way forward to becoming a qualified lawyer compared with the more expensive Legal Practice Course (LPC) and solicitor training contract route.
The Chartered Legal Executive option means that law graduates who manage to land a paralegal role can earn and learn at the same time – and at their own pace – to fulfil the practical side of their legal qualification, rather than more restricted solicitor route which can only be achieved in the context of a specific type of employment contract.
Two-thirds of the GFTD students responding to the survey said that they are currently working as paralegals. Cost was cited as the main reason for choosing to study with CLS, with more than half of all GFTD respondents saying they couldn’t afford the LPC.
And the same percentage (51 per cent) said that because they are currently working as a paralegal then studying with CLS made sense to them.
The flexibility of studying with CLS was also a key consideration, with 57 per cent of GFTD students saying that they are able to fit their studies around their work and family commitments, while 45 per cent want to study at their own pace rather than adhering to the traditional academic year.
The trends match the results from the 2017 Level 6 survey where cost and flexibility were again the key considerations for GFTD students.
Paralegal roles in company/commerical law, followed by property and conveyancing and personal injury are the most popular fields for this year’s GFTD cohort.
Noel Inge, Managing Director at CLS, said: “Studying a Graduate Fast-track Diploma is a sensible option for many law graduates as it is the most accessible route to a career as a qualified lawyer.
“The GFTD is generally around a third of the cost of the Legal Practice Course to qualify as a solicitor, you don’t have to secure a training contract first, and you can study at your own pace to become a Chartered Legal Executive.
“Chartered Legal Executive lawyers have many of the same opportunities as solicitors too as they can become partners in a firm, start their own practice and even qualify as a judge.”
The current total for a CILEx GFTD – including course and assessment fees and other associated costs – works out at just over £3,250.