Job roles in other organisations – working for your local council in its legal department

This article is part of our Job roles in law series which explores some of the legal sector’s practice areas and the associated job roles which may offer a starting point for someone looking to start a career in law.


Local Councils need lawyers to advise staff across many departments including housing, child protection, property and human resources.

What’s involved?

Legal support staff will usually be assigned to a lawyer who works closely with a particular department and so, although the work of a council’s in-house team is varied, an individual’s role could relate purely to child protection, property, debt collection, housing or employment matters. Please refer to the sections on the area that interests you most.

What jobs are there for non-qualified staff?

There are paralegal roles in all the main areas of legal practice, as indicated in the relevant sections on this page. CILEx Law School works with more than 40 local councils to offer legal apprenticeships so please also refer to our apprenticeship vacancies page to look out for opportunities in your area.

What job titles will be advertised by recruitment agencies?

Legal assistant, legal services officer, legal officer, paralegal, law clerk, employment paralegal, contracts paralegal, housing paralegal, property paralegal, conveyancing paralegal, conveyancing executive. You could also apply for legal secretarial jobs in this area.

What CILEx units will support my application for these job roles?

Anyone new to legal studies is advised to start with the CILEx Level 3 Certificate in Law and Practice. We recommend that you select either Civil Litigation (with Contract as the law unit), Conveyancing, the Practice of Child Care Law or Employment Practice. Each Certificate includes an  introductory unit, a law unit and its related practice unit (eg Contract and Civil Litigation, Employment Law and the Practice of Employment Law) and two professional skills units.

If you already have a law degree, you can achieve your CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma by studying two Level 6 practice units of your choice as well as Level 6 Client Care Skills. Under CILEx rules, at least one unit must relate to a law unit studied as part of your degree, but we recommend that both do, or that you also study the related law unit.

What have other students achieved?

Have a look at the case studies of our current and former students:

Claire Hughes left school at 16 and is now a legal team leader at Forest of Dean District Council.

Paula Dalton is a Property and Development Team Leader at Staffordshire County Council having started her working life as a law clerk.

Mair Young also works in the legal department at Staffordshire County Council, having studied the CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma after a law degree.

Adrian Schwab works for Buckinghamshire County Council, having qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive after a career change.

Danielle Harris and Laura Croft are apprentices with Isle of Wight Council. Danielle works in civil litigation and Laura in property and planning.

Working for the legal department of a local authority – Claire Hughes

I left school at 16 and am now a qualified solicitor and legal team leader. When I left school at 16 I didn't know what I wanted to do, so I got a place on the Gloucestershire County Council apprenticeship scheme doing an NVQ in business administration. When I received my work placement I discovered that I was going to be working in the legal department. After about a year I had completed my NVQ and found myself becoming interested in the law.

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Working for the legal department of a local authority – Paula Dalton

“I knew about the CILEx route because my uncle was a Chartered Legal Executive, and it seemed like a good career choice. I got a job at Hand Morgan & Owen, Solicitors straight from school after completing my A Levels, and enrolled on my first CILEx courses at the same time.

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Working for the legal department of a local authority – Mair Young

“Before I completed my law degree at university, I knew I did not want to undertake the LPC course. I wanted to first obtain experience in the work place to be sure that I wanted to progress with a legal career. I met colleagues during my first role who were training to become Chartered Legal Executives and this inspired to do the same.

Comments Off on Working for the legal department of a local authority – Mair Young

Using CILEx for a career change – Adrian Schwab

I spent 18 years in the travel industry, starting with a local travel agent and finishing up as the UK Client Care Manager. My interest in law started when I was working in the customer services department of part of the British Airways Group, looking into cases where the customer threatened to take legal action. This meant I liaised a lot with our in-house Legal Department, which I really enjoyed.

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March 11th, 2019|
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