The number of chartered legal executives and paralegals is predicted to increase by 17% over the next decade, a rate three times faster than employment as a whole, a think tank has claimed.
The overall number of vocational jobs will increase by 3.6m by 2022, according to a report from the Institute of Public Policy Research.
The report includes legal associate professionals in the overall category of ‘business and public service associate professionals’ – which is set to increase by 17% by 2022.
Peter Glover, from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, said the number of legal associates is likely to increase at the same rate. He said: ‘This is three times the average rate of growth expected for employment as a whole, making it the second-fastest growing middle-skilled category.’
There are currently 76,000 legal associates, according to latest Labour Force Survey from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
President of CILEx, Stephen Gowland said the growth in vocational routes into the profession reflects the need for a ‘more flexible and skilled legal workforce’. He said: ‘When independent practice rights for CILEx lawyers are granted by parliament this year, qualifying as a chartered legal executive will become increasingly attractive.’
Vicky Clark at BCL Legal thinks that 17% is very conservative. “There are a vast number of legal businesses out there which rely on teams of junior legal staff being supervised by solicitors. The majority of residential conveyancing organisations, ABSs as well as personal injury and insurance departments can only function like this otherwise the margins are too tight” she claims. “At BCL Legal 32% of the candidates we place in jobs are not qualified solicitors”.