Lawyer abandons career at Bar to set up CILEx entity

Joshi: six-year search for pupillage

A barrister who spent six years fruitlessly trying to obtain a pupillage has instead become an immigration practitioner as the head of her own firm – one of the most recent entities to be regulated by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx).

Khyati Joshi, the sole principal of London practice Joshi Advocates, was licensed by CILEx Regulation in February, one of two entities to receive approval so far this year and one of 13 altogether authorised since 2015.

Ms Joshi was called to the Bar in October 2011. She spent six years seeking pupillage, making more than 200 applications. During her search she worked as a paralegal but was determined to practice on her own account.

In a video posted on her firm’s website, she said: “I was feeling trapped, wondering why am I not getting pupillage? …

“That did not stop me and seven years down the line I am now regulated to give immigration law advice and represent my clients in court.

“I am supported by CILEx Regulation through and through, and for the last three years they have assessed me to become a practitioner… I am truly grateful.”

Ms Joshi used the experience of being rejected as a marketing tool, telling potential clients: “Know that I [too] have gone through my share of difficult times, having been rejected continuously…

“But the thought of not being able to apply my own approach to a case that I know is for the best in the client’s interest drove me to achieve what I have today.

“If I can see better days, you can too… Be  persistent, be resilient.”

Speaking to Legal Futures, Ms Joshi said CILEx Regulation was supportive, meaning that she could call up with a regulation-related question at any time.

She gave the example of when the Home Office said it could not respond to the firm because, as far as the department knew, she was not a recognised immigration law practitioner. She raised the matter with CILEx Regulation and “within hours” she had a letter confirming that indeed she was.

The application process was rigorous, she said: “It was a three-application process – fellowship, practitioner, then the entity – so it took a lot of energy out of me.”

A CILEx inspection of the practice in August found “I was compliant in every aspect”.

Whereas the Bar course had given her advocacy skills, the CILEx application “gave me the confidence to run my own practice”, said Ms Joshi.

She said becoming a practising barrister now “would be backtracking on the career ladder”.

She was volunteering for a trial of potential applicants for a role as a judge, so when she became eligible to apply in future, she would know how to do it.

She had no plans to expand her practice beyond immigration: “I always wanted to specialise in a particular area and be a master of it, to the extent that you can be a master of immigration law, which is forever changing.”

    Readers Comments

  • Mariella Chen says:

    I discovered Ms Khyati Joshi through her comprehensive YouTube videos. I was encouraged by her wide variety of topics and, of course, by her approach on those topics of my personal interest in particular.
    I gave her a call which was not answered initially and told myself: ‘yeah, lawyers; never approachable. No surprise. ‘
    But, by the end of the day, I discovered a missed call on my mobile and recognised the number I had called earlier. I called back. She answered my call and I – sort of – treated her like an old acquaintance. Because of her YouTube videos, it felt as if we met before.
    Politely but firmly she invited to introduce myself and thereafter it was a real pleasure to talk.
    I am in no position to hire legal representation first because I cannot afford and then because the nature of my issue cannot be sorted out that way.
    It is rather a matter of reassurance and confirmation of things I know. I am the only person who can represent myself in front of the authorities.
    I wish Ms Joshi all the best in her career and, who knows, after this, I feel encouraged to hire a lawyer if necessary.

  • Darren Bolger says:

    Well done Joshi
    I recall the times when you were studying Law and had joined my Charity, Justice on Appeal which returns, not as a Charity but as an organisation in trust.
    I hope that your experiences with Justice on Appeal have helped forge your determined and delightful nature.
    Best wishes
    Darren Bolger – Justice on Appeal

  • Jim Holloway says:

    Well done to Ms Joshi.

    It is however a matter of concern that vulnerable members of the public seeking immigration advice, who are told that it is their responsibility to know that their advisor is qualified to do so, must now negotiate another piece of alphabet soup CILEx, in addition to OISC and SRA (and of course barristers) to discriminate genuine advisors ftom the small army of crooks out there.

Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


The path to partnership: Bridging the gender gap in law firms

The inaugural LSLA roundtable discussed the significant gender gap at partner level in law firms and what more can be done to increase the rate of progress.

Why private client solicitors should work with financial planners – and tell their clients

Ever since the SRA introduced the transparency rules in 2018, we have encouraged solicitors to not just embrace the regulations and the thinking behind them, but to go far beyond.

A paean to pupils and pupillage

To outsiders, it may seem that it’s our horsehair wigs and Victorian starched collars that are the most unusual thing about the barristers’ profession. I would actually suggest it’s our training.

Loading animation