Choosing CILEx instead of a law degree – Sammy Halil

My first experience of the law was a week’s work experience at a city law firm, Davies Arnold Cooper. I left the office at the end of the week knowing that I would definitely be returning, and that I wished to pursue a career in law.

After completing my A Levels (A in Sociology, B in History and B in English Literature) I joined Davies Arnold Cooper in April 2006 as a paralegal to work specifically on a large civil litigation action (The Buncefield Incident).

I heard about the CILEx route through a partner at the firm I later joined. She told me about one of her assistants who had gone through the route. It was explained to me at the time that the CILEx route meant I could work full time and study part time. I found this approach particularly attractive and it was part of the reason I joined my firm in the first place.

I was 19 years old when I started studying for CILEx exams. I have always worked full time in a city law firm, whilst undertaking part-time study. I had become accustomed to earning and found the concept of going back to full time study difficult and so decided to study the CILEx route and always undertake part-time study.

I have completed my Level 3 qualification and I have progressed in my role and now run and manage a number of smaller claims. I work in a full time fee earner capacity. My qualifications are being recognised by my now employer, DAC Beachcroft LLP, who are sponsoring my Level 6 qualifications.

I initially started studying for my CILEx qualifications at a university in London. I soon realised the difficulty in doing this and considered changing to distance learning. Following the success of my application for sponsorship by my firm for my Level 6 qualification, I enrolled with CILEx Law School. My experience of CILEx Law School has been fantastic and I highly recommend this route (distance learning with the Law school)! The Law School are incredibly helpful and supportive, and are much more in tune with the expectations and specifications of the CILEx qualifications than other course providers in my experience.

Experience of the law coupled with knowledge of the same, and some commercial awareness mean that the CILEx route can be a fantastic entrance into a career in law. If you are a person with some get up and go, and you are determined, as well as a bit organised, than the CILEx route is a fantastic choice and one I would widely recommend to anyone wishing to enter the law profession in a slightly different fashion.

Personally, the CILEx route has changed my life and helped me stay on track after completing my A-Levels and deciding not to study law at university. I knew I wanted to go into law, I just wasn’t filled with confidence about the ‘how’ part. The route has allowed me to see the light first and then work my way back through the tunnel. It can be tough, but it is also a fantastic challenge and very rewarding when you pass an exam and/or add initials at the end of your name. I don’t regret my decision to study and qualify via CILEx at all, and I think that is a testament in itself about both the route and the course of study.