Using CILEx to develop a career in your 30s and 40s – Lisa Wright

I left school at 16 and started working as a sewing machinist in a factory. After 13 years of working in a factory environment, it was time for a change. I saw an opportunity of working for a Claims Management Company as a receptionist and from there progressed to taking customer enquiries from people who had suffered from industrial disease. After 3 years I re-located to my home town in Durham, by this time, I was in my early thirties. I secured a job in a local solicitors’ office, BHP, as a secretary in the Personal Injury team.

After about 2 years, my employers noticed that I showed an interest in the law and that I was interested in not only carrying out secretarial duties but also fee earning duties as well. In fact my interest in law had been initiated some years before, when my sister died due to medical negligence when I was in my early twenties, but I never had the wherewithal or opportunity of getting involved in studying or working in the law at that time.

I had only studied to the equivalent of GCSE-Level at school, and although I did have some secretarial qualifications, I started my studies with a City & Guilds Paralegal course before enrolling on courses for the CILEx Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice, which I began at the age of 41.

I am now a Trainee Legal Executive and my employers have invested in my tuition and are paying for all of my course fees. They are very supportive and understanding and I am a valued member of the PI team and also the firm.

I have really enjoyed the studying so far, the course manuals are well written and easy to understand. I use the forum regularly to check on other students posts and tutors comments and have used the information as part of my study. In my opinion, completing the study exercises are crucial to understanding the law and the tutors feedback is most helpful, it allows you to reflect where you need to improve or what you need to improve on. I also attended the revision sessions recently and felt that this was a great help with my revision studies and preparation for the exams.

I hope to complete Level 3 in June this year and start Level 6 next year. I think the CILEx route to becoming a lawyer is a great way for people with busy lives to enable them to work as well as study, because frankly I would not have been able to afford to pay for the course fees myself and I would not have been able to give up work to go to College/University full or even part time.

What is particularly rewarding is that I am now assisting my supervising Partner with cases for victims of medical negligence in the same firm that handled my late sister’s claim, and I feel that I am making a difference to their lives through the financial settlements that we achieve for them.