Using the Graduate Fast-track Diploma as a cost-effective way towards qualifying as a lawyer

Nicola Wall has become a Graduate Member of CILEx (GCILEx) after completing her Graduate Fast-track Diploma (GFTD) with CILEx Law School. She now intends to complete her period of qualifying employment to become a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer. 

In what role are you currently working? 

I work as a Paralegal in the Cycling Team, which is part of my firm’s Personal Injury department. I thoroughly enjoy my work, working to assist vulnerable road users. I have self-funded my studies, but my employers have been supportive, for example, giving me time off for exams.  

How did you get started in the legal profession? 

Although I studied Sociology and English based courses at A-level, with some guidance from college tutors, I decided to pursue a law degree. I gained a 2:1 degree and started work with a firm of solicitors within a matter of weeks of graduation. I stayed there for ten months before moving to my current firm where I have now been for more than four years. 

Why did you decide to study with CILEx Law School and how have you found the experience? 

I found the traditional route to qualification as a Solicitor, and the LPC in particular, financially inaccessible. I researched alternative options and found nothing but positive reviews of CILEx Law School and the Graduate Fast-track route to qualification as a Chartered Legal Executive. The cost of the course was much more reasonable and allowed me to pay for the course as I continued to work full time.  

The hours I work and my home life commitments meant that distance learning was ideal for me and gave me the flexibility to work as and when I am able. The fact that I didn’t have to aim for a specific exam session was helpful when I first started as I underestimated the work involved so was able to make the decision to put off my first exam until the next session, to be sure of success.  

I have found it a very positive experience and I am thrilled with my results.  

What was your most positive experience about studying with CILEx Law School and which resources have you found most useful? 

The revision days were particularly helpful as it was a chance to meet face-to-face with fellow students and tutors. It gave the opportunity to discuss issues surrounding pre-release material in the upcoming examination and brainstorm ideas we all had.  

I did not know anyone else studying with CILEx Law School whereas a few other people had come from the same firm. As someone without anyone to discuss the course with on a day-by-day basis, it was invaluable to get the chance to do so.  

I also found the forum on the Student Area very useful as more often than not, another student had already raised the question I had, so it was helpful to see the answers and that others were raising similar questions to me.  

Why would you recommend distance-learning/studying with CLS to others? 

The flexibility of distance learning would be suited to anyone’s circumstances, but it is a great option when you want to continue to work whilst studying to further your career.  

CILEx Law School provides resources online and as hard copy text books and there are tutors who are available to discuss any queries on the phone or by email. This means that help is always available when you need it and you don’t have any fear of just being left to your own devices. 

What are your career intentions?  

I intend to complete my period of qualifying employment and qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive next year. I hope that my status as a qualified lawyer will then enable me to continue my career progression within my firm.