Working in employment law for an in-house legal department – Catherine Miles

I first properly got into law as a legal secretary in 2005 at Thomas Eggar LLP. The first manager I worked for was a trainee Chartered Legal Executive and there was also a Senior Chartered Legal Executive in our team. Talking to them and observing their work gave me an insight into the work that Chartered Legal Executives do and made me realise that it is not just a choice between being either a solicitor or support staff if you want to work in law.

I moved from Thomas Eggar to an in-house role with legal team for The Body Shop International plc. My main areas are employment law dealing with contentious and non-contentious employment matters. I attend Employment Tribunals and deal with our ET claims as well as advising the business on HR matters under the supervision of my manager. I am Company Secretary for six of our subsidiaries and I do a lot of company work – board resolutions, minutes, director changes etc. I also manage our public and employers liability claims and I look after our UK and global insurance policies. It is an incredibly varied role and we work at a local and international level.

I am very lucky that my current employer has paid for all of my course fees including membership, exam fees, books and travel etc. I do all the study in my own time. I find the CILEx Law School course units to be very well set out and the resources are really helpful ie the revision resources, updates, past papers, there’s nothing I thought I have needed and not had.

For those who are committed the CILEx route provides a way to get on in law and without it I would not have been able to progress in a career in law. It has definitely changed my life chances for the better, it opens doors and gives you options. The flexibility of the course is really helpful when you are working and having the choice whether to take exams in June or January is good. I would recommend it to others, you need perseverance but the reward it worth it.