Dana Ewans, CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma Student, talks about the benefit of distance learning

When I finished my a-levels and decided not to go straight to university I got a job as an office junior in a local law firm. While working there I learnt to touch type and was promoted to a secretarial role.

I decided that I had a real interest in law and so enrolled on a distance learning law degree, while continuing to work. When I graduated I picked up the subjects towards the CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma so that I could qualify as a lawyer.

I have worked full time throughout my studies and I also have a competition horse that needs to be schooled and exercised regularly. I was determined that I would not have to give up the things I loved in order to gain my qualifications, which meant often studying on the way to competitions or riding very late on an evening after I had put the necessary hours in to my revision.

My previous role also involved a great deal of court work which took me across the country and I had to be very disciplined in taking my manuals with me to read on the train as I knew that I would be far too tired to pick them up when I got home.

I now hold a Trainee Legal Executive role with Jordans Corporate Law doing Corporate and Commercial work and am being supported through my remaining Level 6 courses by my employer.

I would definitely recommend the CILEx route to others. I have watched friends give up luxuries such as cars (and horses) to go to university full time, they have come out with debt and often no jobs as the competition is so fierce for graduate positions. By working up and gaining qualifications along the way I have been able to maintain a good lifestyle which I’ve paid for myself, I’ve learnt about and been exposed to lots of difference parts of the legal world that I would otherwise never have seen. The CILEX route means that you have a more in-depth understanding of the subjects you study, and eventually choose to specialise in, as you have been on the ground doing the job and seeing how the law and practice is applied in real life.