I started off by working as a receptionist at a law firm while studying for a NVQ in Business Administration. I had no idea that I could ever hold a position as a lawyer myself. However, I met and was inspired by a legal secretary at the firm, who was studying to become a lawyer by the CILEx route, and could see that her starting qualifications weren’t dissimilar to mine. I moved into legal secretarial work and started studying for my CILEx exams. During my period of study I became a caseworker in the Immigration Department, building up the firm’s immigration caseload up while also becoming Head of Department.
Studying by distance learning meant that I could gain valuable work experience alongside my academic work, and I was also able to put what I was learning into practice immediately, particularly when I was studying the Level 6 Immigration Law course.
I am now a qualified Chartered Legal Executive and have recently moved to another firm, again heading up the Immigration Department, where I have been offered the chance of becoming a partner. To think that I am on the brink of partnership in a law firm given my starting point as a receptionist is almost unbelievable.
One thing that is particularly pleasing is that I currently have two people studying CILEx courses in my team, one of whom started off with an NVQ like me, and who was inspired by me to embark on the training route.
Saria Bashir, Chartered Legal Executive, CILEx Law School Alumna