Inspired by Adult Learning Week? Lisa Hickin qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive at 44

I started work as an office junior for a law firm in Leeds aged 17 after leaving school with just O levels and CSEs (showing my age now!). I remained there for many years working through different departments including reception, accounts and secretarial. I then managed to secure a position in Wakefield as a secretary/paralegal, until I left to move to my existing firm where I started as a paralegal fee earner and began my CILEx training at the age of 31.

I completed the academic element of the qualification after ten years, as I had a break in the middle to have my second child. I was also working part-time as an aerobics instructor alongside my full-time legal job and CILEx studies for a number of years. Although it was hard sometimes, I did feel there was plenty of support and the manuals were excellently written. The revision days were brilliant and extremely helpful.

All paralegal staff are actively encouraged to study to become Chartered Legal Executives at my firm and the qualification is very well regarded. Having qualified as a Fellow I now have a highly-recognised legal qualification which I could use to move on to another employer if I wanted to. I would definitely recommend the CILEx route to others, and it has changed my life chances. The fact you can study whilst working is the big bonus and as my work paid for mine – an even bigger bonus.

Lisa Hickin, Chartered Legal Executive, CILEx Law School Alumna