Penny Stevenson applauds the flexibility of the CILEx route to becoming a lawyer

Working as a secretary at Croftons Solicitors was my first job when I left university. I had completed a degree in French and a postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance. I really enjoyed the work and heard about the CILEx route to qualification as a lawyer through one of my work colleagues who was half way through her studies. There were also other colleagues who had completed the route and gone on to become well established within the firm.

I was 25 when I started studying for my CILEx exams and during my period of study, as well as working full-time I have had additional pressures at home in the form of my partner setting up his own business and my father being very ill. However, I have found studying with CILEx law school very flexible, as it enables me to complete the units at my own pace and take into consideration any personal circumstances. My employer has contributed towards the cost of my courses which has been very helpful.

As a result of my studies and my exam success my employers have recognised my determination and seen that I am capable of working on files, attending conferences with barristers and attending Court. I am able to do many more tasks that I was unsure of doing before and other colleagues recognise the skills I have picked up and like me to share my experiences and legal research knowledge. I am now in a paralegal//assistant to one of the partners at the firm, working with noise-induced hearing loss cases and other personal injury cases including CICA.

I would definitely recommend the CILEx route to others, I have already advised people that this is the route to take if they do not have the ability to go and study full time. As well as not having to have the burden of debt, I feel that it is enabling me to get to my career goals and to progress in the world of work.