Sills & Betteridge LLP awarded Festival of Learning Certificate of Achievement by CILEx Law School

Jenny Pelling, Director of Business and Apprenticeships, awarded a Festival of Learning Certificate of Achievement to Sills & Betteridge LLP at its offices in Lincoln on Thursday 5 January 2017.

CILEx Law School has been delivering legal training by distance learning to employees at the Lincolnshire-based law firm Sills & Betteridge LLP for many years. Twelve students are currently enrolled on courses for qualifications set by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx).

Sills & Betteridge LLP has used CILEx training delivered by distance learning to develop and retain excellent members of staff, overcoming some of the recruitment and retention problems that arise from its location in Lincolnshire. The firm recruits at non-graduate level for new staff to follow the CILEx qualifications, and also sponsors law graduates through the CILEx Graduate Fast-track Diploma.

By careful selection from the wide range of CILEx units offered by CILEx Law School, qualifications are tailored to the job roles. This means that students are getting hands-on practical experience within the department and this is underpinned by the theory which they are learning from their studies.

Responsibility increases during the period of study (typically 5-6 years) until the learner achieved full Chartered Legal Executive status. These employees are supported not only financially but also a supportive study environment is created so that employees achieve success in these tough exams.

Daisy Savage, a current student, said: “I achieved three As at A level but did not really want to go to University. I joined the firm as an office assistant and I was quickly promoted to being a legal secretary. I have now achieved the CILEx Level 3 Certificate in Law and Practice (Family Practice), and am working towards the CILEx Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice. I have achieved four distinctions and a merit in my exams so far. Since passing my Certificate I have been promoted again and am now a junior paralegal in the Emergency Care Team, where I can attend Child Protection conferences with clients and assist the senior paralegals and solicitors with Legal Aid applications, preparing bundles and speaking to clients.

Sills are really supportive of CILEx students – they pay for our exam fees, course fees and transport costs, as well as allowing us study leave for each exam that we take. They also took a selection of us to London in November 2015 where we visited the Houses of Parliament and also 7 Bedford Row barristers’ chambers. We really enjoyed this visit, and learnt a lot about the foundations of law. The firm organised the trip with Karl McCartney, our local MP, because they recognised that sometimes CILEx students do not have the same experiences as traditional law students.”

Former student Ellie Jones achieved her full CILEx qualification including the ten-unit Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice and the six-unit Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law and Practice within three and a half years.

On handing over the certificate, Jenny Pelling said: “At CILEx Law School we have been struck by the pace at which some of the students from Sills & Betteridge LLP are working through their courses. This is evidence of the environment created by the firm to support their employees in their studies. The learning is integrated into the role, and progression within the organisation follows achievement of the qualifications.

Sills & Betteridge LLP stands out as an excellent employer who really understands the benefits that structured learning and development programmes can bring to the organisation, and we are delighted to have been able to present the firm with the Festival of Learning Certificate of Achievement.”

Photo left to right:
Chloe Baudains, CILEx Level 6 student, Jenny Pelling, Director of Business and Apprenticeships at CILEx Law School, Kelly Credland, HR Manager at Sills & Betteridge LLP, Annie Walker, CILEx Level 3 student.