Lawrence Stephens

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What is it Like to be a CILEX Trainee?

November 2021

Many people may not be aware that you don’t have to do the Legal Practice Course (LPC) to forge a successful career as a lawyer. We spoke to our very own Bethany Jacobs and Laila-Jade Mankoo to find out more about their experience of training with CILEX and how it has enabled them to develop their legal careers.

Tell us about you and your role at Lawrence Stephens.

Bethany: I work in the Dispute Resolution team as a Paralegal at Lawrence Stephens. Our workload varies from day to day and we deal with a variety of commercial and property litigation matters within our team. I am particularly interested in property litigation and I advise clients in relation to both residential property and mortgage possession claims.

Laila-Jade: I am a Trainee Legal Executive at Lawrence Stephens and I specialise in real estate finance. My role typically consists of liaising with lenders, borrowers and dealing with all types of transactions from development loans to standard refinances.

What made you opt for the CILEX Professional Qualification (CPQ), as opposed to the more traditional Legal Practice Course (LPC) route?

Bethany: I undertook my studies with CILEX at the University of Westminster without obtaining a law degree in the first instance. The entry requirement was to have GCSEs or the equivalent. I studied both the Level 3 and Level 6 Professional Higher Diploma in Law and Practice and I would attend university classes two evenings per week. I was most keen to follow the CILEX route as I wanted to continue working at the same time as completing my studies. As I had not gone to university to study law, I did not think it was possible to become a lawyer, until I discovered the CILEX route.

Laila-Jade: I was inspired to go down the CILEX route by my first boss, who also qualified as a lawyer through CILEX. She was incredibly knowledgeable, and this was a massive inspiration for me at such a young age. The CILEX course involved only distant learning for me, as I already hold a law degree, and it really helped to strengthen my research and interpretation skills. With CILEX, you have to work for a certain period of time after passing your exams in a law firm before qualifying, which helps you to gain important practical experience.

What have you learned from your CILEX training so far? How has it helped you professionally?

Bethany: As I did not have a prior law degree, I have learnt most of what I know from my CILEX studies and also from my on-the-job training. Studying with CILEX has opened me up to a career that I wasn’t sure was possible without having obtained a law degree.

Laila-Jade: I studied conveyancing during my CILEX training, which was hugely beneficial when it came to dealing with various transactions in practice. My CILEX training has enabled me to accomplish the vital skills of interpreting, researching and memorising certain areas of legislation and case law – this was a massive boost to my confidence when I was able to apply my knowledge of the law to certain transactions I was dealing with at work.

In your opinion, what are the key benefits of training with CILEX? Is it helpful to have on-the-job training?

Bethany: It’s very helpful to have on-the-job training at the same time as studying. I found this to be very helpful particularly as I am someone who prefers to learn practically which CILEX enables you to do.

Laila-Jade: The key benefits of training with CILEX is developing your knowledge of legislation and case law, refining your research skills and helping you to interpret legislation and apply it to everyday transactions. Having on-the-job training really helped me to apply my knowledge from studying to everyday transactions. The course material is extremely detailed and thorough, which helps when it comes to submitting your weekly coursework.

Would you recommend the CILEX course to others? If so, why?

Bethany: Yes, I would recommend the CILEX route to others.  I think the aspect of learning on-the-job while studying at the same time is invaluable and has certainly helped me in my own career.

Laila-Jade: I would recommend the CILEX course to others, purely for the flexibility it offers you. Being able to continue working in a full-time legal role and fitting your study around it allows you to enhance your practical skills while equipping yourself with the necessary academic knowledge at the same time.

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