Each week we are bringing you a story from Brightlink law students past, present and future, giving you an insight into their route to a career in law.
This week it’s Emma Hatswell. Emma has been a key part of our focus group to research, design and test the new service we are offering to support anyone making an application to CILEx Regulation for practice rights or qualifying employment. Here’s Emma’s story so far in her own words.
“I’m currently working as a Private Client Paralegal and Will writer residing in North London, working in Hertfordshire. I work in a medium size law practice that deals with Private client, family, residential and commercial conveyancing.
I started my career as an outdoor clerk for a Criminal law firm in 2002. I then moved to work on reception for the same firm, and eventually was asked to become a fee earner working under the solicitors who dealt with Crown Court matters. I ended my time in Criminal law as a criminal paralegal heading the Crown Court fee earners in 2014. I then started as a paralegal in a private client department in late 2014 and eventually qualified to write wills in 2016.
I was lucky enough to be asked to carry out outdoor clerking when I was still studying, and my time working in law has evolved since then over the last 18 years. I never wanted to be a lawyer, but a teacher. However, after 2 or 3 years I realised that I had a passion for helping people navigate very tough times in their lives and helping them understand often very confusing and very difficult legal situations.
I was interested in looking to complete the STEP Diploma, but a very difficult exam situation left me feeling very concerned that I was not cut out for examination processes at my age. I then found CILEx and Brightlink, who have been fantastically supportive and have decide to follow the path to qualify as a CILEx probate practitioner when life becomes a little more settled again.
Belief in myself and my ability has been a challenge for me. After so many years of working in a job, and not gaining any qualifications in law, only to write wills. I find that I question whether I am as good at my job as others. My ability to tackle studying whilst holding down a full-time busy job was very challenging too, and often left me feeling defeated. The idea of being able to use my day to day work and my knowledge channelled into portfolios to demonstrate my ability gave me a belief that I could finally achieve a qualification to show for all my years of hard work.
I faced these challenges and was helped by talking to people that I work with and listening to their advice and belief in me. I also found Brightlink who offered support and assistance, even when they were not yet actually at that point able to offer the service for the help that I was so desperate to find.
The gratitude of those that you help, even when the help you have offered has been minimal, is one of the best parts of this career. Knowing that you have helped others achieve something is incredibly rewarding. In study, my greatest achievement was to qualify in will writing after just 12 months working in that area of law.
Some good advice I received about work and study was to take frequent breaks to avoid becoming overwhelmed. We are our own greatest critics and sometimes walking away in the face of difficult times to take a breather is the best thing you can do. To believe in yourself even when it feels like you will never achieve anything. We are stronger and more capable than we know.
I would advise anyone else wanting a career in law to be confident and comfortable in yourself. Clients rely on us to guide, advise and assist. If we do not believe in ourselves and our ability, a client will feel the same. It can be a very demanding and difficult career, but the assistance we can give our clients can be very rewarding.
My next steps will be to look at finalising my knowledge and experience portfolios for the CILEx probate practitioner application and apply before the end of 2021.
I’m looking forward to achieving a status that will be recognised in the legal profession to enable me to continue to do my job and provide the best service for my clients.”
If you would like to apply for your CILEx practice rights or to get some support with your qualifying employment application, you can contact us to find out more about how Brightlink can help on firstname.lastname@example.org or 02921 888386 or you can join our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/BrightlinkCILExSupport