Former ILSPA Student Kimberley Evans was working as a teacher when she decided to take the plunge and go for a career in law. An encounter with a family law Solicitor prompted Kimberley to study ILSPA’s Legal Secretaries Diploma course. Since she completed the course at the end of 2018, Kimberley’s career has gone from strength to strength. She is using her current role as a Legal Secretary for the Qualifying Work Experience needed to become a Solicitor and hopes to cross-qualify as a Barrister in the future.
We spoke to Kimberley about why ILSPA’s Legal Secretaries Diploma was essential in her gaining her first role, and how she is using her studies and experience to progress in the legal sector.
Please can you tell us about your career before you decided to study with ILSPA?
I am a qualified teacher of English. Before, I was working in a job that brought me into contact with a lot of great people. While there were aspects of teaching that I enjoyed, I didn’t feel that this fitted my skills or interests particularly well. So, after five years, it was time for a change.
What made you interested in becoming a Legal Secretary?
There’s a story there. When I was looking for a new career, I approached a family law Solicitor and asked to shadow her for a few days. The Solicitor told me to go back to her when I could offer some value to her firm. So I started looking for ways to learn practical skills of value to law firms and that’s when I decided to study with ILSPA.
Can you tell us about your career since completing your Diploma with ILSPA?
It has been amazing working for a not-for-profit that puts purpose ahead of profit, making a real difference to the community by providing affordable legal advice and support.
Your previous experience was quite different from a Legal Secretary’s. How did you go about looking for your first Legal Secretary role?
There’s a story there too. Before, I looked for Legal Secretary roles online. When I couldn’t find anything suitable in my local area, I applied to volunteer for a charity offering legal advice and support, mostly to people with disabilities. Because the skills taught on the ILSPA Diploma were so valuable to the company, the interviewer offered to create a paid role for me there and then. So I didn’t so much go looking for my first Legal Secretary-type role. This was created for me, and that was entirely because of the value the employer attached to the skills taught on the ILSPA Diploma course.
Do you feel that you are able to use the skills and knowledge learnt through your Diploma in your current position?
Yes, absolutely. BH Support is a not-for-profit legal advice company serving the Dorset community. Working at BH Support has given me a fantastic opportunity to use the knowledge and skills learnt through my Diploma on a daily basis. I have been promoted three times in the last three months, and this is a testament to the value that my employer places on the skills learnt through the Diploma course. I would probably still be teaching if I hadn’t decided to study with ILSPA.
What are your future career goals?
I am using my current Legal Secretary role as the Qualifying Work Experience needed to become a Solicitor. It is incredible working as part of a team that is supporting me so wholeheartedly to become the best version of myself. The plan is to qualify as a Solicitor under the new system, cross-qualify as a Barrister and stay at BH Support in an in-house counsel role. The skills and knowledge learned through the ILSPA Diploma have literally changed my life and I want to see how far these can take me.
If I had one piece of advice for people considering the Legal Secretaries Diploma, it would be to not wait until the circumstances are ideal. Start where they are.
If you would like to find out more about the career prospects and progression opportunities for Legal Secretaries, please don’t hesitate to contact ILSPA. You can call us on 020 7100 9210 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about our qualifications, including the Legal Secretaries Diploma course, can be found by visiting our course page.