|Originally from a well-paid health and safety profession, Rebecca made the decision to venture into a legal career after going through some difficult personal circumstances. She is now studying the SQE with Law Training Centre whilst raising her children.
I started out in a health and safety background, but when I found myself as a single parent I looked to retrain, trying to find the best scenario for me whilst raising my children. I ended up as a volunteer for Citizens Advice Telford & the Wrekin (CA), which eventually turned into a paid position. Soon, I found myself becoming more and more interested in the legal side of things and did my Master of Laws (LLM) during Covid.
Confronted with the Legal System
My motivation to become a solicitor began when I went through a difficult divorce. My children were dragged through the family courts and I was homeless. I had one solicitor advise me throughout my custody case – he wasn’t very helpful – but when I changed to a second solicitor my case completely turned around. I thought to myself – that’s the difference. Someone who cares about my case and wants to get amazing results for their clients is a much better solicitor than someone who is just going through the motions.
My second solicitor went over and above. I could tell she really cared about my case. She worked so much and was so dedicated to her job, which made such a huge difference to mine and my kids’ lives. She had her own kids and her own family, and her passion inspired me to do the same for other people.
I know that my clients will experience similar obstacles as I did. That’s my motivation – getting amazing results for my clients and not only bringing the legal side of things, but also all the practical aspects and knowledge I’ve gained through my experiences. I want to help them, so they don’t have to struggle the way that I struggled.
Why the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)?
When it came to deciding on the right course for me, I knew I wanted to do more for my clients and I realised that I could do more if I was a solicitor.
I wasn’t sure about the Legal Practice Course (LPC). I wanted to use my experience with CA, but the LPC didn’t allow me to use retrospective experience, so the SQE seemed the logical route to go down.
When I saw the Access to Law Scholarship at Law Training Centre, I realised it was directed at the work I do. There is a shortage of welfare solicitors, and not many people want to be legal aid solicitors anymore, so the scholarship is a good idea for getting more people into the sector. These are big factors as to why I decided to study the SQE at Law Training Centre.
Access to Law via Law Training Centre’s Scholarship Scheme
When I studied the LLM and Covid hit, I realised that online lectures and blended learning worked well with my work-life balance. Why would I want to change it and go back to a classroom? So, when I saw Law Training Centre’s scholarship was for an online course, I thought it was perfect. With the online course I was able to prioritise my workload and study during the time I had available alongside work and the school runs.
The tutors at Law Training Centre have been lovely. They have so much knowledge – I don’t know how they answer questions on the spot!
I think what has been most useful so far is the dispute resolution content – trying to find remedies for clients and understanding the courts’ practice rules. Now I know if I have to look at a housing challenge, that I can go through the practice rules and see what should be applied, as well as what can and can’t be done. It’s broadened my knowledge of litigation and means that I can help a client more than I could before. Before, if they had an issue, I had to hand over to the solicitor – now I can draft the challenge and do everything up to going to court, and I can look at what options they have available as remedies.
If someone asked me about doing the SQE, I’d tell them to do it. Online learning has been great for my work-life balance, and becoming a solicitor is something you don’t have to do from a classroom. Although my experience in court was negative, studying the SQE with Law Training Centre has turned it into a positive one, and given me the tools which I can now use to help people in need.