Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Kirstie Mitchell, Conveyancing Team Leader Industry Insights
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18 June 2024

Industry Insights: Kirstie Mitchell, Conveyancing Team Leader

Hear from Wilson Browne Solicitors‘ Kirstie Mitchell, Conveyancing Team Leader, about her experience with online learning and getting a CILEX qualification. Having not enjoyed her university experience, finding the CILEX option allowed her to reach her aspirations of pursuing a successful career in law.


Describe your journey through education

My journey through education is not a standard journey. I got my A-levels in random subjects, media, business, I.T., and then went on to do my degree in law, which I didn’t actually apply for. I applied to do education, got into university, and within the first week hated education. So I was able to swap to law because it was something else I was really interested in. So I swapped to law, did my law degree. I actually commuted to uni, I didn’t move to uni, so I was one of those people that drove to and from every day. Unfortunately uni was not for me. I finished it but it took me five years rather than three.

I actually got kicked out of my degree because I just wasn’t doing as well as personally I would have hoped to. After some long winded chats and thoughts, and after the additional two years, I managed to graduate with my undergrad in law, which is possibly the biggest achievement of my life because it was not easy for me.

I then was working full time and decided after I graduated I wanted to work in law and I loved property. So conveyancing seemed an adequate choice. So I started working in conveyancing and then came across CILEX, which is all online, and I’ve been studying that ever since I graduated from uni. So it’s not the standard route and it is no way inclined to have been easy at all. But it’s one of the biggest achievements that I’ve managed to actually get through my education the way I have.


What tips do you have for studying conveyancing?

The main one is organisation. Conveyancing is so fast paced and ever changing that organisation is the key to any form of studying it. You need to plan, you need to have extensive notes. Anything can change at any time with this kind of role and this kind of work. So that is your main priority really is to organise your workload as well as your studying time.


How have you found studying whilst working full time?

So my CILEX education is all online, which works incredibly well for me because it allows me to work full time and study all at the same time. But again, that’s where your organisation plays into big time.

Online courses have worked extremely well for me, especially with the CILEX one and I’ve done several other online courses through work which have really helped me progress my career, whether it be actual law courses or it be online courses in assertiveness or management and things like that. But online courses have worked for me, because it’s gave me the chance to do them whilst doing my job and not fall behind in any aspect of anything.


Have you enjoyed studying online?

Online studying that I have done has been really good. The programmes that are used and the online resources and things have really, really helped me. The online studying also allows me to keep everything. So everything’s online for me. So if I ever need to refer back to anything, it’s there. It’s really, really helped me keep a good record of additional information. It’s really helped me progress. Like it’s just been monumental in my progression, both personally and in my career.


How do you organise your studies?

I have a to do list at my desk, at work, I have a to do list at my desk at home, and I have several calendars everywhere. So I utilise my work calendar as well as cross-referencing it against my personal calendar to ensure that nothing overlaps.

When you’re doing studying it’s important to take that time for yourself as well. So it’s really good to make sure that you’re not overlapping the time you’re going to spend studying against any social events you have or any time you want to take for yourself to do things like going to the gym, going out for dinner with your friends or anything like that. So I cross reference everything, my work calendar on my phone, my home calendar on my personal mobile is all cross-referenced. I double check everything before I book everything in and my to do list is constantly colour coordinated and ticked off in some very pretty pens. So it’s all about the organisation.


How do you balance your studies with your work schedule?

Studying whilst working is no easy feat, it takes it takes a lot of effort and it takes a lot of time. But again it all comes back to organisation. I keep everything so organised and I allow myself that time to do the things I want to do outside my studying.

I work 9 to 5 and then I allow myself the time after work to relax if I need to do that after a hard day. I don’t punish myself. If I think to myself well I’m going to do an hour of studying or I’m going to work on my assignment tomorrow and I have a bad day at work and I don’t want to do it or I can’t get to it, I don’t punish myself for it. I just readjust and I find the time again to pick it up. If I have to do an extra hour the next day when I’ve got no plans or if I have to take a little bit of time out on a Saturday morning, that’s that’s not a problem.

I just make sure that everything works around me. At the end of the day, it’s something I want to do for myself. And if it doesn’t happen, I’m only punishing myself. But it’s not fair to punish yourself for something that’s natural. It’s life. It’s not it’s not going to impact anything. You’re still doing a great job. It’s just all about the right timings.


What does your study routine look like?

My study routine is a bit here, there and everywhere at the moment, but I try and stick to a plan. So I try and stick to certain days in the week that I will do the studying. So mine is a Tuesday and a Wednesday because they tend to be the days that I have free time after work more than anything. So they are my two study days and I allot different things to those study days depending on what needs to be done or depending on if I’ve got any deadlines or if I’ve got exams coming up, then I’ll swap things to revision rather than assignment work.

I am organisation mad but everyone is colour coded as well, which helps so much. You don’t realise how much the bright colours just sit in the mind and remind you to do something.


How do you stay motivated?

I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer since I watched Legally Blonde when I was a kid, so it sticks with me and it’s just something I’ve always, always wanted to do. I’ve always seen myself being a lawyer. The law is just something I’ve always, always wanted to do. And I keep myself motivated knowing that no matter when it happens, you know, I could qualify, you know, next year, I can qualify when I’m 40. It’s going to happen. And I keep myself motivated knowing that I can have it. But I don’t have to put any pressure on myself to get there because it will happen eventually. And I just need to ensure that, you know, I’m keeping myself happy whilst I’m doing it, because if I’m not happy then there’s no point carrying on at all really.


What tips do you have for getting ahead in a legal career?

My tip for getting ahead in your legal career would be to get yourself out there. So a lot of people think that the job is just doing the job, but the job is also you. So you need to promote yourself in order to make sure that you’re not only doing your job correctly, but people know who you are. You can do your job fabulously, but if nobody knows who you are, you’re not letting yourself be known. Then it’s not going to help you get anywhere.

It’s nice to just be able to have conversations with people that you wouldn’t generally have conversations with, you know, go and speak to a partner or go and speak to a colleague in a different team and discuss things with them. There’s so much crossover within the law that just having a conversation with a colleague one day, you might remember that and then it’ll help with something else that comes across in the future in your job, which is always going to help massively.


Why do you think supporting training is important?

I think being a good supporter of training is monumental, especially in a business like law, because it is changing so much. Law is something that is never the same. One week it can be this, one week it can be the next. And online training of any way or any training in any aspect helps so much because it builds the people that work for you in different ways, and it gives so many people the confidence to be able to be like, All right. Yeah, I’ve done that. You know, I can go to work tomorrow and I can show what I’ve learnt. It’s so brilliant to be able to establish training within a business because it not only helps the business, it helps the people working for you. And if you have happy people, then your business is going to excel.


What advice would you give to aspiring lawyers?

For anybody who’s thinking about studying, I say it all the time, look into your options. Not everybody wants to go to university for three years and study. Not everybody wants to, you know, go to college, not everybody wants to do all of these things that society says are the norm. Personally, for me, I wouldn’t have gone to university if I’d have known about CILEX which is all online before that point.

If you’re considering studying, just look into all the options. Consider what works best for you. If you want to go work full time and study online at night, and that works for your personality and that works for your lifestyle, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But just make sure that that’s what you want to do. Some people love the idea of going to uni for three years and having fun and studying and doing things like that. It just doesn’t work for everybody though. So just make sure that what you want to do is 100% what you want to do because it all goes back to if you’re not happy, then what’s the point of doing any of it? It’s just a waste.



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