Case Studies

Evie Elsbury of DWF is the first Chartered Legal Executive to qualify through the new apprenticeship standard

To mark National Apprenticeship Week, Evie shares her experiences and reflections on her route to qualification. The Chartered Legal Executive Apprenticeship Standard was approved for delivery in 2016. The new standards were written by employer-led groups and focus on developing the skills, knowledge and behaviours required for a specific occupation, rather than achieving qualifications.

How did you get started in the legal profession?

I went to university to study Ancient and Medieval History, with half an eye to becoming a history teacher, but I decided quite quickly that it wasn’t for me. I knew I wanted to continue my education, but I wanted something more vocational.

I had thought about a law career in the past, so when I was 19, I started a legal apprenticeship at a small firm, Triton Global Ltd. The firm was then bought by DWF, who ran a Chartered Legal Executive apprenticeship scheme through CILEx Law School.

This was a turning point for me. Pursuing a career in law is highly competitive, where there can be potentially hundreds of applicants for one training contract. It can feel a bit dog-eat-dog out there when you’re starting out, but the apprenticeship seemed like a fantastic opportunity, and I grabbed it with both hands.

What would you say are the benefits of an apprenticeship?

The apprenticeship has given me so much practical experience as well as a solid grounding in law. Having a degree is great, but an apprenticeship has given me additional experience that’s so valuable when training to become a successful lawyer. I’m 25 and have already had six years in the industry. I’ve travelled within the UK and Ireland and put everything I’ve learned into practice. This definitely helped me retain what I’ve learned in my studies.

What is life like as an apprentice?

Some say an apprenticeship is an easy option. In fact, it’s extremely tough! It’s crucial not to underestimate how much work you have to put in, particularly around exam time. But the knowledge and experience you get is amazing. The key is to try and find the balance. Once you’ve got the hang of the heavy workload and competing demands, it’s not too bad.

How is your qualification seen by others in the industry? 

Around the office, people have been really supportive and understanding of the demands on my time. I’ve been lucky to have had the same manager and team for six years. They’ve seen my growth since day one, coming into the industry knowing nothing to eventually qualifying as a lawyer. I couldn’t have done it without their support.

Looking at the qualification more generally, I’ve definitely seen attitudes to CILEx changing over the past few years. It’s becoming better known, which is great.

What would you say to someone considering a CLE Apprenticeship?

I’d say you’ve got to be dedicated. You’ve got to know it’s what you want to do and commit. That said, I’d definitely recommend it. We recently had someone doing work experience at my firm, I shared some information about the CILEx Apprenticeship because it isn’t generally advertised in schools. You never know – she might have signed up already.

What are your career aspirations now you’re qualified?

I’m very happy at DWF. DWF currently has 31 key locations, 10 in the UK and 21 across the rest of the world. It operates across four global regions; Europe, the Middle-East, Asia-Pacific and North America.  DWF became the first Main Market Premium Listed legal business on the London Stock Exchange in March 2019. DWF is an incredible place to work, and I am excited to see what my future holds at this legal business. I have worked very hard to get where I am today and have no intentions of slowing down now.



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