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My professional development at DWF

Read Laura Collison's story about her career at DWF so far.

I joined DWF in September 2018 as a Paralegal Apprentice following the completion of my A-Levels earlier that year. During my A-Levels, I felt like, although it was what my school were pushing me to do, university was just not for me. For this reason, I began researching alternative ways to progress and qualify in law and this is when I found the L3 Paralegal Apprenticeship with DWF.

I joined DWF and commenced studying in September 2018 and completed the apprenticeship two years later in September 2020. I completed the apprenticeship with a distinction and this is something I am incredibly proud of. Whilst studying for the apprenticeship, I worked full time in my team assisting senior fee earners with complex property disputes, residential landlord and tenant repossession and rent recovery claims. In addition to assisting my colleagues with their files, during my first year as an apprentice, my own caseload of residential landlord and tenant files began to grow. It was a massive achievement to have my own caseload at such an early stage of my career and is something I do not think I would have had the opportunity to do so early if I was not in the Dispute Resolution team. 

In September 2021, I began studying for the CILEX Professional Qualification ("CPQ") which is a brand new route to qualification. Following the completion of the application, I had always intended to continue studying with CILEX in order to qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive. This is something I researched a lot about independently due to it being a fairly new alternative way to qualify and enrolled with the Law Academy in Liverpool to start my studies. I completed the foundation stage of the CPQ in March 2023 and have since started studying towards the advanced stage and I would like to ultimately qualify for the professional stage of the qualification. I anticipate completing the qualification in 2026, by which time, I will have 8 years experience working as a paralegal, assisting colleagues and managing my own files. 

In December 2022, I was promoted to Lead Paralegal within the team. I was very keen to explore the opportunities for growth as I had approximately 3 and a half years' experience working as a paralegal. I discussed the promotion process with my line manager at my end of year review in 2022 and, with the assistance of my supervisor, worked to prepare a business case setting out why I wanted to be promoted. This was a straight forward process and I was massively supported by my team. Being promoted to Lead Paralegal was a massive achievement for me and something I am incredibly proud of. My aim is to continue progressing within the team and hope that, in the next couple of years, I will be able to seek a promotion to Senior Paralegal and, once I have completed the CPQ, qualify into the team as a CILEX Lawyer. 

During my time working in the team, I have been extremely lucky with the extent of experience I have been provided with. Whilst assisting senior fee earners with high value, multi-track property disputes, I have also grown my own caseload of around 150 files. To have so much exposure at a junior level is so valuable to progressing in my career. In addition to the great experience I have obtained, I have been lucky to have been supported by a great team who are always happy to assist me with any queries that may arise. As a team, we work from the office two days a week and it is great to have this balance. 

I have also been lucky enough to attend 3 complex, multi-track trials in my career so far. Two of these trials took place in person, whilst the third took place remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic. This experience has only increased my ability for progression and is great experience that I feel I am very lucky to have gained. I am really interested in continuing to expand my attendance at trials, as well as mediations, and I know that this is something I will be able to do given the opportunities available in the team. 

Laura Collison

"During my time working in the team, I have been extremely lucky with the extent of experience I have been provided with."

Laura Collison, Lead Paralegal
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