Pearl Pope

Pearl Pope

I’d been a secretary for 20 years working in various industries but, when family and I relocated to Cumbria, I found myself working as a legal secretary for a solicitors’ firm in Penrith. In my eight years with that firm, I felt like there was so much more I could achieve but there were no opportunities to do so. It was frustrating.

But then an opportunity arose with Bell Park Kerridge in Carlisle so I took a leap of faith and moved. Very soon, I’d made my ambitions known and said I wanted to qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive through CILEx. If I’m honest, I thought I’d be turned down but to my surprise, BPK were unbelievably supportive. Within a matter of weeks, I’d enrolled at CILEx Law School and my career journey had begun.

It was a daunting task I’d set myself while also holding down a full-time job but I was determined. Studying in the evenings and weekends meant some home life had to be sacrificed but my family were also incredibly supportive – they could see how much it meant to me.

As I progressed with my studies, BPK began to encourage me to work on my own files and increase my practical knowledge, with the help of my colleagues. That helped as did time off for revision for the exams, which seemed endless. But, with lots of encouragement from BPK and my family, I passed 16 external exams over four years. I’d done it. An amazing feeling.

I graduated from CILEx Law School with a party thrown by BPK and, after compiling an extensive Work-based Learning Portfolio over the next year, I was finally admitted as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in October 2019 at the grand old age of 50! The pandemic meant I had to wait until 2021 for my official cap and gown at the admissions ceremony in London but it was definitely worth the wait. It was such a proud moment for me and my family.

Now I work as part of the team in residential property and love my job. It was definitely worth all the hard work and I’m glad I moved to BPK and told them what my career ambitions are. I couldn’t have done it without the support I’ve had along the way and I’ll always be grateful for that.

So, if you’re thinking about a career in law but don’t think you could do it, come and chat to me. I left school with what could only be described as reasonable qualifications. I didn’t have any A-Levels or go to university. I never dreamt that I would one day be a lawyer – and yet here I am.

If I can do it, so can you…