Our new spotlight series gives an insight into the diverse people that work for Devonshires.
Here Ben Tarbard talks about switching from General Office Clerk to Paralegal and his plans to become a Chartered Legal Executive.
Tell us about your career so far:
After doing my GCSEs, I wanted to start work and gain experience rather than studying, so I applied for the role of General Office Clerk at Devonshires. I did this for three years but the thought of going into housing law never crossed my mind. Then I got offered the chance to become an Outdoor Clerk within the housing management department.
This saw me interact directly with tenants and courts which taught me how fast-paced housing law can be. I was at court on a daily basis, issuing urgent injunction applications in West London one minute and serving papers in East London the next. In 2012, this experience led me to being promoted to a paralegal providing support to the team’s solicitors and running my own caseload.
After three years as a paralegal, I decided to go back and study so I’m now halfway through my course with CILEX (the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives), following which I will be qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive.
What do you enjoy most about working in housing management?
Housing law is very varied and involves lots of problem solving as is constantly developing. It’s exciting to be involved in something so fast moving and to work on matters that have such a large impact on society.
What skills do you need to work in housing law?
There are a lot of deadlines, so you need to be able to keep a cool head under pressure and to have strong organisational skills. I’ve also found that confidence and the ability to work well with other people and be personable has really helped.
What advice would you give to others thinking about a career in law?
Don’t be put off going into law if you don’t have a degree or think you don’t have the right qualifications. It’s never too late. If you’re prepared to roll your sleeves up and gain experience with a supportive law firm, there’s no reason why you can’t have a successful legal career. I’m proof of that!