Linzi Walker, Costs Lawyer at PIC and ACL member, offers her thoughts on becoming an ACL qualified Costs Lawyer and offers some advice for budding costs practitioners!
I started the new ACL Costs Lawyers course in September 2014, as soon as new students were able to enrol following the Jackson reforms in 2013.
I decided to enrol on the course after speaking with colleagues who had completed the previous ACL Costs Lawyers course, and felt it was the right time to progress my career.
The new course was not what I expected. It had a complete overhaul. It is now a level 6 qualification, very challenging and very time consuming. By the time I found this out, I had already enrolled, and it was too late to back out!
There were several modules throughout each of the 3 years, with each module requiring approximately 25-30 hours of learning hours per week. Modules varied from Advanced Civil Procedure, Family Law and Land Law, to Business Management, with a multitude of different topics in between. On top of the self – learning hours, weekly tutorials were compulsory, along with weekly tasks and activities and assignments at the end of each module.
There were compulsory seminars throughout the years, and an annual exam which had to be passed (along with all assignments) to be able to continue onto the following year.
A first for PIC
I will be the first person at Partners in Costs to qualify on the new ACL Costs Lawyers course. There were other people from Partners in Costs who started the course with me, but they decided not to continue as it progressed.
The third and final year proved difficult. Working full time, being a lone parent and finding an additional 25-30 hours per week took its toll.
I am very lucky to work for such an understanding and supportive company. Partners in Costs allowed me to focus on my course when I needed to and work more flexible hours to fit into such a hectic schedule. It also supported me financially by funding the course. I don’t think I would have survived to ‘tell the tale’ if it weren’t for the support of the company.
There were times I considered quitting the course, however, it isn’t in my nature, so I quickly put those thoughts to one side.
Despite all the challenges, I have learned an awful lot, much more than I would have if I’d have had say, 10 years’ experience. It has broadened my knowledge in many areas of law, not just costs related.
Was it difficult and challenging? Yes, without a doubt. Would I do it again? I’m a glutton for punishment, so probably yes! Would I recommend it? Yes, just do the research and find out what it entails, and make sure you have plenty of free time!
I have now taken my third year (and final) exam and am awaiting the results. Fingers crossed! My colleague has just sat his second – year exam, so we all wish him the best of luck.
Now it’s all finished, I have all these hours a week spare. Feet up, relaxation and a full nights’ sleep are on the cards. It feels like an age since I did any of that and I’m making the most of it – well, until the next challenge!
So, ACL Costs Lawyers– Is it worth it? Yes it is.