City law firms could offer super-exam prep courses

Training proposal raised in new SQE toolkit

SQE super exam students solicitors

City law firms could offer their own super-exam preparation courses to ensure trainees are suitably prepared for a career in corporate law, according to The City of London Law Society (CLLS).

The radical training proposal is among a number of questions put to City law firms as part of a new practical guide to navigating the upcoming changes being brought the centralised solicitor super-exam (SQE).

The CLLS’ has asked firms whether they want to offer preparation courses for SQE1 and SQE2 and if they wish to provide Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Legal Practice Course (LPC) “equivalents” for trainees with a non-law background. This, according to the toolkit, could be achieved by a consortium of City firms coming together to procure the desirable qualifications.

Chair of the CLLS training committee, Hannah Kozlova Lindsay, said:

“Law firms must engage with the SQE — these are not just questions for learning and development or graduate recruitment teams. The proposed changes to how we train and develop our lawyers have a broader strategic significance and managing them will be vital to ensuring City law firms are genuinely future-proof.”

Elsewhere, the toolkit (embedded in full below) pulls together information on the new route to qualification, including insights from training providers (BARBRI, The University of Law and BPP Law School) on their intended approaches to handling the changes.

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Patrick McCann, CLLS training committee member, added:

“There are still too many unanswered questions surrounding the SQE — firms need clarity, so they can prepare for an entirely new testing system, which will impact not only recruitment processes but also each firms’ pre-joining training programmes.”

Though details remain thin on the ground, the regulator has proposed splitting the SQE into two parts. Part one will be a computer-based assessment, which is likely to include multiple choice questions, while part two will test a candidate’s practical legal skills such as advocacy and client interviewing. Earlier this month, the SRA said that a decision would be taken on fees and an implementation date “by the end of 2018”.

The toolkit comes on the back of the announcement by the SRA that it had selected education giant Kaplan to develop and deliver the SQE. Kaplan has been appointed for a period of eight years from the introduction of assessment.

The City of London Law Society SQE toolkit:

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