The importance of upholding England and Wales' reputation as the leading jurisdiction for businesses in the post-Brexit era has prompted the Law Society to strengthen the range of training opportunities offered to domestic and international lawyers.
The Law Society and leading international legal training provider BARBRI have today unveiled a new partnership to offer preparation courses for foreign lawyers planning to qualify as a solicitor of England and Wales.
Qualified lawyers in other jurisdictions can be admitted as solicitors in England and Wales through the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS). This route to qualification is currently highly sought after among foreign lawyers due to the position of England and Wales as an international centre for dispute resolution.
Law Society president Joe Egan said: "The QLTS route to qualification in England and Wales is selected by approximately 20 per cent of new entrants to the profession. Not only does this qualification broaden a solicitor's own career opportunities, it also enhances the global reputation of, and reliance upon, the laws of England and Wales in international transactions and dispute resolution."
Since 2015, the Law Society has carefully scrutinised SRA proposals to introduce centralised assessment known as the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), which will alter the way solicitors qualify. The impact these changes could have on the international reputation of solicitors and the UK as a global centre of legal excellence has been one of the Law Society's main concerns.
During the SQE consultation process the Law Society demonstrated its important role as a thought leader on standards in education and training for those entering the profession and our work has revealed a clear appetite from members for us to adopt a leadership role in education and learning.
Joe Egan said: "The SRA's deregulation agenda is a clear indicator it is distancing itself from the role of guardian of standards. The Law Society is stepping forward to fill this gap and we're kicking this off by partnering with BARBRI to offer high quality training that is globally accessible, affordable and demonstrates best practice in equality and diversity. We feel that BARBRI is the best partner in this endeavour due to its experience helping more than 1.3 million lawyers around the world pass a high stakes legal exam very similar to the QLTS.”
With this partnership the Law Society is positioning itself within the education and training market internationally and domestically. The Law Society will initially use its trusted international brand to promote the laws of England and Wales through a dual qualification such as the QLTS. This is the first step to ensure the Law Society is well-placed to reshape the professional legal education market for the SQE in 2020.
“The introduction of the SQE is intended to further enhance access to our profession and we are taking the opportunity to work with a quality provider to test out new ideas in learning methodology,” Joe Egan added.
"Our members have asked for our leadership and guidance on how to confront and manage change associated with globalisation, technology and process innovation, and the regulatory environment."
“Solicitors see the need to be flexible, commercially astute and properly equipped with appropriate skills. Our objective is to enhance the quality of training for existing members and potential members. We want to ensure solicitors and aspiring solicitors have access to a range of programmes available to meet their needs according to their resources, whether they be sole practitioners operating in the ‘gig’ economy or magic circle firms operating globally."
For this reason, the Law Society has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the College of Law in Australia and New Zealand.
Notes to editors
Around 80 per cent of cases in the Commercial Court have at least one party from abroad and around 50 per cent have no connection to England and Wales except that the parties have chosen to resolve their disputes there. It is critical that the popularity of our jurisdiction is maintained since, for every one per cent growth in the UK legal services sector, 8,000 new jobs are created and £379 million is added to UK plc. Each £1 of extra turnover in the sector stimulates £1.39 in the rest of the economy.
About the Law Society
The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.
About the BARBRI Group
BARBRI boasts a 50-year history of supporting law graduates and lawyers in passing their professional bar examinations. The company has developed specific expertise in tailoring its training programmes to meet the needs of foreign lawyers and law graduates seeking requalification in another jurisdiction. Among the BARBRI alumni are thousands of international lawyers and law graduates who have passed a US state bar exam.
The QLTS Prep by BARBRI offers live and online learning taught by specialist UK legal academics and solicitors. The course is presented via the unique online Personal Study Plan (PSP). The PSP employs an integrated 'active adaptive legal learning' system that continually monitors a candidate's progress and recommends assignments aligned to his or her unique areas of need to optimise study time for the best results.
The BARBRI Group companies meet the legal education needs of law students and attorneys throughout their careers, and work to improve legal and professional learning by providing superior opportunities for law schools, law firms, and law and finance related businesses. At the core of the BARBRI Group Companies is BARBRI Bar Review, which has helped more than 1.3 million lawyers around the world pass a US bar exam. The company also provides online JD, post-JD and international programmes for US law schools, and specialised ongoing training and certifications in areas such as financial crime prevention, eDiscovery and cyber awareness, security and protection. The BARBRI Group, founded in 1967, is a Leeds Equity Partners portfolio company headquartered in Dallas with offices throughout the United States and around the world.
Press office contact: Catherine Reed | +44 (0)20 7320 5902