The College of Legal Practice (CoLP) has unveiled its preparatory courses for the new Solicitors Qualification Exam (SQE), declaring them a “generational change for legal education.”
The full online programme preparing students to pass the SQE1 and SQE2 examinations will launch in summer 2021 and is called Developing Legal Professionals (DLP). It is divided into three distinct courses which can either be taken separately or combined as part of a Master of Laws (LLM) in Legal Practice.
They are the Solicitors Legal Knowledge (SLK) course, which provides preparation for the SQE1 examination; the Solicitors Legal Skills (SLS) course to prepare for the SQE2 examination; and legal skills modules, which provide a range of transactional training units across core practice areas.
The price for the SQE1 preparation course (SLK) will be £1,800, while the SQE2 preparation course (SLS) is £2,300. Both can be studied for 12 weeks full-time or 20 weeks on a part-time basis. The legal skills modules are priced from £800 while the cost for the full LLM in Legal Practice is £6,900.
The fee for the exam itself, just under £4,000, is not included, meaning the total cost to the student would be a minimum £8,080 once that is factored in.
CoLP is the UK brand of one of the biggest names in Australian legal education, the College of Law Australasia (not affiliated with the University of Law (ULaw), which was previously known as the College of Law of England and Wales). It established itself as a practice based training provider in London in 2019 with a view to providing courses training students to pass the SQE.
Dr Giles Proctor, CoLP’s CEO, said: “The College of Legal Practice’s entry into the market signals a generational change for legal education. An old fashioned ‘one-size fits all’ approach simply doesn’t work because every learner’s need is different. We recognize that we need to design legal courses around individual needs, and help learners develop the skills and competencies for success in their careers. By doing so, we hope to ensure a more diverse group of individuals can access and do well in the legal profession. We’re proud to support access for our learners to high quality, practical legal education.”
The introduction of the SQE has provoked a flurry of new entrants to the field of UK legal education, hoping to chip market share away from BPP and ULaw, the two dominant players. ULaw unveiled its own selection of SQE prep courses earlier this month, ranging from a £500 crammer course to a Masters qualification that costs £16,500 when delivered in its London branch. Its own online SQE prep offering comes in at just under £10,000.
Who’s who in the new legal education landscape
College of Legal Practice (CoLP)
UK brand of the College of Law Australasia. Lured to the UK by the introduction of the SQE as well as the new rule book created by the SRA which removes many of the restrictions imposed on training contracts. It boasts: “Only The College of Legal Practice has decades of remote, online training expertise” and as such has unveiled an online prep course for SQE1&2.
Familiar faces: CoLP CEO Giles Proctor established Kaplan Law School in 2007 and was its head for some years. He then established the University of Roehampton’s law school in 2015. Proctor’s predecessor was Professor Nigel Savage; as interim CEO he steered CoLP through the initial launch in the UK. Savage was for many years one of the most prominent figures in UK legal education as dean of Nottingham Law School and then CEO of ULaw.
American legal education provider that expanded into Britain some years ago, originally offering training for non-US lawyers who wanted to study for the New York and California bar. When it emerged the SQE would be introduced in the UK it quickly stated its intention to provide prep courses for that as well, the New York bar exam and the SQE having some similarities in format. It has partnered with multiple institutions to design their courses, including Sussex University, Manchester University, King’s College London and CoLP itself.
Familiar faces: Managing director of BARBRI International Sarah Hutchinson was a senior figure at the University of Law for many years.
A familiar face in the UK as it runs prep courses for the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS); however, its three prep courses for the SQE mark an expansion into new territory. Fees for its ‘Basic’, ‘Advantage’ and ‘Premium’ courses range from £3,180 to 4,780 (exam fees not included).
Once the third-largest provider of postgrad legal education in England and Wales but withdrew from the market in 2015 after key corporate clients went to rivals. It now has the contract to set the SQE.
Law Training Centre
A Kent-based provider of legal education, founded in 2015 by former planning lawyer Eve Dullabh. It has announced prep courses for SQE parts 1 and 2, with the cost of the first priced at £2,890.
Currently one of the two main providers of legal education in England and Wales. The so-called ‘City Consortium’ of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Linklaters, Norton Rose Fulbright and Slaughter and May have given the go-ahead to BPP to design “an integrated suite of education and skills programmes” to prep future trainees for the SQE, but there is not much extra detail on the courses as yet.
University of Law
Formerly The College of Law, one of the main providers of education in England and Wales over many decades and BPP’s big rival. It has revealed a number of different SQE prep options ranging from £500 crammer courses right up to a replacement for Legal Practice Course (LPC) costing £16,500 in the university’s London branches.
Familiar faces: Peter Crisp, one-time dean of BPP, is now pro vice chancellor external at ULaw.