A group of six firms have appointed BPP Law School to design their legal training for a post-Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) world.
The so-called ‘City Consortium’ group is made up of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Linklaters, Norton Rose Fulbright and Slaughter and May.
They have given the go-ahead to BPP to design “an integrated suite of education and skills programmes” for future trainees.
The SQE, dubbed the ‘super-exam’, is the culmination of years of work into reform of legal education which began with the Legal Education and Training Review, published in 2013.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority first put forward its proposed shake-up to the legal education system in December 2015, with the concept of a two-part qualification process central to its thinking: SQE Part 1 and SQE Part 2. Part 1 would test candidates’ ability to use and apply legal knowledge though multiple-choice exams, while Part 2 would be taken at the point of qualification and test legal skills.
The City Consortium will now work with BPP over the course of the next 18 months to design a series of bespoke education and skills programmes that prepare prospective trainees to pass the SQE assessments.
BPP will then deliver whatever programmes have been built for the six firms’ prospective trainees from the autumn of 2021. Assuming there are no further delays to the implementation of the SQE, the first group of prospective trainees will sit the SQE 1 assessment in autumn 2022, with that intake of trainees actually arriving at their firms in spring 2023.
The exam itself will be set and run by Kaplan.
A spokesperson on behalf of the City Consortium said: “Investing in the development of our talent is key to enable our future lawyers to meet client needs in a rapidly changing business environment. We look forward to working in partnership with BPP as we embrace the opportunities presented by the revised regulatory regime to develop innovative training programmes”.
Last week, a new entrant to the UK legal market declared its intention to run super-exam preparation courses. The Australian College of Legal Practice (OzCol) is partnering with American company BARBRI to design successors to the Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course, both of which are being phased out.