Two universities have signed up with the legal education provider BARBRI to deliver preparation courses for the new Solicitors Qualification Exam (SQE).

King’s College London will run the course from January 2021, while Manchester University’s will commence next summer, in anticipation of the first round of exams in November 2021 and will run at least twice a year in future.

BARBRI, an American legal education provider, 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 that the SQE would be in 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.

The cost of BARBRI’s course will be £6,000 – £2,999 for each of the two parts of the SQE. This does not include the £3,980 cost of taking the exam itself, set by Kaplan. At £10,000, the total cost of the course plus exam is nonetheless cheaper than the current Legal Practice Course offered by the likes of BPP and the University of Law.

Chris Howard, the director of professional education at King’s College’s law school, said: “We have worked with BARBRI for some time to offer our students and alumni the means to further their careers through US bar preparation. We’re delighted to expand our relationship and provide a promising path for SQE success.”

Professor Claire McGourlay, professor of legal education at the University of Manchester, added: “BARBRI’s well-established reputation for expertly blending technology with innovative teaching strategies ensures that those studying for the SQE will be placed on a promising pathway to success.”