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Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Defines Approach to New Solicitors Qualifying Examination in UK

February 18, 2021

International law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) today announces that, following a thorough tender process, BPP University and BARBRI have been selected as the firm’s providers for the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) preparation courses, which will replace the tradition models of the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Legal Practice Course (LPC) starting in September.

The firm was impressed with BPP University’s progressive thinking on how they intend to approach the SQE, incorporating thinking on the T-shaped lawyer with an emphasis on soft skills, such as resilience, adaptability, innovation and emotional intelligence. BCLP will include electives that align with the firm’s growth engines (Real Estate, Corporate and Finance Transactions, and Litigation and Investigations) and the master’s accreditation still will be offered as part of the course.

In addition, the firm has selected BARBRI as a second provider for future trainees to support individuals who have taken alternative routes to qualification in England and Wales. The firm welcomed BARBRI’s flexibly in its learning technology, allowing students to study on a blended learning course and at a quicker pace. BCLP anticipates that BARBRI’s SQE Prep courses will be attractive to career changers and mature students, qualified lawyers outside of the UK and those who require additional flexibility to study.

BCLP’s Training Principal and Corporate Partner Carol Osborne commented: “A number of factors influenced our tender and selection process, with inclusion and diversity very much at the forefront of that process. We also wanted to identify providers that share our focus on technology and innovation. Our courses will provide in-depth, high-quality training and will equip our trainees with the knowledge and skills required to be successful in their future legal career. We are also working closely with BCLP’s Innovation Team to ensure we incorporate new and create legal technology content into these courses.”

The firm has agreed on an annual BCLP social mobility fund in collaboration with both BARBRI and BPP University. Both providers will fund SQE courses to a set number of students in collaboration with BCLP and based on the firm’s social mobility criteria. To further support the firm’s commitment to social mobility, as of September, BCLP is increasing its maintenance amount for the GDL and LPC from £7,200 to £10,000 in London and £8,000 outside of London.

Senior Graduate Recruitment and Development Manager Chloe Muir said: “We are confident that our upcoming changes and approach to the SQE will support our wider inclusion and diversity strategy. The firm is supportive of accommodating flexible ways of studying for our future trainees, be that remote learning, part-time arrangements or international study.”

The firm’s first cohort of students to study the SQE will begin in September 2023. In order to facilitate the transition to the SQE, BCLP will send students (both GDL and LPC) to BPP University from September 2021.

This document provides a general summary and is for information/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, nor does it constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought before taking or refraining from taking any action.