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City law firm ‘consortium’ appoints BPP as SQE prep-course provider

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Influential group’s future trainees will sit super-exam from autumn 2022 — a year after assessment’s proposed introduction

A “consortium” of leading City law firms has appointed BPP Law School to help prepare its future trainees to undertake the new solicitor super-exam.

The influential group — made up of Freshfields, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose Fulbright, Linklaters and Slaughter and May — confirmed this morning that it will be collaborating with BPP to design a suite of “bespoke programmes” which will prepare its future rookies to pass the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

The consortium said it intended, subject to any changes made by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), that its future trainees will first sit SQE1 in, or around, November 2022 — a year after the regulator’s anticipated roll-out date of Autumn 2021. The first intake of trainees that this would affect is those commencing their training contracts in spring 2023.

News of BPP’s appointment comes just weeks after Legal Cheek revealed that the group was on the hunt for a law school to provide training in preparation for the SQE, a new centralised assessment that will replace both the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). The SQE will be split into two parts: SQE1 focusing on black letter law and taking the form of a computer-based, multiple-choice assessment, while SQE2 will test prospective solicitors’ practical legal skills such as advocacy and interviewing.

The Future of Legal Education and Training Conference 2020 -- 14 May at Kings Place London

A spokesperson on behalf of the group 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”.

In reaching its decision, the consortium said it undertook a wide-ranging review of the skills and knowledge required of City lawyers both now and in the future. This involved speaking to stakeholders at each firm, including trainees, associates and partners as well as graduate recruitment, knowledge, technology and innovation specialists.

The Future of Legal Education and Training Conference 2020 -- 14 May at Kings Place London

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