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Russell Group unis launch partnership with new SQE provider

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Students at Manchester University and King’s College London will be offered BARBRI SQE workshops and fee discounts

The University of Manchester and King’s College London

Russell Group institutions the University of Manchester and King’s College London have joined forces with a new entrant Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) provider to prepare their students to sit part one of the Legal Practice Course (LPC) replacement.

BARBRI will offer Manchester and King’s law and non-law students and alumni SQE workshops as well as “significant” discounts on fees for its SQE1 prep course, which launches in three months’ time. Workshops will take place at the universities’ campuses from next summer, ahead of the first SQE sit in November 2021.

The proposed SQE1 format is a computer-based, multiple-choice test, and workshops will provide exam tips by going over practice questions. There will also be sessions on wellbeing and resilience.

The US-based legal education provider, which until now has been mainly known in the UK for its New York and California bar exam prep courses, is aiming to go head-to-head with The University of Law (ULaw) and BPP Law School in the lucrative SQE market.

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BARBRI’s new university partnerships follow similar combinations struck up between ULaw and the universities of Exeter, Reading, Liverpool, East Anglia and, most recently, Sheffield.

BARBRI seems to be attempting to differentiate on price, using some of its US financial muscle to offer fees that are notably lower than the LPC. Last month it became the first legal education provider to go public with its SQE fees — offering a £6,000 SQE prep course, with SQE1 and SQE2 each costing £2,999. The cost to sit the exam, delivered by another US legal education company, Kaplan, is a further £3,980.

Commenting on today’s two new tie-ups, Sarah Hutchinson, UK managing director of BARBRI, said:

“This is a very exciting opportunity to work with prestigious universities and provide students with an affordable pathway to solicitor qualification.”

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9 Comments

The Maverick

Wasn’t a fan of Ulaw and Bpp and their duopoly in the LPC market. Some huge fees for their LPC.

Anonymous

So we will have a non-law graduate who has passed two very extensive MCQ exams and never written a sentence of law in their lives or had to learn a statute or the name of a case. I am very curious to know how they will find employment in a law firm when set against someone who has done a law degree or preparation that is more extensive than cramming for MCQ exams. Are they counting on having an excellent SQE score and marketing themselves with that (plus their degree and A Levels)? Do they think that will be enough for firms which will want their trainees/QWE employees to hit the ground running?

As for affordability, Legal Cheek forgets to mention that none of Barbri’s courses will attract government funding. So the initial outlay for Barbri may well be much more expensive than for courses that are more expensive but most of whose cost will be covered by the loan.

Explaining simple finance

Errrr loans have to be paid back. It’s not free money.

Jane

Although student loans company loans are never full paid back by most people so is a gift from tax payers to students in effect.

Anonymous

The “loans” are really just an income stream on the books of tertiary providers to provide the basis for capital borrowing. They are why so many of the more crap places just built more and more new buildings off borrowed cash and offered more and more crap degrees in an arms race that will end in disaster.

SC

The SQE is such a rubbish idea lol I actually can’t believe it’s gone this far. It’s like some 4am suggestion that should have been ignored but in the absence of alternatives it’s now actually happening

Don't lose

Simon says…..

Jane

If the questions are like the multiple choice I have seen on the new BPP PGDL which prepares you either for the LPC or the SQE1 this year they are extremely easy. I have seen none lawyers be able to guess the answers. However the PDGL also has other types of questions too and is teaching the right stuff so not utterly disastrous this year at least.

AnonQ

Do they give different coloured pens for the first stage colouring in section now that the exam is being dumbed down because long sentences raised diversity issues?

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