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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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