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BARBRI strikes SQE partnership with flexi-paralegal service

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5,000 paralegals to have access to SQE scholarships and fee discounts

New entrant Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) provider BARBRI is teaming up with Flex Legal to support paralegals to sit the upcoming super-exam.

BARBRI will offer Flex Legal’s 5,000 paralegals scholarships and discounted fees for its online SQE prep course, which launches in two months’ time. The tie-up is on a non-exclusive basis.

Many paralegals working in law firms — often undertaking legal work equivalent to trainee or qualified solicitors — have found it difficult to meet the current training contract requirement for solicitor qualification.

The SRA’s highly flexible two-part SQE, which comes into force next autumn, allows on-the-job experience with up to four different legal employers to be incorporated into aspiring solicitors’ formal training requirements. They will be able to qualify through the SQE augmented by two years’ qualifying work experience (QWE) in place of the training contract requirement.

Flex Legal, a company that connects law firms with lawyers and paralegals, is building over the next few months a QWE digital diary so that paralegals can track their progress during their work placements and can be used as a record when they apply to qualify. It launches in January 2021.

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“We’re really excited to be launching our QWE diary for our student professionals. In effect, it puts the power to law students to build their own training contracts,” Mary Bonsor, director of Flex Legal, said. “Additionally, our relationship with BARBRI now gives our paralegals an exceptional set of tools to prepare for the actual SQE exam, which in turn increases their chances of successfully qualifying.”

“We understand that historically, it’s been difficult for paralegals to secure the training contracts necessary to qualify as a solicitor, so the new SQE opens up tremendous opportunities for them,” Sarah Hutchinson, managing director of BARBRI, added. “BARBRI is exceptionally pleased to play a role in easing the way for these deserving professionals to successfully qualify.”

BARBRI recently 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 University of Law and The College of Legal Practice announced their own super-exam prep courses this week.

BARBRI has previously struck partnerships with Russell Group duo King’s College London and Manchester University to offer students SQE workshops and fee discounts.

The SQE was formally approved by the Legal Services Board last month.

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