BARBRI strikes SQE partnerships with Sussex Uni and national paralegal group

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By Thomas Connelly on

Tie-ups come as regulator defends super-exam’s MCQ format

BARBRI has entered into partnerships with the University of Sussex and a national paralegal association to prepare aspiring solicitors to sit the new super-exam.

The legal education provider will offer students and grads at Sussex Uni discounted fees for part one of its online Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) prep course as part of the collaboration. It will also deliver SQE workshops remotely this month alongside workshops on the university’s campus from spring.

BARBRI is one of only two providers to go public with their SQE fees so far. It is offering a £6,000 SQE prep course, with SQE1 and SQE2 each costing £2,999. Meanwhile, QLTS School has launched three online-only course packages, with the lowest priced option, costing £1,490 for SQE1 and £1,590 for SQE2. BPP University Law School and the University of Law are yet to announce their fees.

In a separate tie-up, BARBRI is also offering discounted prep course fees to members of the National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP) — a not-for-profit, professional membership body for paralegals.

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Victoria Cromwell, director of UK programmes at BARBRI, said: “We know that the SQE is opening up opportunities to help shape greater diversity within the profession and by partnering with membership bodies like the NALP, which work alongside talented legal professionals, we hope we can help to break down barriers to entry and support those who wish to qualify as solicitors.”

Last month Legal Cheek reported that BARBRI had struck a similar discount deal with Flex Legal, a company that connects law firms with lawyers and paralegals.

BARBRI announced a third tie-up this week with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), a professional membership body for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) practitioners. CIArb members and BARBRI alumni will be offered discounted rates on BARBRI’s SQE prep course which launches next month.

The duo will also work together to develop ADR training as part of the SQE course. “Forming a collaboration with CIArb presents our students and alumni with additional career development opportunities that can help them get ahead in an exciting area of practice,” said Chris Jorgenson, director of institutional partnerships for BARBRI.

News of the tie-ups comes as the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) director of education and training, Julie Brannan, defended its use of multiple choice questions (MCQs) to assess candidates’ functioning legal knowledge as part of SQE1.

Speaking at the regulator’s annual SQE conference yesterday, Brannan said, “it’s a really good method of eliminating a whole area of possible difficulty, and also giving us data to drill down to see if the questions do work properly”.

The SQE will replace the Legal Practice Course when it comes into force next autumn. It was formally approved by the Legal Services Board in October.

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