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Don’t just give SQE trainees ‘repetitive admin tasks’, regulator warns law firms

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SRA seeks to protect rookies qualifying under new regime

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has warned law firms not to take “unfair advantage” of trainees qualifying under the new super-exam regime, stressing that there should be more to work placements than just “repetitive administrative tasks”.

In new guidance published yesterday, the regulator says qualifying work experience (QWE) must involve “diverse and varied work” that offers “exposure to ethical issues”, as well as help to develop trainees’ professionalism.

The SRA stresses that “a placement that mostly offers repetitive and limited administrative tasks and legal transactions is unlikely to help”, and it “may act against a firm or a solicitor if these obligations are not met”.

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The Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) provides a more flexible approach to on-the-job training, with rookies able to complete their two-year work experience requirement with up to four different legal employers. There is no minimum or maximum prescribed length for each individual placement.

The new approach follows raised concerns among certain sections of the legal profession, with the Junior Lawyers Division warning that wannabe solicitors were at risk of “exploitation”.

The Legal Services Board (LSB) said it had received assurances from the regulator on some areas of initial concern when it finally approved the SQE in October, including additional safeguards around QWE to help to prevent the poor treatment of trainees.

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16 Comments

Reality

I can assure you nothing would prepare students for life as a trainee better than repetitive admin tasks

(89)(0)

Milo

LOL, literally the above

(7)(0)

Socks

Are you telling me my training contract was supposed to be something other than repetitive admin tasks?

The ratio of my TC that was actual work vs “can you save these 5 million docs to 10 different matters and then print them all” is…not good.

(36)(0)

Modern Minnie

You get the opposite now. It’s not “can you print these off” it’s “can you scan these so we don’t need to keep a paper file!”

(8)(0)

lol

Agree with all of the above. Also, mega lolz that the SRA has to issue this warning. Couldn’t possibly suggest something wrong with the SQE…

(23)(0)

Anonymous

Quite. And who is to police this? The firm that will never report itself? The trainee who will be worried about losing their job/unpaid position?

(9)(0)

Alan Robertshaw

“I’m submitting a complaint about this firm to the SRA.”

“OK. Make sure you make copies of your complaint and place them in the relevant files; and we’ll need a copy for each of the partners too; and one for HR.”

(20)(0)

Huh? What?

erm… not even sure if this is supposed to be a joke or taken seriously… yes, every TC was mostly a waste of 2 years of everyone’s life, but amidst all the boring repetitive admin stuff there was some amount of practical knowledge on how to run things as well. Are you telling me that someone who has no real practical experience, having crammed a bunch of theoretical knowledge, can come to a firm and take on a full workload and work with minimal supervision as a qualified solicitor? Seriously? And they won’t ask me questions about how to actually do this or that, or where to find this kind of form or whatever? Come on… These poor people that will end up taking the SQE will very soon realise they won’t be taken on, and if some are successful in securing a job, they will absolutely be treated the same as a trainee would (at least for the first few years). Let’s face it, no theoretical knowledge can prepare you for what the practice actually looks like – even if it’s the boring admin merry-go-round. The issues surrounding TC’s, inclusion etc., will not be solved by flooding the profession with seriously underqualified people that have no real practical knowledge. I can hit 100% in Land/Property Law, but does that mean I can fully work on a complex or even a simple overage agreement without assistance, seeing for the first time in practice? If the SRA and the Law Society really wanted to clean up the “evils” of the profession, they could do it in a very different way, but nobody really cares, it’s just a smokescreen.
Personally, I’d be scared to be called a solicitor and work as one if I knew nothing but some theory I had to learn for an exam…

(14)(3)

Recruiter

You know what you have to “do” to get experience right.

(0)(0)

Forever Associate

Meanwhile, in the Freshfields basement, a trainee on their 4th consecutive week of bundling just cancelled their Friday evening safety bubble meet-up – they need to update the matter partner currently tweeting about how socially responsible he is for working from the library in his country home. Don’t worry though, it’s prestigious bundling and therefore prestigious training.

Surely they’ll be in Chambers and Partners right on qualification after all of this.

(18)(0)

Blind2BS

I am an LLB graduate, employed as a paralegal and literally do the same tasks as a trainee solicitor. As if firms will take notice of this warning lmao

(14)(0)

Anonymous

Which uni?

(0)(2)

Graduate from the school of hard knocks

University of life

(3)(1)

Anonymous

A vocal Brexiteer then.

(0)(2)

Jango Fett

Possibly…

lol

You may do the same tasks but you don’t do the same job or get the same experience

(0)(4)

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