International firm will enter SQE pathway from 2023; trainee intake to be split across both providers
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has cut deals with BPP University Law School and BARBRI to prepare its future trainees to qualify under the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) regime.
The international law firm today announced it has appointed BPP as its main provider for the majority of its future trainees. In addition to SQE exam prep, BPP will provide training focused on soft skills such as resilience, adaptability and emotional intelligence, as well as practice-specific content that aligns with the firm’s core areas in real estate; corporate and finance transactions; and litigation and investigations.
BARBRI has been appointed a second provider by the firm to support individuals who have taken “alternative routes to qualification” in England and Wales. BARBRI recently went public with details of its new SQE offering: a blended course designed with “maximum flexibility” BCLP anticipates will appeal to career changers, mature students, qualified lawyers outside of the UK and those who require additional flexibility to study.
BCLP will accommodate its future trainee intake across both providers, a spokesperson from the firm confirmed. It is also working with its in-house innovation team to incorporate legal tech into its SQE prep course.
Carol Osborne, BCLP’s training principal and corporate partner, commented: “A number of factors influenced our tender and selection process, with inclusion and diversity very much at the forefront of that process. We also wanted to identify providers that share our focus on technology and innovation.”
“Our courses will provide in-depth, high quality training and will equip our trainees with the knowledge and skills required to be successful in their future legal career.”
BCLP confirmed it will enter the SQE pathway from September 2023 — two years after the official roll-out date. In order to facilitate the transition to SQE, BCLP will send its GDL and LPC students to BPP from September 2021, bringing its current relationship with The University of Law to an end.
BCLP has also set aside an annual social mobility fund for both BPP and BARBRI to provide SQE courses to a set number of students that meet the firm’s social mobility criteria, as well as increased its GDL and LPC maintenance grants from £7,200 to £10,000 in London and £8,000 outside the capital. These increases take effect from September 2021.
It was announced in the autumn, shortly after the SQE received the green light to go ahead, that Reed Smith had partnered with BARBRI and the College of Legal Practice to deliver the prep for its new SQE offering. Other City law firms are expected to follow with their own SQE updates in the coming months.