Paralegals able to accrue two years’ QWE at LOD client businesses
A flexible lawyer service has designed a new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) pathway for paralegals working at in-house legal departments.
LOD (Lawyers on Demand) has launched a programme which will enable its paralegals to work in-house at clients such as Adidas, Airbnb and Verizon, among others, whilst accruing the two years Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) necessary to become a solicitor in England and Wales.
LOD hopes to train up the “in-house stars of the future” by focusing on the skills they believe to be “crucial” to becoming a company lawyer. These include drafting, advocacy and collaboration, as well as exploring broader topics such as legal engineering and career planning.
“Being a leading alternative legal service provider means we can offer something quite different to the traditional route,” said LOD co-founder, Simon Harper. “Instead of the usual private practice expectations, we’re helping lawyers to develop future-looking in-house skills, including on-the-ground legal experience at some of the world’s leading companies. By designing-in practical commerciality, as well as technical skills, we’re equipping them to be the stars of tomorrow. We’re making it fun too.”
Crispin Passmore, consultant and former executive director at the SRA who helped create the SQE, added: “LOD’s training programme will not only help to nurture future in-house talent, it also provides a new way for people who might otherwise be overlooked to access the profession. This is good news for both the industry and budding in-house lawyers of tomorrow.”
The two-part SQE officially went live on 1 September 2021, becoming the new route to solicitor qualification in England and Wales.
LOD is partnering with BARBRI to offer its paralegals discounted fees to SQE prep courses before they fully commit to the exams. It’s also working on a funding structure for future participants in the programme so that they receive direct financial support for both the prep courses and exams.
Accutrainee operates a similar model to LOD under SQE, employing around 50 trainees who are seconded out to in-house teams and law firms. The flexible training contract provider recently partnered with the College of Legal Practice for the provision of training.