BARBRI strikes soft skills partnership with O Shaped Lawyer

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By Rona Ankrah on


SQE prep provider looks to equip students with human and business know-how

BARBRI is looking to equip its wannabe solicitors with the key human and business skills valued by law firms through a new partnership with the O Shaped Lawyer.

The project, founded in 2019 by former Network Rail GC Dan Kayne, has a framework of five O competencies — optimism, opportunistic, originality, openness and ownership — representing the mindset of a well-rounded lawyer.

Openness, for example, addresses the issue that unmitigated success in technical education leads to a defensive, fixed mindset when it comes to practising law. Lawyers, however, need to develop an open, growth mindset, according to the O Shaped philosophy.

BARBRI says the deal will enable it to integrate these competencies into its ‘Prep for Practice’ programme, a course which looks to go beyond the content tested on the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) and provide students with the necessary commercial, human and business skills required of a “modern-day junior lawyer”.

The prep provider also hopes to “harness the knowledge and industry experience” of the O Shaped Board and gain insights on the importance of the competencies from senior in-house leaders.

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Victoria Cromwell, BARBRI’s senior director of business development, said:

“The new route to qualification through the SQE and the deregulation of skills training provides a huge opportunity for legal services providers to tailor their training to fit the specific needs of their business and clients. The incorporation of the ‘client voice’ and The O Shaped Attributes into such training is vital for the future development of training for the next generation of lawyers.”

Kayne, who recently quit his GC role to focus full-time on all things O Shaped, added: “As a global leader in legal education, I have been very impressed with BARBRI’s progressive approach and am excited about what this collaboration will achieve in the coming months and years. We share the same ambition of providing aspiring lawyers with a modern, well-rounded education that will set them up well for their careers in the profession.”

News of the tie-up comes just weeks after the project teamed up with another SQE prep provider, The College of Legal Practice, to launch an online module which aims to teach students O Shaped skills and their practical application within the legal sector.

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