Current and former students can apply for six month placements in the law school’s pro bono clinic
BPP University is set to offer paid qualifying work experience (QWE) placements for the first time.
From spring 2023, current and former students will have the opportunity to apply for a six-month, full-time placement with the law school’s pro bono centre.
Students selected for the new programme will have either already worked at BPP’s clinic or can demonstrate a “pro bono ethic”. BPP will initially offer five placements with a view to doubling its intake over the proceeding 12 months.
A spokesperson for the law school confirmed it will provide a “competitive” salary in line with the Law Society’s recommended minimum for candidates completing the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). This recommendation currently sits at £22,794 in London and £20,217 elsewhere.
The opportunity for students complete a chunk of their on the job training with BPP is possible thanks to a series of changes brought in following the introduction of SQE. Among these tweaks is the option for aspiring lawyers to circumvent the training contract process and complete two years QWE with up to four different “employers” — including, in this case, a pro bono clinic.
To be ‘qualifying’, the experience must be grounded in legal work and allow an individual to develop at least two of the regulator’s prescribed competencies for solicitors.
Emma Blackstone and Lucy Wildig, joint heads of pro bono at BPP, said:
“With such an established, extensive legal advice provision, BPP Pro Bono Centre is in the ideal position to be able to offer QWE placements. We wanted these placements to be accessible and to be meaningful, which is why they are paid and why each placement is for six months.”
The vast majority of law schools offer similar pro bono opportunities, with The University of Law and Nottingham Law School (NLS) among the first to do so back in 2015. NLS, like BPP, offers full-time paid placements through its legal advice clinic.
Applications for the new QWE placements will open early spring 2023.
In addition to this, BPP is also offering a ‘Career Guarantee’ as part of their SQE offering. This means if aspiring lawyers fail to secure a “relevant legal role” within six months of passing their SQE2 assessments, they receive access to the law school’s ‘Career Boost’ package featuring a range of employability courses.