Metro Bank picks BARBRI to put future in-house lawyers through the SQE

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By Thomas Connelly on

Trainees will split their time studying and gaining QWE

Credit: Creative Commons (Philafrenzy)

Metro Bank has become one of the first in-house legal teams in the financial services sector to support graduates through the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), thanks to a new partnership with prep provider BARBRI.

The move will enable aspiring lawyers to split their time between the bank’s legal team, undertaking paid qualifying work experience (QWE), and completing their SQE prep on a part-time basis.

Metro Bank hopes the tie-up will enable it grow and nurture existing talent, with its first SQE trainee, Harki Panesar, originally joining the bank as a cashier before working her way up to the role of paralegal.

“As a community bank with diversity and inclusion in our DNA, we are delighted to be offering a route to legal qualification in-house,” commented Metro Bank’s general counsel, Stephanie Wallace. “We can’t wait to see Harki qualify as a solicitor and we look forward to supporting other aspiring solicitors with a bright future at Metro Bank.”

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BARBRI, which is best known for providing US bar exam prep courses which mirror the multiple-choice question format of SQE1, entered the SQE market in January 2021 with a series of prep offerings priced at £2,999 each.

Since then it has struck a number of training deals with City firms including Baker McKenzie, Reed Smith and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (alongside BPP).

Victoria Cromwell, senior director of business development at BARBRI, said:

“The SQE provides a new opportunity to provide legal education that is flexible, focusing on new skills, roles and disciplines, and embracing new ways of working. As a result, in-house teams now have an exciting opportunity to grow and nurture their talent through different and innovative pathways to qualification, with a much greater focus on attraction, development and retention, and we are delighted to be working with Metro Bank to support their talented lawyers to qualify.”

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