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City firms team up to provide SQE prep course

By Jemma Slingo

Leading City practices have enlisted BPP law school to prepare trainees for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam. A consortium of six firms – Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters, Slaughter and May, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells and Norton Rose Fulbright – will collaborate with BPP to design an ‘integrated suite’ of education and skills programmes. These programmes will prepare would-be trainees for the SQE and develop their wider legal knowledge.

City firms had previously expressed concern that the SQE – dubbed the solicitors’ ‘super-exam’ – will not adequately prepare students for commercial work carried out by City firms, which is largely rooted in contract and tort law.

Prospective trainees will embark on BPP’s course from autumn 2021 – when the SQE is due to be introduced – and will sit the first stage of the SQE the following November.

A spokesperson for the ‘city consortium’ said: ‘Investing in the development of our talent is key to enable our future lawyers to meet client needs in a rapidly changing business environment. We look forward to working in partnership with BPP as we embrace the opportunities presented by the revised regulatory regime to develop innovative training programmes.’

BPP is yet to announce how much its SQE preparation course will cost. Last year, the Solicitors Regulation Authority announced that students will have to pay between £3,000 and £4,500 to sit the SQE assessments.

SQE 1, which will test legal knowledge through a series of computer-based assessments, will cost between £1,100 – £1,650. Fees for SQE 2, which will test practical legal skills, will range between £1,900 and £2,850.

(Courtesy: Law Gazette Society)