England: LLB no longer necessary for qualification under proposed reforms

England: LLB no longer necessary for qualification under proposed reforms

It will no longer be necessary to have a law degree in order to qualify as a solicitor under plans being pushed by regulators.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s new scheme would see a single new entrance exam for everyone wishing to enter the profession.

Applicants would be admitted as solicitors so long as they pass the exam – without any heed paid to their studies or training.

The SRA received a spate of negative responses when the plans were first put forward, though it appears intent on seeing them through.

In a statement, it said: “Under the proposed new system candidates would be required to have a substantial period of workplace training. This could include experience in a student law clinic, a sandwich degree placement, working as a paralegal, or under a formal training contract.”

Its final exam would be a “rigorous set of assessments, covering knowledge of the law and legal processes, legal thinking, drafting, writing, presenting, negotiating, arguing a case and analysing claims and transactions”.

As for the barrister branch of the profession, the Bar Standards Board said it would like to see a “managed pathways” system for qualifying as a barrister. This would involve a combination of academic and vocational training, vocational and work-based training, or the completion of all of these in a modular system.

These reforms would “would introduce new routes by which students could qualify rather than requiring them to complete the academic, vocational and professional/pupillage stages of learning in a fixed sequence as is the case at the moment. This would allow providers to offer courses that are more flexible and fit with the requirements of students”.

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