Junior lawyers have demanded a review of the oversight regulator's decision to approve the new ‘super exam’, which they claim will ‘lead to a lowering of professional standards…and damage the reputation of the profession both domestically and internationally'.
In an open letter to Bob Neill MP, chair of the House of Commons’ justice select committee, junior lawyers proposed an evidence session and an inquiry into the Legal Services Board's (LSB) approval of an application from the Solicitors Regulation Authority to introduce the solicitors qualifying examination (SQE).
Amy Clowrey, chair of the Junior Lawyers Division, wrote: ‘Although the JLD is supportive of a centralised assessment, it has significant concerns about other elements such as the removal of the requirement to study academic law substantively, assessment by method of multiple-choice question examination, and sign-off being possible by a newly qualified solicitor who may not ever have met the trainee.’
This is not the first time the JLD has expressed its concern. In March, it called for a review of the Legal Services Act after the LSB's decision to approve the SQE.
The exam is due to be introduced in 2021 and will be split into two parts: SQE1, a series of mainly multiple-choice exams testing legal knowledge, and SQE2, a series of practical assessments of skills, testing issues such as client interviewing and giving advice.