International firm Hogan Lovells has created a new position to oversee implementation of the solicitors’ superexam which is set to spell the death knell for the LPC from 2020.
Edward Brown, a partner in the firm’s pensions practice, will take the lead on the firm’s ‘input into and implementation’ of the new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).
Brown, who will work with the rest of the graduate recruitment team, is a member of the trainee recruitment interview panel and has supervised trainees. According to the firm he ’trained with the firm and progressed to partnership, so has a wealth of experience that will prove invaluable in managing SQE implementation.’
Meanwhile litigation partner Crispin Rapinet has agreed to become the firm’s new training principal. His role began with effect from 1 January. Rapinet will work alongside graduate recruitment partners Louise Lamb and Jon Chertkow, overseeing legal training and helping to guide graduate trainees through their qualification as solicitors.
Rapinet said: ’The new SQE is a major change for the legal industry - firms and prospective trainees alike. Implementing a qualification process that meets the crucial aim of widening access to the profession and ensures a consistent and high quality calibre of qualified lawyer is no small task. The addition to our team of a colleague with a dedicated focus on its implementation, who can give detailed and due consideration at every stage as we work with the SRA and develop our offering, is an important asset.
’Brown trained with the firm himself and progressed to partnership, is a member of our trainee recruitment interview panel, and has supervised trainees. This wealth of experience of the system will prove invaluable in managing the new SQE implementation.’
City firms have already begun airing concerns over the SQE. The City of London Law Society suggesting that transitional arrangements for implementing the exam may need to be delayed to ensure firms have time to prepare for changes to training courses.
Developments are set to pick up pace in the first quarter of this year when the Solicitors Regulation Authority is due to appoint an assessment partner for providing the exam. After the appointment, expected to be in February or March, information on prices and assessment details will begin to emerge.
This week the SRA rejected fears that the new qualifying route would be a ’cash cow’ by pledging that any profit from the scheme will be paid into an ‘access and investment’ fund.