The Law Society today sets out to begin reshaping the legal education market in the runup to the new ‘super-exam’ in 2020 with the launch of two international partnerships. 

Chancery Lane has teamed up with US-based training provider BARBRI to offer courses for foreign lawyers planning to qualify as a solicitor of England and Wales. Over 6,500 Society members practise outside the domestic jurisdiction and 20% of all admissions to the roll are via the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme.

At the annual conference of the International Bar Association in Sydney, the Society will also sign a memorandum of association with the College of Law in Australia and New Zealand. This reflects the fact that Asia Pacific will be a ‘key focus’ for member law firms in the post-Brexit era.

 As the Solicitors Regulation Authority pushes its deregulation agenda and distances itself from its traditional role as the guardian of standards, the Law Society is setting out its stall in the gap the regulator is vacating.

Writing in today’s Gazette, membership services chief Peter Liver says there is a ‘clear appetite’ among Society members for Chancery Lane to adopt a leadership role in education and training. This has led to the formulation of a new education strategy which heralds further associations and partnerships over the next few months.

Society president Joe Egan hailed the QLTS partnership with BARBRI as ‘the first step’ to ensure the Society is well-placed to reshape the professional legal education market for the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) in 2020.

‘The introduction of the SQE is intended to further enhance access to our profession and we are taking the opportunity to work with a quality provider to test out new ideas in learning methodology,’ he added.

The QLTS Prep by BARBRI offers live and online learning taught by specialist UK legal academics and solicitors. The course is presented through an online Personal Study Plan (PSP). The PSP employs an integrated ‘Active Adaptive Legal Learning’ system that monitors a candidate’s progress and recommends assignments aligned to their areas of need to optimise study time.

Egan added: ‘Our members have asked for our leadership and guidance on how to confront and manage change associated with globalisation, technology and process innovation, and the regulatory environment. Solicitors see the need to be flexible, commercially astute and properly equipped with appropriate skills. Our objective is to enhance the quality of training for existing members and potential members.’