News Desk

What is the new SQE? (Solicitors Qualifying Examination)

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is a brand-new set of exams which is scheduled to be introduced from 2021 that aspiring solicitors will need to complete.

The SQE is intended to become the common assessment for all those wishing to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales. It is set to become the biggest change to legal education for decades – replacing the current Graduate Diploma in Law, Legal Practice Course and traditional training contract requirement.

After 2021 there will be a new path to qualify as a solicitor, namely candidates will have to:

  1. Have an undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification (i.e. a degree level apprenticeship) in any subject.
  2. Complete Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination.
    1. SQE Stage 1 deals with general legal knowledge via multiple-choice assessments.
    2. SQE Stage 2 focuses on evaluating practical legal skills.
  3. Have completed two years’ suitable qualifying legal work experience.
  4. Pass the current character and suitability requirements.
  5. Apply to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

What is the new Solicitors Qualifying Examination?

How is the SQE different to the current process?

To recap, currently a qualifying law degree such as a ‘Law LLB (Hons)’, or a degree in another subject followed by the Diploma in Law (GDL) conversion course, is required as a prerequisite before being able to start the Legal Practice Course (LPC).

On completion of the LPC, aspiring solicitors must complete a two-year training contract. The Professional Skills Course (PSC) must be completed during the training contract. Once the LPC, training contract and PSC have been completed a trainee solicitor can apply to be admitted as a solicitor.

Under the new SQE regime candidates can have any undergraduate degree (or equivalent qualification). They will need to pass SQE 1 and 2 exams but there won’t be a specific course they must follow. And the two-year training contract will be replaced with a two-year period of qualifying work experience (QWE). This can be completed before, during or after the solicitors qualifying exams and with up to four different organisations. The QWE can include periods of unpaid work such as working in student law clinics or working for Citizens Advice.

When is the SQE coming in?

The current SQE launch date is estimated to be in September 2021. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is currently piloting the key components of the exams, with the SQE1 pilot being completed in July 2019 and SQE2 pilot in December 2019.

Once the SRA has gathered feedback from candidates, they intend to publish their findings and update the launch date as needed.

When the SQE is launched it is also anticipated that there will be a period of transition. Students who have already started on the current qualification path will be able to choose to continue on this route. This includes anyone who has accepted an offer to start a law degree or the GDL by the time the SQE is introduced. New entrants will follow the SQE regime.

Preparing for the SQE

As further specific information on the Solicitors Qualifying Examination programme is confirmed, Kinch Robinson are preparing extensive training and learning materials to support individual candidates and law firm training programmes.

So make sure you follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook for the latest developments and our course announcements.

Should your law firm be in the early stages of planning for the SQE for your lawyers, please feel free to contact us on how we can assist.

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StaRs is here – introducing our new e-learning course

The SRA’s new Standard and Regulations came into force on 25 November 2019.

Do you know what’s changed?

Lots of the duties are similar to the old 2011 Code of Conduct but there’s some significant changes too.

You need to make sure that all your team know what the new requirements are:

  • the amended core principles
  • the impact on their day-to-day work
  • the new information they need to tell your clients

And there’s a brand new duty to ‘demonstrate your compliance with your regulatory obligations’.

So every solicitor needs to know what those obligations are.

Take a look at our new SRA Standards and Regulations e-learning course if you’re looking for:

  • a cost-effective method of training your staff
  • a resource that can be used as an ongoing reference tool
  • a solution that includes tracking so you can demonstrate compliance
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Introducing the SRA Standards and Regulations

Two new Codes of Conduct

On 25 November 2019 the SRA Standards and Regulations will replace the SRA Handbook. There will be seven Principles instead of ten, and two codes of conduct, one for Individuals and one for Firms. They are much shorter than the current Code of Conduct. Whilst they adopt most of its key themes, they abandon its approach based on Outcomes and Indicative Behaviours. Instead the new codes focus on lawyers and firms using their professional judgement and justifying their actions.  “Nothing new there” you might think, “we can carry on as normal”. You would be wrong.

Big changes for every lawyer

There’s a significant change of emphasis because of a new duty to demonstrate compliance with your regulatory obligations. Just how are you going to do that for every tricky decision you make every day of the week?

Other changes include:

  • A new principle of honesty – how does it work alongside the principle of integrity?
  • A new duty not to waste the court’s time.
  • Reinforced duties for supervisors in relation to the work and competence of their teams.
  • Changes to the exceptions to the duty of disclosure to clients.
  • Reporting obligations which may (or may not) be satisfied by notifying your COLP.
  • A new duty to take remedial action if a client suffers loss or harm when things go wrong – What kind of action will be appropriate?
  • A time limit for providing prescribed information to clients when a complaint has not been resolved to their satisfaction.

E-learning for busy lawyers

In October we will release our e-learning course on the new SRA Standards and Regulations, with an introduction and three short modules, one on the Principles and one on each new Code. They will focus on what you need to know, not on what you don’t.  You’ll learn enough to stay compliant, and know where to look when things get tricky.   Like all our e-learning this course is quick, relevant and engaging.

Contact

Get in touch if you’d like a sneak preview, a heads-up when we launch or if you want to discuss options for hosting the course on your own LMS.

Email: Kath@kinchrobinson.com
Phone: Kath on 0114 273 8300.

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RTA liability training, e-learning that really works

RTA liability training, e-learning that really works

"Looks nice, but does it work?" She looks up from the iPad demo. Not the response I’m expecting. She asks again - "Looks nice, but does it work?" Good question. Here’s a good answer.

Scroll back two or three years - insurer and law firm clients are troubled by junior staff making incorrect and inconsistent liability decisions in road traffic accident (RTA) cases. Poor decisions are costing them money. They want some online training. So we get to work, and we make something great. See a demo for yourself.

If you're reading off-line, we have 130 RTA animations (left and right turns, roundabouts, overtaking, car parks, and so on). You watch the accident on screen, you look at resources that might help (e.g. the Highway Code) and you make a liability decision. And then you watch an experienced barrister reviewing the evidence and the key issues, and giving a view of the likely outcome in court.

"Brilliant!" we thought. And to be fair, so did some clients. But not all of them. The non-believers wanted reassurance. Fair enough.  So we designed a "proof of concept trial" involving a test before training and a test afterwards. One of our clients took the idea and ran with it. This is what happened.

They selected 22 learners (of mixed levels of experience), explained the trial and demonstrated the scenarios. The learners then completed the first test in one week. It included 10 scenarios with the barrister's review stripped out. For the next three months the learners worked through over 130 scenarios in separate sections covering car parks, roundabouts, country roads, etc. Then we stopped their access to the scenarios, and they took a second test on 10 different (but similar) scenarios.

We gave 10 points for an answer the same as the barrister and 5 points for an answer that was within 10% of the barrister's view.

Here’s what we found. The e-learning works! Every learner improved and their decisions were more consistent. Here are some of the key points.

  1. They made more correct decisions (decisions on or within 20% of the barrister’s view). The smallest improvement was 5% and the largest improvement was 75%. The average improvement was 33.6%. See Table 1.
  2. They made fewer incorrect decisions (decisions more than 20% away from the barrister’s view). The smallest improvement was 5% and the largest improvement was 90%. The average improvement was 37.5%. See Table 2.
  3. Their decisions were more consistent (taken all together, their decisions were spread over a narrower range after the training). Wildly different decisions on the same evidence were much rarer.
  4. The tests helped to identify "tricky" decisions (those decisions, like roundabouts, which the learners found challenging). This will enable the client to focus further learning and resources on supporting staff to improve in specific areas.

 

Contact: Jody Jezusek
E: jody@kinchrobinson.com
M: 07717 750042

Created June 2019, updated February 2020

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Mental Health Awareness Week – 13 May 2019

The profession is not getting any less stressful any time soon.

Metal health and wellbeing of staff are crucial considerations for any employer and many firms are running initiatives this week to promote these important issues.

Encouraging mindfulness, meditation and yoga all have their place.

But at Kinch Robinson we focus on helping fee earners and support staff change their working practices to reduce stress and improve work life balance.

  • Our new Legal Project Management courses for trainees and qualified fee earners provide training in a critically important skill that helps fee earners deliver great results for clients and improves your firm’s profitability
  • Our ‘Regain Control’ sessions provide masses of practical suggestions to help you get on top of your work, from dealing with conflicting priorities to smooth and effective delegation
  • And if you want help with understanding law firm finances, improving your writing skills or increasing you reading speed we can help with that too

Call Kath Kinch on 0114 273 8300 for more information.

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