Becoming a dual qualified solicitor in England and Wales
As a lawyer, you’re part of an esteemed profession that commands respect and holds influence over many aspects of society. You’re also part of one of the most highly competitive professions in the world. That’s why it makes sense for overseas qualified lawyers to broaden their horizons and look at dual qualification to set themselves apart from their peers.
Because the process of qualifying as an English and Welsh lawyer has recently changed, a foreign qualified lawyer may be wondering how they can navigate this new landscape. Perhaps you’ve heard your colleagues discussing their experience of the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), but it’s important to know that QLTS has now been replaced by the new Solicitor’s Qualifying Exam (SQE).
Keep reading for more information about the SQE, why you should consider dual-qualification and how our student’s success with the QLTS sets BARBRI up as a great partner for your qualification journey.
What is dual qualification, and why does it matter?
Qualifying as a solicitor in England & Wales can help you to be more employable, improve your career prospects and can unlock new opportunities for you both within your home jurisdiction and overseas.
Becoming a dual-qualified solicitor in England & Wales also gives you the opportunity to develop your legal knowledge and skills, as well as establish an impressive professional profile. Maybe you’re hoping to practise in the UK, or you may just want to improve your knowledge, either way this could be the step that takes your career to new heights.
Here’s why one U.S. qualified lawyer chose to dual qualify as a solicitor through BARBRI.
How to qualify as a solicitor
We know that all the information on studying as an overseas student can be confusing, particularly if you’re re-entering higher education after practising, so let us break down exactly what you need to do to get that all important solicitor qualification, and it’s much simpler than you think.
Are you exempt?
First, you’ll need to determine exactly which SQE exams you’ll need to take. Depending on your level of experience, in some cases you can apply to the SRA for exemption for elements of the SQE1 and SQE2. However, if an exemption is granted, you may have to undergo an English language test.
As an overseas qualified lawyer, you are also exempt from the Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) element of the SQE.
Find a preparation course
There is no obligation or requirement to take an SQE preparation course, however we believe that our courses give you the best chance of passing the assessment on the first attempt.
We’ve created a range of flexible SQE Prep courses that let you study whenever and wherever you want, meaning you can manageably combine studying with a full-time job. Here’s how it works through an innovative AI system, called the Intuitive Study Assistant and Coach (ISAAC). It personalises the course individually to you and administers it through the online Personal Study Plan (PSP). You can be sure that you are doing the right amount of work at a time that fits your schedule most conveniently.
We’d recommend our Flexible SQE1 Prep 40-week course for our overseas students. Meanwhile, for the second stage, we recommend the SQE2 Prep 20-week course duration.
Find out more about the different course options here.
Take the exam
One of the advantages of the SQE is the flexibility it offers in comparison to the QLTS, to that end candidates can book and take their SQE1 and written SQE2 assessments at a testing centre in their home country. Only the SQE2 oral assessment requires candidates to travel to the UK.
The final stage of qualification
The last step to qualification is to satisfy the Solicitor Regulation Authority’s (SRA) character and suitability requirements, and demonstrate your competency in English or Welsh.
BARBRI’s QLTS success
The QLTS has now been fully replaced by the SQE. The latter was built on the example of the QLTS and so we took the best parts of our past courses and transferred those learnings into our SQE Prep courses.
BARBRI has successfully coached thousands of overseas qualified lawyers through the QLTS exams, and our results speak for themselves. On the last ever QLTS exam our students achieved an 83% pass rate. We have an overall pass rate of 76% on all the courses that we have delivered since 2018. This is the success that we’ve carried through to the present-day SQE. In January 2022 BARBRI students achieved a 77% pass rate in the first SQE1 exam, a phenomenal result given that this was the first exam of its kind.
We have seen the benefits of dual qualification through our overseas dual qualified alumni. We are here to help you pass and give yourself that all important USP. We make the SQE assessments and qualification as a solicitor as straight forward as possible for you.
Talk to one of our SQE Prep team, and start your journey today.