Careers and Employability Support

Succeed in your legal career with BARBRI

For more resources to help you through your solicitor qualification journey

Leading Employability Support

At BARBRI, we understand that the path to a successful legal career is not always linear. The BARBRI Careers and Employability Service can help you make informed decisions about how to best progress your career. Whether it's finding the right job or internship for you, building your CV, or improving interview skills, we'll be there every step of the way.

We help you identify what areas of law, practice and environment are most suited to your interests and experience, develop an effective marketing strategy for yourself, and provide guidance on building strong relationships with future employers. We also offer advice on how to write an effective CV and cover letter, prepare for interviews, and negotiate salaries.

QWE is the ‘work experience’ part of qualifying as a solicitor. This will be introduced in September 2021 along with the launch of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)It involves at least two years’ full-time (or part-time equivalent) Qualifying Work Experience (QWE).
The competences list is extensive and includes:
  • ethics;
  • professionalism and judgement;
  • technical legal practice;
  • working with others;
  • managing yourself at work.
Your QWE must be confirmed by a solicitor or a Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP). They will have to be either be working in the organisation where the QWE is obtained or have direct knowledge of the candidate’s work.
If you are unsure whether a role will cover all or any of these competences, you should ask your current employer, line manager or the hiring organisation for confirmationYou should also get their buy-in on confirming your experience because, without this, you will not be able to apply for admission as a solicitor.
Qualifying Work Experience can be gained in a single two-year block or in stages across a maximum of four organisations. Some of your QWE can come from prior experience, before starting an SQE Prep course. This time can be ‘banked’ or even combined with your studies. It is also possible to complete your QWE between sitting your SQE1 and SQE2 exams.
You can also obtain QWE in different roles within the same organisation. This applies when each role gives you an opportunity to develop a different competence.
QWE can be paid or unpaid work and could include time spent:
  • on placement during a sandwich degree;
  • working in a law clinic;
  • at a voluntary or charitable;
  • organisation such as Citizen Advice or a law centre;
  • working as a paralegal (either in a law firm or an in-house legal department);
  • on a training contract.
No. That is one of the main attractions of the SQE route into qualifying as a solicitor. You can split your experience across four different organisations.
The roles could include:
  • a placement during a sandwich degree;
  • volunteering in a law clinic or other charitable organisation;
  • paralegalling (both in-house and in private practice); or
  • a training contract.
Splitting your QWE this way is a flexible, new approach. However, if you chose to do this across multiple organisations, please mind the chosen area of law you eventually want to specialise in. The more aligned each role is to the area of law you want to practise, the better.
Remember your end goal is to secure a newly-qualified solicitor position. On top of the competences set out by the SRA, your experience should also aim to give you exposure to the practice area(s) you are interested in.
The same also applies to the types of clients you work with, and if appropriate, the sectors and industries they operate inFor example, if you aim to become a commercial solicitor, you may choose paralegalling in a commercial law firm over volunteering in a law clinic.
The legal job market is competitive, so you would need to ease your way into a role that is the closest match to the type of solicitor you want to become.

No, but from an employability perspective, it would be sensible to avoid a lengthy gap between passing your SQE exams and your QWEIf you complete your QWE with more than one organisation, then a short gap between each role is unlikely to put you at a disadvantageHowever, you must try to avoid lengthy periods away from work or studies. This is a risk as it makes you less attractive as a candidate, particularly for competitive roles with high-profile employers.

In theory, this should be possible. We recommend discussing this with your employer. Your QWE must be confirmed by a solicitor or Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (or COLP). They will have to be either be working in the organisation where the QWE is obtained or have direct knowledge of the candidate’s work. They will need to check your day-to-day responsibilities and how these have helped you to develop some or all of the SRA competences. From your perspective, you will need to keep an appropriate record of your experience.
The work carried out by paralegals can vary. Some roles involve more admin and have less exposure to the law and fewer interactions with clientsIf you are currently applying for paralegal roles, pay particular attention to the job specification or description.
Consider discussing your needs with the recruiter in advance. This can help manage both of your expectations.

Qualifying Work Experience (QWE)

At BARBRI, we are committed to opening opportunities to all and understand that navigating your journey through the SQE and obtaining QWE can be challenging. We have partnered with several industry-leading organisations to help you understand and secure QWE including CheekyLittleCareers, Strive, Little Law, Taylor Root, MLA, and Elevate amongst others, along with a job search engine powered by Indeed through the CareerHub.

For more on Qualifying Work Experience please visit our FAQ page.

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Building Success

We're here to help you on your career and employability journey. Whether you're a current student or a recent graduate of BARBRI, we want to make sure that you get the most out of your time with us.

We offer services at every stage of your education, from commercial awareness workshops embedded into your SQE curriculum to networking sessions and more.

We recently collaborated with Little Law to bring you a free guide to the SQE. In this guide, we'll walk you through what we do, how we do it, and how you can take advantage of our expertise during your time at BARBRI.

Click here to download

BARBRI CareerHub

Whether you're just starting to plan your SQE journey or you're a seasoned professional looking for your next step, we want to support you in making the best moves for your career. That's why we've created the BARBRI CareerHub—designed to get you career ready.

The CareerHub offers a wide variety of resources, including an AI based CV checker, cover letter creator, interview simulator, psychometric tests along with a catalogue of careers focused content. It also includes a dynamic job search engine, which lists a range of vacancies across different sectors and practice areas.

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BARBRI HeadStart

If you're not a BARBRI student yet, you can sign up to BARBRI HeadStart to get a sneak preview of CareerHub and use some of our career resources!

QWE Kickstart

We’ve partnered with The SQuarE Route to offer BARBRI students the opportunity to secure a quality and career-enhancing 6-month period of Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) at top law firms and corporations. 

Entries are now open for all BARBRI SQE1 20-Week Prep Course students who are preparing for the July 2024 SQE1 exam!

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BARBRI Employability Highlights

1-2-1 Career Clinics

Applying for jobs can be stressful and time-consuming, so we want to help you make the most of your time by offering tailored support that will boost your employability. We'll work with you in dedicated 30-minute sessions designed to help you perfect your applications and CV writing skills, as well as interview skills.

Free Career Webinars

Take advantage of our free events covering every aspect of career development. You'll get the opportunity to hear directly from BARBRI students, interact with your peers, ask questions, and even take part in online bootcamps led by industry experts. Get advice on QWE, CV writing, interview practice and much more. 

Industry Partnerships

We've partnered with several highly respected legal recruitment experts, to bring you great advice and useful resources. Our partners include Cheeky Little Careers, Strive, Little Law and Accutrainee. 

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