Building Bridges: STRIVE and BARBRI collaborate to enhance diversity through the SQE

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STRIVE and BARBRI unite to increase access to SQE qualification 

  • Associates of STRIVE’s award-winning Supernova Programme will be able to access exclusive discounts and scholarships as part of its collaboration with BARBRI
  • STRIVE will join BARBRI’s carefully selected pool of partners as part of its BARBRI Bridges funding initiative which has pledged £120,000 so far
  • This collaboration will support increased diversity in the legal profession

STRIVE has today announced its collaboration with global legal education provider, BARBRI, to help improve access to the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) for aspiring solicitors across all socio-economic backgrounds.

Specialising in commercial law, STRIVE believes diversity should go beyond a tick-boxing exercise. Instead, through its two industry-leading programmes, Supernova and shift(), it selects candidates based on holistic assessments of socio-economic factors and individual circumstances to enhance representation and champion fairness, without compromising on the quality of candidates. Through its collaboration with BARBRI, the organisation will now be able to take its movement one step further by providing financial assistance to aspiring lawyers, helping to streamline their journey into commercial law.

With over 1.3 million alumni worldwide, BARBRI’s SQE Prep courses have been created by industry experts through tried and tested methods. Underpinned by LawTech and personalised support, its inaugural SQE1 cohort achieved an average 77% pass rate compared to the 53% industry average earlier this year.

Bertilla Chow, Chief Operations Officer of STRIVE, said: “Since our launch in 2018, our unyielding vision for increased social mobility in the legal industry has been powered by a commitment to ‘un-tickboxing’ the unique journeys of diverse candidates, as well as innovation in our offerings as the first mover within the legal D&I ecosystem. Today, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve taken yet another step towards these dual strategic directions through our collaboration with BARBRI. BARBRI is the most innovative provider on the market because it’s adaptable to the changing needs of the profession and is dedicated to ensuring that the student experience transcends geographical and other barriers. Together, we can recognise and reward the high potential that we see in our candidates and help them to succeed against all odds.”

This is not the first diversity-focused partnership for either organisation. STRIVE recently announced its partnership with Flex Legal on the Flex Trainee Scheme, which exclusively recruits candidates from a socially mobile background and provides them with a route to qualification alternative to the traditional Training Contract, through the SQE.

BARBRI has also demonstrated an ongoing commitment to diversifying the profession with the BARBRI Bridges funding initiative which was set up in 2021 to offer support to aspiring solicitors through numerous scholarships and partnerships. With over £120,000 in funding committed across the industry so far, the organisation is proactively working to build a more inclusive profession.

Rob Dudley, vice president for strategy and marketing for BARBRI, said: “We’re delighted to be collaborating with the STRIVE to help improve access to the SQE and legal qualification by shaping a programme that truly encourages diversity within the profession. While the SRA hopes to improve diversity within the profession with the introduction of the SQE, this shift cannot happen overnight, especially not without the support of those across the legal industry. As part of our BARBRI Bridges initiative, we’re working to secure numerous partnerships to help make this vision a reality, and we are honoured to be working with a forward-thinking organisation like STRIVE. We hope to welcome our first STRIVE applicants very soon.”

BARBRI offers a range of full-time and part-time prep course options as well as learning and development opportunities beyond the SQE. Its innovative testing and learning technologies and one-to-one expert support provide future solicitors with the tools they need for continued success.

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