CLEO Workshop – The SQE – Fit for purpose? Fit for Pro Bono?
This workshop, co-hosted by Nottingham Law School and LawWorks, considers the implications of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s proposal for a route to qualification as a solicitor in England and Wales for those involved in student law clinics. Activities will include discussion of the new proposals for qualifying work experience in the clinic context and the possible impact of the proposed Solicitors Qualifying Examination on pro bono and personal plight legal services and on diversity in the solicitors’ profession.
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1100 - 1200: Introduction
1200 - 1315: Lunch
1315 - 1415: Qualifying work experience panel discussion
1415 - 1430: Break
1430 - 1530: Impact on Pro bono panel discussion
1530 - 1600: Close
The Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) which the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) intends to introduce from 2020, followed on from the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR). It is intended to replace the current system of qualification. LawWorks supports what the LETR has been trying to achieve and we welcome aspects of the SQE such as the scope for students to undertake pro bono work in clinics as “qualifying work experience”. However we have also raised some concerns about the future direction of the proposed SQE competencies and structure, the knowledge-based content and impact on opportunities of the next generation of lawyers to engage with the social context of law. This workshop will address issues concerning “qualifying work experience” and student pathways into undertaking social welfare law and pro bono work, including
- Volunteering in clinics as qualifying work experience (and how is this counted)
- Supervision and certification of qualifying work experience
The workshop will discuss the SQE more broadly in the context of clinical legal education (including social welfare law) and the stated aims of the reforms to improve social mobility in access to the profession and open up legal qualification pathways. Will the SQE structure be able to achieve these objectives? The workshop will bring together experts from across the clinical legal education sector to share their perspectives on:-
- Access to justice and values: social welfare law subjects and practice
- Recruitment of trainees: apprenticeships and traditional routes to qualification
- Impact of the SQE on pro bono
- Speakers from LawWorks and the pro bono sector, firms, the professional bodies, legal education community, and leading academics/practitioners/supervisors in clinics.
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