Clinical Legal Education as Solicitor Qualifying Work Experience

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (‘SRA’) is intending to introduce a new qualification regime for solicitors. During the relevant consultation process, there was strong support for retaining the requirement for solicitors to undertake a period of legal work experience before qualification. The SRA has, accordingly, decided to keep a two-year work experience requirement which will in future be known as qualifying work experience (‘QWE’). At the time of writing, it is anticipated that QWE will replace the current ‘period of recognised training system’ in September 2021. When the new system is introduced, a broader range of work experience will potentially be able to qualify as QWE. There will also be more flexibility about when such QWE can be undertaken and there will be scope to satisfy the requirement within up to four different firms, educational institutions or other organisations. This means that, in future, clinical legal education (‘CLE’) work undertaken by students at university/within a student law clinic could ‘count’ towards QWE. Universities and law clinics will not be mandated to offer QWE, but may choose to do so if they wish. The SRA hopes that the changes will promote access to and diversity within the profession.

The background and detail of the SRA’s plans will be discussed in this section and the practical considerations clinicians will need to take into account should they decide to confirm CLE as QWE will be analysed. The arguments for and against offering CLE as QWE, and how employers might perceive solicitors with such experience, are outside the scope of this section, but such issues are explored in the authors’ 2018 Law Teacher article, ‘Clinical legal education as qualifying work experience for solicitors’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Clinical Legal Education Handbook
PublisherInstitute of Advanced Legal Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Jun 2019

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