LONDON (Within The Law) - The legal profession has been looking for ways to make the law more accessible. However, these new measures always come with the risk of exploitation. One of these is the changes to the Solicitors Qualifying Exam. The SRA has warned any firms which take advantage of the new rules will face sanction.
The SRA has warned that ‘qualifying work experience’ which will replace traditional training contracts must include ‘varied and ‘diverse’ work and exposure to ethical issues. Placements which only offer exposure to repetitive and limited administrative tasks is unlikely to help people develop the skills to give them the best chance of passing SQE 2.
‘We may act against a firm or a solicitor if these obligations are not met,’ the regulator warned.
Concerns had previously been raised that some firms would exploit graduates during their two years of qualifying work experience. The SRA appears to be alive to these concerns and has said it has built-in additional safeguards and will extend its approach to monitoring to prevent poor treatment of graduates.
David Greene, President of the Law Society, was quoted by the Law Gazette as saying:
The SRA’s guidance will provide much-needed clarity for firms and aspiring solicitors alike on the criteria for good qualifying work experience. We have consistently heard that our members need more information on how the SQE will work in practice and we will be producing guidance and information to aid the profession and those seeking to qualify.
‘We will continue to work with the SRA to ensure the introduction of the SQE runs as smoothly as possible and does not create any unnecessary barriers for those looking to start a career in the law.’
(Written by Tom Cropper, Edited by Klaudia Fior)