LONDON - Global law firm Reed Smith today announces the introduction of a unique path for its future joiners to become qualified solicitors. It will enable them to study for the Solicitors Qualification Examination (SQE) and acquire the additional knowledge and skills to prepare them for practice while earning by working for the firm.

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The innovative new model will launch in 2022 and incorporate the SQE in a Masters-level programme that can be completed in the same time frame as the existing LPC.

Notably following the completion of SQE 1, it will provide trainees with the opportunity to work part-time for the firm and its clients, while studying the equivalent of LPC electives knowledge, combined with business skills and SQE 2 exam preparation. Unlike the LPC, the additional knowledge and skills will be assessed through a business-focused portfolio, and a series of oral assessments (akin to real-world appraisals), capped off with a Masters-level applied professional project.

During the advanced knowledge and skills course, students will be able to work two days per week in two separate “seats”, with placements in the firm’s business services, innovation, pro bono and knowledge teams, or with one of the firm’s clients. Students will study the remaining three days of the week, and be able to apply their knowledge and skills to the real-world business of a law firm.

The firm is partnering with both Barbri and the College of Legal Practice to provide its new training path.

Reed Smith’s new Professional SQE will consist of six steps across a single academic year. During the first two steps students can complete their studies remotely, with the remaining steps studied from Reed Smith’s (or a client’s) office. Students without a legal degree will continue to engage with an assessed conversion course before embarking on the new route.