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Junior lawyers warn that SQE risks 'devaluing solicitors'

Junior lawyers warn that SQE risks 'devaluing solicitors'

Junior solicitors are concerned that the solicitor brand could be 'devalued' under the latest plans for implementing the Solicitors Qualifying Examination 'super-exam'.

Responding to a consultation on the SQE, which sought feedback on the regulations needed to put the exam into place, the Law Society's Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) is concerned that prospective solicitors will no longer be required to take a law degree whereas those who want to become a barrister would.

The division is also concerned that the new route will be no cheaper than the current qualifying path.

The division, which represents 70,000 young lawyers and law students in England and Wales, says that it is 'very likely' that SQE candidates would (subject to the available funding) want to opt for a preparatory course before taking the exam.

The division also expresses concern about social mobility and warns that if reasonable funding options are not made available, candidates unable to afford the preparatory course may opt for the SQE only, which could result in lower marks.

In a wide-ranging consultation response seen by the Gazette the JLD also expresses concern that students from less privileged backgrounds may fall into debt during the work experience element of the exam.

The JLD also calls for a further consultation on the content of the exam and says it still has concerns over the use of multiple choice questions.

It also seeks further clarity as to what will be accepted as a 'degree equivalent'. 'This is an important element of the SQE and we ask that this be defined very clearly so as to avoid any ambiguity,' it says.

Source: The Law Society Gazette

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