As the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) draws closer and closer, the first course aimed at preparing students for it has been announced. Yesterday, BPP University Law School revealed details of its new Law Conversion Course (PGDL) designed to help non-law graduates be work-ready and meet the specific demands of the SQE.
Ahead of the SQE's proposed introduction in 2021, BPP's course will be available to students from 2020. It will include all the foundations of legal knowledge tested by the SQE, including Company Law, and will also ensure students have an awareness of the key commercial concepts and practice skills expected by prospective employers.
BPPs PGDL will be suitable for barristers and solicitors, with aspiring barristers continuing onto further training with the law school and solicitors progressing onto either the LPC or upcoming SQE preparation courses, subject to the SRA’s transitional rules on the SQE.
The new course will last for eight months with the study set at a pace suited to highly capable graduates. It will have a modular structure that will spread student workload evenly across the course rather than a single end-of-year exam season and more contact time with expert tutors will be spent in small group workshops to help to further develop students’ understanding and professional skills.
Laura McBrien, lead designer of the PGDL at BPP University Law School, explains that: “changes to regulation in the training of both solicitors and barristers have given us the opportunity to think about how we can best support our students: ensuring they are engaged and motivated in their learning, spreading their assessment load and making them better prepared for their future professional studies and career."
Additions to the programme have been made following extensive research by BPP which showed over three-quarters of City firms will expect their trainees to arrive with more workplace skills than just basic test preparation that the SQE assessments will provide.
“We are excited that the new structure and content will help students to reflect, progress, and ensure they are ready for the world of work following the completion of our programme, whatever their career aspirations", said Laura.
It's possible to do the new course as part of an LLM, which will come as good news for students hoping to access postgraduate funding. Initially, students will be able to access funding by completing a professional research project. As the SQE draws nearer, BPP says it will introduce several further options, including the ability to study the areas of legal practice tested by SQE Stage 1. In one single LLM programme non-law graduates could, therefore, have all of the training they will need to take them right through to passing SQE Stage 1.
The current GDL offered by BPP will remain unaffected by these changes and will continue to be offered until Spring 2020. Students starting either the current GDL or the new PGDL will be able to qualify as a solicitor or barrister either under the current regulatory requirements or under the new, subject to the SRA’s transitional rules on the SQE.
More information on BPP’s new September 2020 Law Conversion Course (PGDL) can be found here. Pricing for the new PGDL will be confirmed in October along with all BPP’s other Law School programmes for 2020/21.