Clinical Legal Education as Qualifying Work Experience

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The LETR set out many recommendations and findings for legal education, such as the professional competencies required for legal practice, derived from Epstein and Hundert’s Professional Competencies in Medicine. In response to this, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) published a Statement of Solicitor Competence, underpinned by a Statement of Legal Knowledge. Such competencies are to be assessed by way of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), which is intended to test both a candidate’s legal knowledge (SQE 1) and their legal skills (SQE 2).
In addition, Recommendation 15 of the LETR report stated that “arrangements for periods of supervised practice should also be reviewed to remove unnecessary restrictions on training environments and organisations and to facilitate additional opportunities for qualification”. Following the spirit of this recommendation, the SRA has confirmed that in future, work experience undertaken outside of a traditional training contract, including in a student law clinic, will count towards the required period of qualifying work experience (QWE).
This decision will of course be of interest to law schools, particularly those that already have some form of clinical programme where there is the potential for students to develop solicitor competences. However, a consideration must be made of the challenges that law schools may face if they choose to engage in QWE; and what practical considerations will they need to bear in mind if they decide to certify that the student has had the opportunity to develop the solicitor competences. Legal clinics, focused on the practical application of the law to real life legal problems, potentially present an opportunity for students to begin to develop their solicitor competences. However, the extent to which such competences are developed, and the consequences of signing off on QWE require further exploration.
Based on the presenters’ experiences in a live client legal clinic, this paper will explore whether law clinics can offer QWE and the practicalities which will have to be considered if law schools wish to do so.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2018
EventThe Legal Education and Training Review - Five Years On - Leeds
Duration: 25 Jun 201825 Jun 2018


ConferenceThe Legal Education and Training Review - Five Years On
Abbreviated titleLETR 5 Years On
Internet address


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