Qualifying Work Experience in England and Wales: The Opportunities and Risks Presented to University Law Clinics

Published date01 January 2023
Date01 January 2023
Subject MatterArticles
Qualifying Work Experience in
England and Wales: The
Opportunities and Risks
Presented to University
Law Clinics
Andrea Todd1 and Lucy Blackburn2
This commentary details the sweeping changes to the route to qualification as a solicitor in England
and Wales brought about in September 2021 and considers the opportunities and risks presented to
university law school clinics by one aspect of this route: the new system of Qualifying Work Experience
(QWE). The article reflects on the opportunities for law clinic development, innovation and recognition
offered by QWE and weighs these up against the potential risks that will need to be managed carefully
to avoid them becoming a threat to law clinic enhancement. The article considers the results of an early
data gathering exercise to garner clinician and student volunteer perspectives on QWE within its first
year of operation.
The rules regulating the route to qualication as a solicitor in England and Wales changed fundamentally
in September 2021. Prior to this date, individuals wishing to qualify as a solicitor were required to
demonstrate that they:
1. held an undergraduate qualifying law degree (or the postgraduate Graduate Diploma in Law
(GDL) for those with a non-law degree);
2. had passed the postgraduate Legal Practice Course (LPC);
3. had completed a period of recognized training or training contract3;
4. had passed the professional skills course and
5. at the point of admission can confirm they meet the character and suitability requirements
prescribed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
1 University of Chester, Chester, UK.
2 University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.
3 Two years’ full-time equivalent period of on-the-job training with a firm of solicitors.
Asian Journal of Legal Education
10(1) 101–110, 2023
© 2022 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/23220058221126654
Corresponding author:
Andrea Todd, Director of Pro Bono and Community Engagement, University of Chester, Chester CH1 4BJ, UK.
E-mail: andrea.todd@chester.ac.uk

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