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Foreign Qualified Lawyers

SQE for foreign lawyers
sqe preparation courses for foreign lawyers

Foreign Qualified Lawyers

Becoming a Dual-Qualified English Solicitor

As a lawyer, you are a well-trained, trusted, and hard-working part of a prestigious and well-regarded profession, working in a highly competitive environment.

The days of your primary professional qualification being enough to secure your career are gone. The legal market – and indeed the world of business – is changing radically. If you want to carve out your place in the legal world, you need to go beyond the norm.

Lawyers now form part of an increasingly interconnected world, spanning several jurisdictions and different legal systems. This has spawned a multitude of potential clients, and produces an effect – the need for legal services on an international and global level.

Globalisation of the Legal Profession

In view of the growing competitiveness among lawyers and challenging global economic conditions, it is insufficient in this era to master a single legal system only. This is especially true as a result of the globalisation trends that tend to make the whole world into one big village, through the development of international trade and open markets, as well as the growth and proliferation of multi-national corporations.

These general advancements bring about changes in the nature of the work of lawyers and the law- office environment, technically and professionally. The mergers of law offices and proliferation of worldwide partnerships and cooperation among law offices require law firms to enlist foreign legal experts and lawyers who are familiar with the “Alien Legal System” in their remote business arena.

Separately, many international businesses and corporations are expanding into new markets and the legal counselling they require is increasingly more in the nature of competition advice concerning the establishment of distribution channels. Moreover, International law firms desire to establish cross-referral relationships with other solicitors from England and Europe.

There are many British companies, businesses, and other interests almost in every country around the world, and mutually beneficial networking opportunities are abundant.

English Law – the Most Popular Choice of Law for Cross-Border Commercial Agreements

Lauded for its fairness, certainty, and commerciality, English law remains the preferred governing law for global business and jurisdiction for dispute resolution. The perceived neutrality, impartiality, and the appropriateness of the English law have been indicated as extremely important factors in the choice of governing law.

A survey conducted in 2010 by Queen Mary, University of London and sponsored by White & Case LLP: ‘Choices in International Arbitration’ – reveals that 40% of the corporations use English law as the governing law of cross-border transactions, followed by 17% who use New York law.

Moreover, London was referred to as the most preferred and widely used seat of arbitration or litigation, with a reputation for a fair, efficient, and impartial judiciary. London is widely recognised as one of the major financial centres of the world. More than half of the businesses in the FTSE 100 and over a fifth of Europe’s largest 500 companies have their headquarters in London, while 75% of the Fortune 55 companies have an office in London. Despite Brexit, this is unlikely to change.

The Market for Lawyers with International Expertise

The market for dual-qualified English solicitors both in the UK and internationally has always been strong. Law firms acknowledge the unique set of skills and expertise that foreign lawyers and dual-qualified English solicitors possess, and actively continue to recruit this type of exceptionally talented individuals with a multi-dimensional approach to law.

Almost on a daily basis, you read in the legal press about UK law firms expanding internationally, opening offices in new countries and merging with overseas firms to further increase their international dominance. In addition, many international law firms continue to open offices in the UK as it offers a bridge from Asia and the US to the European Union market and beyond. The UK legal market has been and will continue to expand both rapidly and globally, and UK law firms will need the experience and language skills that foreign practitioners and dual-qualified lawyers can offer.

Widen Your Career Opportunities and Enhance Your Professional Profile

As the most popular choice of law for cross-border commercial agreements, knowledge, and experience of English law can play a key role in establishing yourself as a trusted and versatile international lawyer.

While the global reputation of the training and qualification process in England and Wales is well regarded, the title of English solicitor is more than just an addition to your CV or resumé. Carrying the ‘English solicitor’ title enhances the marketability of foreign lawyers, especially of those whose practice areas are cross-border transactions, international commercial contracts, maritime and shipping law, financing, mergers and acquisitions, and international arbitration – as agreements in these areas are typically governed by the laws of England and Wales.

An international lawyer who dual-qualifies as an English solicitor gains a number of advantages – for their own personal development and for their career:

  • Widening your career opportunities
  • Enhancing your professional profile, and reputation in your home jurisdiction
  • Advising your clients on matters of English law
  • Working as a solicitor in England and Wales
  • Positioning yourself as an international arbitration and dispute resolution specialist
  • Winning more business and increasing revenue potential

As a world leader in the provision of services, the UK legal profession has always played a significant role in influencing the development of legal and regulatory regimes internationally.

SQE as an Opportunity

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) unlocks the opportunity for overseas lawyers just like you to advance their legal career by becoming English solicitors.

The SQE is the official entrance exam all candidates must take in order to qualify as English solicitors, whatever their legal background and qualification and whether they trained in the UK or elsewhere.

By completing a two-stage assessment sets, you could obtain the prestigious English solicitor qualification in just a few months.

Eligibility of Foreign Qualified Lawyers to take the SQE

Foreign qualified lawyers from other jurisdictions outside England and Wales are eligible to apply to become English solicitors through the SQE, and must:

  • hold a legal professional qualification which confers practice rights in an overseas jurisdiction (you don’t have to have a practising certificate or actually be exercising the rights – provided you have a qualification that confers those rights)
  • pass both parts of the SQE
  • have a degree or qualifications or experience which are equivalent to a degree
  • satisfy the SRA’s character and suitability requirements

Foreign lawyers do not need to acquire any qualifying work experience (QWE) or undergo any training before taking the SQE assessments or applying for admission.

Foreign Candidates with a Non-UK Degree

If you are a foreign candidate with a non-UK degree (either in law or other discipline), and you are not a qualified lawyer, you may still be eligible to qualify as a solicitor through the SQE.

You will need to show that your non-UK qualification is equivalent to either a UK degree or equivalent UK qualification through a UK NARIC Statement of Comparability.

You will also need to fulfill the two-year period of QWE like other domestic candidates who pursue the SQE.

QLTS School Works Hard to Ensure Your SQE Preparation is Easy

In 2021, the SQE will replace the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) assessments. The SQE is modelled on the QLTS assessment framework, but tests a broader range of legal and practical skills.

For over a decade, we have prepared thousands of individual lawyers and candidates from the world’s top law firms for the QLTS assessments, the model on which the SQE assessments are based.

We now offer a range of SQE preparation courses so that you can join fellow successful candidates from around the world in dual-qualifying as an English solicitor through the SQE.

Watch this video presentation to learn more about our SQE training for foreign qualified lawyers:

Our SQE Preparation Courses

We appreciate how busy you are – therefore we have designed a flexible preparation course so you can study when convenient for you, whether you are based in the UK or anywhere else in the world, and whether you work part-time or full time.

Our SQE preparation course addresses every aspect of the SQE Assessments Specification and provides you with everything you need to pass the SQE on the first attempt.

Our courses for the SQE include professionally written textbooks, video tutorials, dozens of mock exams with model answers, web-based training and extensive tutor support.

Whether you are a lawyer qualified in a common law jurisdiction (such as the US, Australia, Singapore etc.), or if you are qualified in a civil law jurisdiction (such as in one of the EU countries, Russia, Japan, China, South Korea, Brazil, Turkey and others), QLTS School offers you the materials, resources and support you need to confidently attempt and pass the SQE assessments on the first attempt and gain a competitive advantage in a fast-moving professional world.

Learn more about how we can help you succeed on the SQE.

 
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