updated on 20 July 2022
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Metro Bank has become one of the first in-house legal teams in the financial services sector to support aspiring solicitors through the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) on their way to qualification.
The bank has developed a two-year qualification process that sees candidates study for SQE1 and 2, while gaining the necessary qualifying work experience (QWE) with the bank’s legal team. BARBRI will deliver the part-time SQE preparation that candidates will undertake alongside their vocational training at Metro Bank.
The bank, which services more than 2.5 million customer accounts, chose BARBRI to deliver the SQE programme due to its “AI-powered adaptive learning technology” and because it is “not reliant on classroom-based learning but with full learning coach support”, meaning that candidates can learn effectively while completing their QWE at the bank.
Stephanie Wallace, general counsel at Metro Bank, said: “As a community bank with diversity and inclusion in our DNA, we are delighted to be offering a route to legal qualification in-house. I am especially pleased to be able to support our first trainee, Harki Panesar, who has shown great promise since beginning her career with Metro Bank in store as a cashier and working her way up to paralegal within the legal team. We can’t wait to see Harki qualify as a solicitor and we look forward to supporting other aspiring solicitors with a bright future at Metro Bank.”
Victoria Cromwell, senior director of business development at BARBRI Global, said: “The path to qualification as a solicitor is changing, but most legal education still revolves around a rigid, narrow, entrenched system that’s designed to turn graduates into law firm associates. The SQE provides a new opportunity to provide legal education that is flexible, focusing on new skills, roles and disciplines, and embracing new ways of working.
“As a result, in-house teams now have an exciting opportunity to grow and nurture their talent through different and innovative pathways to qualification, with a much greater focus on attraction, development and retention, and we are delighted to be working with Metro Bank to support their talented lawyers to qualify.”
Last week we reported that the BBC had opened applications for its graduate apprenticeship scheme which will see candidates qualify through the SQE while working in the BBC’s extended legal team.