Mishcon de Reya to support refugee lawyers requalifying in England and Wales

updated on 28 February 2022

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Mishcon de Reya LLP has partnered with legal education provider BARBRI Global to prepare refugee lawyers for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) and help them requalify as solicitors in England and Wales.

The partnership involves the firm and BARBRI working with refugee charity Breaking Barriers to offer a number of fully-funded SQE1 preparation courses each year to refugee lawyers.

For more on funding this route into the profession visit LCN’s finances page.

There is currently “no national strategy to support refugees in the UK to take their first steps into work”, according to Matthew Powell, CEO and founder of the charity. The purpose of this initiative is to improve access to the profession.

Matthew added: “With support from partners such as BARBRI and Mishcon de Reya, we can support people from a refugee background to access the legal profession and acquire the knowledge, confidence, experience and qualifications they need to gain stable, fulfilling employment matching their skills and aspirations.”

The SQE, which was introduced in September 2021, has replaced the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) as the route to qualification for lawyers qualified in another jurisdiction who want to requalify in England and Wales. Mishcon de Reya and BARBRI will work together to prepare such lawyers for the SQE.

Find out whether you fall within the SRA’s transitional arrangements for the QLTS.

Samantha Kakati, a partner at Mishcon de Reya and co-training principal, said: "Refugees have a valuable contribution to make to both the profession and to our society.  However, without proper support, that potential is overlooked and we squander experience, knowledge and skills that could otherwise enrich the operation and progress of not only the profession and legal systems as a whole, but the experience of each of us as participants in it and beneficiaries of it. The legal profession should reflect and represent our society. That means continuing to improve access to, and equity in, the profession, particularly for those who are currently underrepresented. This was one of the drivers of a fundamental change in the qualification process by the introduction of the SQE. This partnership is one of the ways in which we have committed to practical change in the right direction."

Want to find out what else firms, chambers and education providers are doing to improve access to the profession? Visit LCN's Diversity hub, sponsored by Gowling WLG (UK) LLP.

BARBRI’s flexible programme offering and adapted learning technology, means lawyers are able to study while continuing to work. Victoria Cromwell, the education provider’s senior director of business development, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Mishcon de Reya to train its lawyers qualified outside of England and Wales for the SQE, and we are particularly proud of the partnership we have established with Mishcon de Reya and Breaking Barriers to support refugee lawyers to become qualified as solicitors in England and Wales.”

For more information on the SQE head to LCN’s SQE hub.