updated on 18 November 2016
Over 100 people have now qualified as solicitors through working as paralegals, instead of a traditional training contract.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) Training for Tomorrow reforms introduced the option to qualify as a solicitor without completing a training contract in 2014, enabling people to complete the ‘period of recognised training’ by instead gaining equivalent legal experience through paralegal work (the requirement to have completed the Legal Practice Course also remains the same). The first paralegal to qualify as a solicitor through the ‘equivalent means’ route did so in 2015, and SRA figures reported by Legal Cheek reveal that the new pathway has since begun to take off – the number of successful equivalent means applicants now stands at 105.
Julie Brannan, the SRA’s director of education and training, commented: “I am very pleased to see the numbers of equivalent means applications continuing to grow steadily. However, pulling the evidence together to make an application can be daunting. I hope that being more flexible about legal work experience, but requiring all intending solicitors to take the same, rigorous assessment, as we have proposed in our [Solicitors Qualifying Examination] consultation, would encourage even more, talented people to qualify as solicitors.”