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Equivalent means qualification has failed to make its mark

Unanswered questions and a lack of publicity mean paralegals are not pursuing the alternative route to qualification, explains Max Harris

12 May 2015

On 15 April 2015, the first solicitor to qualify through equivalent means was admitted to the profession, as reported by SJ. This has put the spotlight back on equivalent means qualification, which was quietly introduced by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) back in July 2014.

Equivalent means allows paralegals who have done the equivalent to the legal practice course, professional skills course, and training contract to qualify as a solicitor (hence it has been dubbed the ‘paralegal shortcut’). At its core, it sounds fair and should have the potential to shake up the legal market. But nearly a year on from its introduction, we have not seen any evidence of this.

The Institute of Paralegals estimates there are 60,000 paralegals working in solicitors firms, and a further 250,000 outside the legal profession who have jobs which entail a significant legal element. With 28 eq...

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