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BARBRI launches QWE competition alongside The SQuarE Route

BARBRI launches QWE competition alongside The SQuarE Route


Leading legal education provider BARBRI and The SQuarE Route have announced the launch of their Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) initiative, QWE Kickstart, this week

The scheme has been designed to support those undertaking the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) who are looking to satisfy the two-year QWE requirement and it will provide access to leading law firms and corporations. Last year, the SQuarE Route placed students at Linklaters, Macfarlanes, Addleshaw Goddard, AstraZeneca, KPMG and many more, with similar opportunities available as part of this initiative. Candidates will receive a minimum of six months of QWE, and the individual firms and corporations have the opportunity to decide whether this is extended. 

  • BARBRI and The SQuarE Route to offer a minimum of six months of QWE to BARBRI SQE1 Prep students
  • It will help to break down barriers to entry for aspiring legal professionals
  • Successful candidates will have access to leading law firms and in-house teams

Speaking of the launch, Robert Dudley, head of employability and engagement for BARBRI, explained: “While firms of all sizes across England and Wales continue to review how and when they will embrace the SQE, QWE remains a key element for consideration. There is still some confusion and apprehension surrounding it from both candidates and employers, in terms of how it is gained, what is being signed off, and what truly counts as qualifying experience. That’s why we are proactively working to help ease this transition through initiatives like QWE Kickstart, which I’m incredibly proud to introduce today.

“Not only is this essential to the SRA’s overarching mission to improve accessibility and create a profession that is more representative of society today, but it will underpin the SQE’s ongoing implementation across the industry.”

As part of the initiative and to support employability skills for aspiring solicitors, successful applicants will also have access to masterclasses in CV, cover letter and application writing, commercial awareness training, and skills training to help with competency interviews, case study tasks and presentations. As part of this, they will receive a mentor and the opportunity to attend mock HR interviews and mock assessment centres.

Dudley continued: “While practical legal skills are essential for initial qualification, aspiring lawyers hoping to enter the profession today will need to have a broad range of personal skills at their disposal too, including the creation of successful job applications, CV writing and more. Despite being best known for successfully supporting SQE preparation, we like to look at the full picture of an individual, which is why we believe it’s essential that these skills are supported as part of this initiative.”

Matt Bell, a qualified solicitor, 2023 Law Society Legal Hero nominee, and founder of The SQuarE Route, added: “I’m pleased to announce our collaboration with BARBRI today. We truly appreciate how crucial improved diversity and accessibility are to the legal profession - now and in the future. So we want to support as many aspiring solicitors as possible on their road towards qualification by broadening access to qualification through the SQE, and QWE is an essential element in making that a reality. We look forward to welcoming the successful candidates in 2024 and seeing the impact of this initiative first-hand.”

Applications for QWE Kickstart are open to all BARBRI SQE1 Prep course candidates who are preparing for the July 2024 SQE1 assessment. Those applying will need to submit four mini-essays (250 words in length each) for consideration and there will be a limited number of placements available.