Career lessons

Planning your next career move: what do you want to achieve?

The legal industry has a reputation for being highly competitive when it comes to securing a coveted training contract. However, for many lawyers, the real competition begins post qualification in the race to progress to senior associate and potentially make partner. With the recent pandemic turning the legal industry on its head and sector winners and losers emerging overnight, career prospects have also become ‘make or break’ for many.

However, while uncertain times are unsettling, they can also provide a unique opportunity to rise to the challenge and showcase the reasons why you’re a valuable asset to your firm. With everyone from trainee to senior partner having to react and adapt as we emerge from the pandemic, demonstrating an agile mindset and the key skills you bring to your firm (or a potential firm) is more important than ever to make sure you stand out.


Build relationships

Your technical skillset and legal knowledge may be similar to that of your peers. However, your ability to build strong relationships with clients and colleagues as you climb the ranks is where you have an opportunity to shine. Even if you have exemplary knowledge of a certain area of law, if you can’t earn the trust and respect of others and build rapport, your career prospects will suffer. The adage ‘people buy people’ is as true for professional services as any other sector.

Research by legal software company Wolters Kluwers in 2020 found that ‘meeting changing client/leadership expectations’ was one of the biggest challenges international lawyers predicted they would face post-pandemic. In times of a challenging economic climate, this is never truer as you rely on the strength of your relationships with clients and colleagues to manage expectations and navigate unchartered waters. With this in mind, developing your softer skills is very important in achieving your career ambitions.


Find your USP

Another way to break from the ranks and progress your career is to think about what you can offer that is different from others. In marketing, this is called your ‘Unique Selling Point’ or USP. It might sound corny but identifying and exploiting it is how many household names have won out above their competitors. Do you speak other languages? Do you have a voluntary role outside of work, such as trustee of a local charity or chair of a local business group, that could bring kudos to your firm? What skills have you invested in? Have you undertaken any additional professional qualifications? The key is to find something that you have a genuine passion for and to harness this to your advantage – and of course that of your employer!


Take an international outlook

One way that lawyers who are interested in working internationally have expanded their horizons is to cross qualify so they can practice in other jurisdictions. This enables them to fulfil their career ambitions and benefit their clients and firm by offering a higher level of service and better ROI. The Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), which is the SRA recognised qualification for lawyers seeking to cross qualify and practice law in England and Wales, has been specially designed to allow legal professionals to study and work at the same time.

In many cases, lawyers qualify in under a year, which means those already working can still enhance their career prospects and take advantage of the increased demand for cross-qualified lawyers. One further point to note is that the QLTS is changing in October 2021, so many savvy lawyers are getting ahead and enrolling now.


Turn to technology

If technology is your thing then there has never been a better time to build your expertise and position yourself as the ‘go-to’ person in the firm. Despite recognising its importance and potential, pre-pandemic, many firms hadn’t seized the opportunity provided by new technologies. However, having had no choice but to embrace tech to keep operations going when lockdown first hit, this sentiment has rapidly changed, and for the better.

Homeworking technologies have been embraced, and this shift in attitude has also opened the door to other emerging technologies. From live chat to AI through to Cryptocurrency – there are many areas of technology where an associate with a keen interest and knowledge in a particular topic could easily become the expert in their firm and play an important part in its future, as recently noted by our own Chris Jorgenson.

For more information about the QLTS prep course and to speak with one of the team, get in touch today:


Why QLTS now?

Why take the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme now?

The legal industry is becoming increasingly competitive worldwide, with firms proving to be even more selective about the professionals they choose to bring on board. As the sector prepares for the further globalisation of the legal industry, cross-qualification is becoming an important requirement for individuals looking to get ahead and firms who wish to expand their offering. The Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) allows legal professionals to dual-qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales, a prestigious addition to any CV. However, the method for cross-qualification will be changing from September 2021 with the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) meaning that the QLTS route into qualification will eventually be phased out. So why should you choose the QLTS now and why should BARBRI be a part of your journey? Well, here are five reasons…


1. Reach your goals quickly

Have you set your professional aspirations and long-term goals? If this sounds like you, you’ll already know how important it is to put measurable benchmarks in place and to implement various (realistic) steps to help you get there. If you’re looking to demonstrate your practical skills and practise law across a variety of regions to support your firm’s global impact, the QLTS can help you get there now instead of waiting for the SQE in 2021. Nearly 15% of all current admission to the roll of solicitors in England and Wales are through the QLTS, proving its success thus far.


2. Take advantage of virtual learning

With many countries across the world still under lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19, it has put a halt to business operations and for some, this has also included team development time. However, BARBRI offers a complete suite of online legal courses (and have been doing so for quite some time), including QLTS Prep. This means that students can still get the full QLTS experience from the comfort of their own homes – and they’re encouraged to. With a mix of online learning materials and tutors to help keep learners engaged, distance learning isn’t a problem.


3. Experience a supportive, personalised approach

You may have already worked alongside BARBRI in the past for your bar exam or perhaps you’ve not yet had the pleasure. But we’ve been operating in the legal training industry for over 50 years and have the experience needed to get you over that line. Over 1000 people take the QLTS annually and the pass rates can vary but at BARBRI, our pass rate is 78% among first-time takers. Plus, we receive positive feedback time and time again from our students worldwide, particularly regarding the one-to-one support they received. So, when working with us, you can rest assured that you will get a personalised experience with all the guidance and support you need to get the results to succeed.


4. Accelerate your career progression

You may have set your own goals, but your manager/leader will also look to align your personal objectives to that of the firm’s business targets and growth plans.  It’s always good to bear this in mind and to be able to demonstrate what you bring as an individual to the firm to aid progression.  Whether you want to cross qualify for practical reasons including relocation or perhaps you’re looking to add a competitive edge, it will make you invaluable to your employer. QLTS will allow you to act on behalf of all clients in England and Wales and will allow you to practise under a wider jurisdiction, supporting clients on international legal matters, which will undoubtedly support your career prospects.


5. Access the support you need

No matter how capable we are, we all need a little extra support sometimes. Plus, it can be daunting to start any new training programme, particularly if it is a financial investment in your career. But with BARBRI, you can access support throughout the QLTS process from the moment you sign up with our sales team. Our pastoral care programme includes a mentor who is individually assigned to you for your MCT course to provide motivation and guidance throughout your study. Plus, you’ll be provided with a tutor for the OSCE who will be able to supply one-to-one practice with scheduled practice sessions through four scheduled calls. You’ll also receive written feedback from your tutor on any practice submissions, meaning our team will be with you throughout.


Your decision will ultimately be driven by timelines – how quickly do you want to cross-qualify? What professional goals do you already have in place? If you sign up now to the QLTS, you can rest assured that you won’t be disregarded once the SQE is introduced in 2021 and you won’t have to change qualification routes. Those who have cleared the QLTS MCT will be able to sit for the OSCE until 2022. So if you’re worried that you won’t have time to complete the full course by Autumn, there are considerations in place for you.


If you have any further questions, we’re here to help. So, for more information, speak to our team today>>>

Preparing for the QLTS as a Working Attorney

Preparing for the QLTS While Working

[ By Claire Flores , Senior Legal Manager, Americas, BARBRI International ]

Preparing for the QLTS

There is no single right way to simultaneously work and study when becoming dual-qualified as an English solicitor. Every individual is different. With that being said, I am happy to share my personal story of what it has been like to work full-time and study for the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) as a licensed Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) attorney.

I will confess upfront that the thought of re-engaging in a study routine was a little unnerving. I sat the state bar exam in 2014―I can’t believe it was half a decade ago! This summer, however, I decided to take the multiple-choice portion of the QLTS, known as the MCT. It had been five busy years since I had taken an exam of any kind.

The MCT exam assesses your knowledge on 11 subjects in English Law. There is a lot of material that can come up. From knowledge of the English and European judicial review process to understanding the European Human Rights Act of 1998. Thankfully, the QLTS Prep by BARBRI Personal Study Plan (PSP) made it easy for me to organize my time and work through the program like a to-do list. My online PSP gave me the right combination of substance and skills learning, so I could expedite my studies while still boosting my understanding and retention.

If you are a working attorney with the desire to take on the QLTS, I’d like to offer a few tips from my own experience to help reintroduce you to studying and exam-taking after some time away.

Set a Routine, and Stick with It

My typical workday runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so I had to make time around these hours for my QLTS studies. The MCT exam started at 8 a.m. sharp, or 7 a.m. in my time zone, and my brain works better in the morning. For this reason, I made a conscious decision to rise at 6 a.m. during the week to complete a couple of hours of study until work began.

This routine might not be your cup of tea. It’s important to find a consistent study pattern that won’t become disruptive to your job or other commitments. Find what works, and stick with it.

Channel Your Best Efficient Self

For me, creating a mini cheat sheet was the best way for me to process and remember the information in a timely fashion. I found it immensely helpful to create my cheat sheet after watching a lecture and reading the outline to internalize the rules in my mind.

When I was asked to “revise” something, I would then quiz myself from my cheat sheet. If I truly didn’t understand a concept, I would go back to the outline to review the chapter again. Afterward, I used practice questions and mixed sets to drill the information into my memory. Seeing the different ways a certain fact or word would distinguish one answer from the next was incredibly helpful.

This was my approach to my bar exam studies using the QLTS Prep by BARBRI PSP, and it worked well for me. Essentially, you want to reflect on your most efficient techniques for reviewing, and keep them up.

Make It Fun

Consider the subjects that you most enjoyed in law school and think about how the English system is different. The differences between the U.S. Constitution and the U.K. “Constitution” (Hint: They don’t actually have a document called the Constitution) was fascinating to me. Learning about those differences felt more like a fun method of discovery than rigorous studying of new subjects. Being curious about the various areas of law helped me better remember topics in the long run for the MCT.

Lean On Your Mentor While Preparing for the QLTS

QLTS Prep by BARBRI provides you with a one-on-one mentor who is available throughout the program to discuss your study habits and how you are doing as you are preparing for the QLTS. They will be honest with you on your progress, good or bad, and provide guidance as to how to improve. My mentor was great at recommending assignments that helped me spend my study time where it would yield the best results. I could tell my mentor was deeply committed to helping me pass the MCT exam―and it paid off.

I recently learned that I passed the MCT portion of the QLTS!! Thank you, BARBRI. Now on to the OSCE.

Assessments of the QLTS


By Chris Jorgenson, Head of International Bar Review – BARBRI International

I am a U.S.-qualified lawyer who just recently found out I passed both assessments of the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS). I am now entitled to apply for admission to the Roll of Solicitors in England and Wales. Until I moved to England in 2016, it was not known to me that foreign-trained lawyers from certain countries are eligible to qualify as solicitors without having to follow England’s traditional route into practice. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to internationalise my career in this way.

Reflecting on my experience preparing for the QLTS, some tips come to mind that I’d like to pass along. Find what works best for you as you embark on the journey to dual qualifications. Best of luck with your assessments of the QLTS preparations.

Become a U.S.-qualified lawyer in London

Skip the Cram Sessions

It is best not to leave your studies and exam preparation solely for the weekends. Carve out a bit of time during the week to study, and then hit the revisions harder on the weekends. Considering the amount of law you are expected to know over the course of the Multiple Choice Test (MCT) and Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) assessments, the degree of understanding required takes time to digest and retain. These are not exams for which you can cram.

Take the Assessments Seriously

On the OSCE especially, you should not underestimate the level of detail you will be expected to know. The OSCE assessment is designed to test your degree of legal procedure skill in areas such as legal research, client interviewing, and legal drafting. On the assessment you are also expected to present the law at issue both correctly and comprehensively. The OSCE assessment casts a wide net in terms of subjects covered. It will serve you well to develop a strong level of procedural understanding as you go into the OSCE.

Get Comfortable with Not Knowing Everything

Approach the assessments with the mindset of developing an understanding of all outcomes being tested, but do not get hung up on needing to know every detail of every subject. QLTS Prep by BARBRI does a good job of introducing you to the material most likely to be tested, which greatly saves you time. As lawyers, we tend to get uncomfortable with not knowing every eventuality or not being prepared for every risk. But the QLTS is a pass/fail assessment, and you won’t know every aspect of every subject being tested. Get comfortable from the outset with not knowing everything.

Rely on Your Experience

Because you will not likely be prepared for every eventuality on the QLTS, you will need to utilise your lawyering skills. Use deductive reasoning and problem-solving, and draw from external knowledge somewhere along the way. Whether it’s doctrinal law being tested on the MCT or demonstrating a skill you have developed through years of law practice. Be sure to keep in mind and apply the fact that you are a qualified lawyer in your home jurisdiction.

My experience preparing for and passing the assessments for the QLTS was equal parts exciting and challenging. The assessments will demand a lot from you. It will require hard work and commitment during the preparation phase. But, the opportunity exists to demonstrate the skills and knowledge you have developed over the years in your practice. I look forward to seeing you on the other side!

Solicitor: Internationalize Now to Make Life Easier Later

By Victoria Cromwell, Head of U.K. Programmes
BARBRI International

Solicitor Qualifications

The introduction of the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) in Autumn 2021 will mark the end of the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), the current route to admittance as a solicitor in England and Wales for foreign-qualified lawyers.

The SQE will introduce a common, national examination that all prospective solicitors. Whether U.K. graduates or foreign-qualified lawyers―they will need to pass to qualify in England and Wales. The SQE is in two stages: SQE 1 will focus on legal knowledge and procedure; SQE 2 will focus on practical legal skills.

As things stand, the Multiple Choice Test (MCT) portion of the QLTS exam will no longer be available after July 2021. There will be a year grace period for the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), however. This means there are several opportunities for foreign-qualified lawyers to sit and pass the QLTS before the SQE is implemented, and there are advantages to taking this route while you still have the time.

Qualifying Work Experience

Passing the QLTS exam is currently the only requirement for qualification as a solicitor in England and Wales. There is no need to undertake any period of training or work experience. Post-2021, foreign-qualified lawyers may need to prove a minimum of two years’ professional experience in order to satisfy the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) requirement of competence to practice.

On the plus side, the SRA is considering whether this experience might qualify as an exemption from some or all of the SQE exams. The reality is that it will be difficult for the majority of foreign-qualified lawyers to be able to demonstrate the required competence and knowledge of English and Welsh law, particularly if they have trained in a civil law country.

The English Language Test

The current SRA proposal for the SQE includes an English language test requirement, where necessary. There is currently no such requirement for admittance as a solicitor in England and Wales after passing the QLTS assessments.

Exam Format

The current QLTS MCT exam consists of 180 multiple-choice test questions examined in one day over two sittings of 2 hours and 45 minutes each. This means students have roughly 1.8 minutes to answer each question. MCT students study purely substantive law, spread over 11 outcomes.

By contrast, the first stage of the SQE, SQE 1, is expected to be two exams each of 180 questions administered over two days. This is double the requirement of the QLTS MCT. The subject coverage is also greater, incorporating the procedural law of dispute resolution, property practice, and business practice.

The current OSCE exam covers the skills of:

  1. legal writing,
  2. legal research,
  3. drafting,
  4. advocacy, and
  5. client interviewing and preparation of an attendance note.

The skills assessed as follows: in the context of business law and practice, property and probate, and civil and criminal litigation. Over six half-days, there are eighteen assessments requiring students to not only become competent in the procedural law not covered by the MCT exam but also to  master the skills.

While following a similar format to the OSCE, SQE 2 will require students to be competent in:

  1. client interviewing,
  2. advocacy/persuasive oral communication,
  3. case and matter analysis,
  4. legal research and written advice, and
  5. legal drafting.

The context of the assessments will be set in dispute resolution, property, business practice, criminal practice, and wills and the administration of estates and trusts. Current understanding is that each of the skills will be assessed twice, making for a total of ten assessments. On paper, this means the SQE 2 may be slightly less onerous than the OSCE, and all of the law required to be studied will have been covered in SQE 1.

Timetable for Passing

Candidates will have three attempts to pass each SQE 1 assessment. Currently, there is no restriction on the number of times a candidate can sit the QLTS MCT (although there is obviously now a stopping point for the taking of this exam).

Exam Cost

The provisional fee range for the SQE exam has been confirmed as between £3,000 and £4,500 (up to nearly $4,995) for the two stages of the assessment. The QLTS exam currently costs £3,490, or just over $4,000. If the SQE assessments come out at the top end of the SRA’s estimate, which is our prediction given the extra complexity of the SQE 1 exam, this will be significantly higher than the current QLTS exam fees.

This alone is a good reason to start the process now to qualify as an English solicitor. You will likely save money and time by taking the QLTS path to internationalize your legal career.

Internationalize Your Career: How to Differentiate, Become an English Solicitor within One Year

By Claire Flores, Senior Legal Manager, Americas
BARBRI International

Like many other attorneys, I have always had an interest in international and English law, but never knew about dual qualification as a solicitor. Fortunately, BARBRI revealed a straightforward path for U.S. attorneys like me to become solicitors in just one year through the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) and QLTS assessments. When I became aware of this opportunity, I jumped at the chance to internationalize my career, broaden my options, and increase my employability in the U.S. market and abroad.

England has long been a popular destination for United States attorneys seeking to work overseas, offer multi-jurisdictional legal advice, or both. Although many attorneys get the call to move to London, many others (including me) seek to dual-qualify as solicitors in England and Wales with no real intention of relocating to the United Kingdom or elsewhere.

QLTS at a Glance

During my research of the QLTS, I found that the exam offers a pathway to fast-track an international legal career by becoming dual-qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales. The QLTS enables lawyers who are qualified in jurisdictions outside of the U.K. to gain a competitive advantage by taking the exam and earning their solicitor’s license.

The QLTS exam takes place in two parts: the Multiple Choice Test (MCT), which assesses a candidate’s knowledge and understanding of English law, and the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), which tests practical lawyering skills. QLTS Prep by BARBRI offers efficient and effective programs to help U.S.-trained attorneys prepare for and sit the QLTS assessments. Through its tailored and flexible courses, I’ve been able to work full-time and still maintain my studies.

Find Your Reason to Dual-Qualify

  • London and English Law Rule International Arbitration. The Choices in International Arbitration survey conducted by Queen Mary University of London and White & Case LLP revealed London is the most preferred seat of international arbitration and 48% of corporations use English law for cross-border transactions.
  • Recruitment Possibilities at Law Firms. Most Vault 100 law firms have international arbitration and other international practices. Leading law firms are eager to recruit U.S. attorneys who offer multi-disciplinary/multi-jurisdictional legal services to their clients and advise on cross-border transactions or proceedings.
  • Recruitment Possibilities Elsewhere. Fortune 500 companies and Big 4 accounting firms have offices in the U.K., as well as, globally. Knowledge of U.S. and English law in cross-border transactions can set you apart if employed in this setting.
  • Set Yourself Apart. With the widespread adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), job candidates can now compete for jobs in all UBE states (New York, Illinois, Washington, D.C. and 33 more). Dual qualification provides an edge to your resume.
  • Broaden Network. You can broaden your network by participating in international sectors of bar associations, as well as, other connective resources to propel your career forward.
  • Practice Abroad. As a licensed solicitor, you could technically “hang your own shingle” and start a practice in these countries. (Of course, serious visa and registration issues would need to be addressed.)

The Time to Act is Now

The QLTS will soon be replaced with a mega exam known as the Solicitors Qualifying Exam, or SQE. After the introduction of the SQE, the QLTS will no longer be available as a route to qualification as a solicitor in England and Wales. The SQE is understood to be a more rigorous measure of knowledge and legal skill than the QLTS.

This is a good reason to start the process of dual-qualifying now while the QLTS is still in place. I have begun this process and recently sat the MCT portion of the exam. Enrollment for the next MCT exam is underway, so now is the time to get the preparation you need and conquer the QLTS.




Your 1:1 Study Guide is Ready to ‘Show You the Ropes’

By Anastasia Kalinina, Legal Coordinator, QLTS Prep by BARBRI

You are making a sound investment in your legal career by taking the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) assessments. Way to go!

You undoubtedly see the value in dual qualifying as a solicitor in one of the preferred legal jurisdictions for global trade and dispute resolution. By passing the QLTS, you will have the capability and expertise to work with international clients, deal with cross-border transactions, and understand the differences between U.K. and international law.

Admittedly, passing each QLTS assessment will take detailed and intense preparation. The best way to ensure you are well-prepared is to invest in a proven and focused QLTS training provider―one that will get to know your individual needs for learning and provide you with the right guidance. Why not rely on the largest legal exam and education company in the world to get you there: QLTS Prep by BARBRI.

Receive MCT Support from Professional Mentors

When you prepare with QLTS Prep by BARBRI for the Multiple Choice Test (MCT), you learn from the best faculty in exam preparation, including experienced English solicitors and barristers who teach you the substantive law for each subject tested and who mentor you throughout your time in the programme. I encourage you to speak with a BARBRI team member prior to enrolling in the programme to make the most of your studies to sit the QLTS exam.

Becoming a solicitor requires hard work and conviction; however, you can rely on the support of our expert 1:1 BARBRI mentors who are all deeply committed to helping you pass the QLTS. Think of the dedicated mentor you receive when you enrol with BARBRI as your personal study coach. Together, you develop a study plan to suit your strengths and weaknesses and individual circumstances.

This person is with you every step of the way and knows where you are in the study process at all times. That way, they are able to offer tailored help based on what you are studying, can see where you might need a bit more focus, and can step in with the proper resources and inspiration.

Because your one-on-one mentor has often been through a similar learning experience to get where they are, they are in a good position to “show you the ropes”. But what’s especially unique about our mentors, is that they are able to provide you personalised feedback throughout the course.

I’ve had candidates tell me they got great value out of their mentor in such areas as learning how to approach systematic problem solving, or gaining confidence in answering tons of multiple-choice questions under time pressure. But most of all having, the support of someone “cheerleading” you throughout the whole process makes it seem somehow less daunting.

On to the OSCE: Meet Your Dedicated BARBRI Tutor

So you passed the MCT portion of the QLTS exam. Great job!! Your 1:1 support from BARBRI does not end there.

As you embark on the next stage of the QLTS, the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), you will receive the support of a member of our dedicated team of tutors for the duration of your studies. BARBRI’s OSCE tutors are experts in preparation for the skills assessments you will face in this portion of the exam, including client interviewing, advocacy, and legal drafting/research/writing. In addition to this regular support, your tutor will also conduct 1:1 practice and feedback sessions on all of the skills covered in the OSCE exam.

Our tutors build a strong rapport with their students throughout the course, and regularly receive high marks for their attention to detail and personalised guidance. When you decide to enhance your career as an international lawyer, you really can’t go wrong with BARBRI as your study partner.

Common Law vs. Civil Law: An Introduction to the Different Legal Systems

By Victoria Cromwell
Head of QLTS Prep by BARBRI

The legal systems of different countries around the world typically follow either the common law or the civil law, or, in some cases, a combination of the two.

Broadly speaking, a common law system is based on the concept of judicial precedent. Judges take an active role in shaping the law here, since the decisions a court makes are then used as a precedent for future cases. Whilst common law systems have laws that are created by legislators, it is up to judges to rely on precedents set by previous courts to interpret those laws and apply them to individual cases.

In certain common law countries, courts (such as the Supreme Court of the United States) have the ability to strike down laws that were passed by legislators if those laws are deemed unconstitutional in violation of federal law. By contrast, in the United Kingdom, the concept of parliamentary sovereignty means that legislation can only be amended or revoked by Parliament, not the courts.

Civil law systems, on the other hand, place much less emphasis on precedent than they do on the codification of the law. Civil law systems rely on written statutes and other legal codes that are constantly updated and which establish legal procedures, punishments, and what can and cannot be brought before a court.

In a civil law system, a judge merely establishes the facts of a case and applies remedies found in the codified law. As a result, lawmakers, scholars, and legal experts hold much more influence over how the legal system is administered than judges.

How We Got Here

Both civil law and common law systems originated in Europe. Prior to 1066 and the Norman Conquest, the United Kingdom had no coherent legal system, and was instead made up of customs that applied to different parts of the country. William the Conqueror was the first King to unite these accumulated customs and traditions and create courts and a legal system common to the whole country, hence the term “common law”.

The common law system developed alongside the courts of equity which devised remedies to legal issues based on fairness and equality to counter the sometimes rigid common law. The decisions of these courts were recorded and published, and it therefore became possible for the judiciary to look at previous decisions (precedents) and apply them to the case at hand.

Judicial precedent therefore works on the basis of the principle of stare decisis, a Latin phrase which means “let the decision stand”. The common law now has certain rules. For example, only certain parts of a judgment becoming binding precedent, and only if handed down by a superior court.

By contrast, civil law can be traced back to Roman law. The use of a codified system here allows for primary sources of law to be recorded in legal codes, which are intended to cover the law in a particular area.

The legal system of the United Kingdom is classified as a common law system, similar to the U.S., although there are many codified laws in the form of statutes. This is in contrast to our European neighbours such as France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, where the legal systems are entirely codified and therefore operate on a civil law basis.

Taking the QLTS as a Civil-Qualified Lawyer

Although there are fundamental differences between the two systems of justice, both common law and civil law have become global legal traditions that continue to effectively shape the justice systems of hundreds of countries. Both affect how business is conducted within a specific jurisdiction. Both affect how international business is carried out.

Because common law and civil law are basic concepts for justice systems around the world, they are essential to understand for anyone who wants to learn more about legal tradition, either at home or abroad, and who may be on a path to dual qualification. The biggest challenge for a lawyer coming from a civil law background who wishes to qualify in England and Wales is understanding the concept of judicial precedent and judge-made law itself. This is tested in the MCT portion of the QLTS exam, as a fundamental part of the English Legal System. Similarly, civil law jurisdictions do not have the concept of equitable principles or trust law, so these are areas where civil law-qualified lawyers might struggle.

French employment law attorney Crésence Agbattou knows this struggle all too well. “At first it was quite challenging to wrap my head around differing concepts, such as the rule of precedent, and especially the lack of a Constitution as the basis of the law,” she said. “QLTS Prep by BARBRI helped me master common law rules, and the MCT, by having me commit to practise exercises on a daily basis. Once I overcame the early learning challenges, I found it very interesting to navigate between civil law and common law to improve my work expertise.”

BARBRI offers prep courses for the QLTS to help lawyers with varying backgrounds better understand the globalised legal system to qualify as solicitors in England and Wales. Find out more or enrol here.

How to Find OSCE Success (Ultimately) with BARBRI

Guest blogger Anna Hwang, Esq., a New York-based strict product liability attorney, shares about her experiences, and pitfalls, with QLTS prep courses and studying for the OSCE.

I work with international clients and wanted to become dual-qualified in England and Wales in the event I should move to the U.K. with my British-born boyfriend. What I had heard from other students who took the OSCE is that it could easily get the better of a person without good preparation. So I thought it best to enlist an expert prep course to help get me ready to sit the exam. It was an eye-opening experience.

What I found with one QLTS prep course was an instructor who had typos in each of his email communications and who provided a list of books to read without a comprehensive study schedule, outline, or cheat sheet of the materials and practise samples. It did not seem like an ideal way to prepare for such an important undertaking, especially since I was looking at studying while being involved in a trial.

I continued to work full-time and search for the right OSCE prep.

More and more, I would talk with other people who were having the same experience as me: finding less-than-professional study resources and services from what was supposed to be a professional education provider. It was then that I realised it wasn’t so much a problem with my study strategy or having exceptionally high expectations as it was something lacking in the preparation course I had viewed.

I turned to QLTS Prep by BARBRI. With BARBRI, I received a comprehensive (and not-so-overwhelming) schedule of what I should be reviewing each week. My course work was assigned through the online Personal Study Plan that focused on the subjects most likely to be tested on the exam. This study plan built up as the course went along to home in on my weakest areas of progress and performance.

The study materials I received were very different from the resources I had gotten from the other QLTS prep courses. These were well-written and designed to provide the substantive and procedural law for the areas assessed on the OSCE.

I also had regular access to an individualised tutor to discuss and submit my practise exams. After completing each self-practise exam and the mock OSCE assessments, I received feedback that greatly improved my awareness of the exam areas most in need of addition study.

Because BARBRI’s practise exams attempt to mimic the legal areas that could be tested on the OSCE exam, I was able to draft a particulars of claim and include statutes relating to interests. I gained confidence in providing case law in support of my legal arguments for an application for relief against sanctions.

Whilst learning the law is important, I found that BARBRI taught me how to apply my knowledge for the exam.

I wasn’t left to learn on the spot in a stressfully short period of time. Needless to say, I am confident that I will pass the OSCE with help from QLTS Prep by BARBRI.

Should I take a QLTS Prep Course?

By Sarah Hutchinson, Managing Director, BARBRI International

The QLTS is designed to test a candidate’s application of knowledge of the laws of England and Wales and various skills required to practise as an English solicitor. Because of this, the scope of the material for the QLTS exam is comprehensive and based on the standards expected of lawyers who qualify through the domestic route in England and Wales. Rigorous and robust criteria must therefore be met in order to pass the assessments.

As the sole assessment provider, Kaplan QLTS is not allowed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to offer preparation courses for the assessments. So how, then, do you focus on what is required to know and study the most relevant topics without wasting precious time and effort? Simply put, it’s best to rely on an expert.

Whether you are qualified in a common law or civil law jurisdiction, have limited or vast legal experience, and whether English is your first or second language, you will benefit from the professional guidance a QLTS prep course can offer to help you pass the assessments the first time.

Benefits only an expert study partner can provide

When you first decided to dual-qualify as an English solicitor via the QLTS, you probably had at least a general understanding of what is involved: taking the MCT followed by the OSCE. As you start to look at the specifics of preparation, such as the logistics, time commitment and study schedule, you may begin to realise the true magnitude of the task at hand. This is why having an expert study partner is so important.

Think of it this way. You won’t have access to things like tailored exam-specific workbooks and lectures, a unique study plan, mock exams and one-on-one mentor support if you go it alone in your QLTS prep.

Here are some key elements of the QLTS Prep by BARBRI courses that make relying on a legal exam preparation partner a wise move in preparing to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales:

  • Flexible, comprehensive course programmes.
    The QLTS Prep by BARBRI programme is designed for busy lawyers who often must study around their other professional commitments.
  • Expert law tutors.
    Our workbooks are written and our lectures are delivered by experienced English solicitors and barristers who teach the substantive law for each subject.
  • A full set of printed materials covering all subject areas required by the SRA.
    Workbooks are written exclusively by our expert tutors and updated periodically. Materials contain summaries of the main legal concepts and key areas of each subject. The textbooks supplied for the OSCE are designed to provide the substantive and procedural law for the practise areas in which OSCE skills are assessed. There’s no need to pay extra to access quality resources and reference materials as with other prep providers.
  • Multiple-choice and OSCE exam expertise.
    During your MCT Prep course, you’ll practise over 1,200 multiple-choice questions to help master the techniques you learn and outcomes tested on the MCT exam. OSCE materials are recorded and available to each candidate online throughout the programme, with the opportunity for self-practise and review as well as practises with tutor feedback that build over time to create a highly effective QLTS prep.
  • Regular mock OSCE assessments.
    Undertake mock OSCE assessments with individualised tutor feedback to assess your progress. Plus, take part in a full simulated assessment over two days, delivered online or at BARBRI’s London campus.
  • Unique Personal Study Plan (PSP).
    Delivers the right combination of substance and skills.
  • Proven track record only available with the world’s largest legal exam and education company.
    78% of QLTS Prep by BARBRI students reported passing the QLTS on their first attempt compared to the 54% overall pass rate. BARBRI has been a trusted partner for over 50 years, having helped more than 1.3 million people become licensed lawyers and attorneys.

As you look ahead to the QLTS, I encourage you to speak with a BARBRI team member prior to enrolment in a prep course to ensure you understand how to establish your eligibility. The BARBRI team can guide you in how best to ensure you are able to study and sit the QLTS exams.