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.
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!