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.