Westminster Legal Policy Forum

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Next steps for legal education and training and ongoing competence in the legal profession

Morning, Tuesday, 8th February 2022

This conference will look at the next steps for legal education and training, and priorities for facilitating ongoing competence in the legal profession in the wake of changes to the pathways for qualifying as a solicitor or barrister in England and Wales.

The conference is timed as an opportunity to consider initial experiences with the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), which has been rolled out as the new standardised assessment for qualifying as a solicitor.

There will also be discussion on the new pathways for qualifying as a barrister one year after their rollout, and the phasing out of the BTEC - as well as what more needs to be done to deliver high-quality legal education for barristers and clarity for prospective students on their options.

We are pleased to be able to include keynote contributions from: Chris Nichols, Director of Regulation and Policy, Legal Services Board; Mark Neale, Director General, Bar Standards Board; and Julie Brannan, Director of Education and Training, Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Further sessions look at wider issues in the legal sector, including:

  • how best to widen access to the profession and enhance diversity, including the role of apprenticeships
  • positioning the system to respond to emerging trends such as the increasing role of technology
  • the role of sector regulators in ensuring the ongoing competence of legal professionals and that the sector meets consumer expectations and requirements around consumer protection

The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from the BEIS; the Government Legal Department; and the MoJ.

Keynote Speaker

Julie Brannan

Director of Education and Training, Solicitors Regulation Authority

Keynote Speakers

Chris Nichols

Director of Regulation and Policy, Legal Services Board

Julie Brannan

Director of Education and Training, Solicitors Regulation Authority

Mark Neale

Director General, Bar Standards Board


Lord Low of Dalston


Caroline Janes

Head of Learning and Development, Herbert Smith Freehills

Patrick McCann

Director, Learning - Legal Operations, Linklaters; and Chair, City of London Law Society Training Committee

Rachel Broquard

Service Excellence Partner, Eversheds Sutherland

Nicholas Miller

Chief Executive, The Bridge Group

Professor Chris Bones

Chair, The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives

Giles Proctor

Chief Executive Officer, The College of Legal Practice

Jo-Anne Pugh

Dean of BPP University Law School, BPP University

Michaela Hardwick

Director and Solicitor, Beyond Compliance

Lynda Gibbs QC

Dean, The Inns of Court College of Advocacy

Mark Fenhalls QC

incoming Chair of the Bar of England and Wales

Dr Victoria Roper

Associate Professor, Northumbria University; and Chair, National Education and Training Committee of the Law Society

Jim Moser

Director of Professional Development, The University of Law

Denise Wright

Graduate Development Adviser, Weightmans