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22 July 2021

Dual qualifying as a foreign lawyer – opening the doors to a globally successful career

Ever wondered what doors dual qualifying as a Lawyer in the UK and overseas might open for you? Discover how you can take your career global, and become even more employable through dual qualification.

It’s been happening slowly but surely for years – our world is shrinking! Not in the physical sense, but certainly when it comes to our connectivity, expectations, and our ability to both study and work internationally. This presents a wide range of options and opportunities that should be taken into consideration when it comes to advancing your career, not least within the legal sector.

Within law in particular, there is an emphasis on the continual development and honing of one’s legal skills and knowledge, in order to stay abreast of the latest legislative developments – after all, there is a reason why it is widely acknowledged that the firms that train the best, perform the best! It, therefore, follows that successful Lawyers are among the first to be considering how the globalisation of business and workforces will affect their progression and require them to adapt.


So, why does globalisation make dual qualifying such an attractive prospect?

In short, dual qualifying gives a huge boost to your employability! Not only are you able to consider a wider range of employment opportunities, but dual qualified Lawyers are being positioned at the very centre of worldwide operations and are a particularly essential part of the operations of businesses with a global focus.

There is an ever-increasing demand for internationally qualified, capable Lawyers, who are able to operate across multiple jurisdictions, understanding the unique cultural elements of laws pertaining to trade and competition between different nations. Such lawyers therefore stand out and are more competitive than singularly qualified Lawyers when it comes to attracting clients.

A UK business looking to purchase a new base in South Africa, for example, will seek to obtain the services of a single individual who is qualified and able to manage and complete the work within both countries. In contrast, without a dual qualified Lawyer, the company would need to involve multiple Lawyers to achieve the same task!

The increased speed of our international communications, both personal and professional, has also led consumers to become accustomed to a swift and seamless service, and clients have come to expect the same from their legal services. Having to deal with multiple parties is not an attractive prospect, and also has a tendency to delay the process – which in business terms, can be costly.


Why choose to become dual qualified in the UK specifically?

The same rationale of seeking employability still stands, but there are specific benefits associated with being qualified within the UK specifically. English law remains the dominant choice and preferred jurisdiction for global business, and the ability to practice English law therefore unlocks the door to offering a global approach to fulfilling a client’s legal service needs.

The UK’s status as an economic hub cannot be understated, and Lawyers practicing within the UK can expect a certain scale and standard of international client. Home to the London Stock Exchange, the UK handles more foreign exchange ($2.73 trillion) than the next four largest centres combined ($2.41 trillion). 51% of investors in London Stock Exchange companies are international, and 12.4% of the global total of foreign listed companies are listed in London.

In addition, the new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) has significantly changed the way that individuals can become qualified as a Solicitor of England and Wales (you can find out more in our article on the SQE). The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) have confirmed that ALL qualified Lawyers, from ALL jurisdictions, are exempt from the two years’ Qualified Work Experience (QWE) requirement. This removes one of the four steps required for qualification via the SQE pathway, as well as verifying that foreign lawyers no longer need to be within a recognised jurisdiction – unlike the legacy QLTS route to cross-qualification.

Furthermore, the requirement for individuals looking to qualify states the need to attain a degree in any subject or to attain a degree equivalent qualification in any subject. However, degree equivalent qualifications can be obtained in England OR overseas – meaning that this requirement can also be met by an overseas qualification! Given that it is highly likely Foreign Qualified Lawyers will already hold a degree or equivalent qualification, qualified lawyers could look to become dual qualified as a Solicitor of England and Wales by simply passing the SQE assessments and meeting the SRA’s character and suitability requirements – reducing the four-stage process down to two! Find out more here.


Contact Law Training Centre today to discuss dual qualifying and how we can help you get to where you want to be!

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