In England and Wales, the relationship between law schools and the legal profession is changing. Both higher education and the legal profession are undergoing a shift away from traditional professional self-regulation towards regulation by market forces. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is proposing to change the way solicitors qualify, introducing a new, centrally set and assessed Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). One key difference between the proposals and the current arrangements is that a law degree or equivalent is no longer required for qualification. Another is that, in future, neither the law schools nor the profession are to be involved in the certification of competence to practice.

Despite meeting considerable opposition from both legal practitioners and academics, the proposals are set to be introduced in the autumn of 2021. This chapter explores the concerns about SQE and the challenges and opportunities the proposals present, both for law schools that may develop courses that address SQE and those that do not. It concludes that, despite the concerns, there is an opportunity for all law schools to redesign their courses with distinct pedagogies and to move out of the shadow of the professional bodies’ historic insistence on core foundation subjects and preference for unseen examinations. It also concludes that, for law schools engaged in or interested in clinical legal education, there is an opportunity to expand the experiential learning content of their courses in ways that address both professional practice and academic outcomes.