Global legal education provider BARBRI furthers commitment to SQE preparation with acquisition of Altior Consulting & Training from Kaplan

LONDON – Global legal education provider BARBRI is committed to delivering exceptional preparation for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE), and in anticipation of the SQE’s inaugural administration in 2021, has acquired the entire assets of Kaplan Altior, a leading provider of the Professional Skills Course (PSC) for trainee solicitors.

With the completion of the transaction, BARBRI Altior will offer training courses, including the PSC, much of which will be integrated into the Solicitors Qualifying Exam.

All Altior employees will transition to BARBRI, which will continue to operate the PSC courses with the same venues and tutors. This acquisition is a key step for BARBRI’s UK strategy as the company continues to build and enhance its portfolio of courses for lawyers and professionals at all stages of their careers, and substantially increases the size and capabilities of its UK-based team.

Altior brings decades of experience and expertise in legal and professional training, with more than 65 long-serving, experienced trainers and assessors offering circa 50 courses. The company has over 750 law firm clients, including over 25% of the Top 100 UK law firms.

The new offerings complement and build on the success of QLTS Prep by BARBRI, the company’s comprehensive training for the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme, as well as its industry-leading BARBRI International Bar Review programme designed specifically to help non-U.S. law graduates pass the New York or California bar exam.

“This is an exciting development for BARBRI as we build our expertise in the SQE preparation course market,” said Sarah Hutchinson, managing director for BARBRI International. “Not only does it expand our team with an exceptional client service team, it also significantly enhances our base of experienced and well-respected tutors for specialist trainee and solicitor skills training.

“We are committed to maintaining the high standards Altior has set for its law firm and lawyer clients, including not only the trainees completing the PSC, but also those professionals accessing its extensive range of CPD courses.”

Peter Houillon, CEO of Kaplan Professional UK and Ireland, said: “We are delighted that our Kaplan Altior business will be joining BARBRI which has a strong reputation for high quality training in the legal sector.”

 

About The BARBRI Group

The BARBRI Group is a global learning company dedicated to meeting the legal education and specialised training needs of law students, lawyers and other professionals throughout their careers. BARBRI’s success is built upon its unmatched technology and innovative pedagogy, combined with the ability to harness data analytics, behavioural economics, learning science, and more to develop programmes for learners and institutions. Building on the success of its core bar courses, which have helped more than 1.3 million lawyers around the world pass a U.S. bar exam, BARBRI offers a comprehensive suite of learning solutions for higher education institutions and law- and finance-related businesses. These include U.S. bar prep, curriculum, assessment, global qualifications preparation, online programme management, and professional development. The BARBRI Group, founded in 1967, is a Leeds Equity Partners portfolio company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with offices in London, the United States and around the world.

 

About Kaplan Altior

For 40 years, Kaplan Altior and its carefully selected panel of expert trainers and assessors have been delivering high quality, classroom-based, online and in-house skills training and assessments to its new and long-standing clients and delegates in the legal and professional services sectors across the UK.  Kaplan Altior’s innovative, flexible, cost-effective and broad training portfolio includes regulated courses and assessments such as the SRA’s Professional Skills Course (PSC), Trainee Litigation Programme (TLP) and Higher Rights of Audience, as well as accredited courses for other regulatory bodies such as CILEx and ACCA. In addition, Kaplan Altior provides a range of non-regulated courses including management, compliance and bespoke in-house courses which are designed to meet the continued professional competency requirements of lawyers in England and Wales.

DRIVEN TO QUALIFY AS A U.S. ATTORNEY, FROM A TINY IRISH VILLAGE TO THE BIG APPLE

Captivated by American lifestyle and opportunities, Dublin law graduate Aoife Moore Kavanagh made sure to do whatever it took – with the help of BARBRI – to pass the New York Bar Exam.

MY NAME IS AOIFE MOORE KAVANAGH and my desire to qualify as a U.S. attorney actually began in San Francisco during summer work travel through the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor program. I loved the adventure and realized there were far more opportunities in America than back home in my tiny Irish village, which also happens to be in the smallest county in Ireland. As a Dublin City University law graduate, I knew if I wanted to qualify abroad, I would have to learn the U.S. legal system with the right U.S. law course provider.

After some research, I came across the BARBRI Extended U.S. Bar Prep 6-month home study course. I attended twice a week while working a retail position, packing what American students learn in three years into that 6-month timeframe. When the BARBRI course finished, I left my job to concentrate full-time on studying for the New York Bar Exam prior to returning to the United States to sit the exam.

The people, the crowds, the lights. Everything about New York City captivated me. After taking the bar exam, I decided to extend my stay. I spent three months relishing every opportunity New York had to offer, making meaningful connections along the way. I even met the love of my life. I fit in perfectly.

Then I got the news that I hadn’t passed the New York Bar Exam.

I was absolutely devastated but I knew I had no choice, I had to try again. I owed it to myself to give it my very best shot and now that I knew New York was where I wanted to be, I had a new-found drive and longing.

I took advantage of the BARBRI Guarantee and, for the next two months, I focused solely on the bar exam using BARBRI. There were times when I couldn’t even remember the last time I got dressed. I lived and breathed American law materials. I recorded myself reciting rules and fell asleep listening to them. I studied 9+ hours a day, six days a week. And slowly but surely, the time came around for me to fly back and retake the exam. I knew I had done everything conceivably possible to make sure I would pass. That’s what it takes to ensure success.

An email is how I received my results. No set date or time. Just an email that suddenly arrives in your inbox to inform you of your future. It took me a full day to pluck up the courage to open that email. The passing score in New York is 266. I got 289. I kept checking it over and over, I thought I wasn’t seeing straight! And now I’m preparing my application for admission to practice as an attorney in the greatest place in the world, from my tiny little village in the smallest county in Ireland.

I encountered negative reactions on my journey from people who didn’t think it was worth my while to do a course to learn the laws of another jurisdiction. They told me it was extremely difficult for foreign examinees and I would have to accept that it was unlikely my dreams would become reality, but I am proof that it can be done. I would love for my story to inspire others who may be thinking about doing a U.S. Bar Exam and let them know it is 100% possible.

NEW YORK BAR EXAM ELIGIBILITY: YOUR FIRST STEPS, WHAT TO EXPECT

By Chris Jorgenson,
BARBRI Director of Institutional Partnerships

Hello again! Chris Jorgenson here, Director of Institutional Partnerships with BARBRI based in London, England.

My previous blog post explained the process for U.S. qualification in California as an internationally trained law graduate or lawyer. Now I’d like to address the same details for the New York Bar Exam.

YOUR UNDERGRADUATE LAW DEGREE MATTERS

New York hangs its eligibility determination on the nature of the undergraduate law degree achieved.  A three-year or four-year full-time LL.B. from a common law jurisdiction is required. The curriculum needs to be on campus and amount to 166 European Credit Transfer System credits.

Usually completing an LL.M. from a law school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) can resolve any deficiencies in an LL.B. that does not meet the above-listed criteria. Lately, we have seen the New York State Bar Association being slightly less strict in adhering to these parameters. By way of example, an accelerated two-year LL.B. program has qualified for eligibility. This suggests that New York eligibility determinations are being made more on a case-by-case basis.

ONLY THE STATE BAR ASSOCIATION CAN CONFIRM ELIGIBILITY

It is important to note that the only arbiter of New York Bar Exam eligibility is the New York State Bar Association. No other state governing body can confirm eligibility to sit the New York Bar Exam.  Confirming eligibility can take between 4-to-6 months, so it is important that as a prospective bar exam candidate, you begin the process early.

EXAM DETAILS: DATES, FORMAT, SUBJECTS, SCORING

The two-day New York Bar Exam is offered twice a year during the last week of February and last week of July. It’s administered only in New York, requiring an international candidate to travel to the United States to sit the exam.

There are seven core Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) subjects tested: Constitutional Law, Contracts/Sales, Criminal Law/Procedure, Evidence, Federal Civil Procedure, Real Property and Torts. In addition, the New York Bar Exam’s Multistate Essay Exam (MEE) subjects cover: Business Associations, Conflict of Laws, Family Law, Trusts and Estates and the Uniform Commercial Code (Secured Transactions).

Day One of the bar exam consists of a morning session: two 90-minute Multistate Performance Tests (MPTs) and an afternoon session: six 30-minute essay questions that could be drawn from any MEE subject. Day two of the exam: 200 multiple-choice questions testing the seven core MBE subjects (100 questions in the morning and 100 questions in the afternoon).

New York also requires applicants to successfully complete the New York Law Course and pass an open book New York Law Exam, both of which are offered online.

The New York State Bar Association weighs the MBE portion 50%, the written MEE portion 30% and MPTs 20%. A combined passing score of 266 is required.

In addition to passing the New York Bar exam, you must also pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE), a 60-question multiple-choice professional ethics exam that is offered three times each year (usually in March, August and November). An applicant must take the MPRE inside the United States, but may do so in any U.S. state.

We provide the game plan for successfully navigating the New York Bar exam through flexible study options to accommodate varying schedules. BARBRI Extended U.S. Bar Prep offers both 6- and 10-month home study and blended classroom courses. Learn more by clicking here.

CALIFORNIA BAR EXAM ELIGIBILITY: YOUR FIRST STEPS, WHAT TO EXPECT

By Chris Jorgenson,
BARBRI Director of Institutional Partnerships

Hello, my name is Chris Jorgenson, Director of Institutional Partnerships with BARBRI based in London, England.

In this blog post, I’ll be addressing the eligibility requirements for the California Bar Exam and the practice trends we’ve seen in California over the years, which will be quite helpful and valuable to you.

First, let me establish what makes BARBRI the world’s #1 bar preparation provider. For over 50 years, BARBRI has been the industry leader in U.S. bar exam preparation and passing success, having helped more than 1.3 million law school students become licensed attorneys in the United States. The BARBRI Extended U.S. Bar Prep courses prepare law graduates and lawyers from non-U.S. based jurisdictions to gain membership in the State Bar of California and New York State Bar Association.

BE IN GOOD STANDING, PROVIDE PRACTICE CERTIFICATE

Generally, any qualified lawyer in good standing anywhere in the world is eligible to sit the California Bar Exam. So long as the attorney can produce a certificate of good standing and a home jurisdiction practice certificate, the California Bar Exam is available. In addition, an international law student may become eligible for the California Bar by completing a one-year LL.M. at a law school approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) or accredited by the state of California. In practice, this means completing an LL.M. in the United States.

ONLY THE STATE BAR CAN CONFIRM ELIGIBILITY

It is important to note that the only arbiter of California Bar Exam eligibility is the State Bar of California. Serving as an arm of the California Supreme Court, only this governing branch of the state can confirm eligibility to sit the California Bar Exam. Confirming eligibility can take between 4-to-6 months, so it is important that as a prospective bar exam candidate, you begin the process early.

EXAM DETAILS: DATES, FORMAT, SUBJECTS, SCORING

The two-day California Bar Exam is offered twice a year during the last week of February and last week of July. It’s administered only in California, requiring an international candidate to travel to the United States to sit the exam.

There are seven core Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) subjects tested: Constitutional Law, Contracts/Sales, Criminal Law/Procedure, Evidence, Federal Civil Procedure, Real Property and Torts. In addition, the California Bar Exam essay subjects cover: California Civil Procedure, Business Associations, California Community Property, California Professional Responsibility, Remedies, Trusts and California Wills and Succession.

Day one of the bar exam consists of a morning session: three essay questions testing any subject and an afternoon session: two 60-minute essay questions and one 90-minute Performance Test. Day two of the exam: 200 multiple-choice questions testing the seven core MBE subjects.

The State Bar of California weighs the MBE portion (50%) and written essay portion (50%) of the bar exam equally. A passing score of 1,440 on a 2,000-point scale is required.

A California applicant is also required to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE), a 60-question multiple-choice professional ethics test that is offered three times each year (usually in March, August and November). An applicant must take the MPRE inside the United States, but may do so in any U.S. state.

While sitting the California Bar Exam and qualifying as a U.S. attorney in California is an ambitious task, the BARBRI Extended U.S. Bar Preparation curriculum and educational platform put you in the best position to succeed, where ever in the world you reside. Learn more now.

Be sure to look for my next blog with details about the New York Bar Exam.

Why the New York Bar?

Harry Illingworth,
BARBRI Legal Co-ordinator

I spent a large amount of my youth travelling around the U.S. because of my dad’s profession.

I always knew I wanted to study law at university and I suppose the childhood connection with the U.S. led to my initial interest in qualifying in New York rather than the U.K. However, the process of qualifying in America wasn’t a familiar one. The only route pushed by the careers department at my university was the standard LPC one, this being a route I was not interested in taking.

To me, there are several attractions to sitting the New York bar. The most significant attraction being, if you pass the examination, you will be admitted to practice law in New York. This essentially means there is no training contract requirement, which was extremely alluring to me. New York is home to the world’s most important legal market, with most top-tier firms having an office there. New York also seemed like a practical option as not only is it an English-speaking country, but also has a legal system based on common law.

The cost of the programme also came into light, being significantly cheaper than the LPC or the BPTC and so the New York bar route made financial sense to me as well as durational. The bar could be sat straight out of graduating from my LLB, with no requirement to be qualified anywhere else or have any PQE. Essentially, you could pass the bar and b­ecome qualified within a year after graduating, as opposed to the 3-year training pathway required here in the U.K.

Putting the practicalities aside for a moment, the idea of living and working in the iconic New York City was an option too attractive to ignore. Who wouldn’t want to be the next Harvey Spectre?

As for me personally, in full disclosure, I was fortunate enough to successfully secure a position with BARBRI straight after graduation. BARBRI provides the #1 Bar Review Programme both in the U.S. and internationally. Using the expert knowledge and tested methods studying with BARBRI, I just sat the New York bar myself in July 2017 and will hopefully be admitted as an attorney in New York.

FRENCH ATTORNEY ACHIEVES GLOBAL LEGAL CAREER

Parisien, Nelson Dijoux Coquillas, uses his New York qualification to practice in international arbitration – the international setting of his dreams.

My name is Nelson Dijoux Coquillas and I am an Associate in International Arbitration at White & Case LLP.

I have always imagined myself working in an international legal setting interacting with colleagues and clients from all around the world. After earning my bachelor and master’s degree from Paris Dauphine, I went on to obtain a second master’s degree and an LL.M. from U.C. Berkeley.

I knew I would take the New York Bar Exam because, in my desired field of practice, it was a go-to, especially for big law firms at which I was applying at the time. Additionally, the bar exam itself provided me with some useful exposure to federal and state subjects that I did not take in law school, but which proved useful at the beginning of my career (conflicts of laws for example).

Today, I get the pleasure of working in a truly international setting. The clients I help on a daily basis come from all around the world. The wonderful team with which I work is truly a global team as only 5 or 6 of my 45+ colleagues are 100% French. My international arbitration practice is truly a global career and I could not be happier.

When it comes to preparing for a U.S. state bar exam, BARBRI was and still is the #1 course. The vast majority of my friends, American or foreigners, relied on BARBRI to help them through the bar exam. The BARBRI Personal Study Plan was tailored to my particular needs: I wanted to go at my own pace yet still be assisted if necessary, and I also needed a lot of practice. BARBRI ticked all the boxes: Reliability, tailor-made program, individual assistance, and substantial practice.

The Personal Study Plan constantly directed me toward the specific areas and subjects on which I needed more practice, which did a lot to make me feel comfortable about the actual exam. The Simulated MBE made a huge difference as well as I arrived at the real exam completely familiar with the exam format and structure. I just had to focus on my answers.

If you’re wondering which bar preparation course is for you, wonder no more. Chances are that BARBRI will be a perfect fit for your study habits and needs.

What if I Don’t Pass the Bar Exam?

Rob Dudley,
BARBRI International Director

When I’m talking to lawyers or law graduates around the world who are considering sitting a U.S. State Bar Exam and qualifying as a U.S. attorney, one question that I hear occasionally is, “What happens if I study and sit the California or New York Bar Exam and I find that I do not pass?”

This is a very fair question.

Most of you are incredibly busy and have many obligations and demands on your time. Once you decide to study and sit a U.S. Bar Exam, you are making the decision to dedicate a portion of your precious and limited time toward this endeavor.

First, you should know that, should you choose BARBRI as your partner to prepare for the New York or California Bar Exam either through the 6 or 10-month international program, via Home Study or Classroom format, we provide you every level of support to help ensure you will pass the exam.

The sole purpose of the BARBRI International Bar Preparation program is to teach you the specific information that is needed to pass the exam. The program is designed to utilize your time in the most efficient way possible during the process. Additionally, there are real people, like me, who’s job it is in life is to support you in this endeavor every step of the way.

We are very proud of the fact that 70% of the students who completed at least 75% of the work assigned through their BARBRI Bar Preparation Personal Study Plan passed the exam the first time. This is an incredible success rate for people who were not educated in the U.S. seeking a U.S. qualification.

Even so, yes, there are candidates who put in the time and energy and ultimately fall short on the actual exam. This is why, for a bit of extra reassurance, we offer the BARBRI Guarantee.

The BARBRI Guarantee means that, if you complete our study plan but you do not pass at the first attempt, we will provide a second preparation course free of charge.

I’m here for you and ready to partner on your route to qualifying as a U.S. attorney.

PASSING THE NEW YORK BAR HELPS TEL AVIV ATTORNEY ADVISE INTERNATIONAL TECH CLIENTS

Koren Grinshpoon, Tel Aviv native, and an Israeli lawyer is using his New York qualification to provide broader services to tech clients in New York as a corporate associate at one of New York’s biggest law firms.

MY NAME IS Koren Grinshpoon and I was admitted to practice in Israel in 2016 after receiving my LL.B. and a graduate diploma in Economics from Tel Aviv University. Following my graduation, I worked at the hi-tech department of Herzog, Fox & Neeman, Israel’s top law firm. I noticed firsthand the innovative nature of tech law and of the global tech industry, as well as the predominance and preeminence of U.S. based tech companies and venture capital firms. I needed to become intimately familiar with U.S. law as it governs many transactions made in the course of a tech company’s life cycle. I found that the best way to accomplish this goal is by sitting or the New York Bar Examination and becoming licensed as an attorney in New York. Since Israel is a common law jurisdiction, graduates of accredited schools from Israel can qualify to sit for a U.S. state bar, particularly New York, with relative ease.

THE LEGAL MARKET IS BECOMING MORE GLOBAL, WITH TRANSACTIONS TAKING PLACE IN MULTIPLE JURISDICTIONS AND BY MULTIPLE PARTIES FROM ACROSS THE WORLD.

Understanding the governing laws of different jurisdictions, as well as being able to advice on such laws, allows me to provide better and broader services to my clients. After researching many programs to help one  pursue his or her goal of passing the New York Bar Exam, I chose the BARBRI International program without hesitation. BARBRI is well known for its exam preparation courses for the New York Bar and is the only program that provides an international learning experience which allows lawyers to study for the exam in their country of origin as well as anywhere else in the world. The BARBRI team was extremely supportive and helped me and many of my peers navigate the tedious registration process for foreign-educated applicants. Also, the BARBRI lectures and practice questions were fantastic tools for preparation for the exam. By following the BARBRI International study schedule, specifically designed to prepare international students for the exam, I felt confident in my ability to pass the exam on my first try. I was indeed admitted to practice in New York in May 2017 and went on to practice law as a corporate associate at one of New York’s biggest law firms.

MAKING THE MOST OF BARBRI

Guest Blog by Tiffany Khoo, LLB,
London School of Economics and Political Science graduate

When I first signed on for the BARBRI 10-month Home Study Program, 10 months felt far away yet it went so much faster than I expected.

Almost silently, the last few months passed one after another and the New York Bar Exam had suddenly arrived. It’s truly been a wonderful journey, learning law from a different jurisdiction, especially one as influential as the United States.

Click for more information

Throughout the 10 months of bar study, I found myself getting involved in situations where my (limited) knowledge of U.S. law helped me out. For example, in work, I’ve had to look at Secured Transactions, one of the subjects tested on the New York Bar Exam. I was assigned to conduct research on Article 9, which thanks to my bar preparations through BARBRI, I already had some knowledge about. In my personal life, I had a relative going through some legal issues while residing in the United States. When she hired a U.S. attorney, it was so reassuring to know that I recognized the legalese he was using and I could really offer some helpful advice to a family member.

As this is my final BARBRI blog post, I leave you with some tips on making the most of BARBRI:

Use the BARBRI Network

I’ve mentioned this before and I’ll say it again: BARBRI sets up a WhatsApp group chat for those interested to communicate with other BARBRI students. This network has been a wonderful support system as you’re joined by others from around the world that are going through the same struggles. People share tips, encourage each other, remind each other about important deadlines and, of course, share a relatable meme every so often. It is a great resource and a wonderful way to feel less alone in the bar prep journey.

Email the lecturers

Although you have the vast BARBRI Network of students to lean on, sometimes that just means there’s many confused students all at a time. A lot of the BARBRI lecturers give out their number and email addresses for those who have questions. I’ve emailed the lecturers before and they have been exceptionally helpful and kind.

Practice and start early

BARBRI comes with an abundance of practice questions and it would be a huge shame to not take advantage of them. My advice: as much as possible, start practicing and start practicing early.

Build up endurance

A big part of the New York Bar Exam requires endurance – 12 hours of testing over two days. I remember when I first started attempting the 18 Multistate Practice Questions (MPQs) that BARBRI provided. It would take me well over an hour to complete, which was definitely much too long. But over time, I could do it more quickly. Build up your endurance and speed slowly – it will get better over time.

With that, all the best! I’ve had a blast writing here and I wish everyone the best of luck!

IN PURSUIT OF A DREAM – FROM HERZLIYA TO PASSING THE NEW YORK BAR

Israeli attorney Elena Goor Barron prepares to embark on a legal position in the U.S. and help people all over the world after securing a job as a Litigator at a New York law firm. Find out how she passed the New York Bar Exam on her first attempt.

MY NAME IS ELENA GOOR BARRON and my dream has always been to help people from different countries and backgrounds. I graduated with a Bachelor of Law LL.B. and B.A. in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy with Expertise in Terrorism & Homeland Security from IDC Herzliya, Israel. During my work in Personal Injury Law in Israel I decided to further my legal education in pursuit of my dream and to practice law internationally.

I felt that becoming an attorney in the U.S. would give me an opportunity to expand my legal career to an international level and to handle complex cross-border legal matters.

When considering my options for qualification, I determined that applying to sit for the New York State Bar Exam was the right path for me.

I did some of my own independent bar exam preparation course research, as well as spoke to my American friends who had taken a U.S. Bar Exam, and learned that BARBRI is widely considered the best bar exam preparation available if you want to pass on the first attempt. I was also impressed with the flexibility of BARBRI study tools provided and the success rate of their students.

WHAT ESPECIALLY CAUGHT MY EYE was the BARBRI International Home Study Program designed specifically for foreign-educated lawyers who want to prepare for a U.S. Bar Exam while maintaining their practice in another country.

Each week, I utilized various tools and resources such as the video lectures, reading assignments, multiple-choice practice questions and essay practice questions. It was apparent that each member of the BARBRI faculty put an enormous amount of thought and time into preparing every lecture.

I also had a direct line of communication with BARBRI, both in Israel and the United States. They were always ready to offer guidance and support. When I arrived in New York for the exam I felt confident, well prepared and passed on my first attempt using the BARBRI International Home Study Program.